10 Uncommon "Superfoods" from the World of Ultra-Endurance

While doing research for The 4-Hour Body back in 2009, I resorted to Twitter in search of elite athletes who performed well on a vegan diet. I was repeatedly referred to Rich Roll, whom Men’s Fitness Magazine dubbed one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World.” (Sidenote: if you missed the bonus vegetarian/vegan athlete interviews from 4HB, here they are.)

Among his accomplishments:

– Two top finishes at the double Ironman-distance Ultraman World Championships

– Completing 5 Ironman-distance triathlons on 5 separate Hawaiian Islands in less than a week, a feat no one had ever even attempted.

Here’s the kicker: he did both in his mid-40’s.

But most remarkable of all, just a few short years before exploding onto the scene, Rich was a middle-aged couch potato, depressed and 50 pounds overweight. His 40th birthday present to himself was attempting to reverse course. He overhauled his diet (now 100% plant-based), used The 4-Hour Workweek as a primer to reconfigure his life, and made fitness his Mount Everest.

This original content covers the top 10 obscure superfoods Rich used to cultivate this elite performance. Even I hadn’t heard of a few…

Enter Rich

I abused my body throughout my 20’s and 30’s with a revolving door of junk food, drugs, alcohol and pretty much anything I could find to numb my discontentment. Overhauling my diet played a crucial role in my mid-life transformation. In the most general sense, fruits and vegetables repaired my body wholesale, but there’s more to the story.

It’s important to realize that I’m not a professional athlete. Over the last 2 years, I have balanced a life of 20-30-hour training weeks and crazy endurance events with my career as an entertainment lawyer, my family life (married 10 years, father of four), and writing a book. Developing an acuity for sleep deprivation is a big part of my personal success equation.

Nonetheless, I can’t recall the last time I got sick, missed a workout, family obligation or professional deadline because I was too tired. And despite my advancing age, I continue to improve as an athlete – getting leaner, stronger, and faster with each successive year.

How is this possible? Superfoods.

Admittedly, the term is subject to cavalier overuse. And the health benefits are frequently overblown. I get it.

But there are “superfoods” you see in tabloid ads, snd then there are superfoods. I am absolutely convinced that my steady intake of many of the below uncommon (and other more mainstream) superfoods has played a major role in helping me break the glass ceiling on my physical potential.

We’ve all heard of acai, goji berries and chia seeds. But I’d be willing to bet most of you are unfamiliar with more than a few of these more obscure superfoods:

1. Natto:

Heart Health. A popular fermented soybean food prominent in the Japanese diet, natto is a must for anyone concerned about heart or circulatory disease. High in pyrazine and the enzyme nattokinase, blood thinners that can prevent thrombosis (blot clot formations) by essentially devouring arterial plaque, natto significantly reduces the risk of suffering a pulmonary embolism (arterial blockage) that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Also high in vitamin K, it’s excellent in maintaining bone density. Warning: natto is a very acquired taste. In fact, it’s horrible, unless you’re a fan of strange exotic cheese. Prepare with turmeric and sea salt or alternatively sweeten with erythritol — a very low glycemic non-caloric sugar additive derived from glucose fermentation that retains 60-70% of the sweetness of table sugar. If it’s still unbearable, nattokinase is available in capsule form. I like Doctors Best (1-4 2,000 FU capsules / day).

2. Cordyceps (Sinensis) Extracts:

Stamina. Well-known for centuries in Chinese herbal medicine, Cordyceps sinensis is a parasitic dried fungus that grows on caterpillar larvae native to high-altitude regions of China, Nepal and Tibet. Gross, right? But awesome when it comes to health and athletic performance. Pharmacologically anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-lipid (cholesterol lowering), studies indicate enhanced immune system functionality as well as improved stamina in endurance athletes via increased aerobic capacity and oxygen utilization as well as stabilized blood sugar metabolism. Chinese Olympic Track & Field athletes have been swearing by it for decades, and I can attest to their effectiveness. Another plus? Increased sex drive and functionality. The benefits of Cordyceps are enhanced when combined with the adaptogen rhodiola, as they are in Optygen and ShroomTech — both good recommended products.

