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Super foods: facts & fiction

By Pauline D. Loh | China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-17 09:40

Cordycep flowers (chongcaohua, 虫草花)

Super foods: facts & fiction

[Photo by Pauline D. Loh/China Daily]

This is neither cordyceps nor flower. It is a mushroom, developed and cultivated after research isolated the main ingredient in cordyceps that is believed to be beneficial to health - cordycepin. The bright orange-yellow mushrooms are sold as a fresh tonic supplement for soups, stews and stir-fries. It is certainly a much more affordable alternative to the worm-fungus, and tastes better, too. Maca root (Peruvian ginseng)

This is a relatively new tonic sold in China after being successfully propagated in the highlands near Lijiang, Yunnan province. This small, turnip-like root was first cultivated in the high plains of central Peru in the Andes, and was used as a staple food much like rice or wheat.

Modern research has shown that maca contains natural substances that stimulate the pituitary and hypothalamus. Maca roots are thus beneficial to the endocrine system, and also contain calcium, potassium, iron, silica and many other trace minerals. Mainly sold dried and available online.

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