Sharing Sami Wisdom: 4 Nordic Superfoods You Didn’t Know About
Here at Aarja Health we love taking our ancestral Sami knowledge and using it to create supplements that are unique, safe, and highly effective. With a quick look through our products page you’ll notice a whole host of Nordic ingredients, like lingonberries, bilberries, and arctic chaga. However, this is just a small portion of the many wonderful gifts that Northern nature has given us. So, with Veganuary in mind, we’d love to feature some of the other fantastic plants that the Sami people would have used in their diet along their journeys.
Foraging in Norway: Healthy Sami Superfoods
Arctic chaga, while super healthy, isn’t very well known. The chaga is a mushroom and is considered a superfood because of its many supposed benefits for human health. Between the wide variety of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and immune modulating abilities, the arctic chaga is really a wealth of health-supporting nutrients. From blood sugar and cholesterol to immunity, the arctic chaga is beneficial for so many aspects of health that it’s hard to count!
Traditionally, the Sami people are thought to have used the chaga in tonics to treat a wide number of ailments and illnesses. So, the next time you’re feeling a little under the weather, a little chaga might be your ticket back to health! If you aren’t up to foraging for fresh chaga, Aarja Health’s Vitamin C with Zinc and Chaga is a fantastic substitute!
Pine bark is another Nordic element that’s featured throughout our products. It’s also one of the few resources that the Sami people would have had access to in the harsh Northern winters. In fact, it’s believed that pine bark was a staple in the Sami diet and likely used in teas and stews or dried and ground into flour for breads.
Now, pine bark may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about food, but pine bark could also be classified as a superfood. With antioxidants, anti-inflammatory elements, and anti-microbial properties this therapeutic food can support immunity, boost oxidant status, and is also great for the skin. Because of its antimicrobial properties, the Sami would even use pine bark to treat wounds! Dare we say more? If you’re looking to incorporate a little more bark in your bite, our Collagen with Pine Bark is a fantastic choice for skin, joints, and all your antioxidant needs.
Lingonberries and bilberries are favourite ingredients here at Aarja Health, but have you heard of the cloudberry? In addition to fungi and bark, berries were a Sami staple food. Often used to make stews, soups, juices, and breads, the cloudberry is dense in the nutrient department! Vitamins A and C as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, and even omega-3 and -6 fatty acids – a very rare nutrient to be found in berries. Vegans, take note - cloudberries are a plant-based source of these healthy fats! Despite their funny shape, the cloudberry packs a potent punch of health benefits.
The nomadic nature of the Sami people meant that they were constantly traversing the Northern wilderness making food out of whatever nature was kind enough to provide. In their treks to gather pine bark they also likely came across some chanterelles (another type of mushroom) which are commonly found around trees. The traditional Sami dish known as Renskav features these tasty forest treats along with frozen reindeer meat – a dish that has been adapted over the years into a modern stew perfect for a cold winter day.
When it comes to health, where chantarelles really shine is in the polysaccharide department. If you don’t know what that is, no problem! Polysaccarides are one of the most abundant types of carbohydrates found in foods, but certain ones like chitin and chitosan – of which chantarelles are an excellent source – have some impressive health benefits. Chitin and chitosan are believed to have immune-modulating properties, meaning that they can stimulate immune cells which can help to reduce inflammation and even reduce the risk of certain cancers. The more you know, right?
The beauty of the Sami knowledge is that even before modern science, they were both appreciative and understanding of the wonders of nature. Their diet was filled with foods of the land and often made up of what we would now consider superfoods. No wonder the Sami genes come with health benefits even generations down the line!
If you’re ready to embrace the wisdom of the Sami people, you’re in the right place! Whether you’re just joining us for Veganuary and looking to boost your diet with some healthy plant foods, or are looking for that perfect supplement to compliment your needs, Aarja Health has you covered. Our entire line of products has been born and bred from the lost secrets of the Sami people to help you feel your absolute best all year round. So, get started today by browsing our shop to find the perfect fit for your lifestyle, plant-based or otherwise!