3. Tumeric:

Anti-Oxidant / Anti-Inflammatory. A plant native to South India and Indonesia, if you like curry or mustard, you’re already familiar with this yellow food. What you might not know is that turmeric — due in large part to curcumin, tumeric’s primary active ingredient — is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories on the planet.

The majority of foods we eat, including low fat diets, promote arterial inflammation, which is a leading (and often underrated) cause of heart disease. In the fitness context, exercise-induced physiological stress causes inflammation, which impedes muscular repair. In a general sense, the more quickly the inflammation subsides, the more quickly one recovers from training. Foods like turmeric reduce inflammation, thus expediting recovery (and circulatory health). Extrapolated over time, an athlete on a nutritional regimen high in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric (buttressed by a predominantly alkaline-forming diet) will in turn be able to train harder, more effectively and more efficiently in a given time period while simultaneously taking out an insurance policy against the primary culprits that foil even the most conscientious athletes — undue fatigue, overtraining and illness.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that there is some evidence to suggest that people who eat diets rich in turmeric have lower rates of breast, prostate, lung, colon and skin cancers.

Curcumin can be taken in capsule form, but it is not the most bio-available substance in extract form. Personally, I prefer to drink turmeric in a tea – 1/2 spoonful dissolved in hot water does the trick.

4. Apricot Seeds & Sprouted Mung Beans:

Cancer Cell Inhibition. Both of these foods share one thing in common: high levels of laetrile (vitamin B17), which has been found effective in arresting tumor growth. But how does it kill cancer cells without killing healthy cells? Without getting too technical, there is some evidence to support that when laetrile comes into contact with an enzyme called beta-glucosidase (which is only found in cancer cells), the laetrile is broken down, releasing “manufactured” hydrogen cyanide (HCN), which attacks the cancerous cell. Normal cells remain unaffected because of the mitochondrial enzyme rhodanase, which detoxifies the cyanide component. Cancer cells lack this enzyme.

I’m not saying laetrile is a magical cure for cancer. But it might be a cheap preventive measure.

Organic and raw apricot kernels (the seed inside the pit) are available online (try Nuts.com or iHerb.com). I blend them into my Vitamix morning smoothie. Sprout mung beans overnight (using a simple sprouting vessel) and eat over rice. Alternatively, you can make a broth with turmeric or even brew a coffee-like drink in a French Press with nutritional yeast.

[TIM: Apricot seeds kicked up the most debate of all the items on this list. I asked Rich to comment further on the safety/efficacy, and below is what he wrote.]

Hey Tim:

No doubt, the administration laetrile (the active component in apricot seeds) in extracted megadoses as an alternative cancer treatment protocol is rather controversial.

Here’s the low down as I see it:

There was a period in the 1960’s – 70’s when several doctors evangelized its use as an alternative cancer treatment protocol. Debate ensued, the FDA got involved, lawsuits were filed, and ultimately its use in megadose supplement form was banned. Laetrile (again in extracted, concentrated form) is now maligned in traditional western medicine — the word “quackery” does come up.

It’s effects have been studied. Positive impact on reducing tumor growth in cell cultures and animals has been found in certain cases but human study results are spotty at best — most of which were performed on people in advanced stages of the disease. Of course, it’s essentially impossible to quantify its impact in the preventive context.

Most of the controversy (and subsequent banning) stems from the cyanide component — and it’s effect on healthy cells in oral megadoses. When administered in huge amounts, there have been a few cases of people experiencing some side effects similar to cyanide poisoning (nausea, vomiting, headache). Further controversy is related to people like Steve McQueen, who elect alternative cancer treatments (in addition to laetrile, things like coffee enemas and the like) in lieu of (rather than in conjunction with) traditional radiation/chemo/surgical treatments.

Despite all of this, there are certainly groups and individuals out there that continue to vociferously assert it’s benefits — with purported results ranging from positive to miraculous.

What I suggest (and have been doing myself for years without any side effects whatsoever), is hardly megadosing — instead, small doses of raw apricot kernels and/or raw almonds in my daily morning blended drinks – the equivalent of 2-5 apricot kernels a day and/or 5-10 raw almonds, which also contain laetrile (as do mung beans, millet, buckwheat, etc.). Not as a cancer “treatment” but as a simple (potential) preventive measure. The kernels are, of course, legal and easily found online and raw almonds are everywhere.

I reviewed the posted article and spent the evening reading up further on the issue to make sure I wasn’t missing something. But I admit to underestimating the somewhat incendiary nature of this debate.

5. Green Coffee Beans:

Fat Loss. Similar to green tea and grape seed extract, organic raw (green) coffee beans have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties effective in combating free radical damage. Benefits in weight management are due to two active compounds, caffeine (lower in green beans) and chlorogenic acid (which is destroyed by roasting) [TIM: Also found in my perennial fave, yerba mate]. The caffeine releases fatty acids into the bloodstream from stored body fat, while the chlorogenic acid increases efficiency of metabolizing these fats while inhibiting sugar (glucose) absorption by the blood stream.

Simply grind the green beans and prepare in a French Press like normal coffee. Alternatively, place the ground beans in water in the sun to brew iced coffee. However, don’t expect it to taste like coffee – it doesn’t. Slightly bitter and somewhat flavorless, try adding erythritol to sweeten. Nor will it give you a boost; its caffeine content is significantly lower than roasted beans.

There was a rumor that Starbucks was test-marketing some iced green bean elixirs, but I have yet to see it hit stores. Probably didn’t test well.

6. Elk Antler Velvet:

Testosterone Booster. Elk antler velvet isn’t just the “fuzz” growing on the animal’s antler, it’s derived from the whole cartilaginous affair, which is removed from the animal (humanely), dried and ground into a powder (predominantly in Canada and New Zealand). Due to growth proteins called Insulin-like Growth Factors (IGF-1 & IGF-2), this “velvet” creates an endogenous increase in testosterone production, increasing in the body’s ability to naturally and rapidly regenerate tissue & bone (antlers are the fastest growing animal tissue known to science – growing upwards of an inch per day).

For personal reasons, I eschew animal products from my diet, so I do not myself use elk antler velvet. Nonetheless, and from what I understand, antler removal does not harm the animal, and is in fact a humane and necessary safety precaution that helps prevent the elk from attacking each other. The extraction process is heavily regulated by the Canadian government and the USDA, so make sure your product is government certified (a precaution against bacterial infection incident to chronic wasting disease that occurs in hoofed animals). Currently most of this product is exported to China but is readily available online.

Administer in capsule or powder form, 250mg/day post-workout or before sleep.

7. Suma Root & the 4 Ginseng Blend:

Adaptogen. Adaptogens are metabolic regulators that increase the body’s ability to – for lack of a better phrase – adapt to environmental stressors, both physical and emotional. Suma is a ginseng-like adaptogen extracted from a root native to Brazil that is linked to improved immune system functionality and hormonal regulation. Combine with (American) ginseng, Ashwaganda (Indian ginseng), and Eleutherococcus (Siberian ginseng) to create a potent combination that promotes longevity and stress management — normalizing and balancing emotional and physical energy levels. Take in capsules (easily sourced online) or brew into a tea.

8. Camu Camu:

A sour lemon-sized orange-purple fruit indigenous to Amazonian lowlands, camu camu contains an impressive array of phytochemicals, bioflavonoids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene and potassium. Most importantly, camu camu boasts the highest natural vitamin C density of any food on the planet — anywhere from 20-50 times the level of vitamin C in a typical orange, and scores extremely high on the “ORAC” (“oxygen radical absorbance capacity”) scale, a method of quantifying the anti-oxidant capacities of biological samples. Camu camu also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol and facilitates the uptake of serotonin. In other words, it will make you happy.

Available in supplement form, I like Navitas Naturals Organic Camu Powder. Add a teaspoon to juice or smoothie (taste is tart, a bit like orange juice itself).

9. Moringa (Olefiera):

Dubbed the “miracle tree” and the “world’s most nutritious plant species ever studied,” this amazing tree is native to regions of Africa/Asia but can grow almost anywhere due to its incredible ability to extract nutrients from the soil and air. Its leaves are an all-around green superfood; with more than 90 nutrients, moringa is like a utility baseball player that can excel in every position. High in a wide array of vitamins and minerals it’s anti-oxidant rich (46 anti-oxidants), anti-diabetes (reduces blood glucose) and promotes heart health (lipid lowering) among other benefits.

Available in capsule and powder form, brew the powder into a tea or add to juice or your morning smoothie.

10. Pu-erh Tea:

This tea can be perhaps the most expensive in the world, with some cakes priced at $350K (for a 250g cake), its leaves derived from trees upwards of 1,700 years old. A post-fermented tea product produced in the Yunnan province of China and carefully aged, the harvesting, creation and ceremony of Pu-erh is an art steeped in preserved tradition dating back millennia.

But what makes Pu-erh truly unique is the process by which the leaves are fermented by microbes after drying and then aged. It is believed that the microbial activity in the tea provides probiotic health benefits unique Pu-erh, such as reducing arterial plaque and LDL cholesterol levels as well as aiding in weight loss by reducing blood sugar levels and improving the body’s ability to metabolize fat.

Dramatically less costly versions of Pu-erh are available [TIM: I drink this version almost every morning]; versions I have used provide a long-lasting even-keeled energy.

To learn more, I suggest you consult your local teahouse. There is nothing like a traditional Pu-erh tea ceremony administered by a tea master. It’s an extraordinary experience. If you happen to be in Los Angeles, Colin Hudon at Temple Tea in Venice is excellent.

To Test or Not to Test?

All well and good, I hear you saying. But where’s the proof? Herein lie the rub. To be sure, studies of varying legitimacy exist to substantiate the above. But large-scale, peer-reviewed research requires substantial funding. This funding is often provided by for-profit corporations that have little interest in validating natural products that cannot be protected via patents.

That said, I’m not asking you to take my word for it. Do your own research (Ray Sahelian, M.D.’s website is a good place to start). Experiment on yourself. Start conservatively, document your findings, and tweak your way to success.

Perhaps you won’t recognize yourself in the mirror a year from now.

Best of luck,



Tim: Any questions? Please ask them in the comments and Rich will jump in there with you.

Rich’s amazing story and techniques are covered in-depth in Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself, which just came out this week.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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238 Replies to “10 Uncommon "Superfoods" from the World of Ultra-Endurance”

  1. With Moringa (Olefiera) hard to come by here in Virginia I’ve opted to grow my own. Got seeds on Amazon. It’ll take more time, but given the right environment the trees can grow to 15 ft in one year. They don’t take well to hard freezes, so I’m taking my chances, but heck it was only $3.50.

    1. My little moringa (drumstick tree) seeds are sprouting. I’ll baby them, then plant 2 outside when they’re ready and keep 2 in pots.

  2. I work at Rainbow Blossom natural foods. Green coffee bean extract and pu-erh tea have been FLYING off the shelf at the store. I can’t use deer antler velvet, because it turns me into a rage machine……although, I suppose I COULD go on a 20 mile run after I take it….

  3. it’s harvested by scraping the velvet from the antler……they don’t remove the antler. They drug the deer, have them walk down a little alleyway thing, and remove it. no more painful than getting your cuticles pushed down.

  4. Concerning green coffee beans, what grinder would you recommend? I was able to negotiate with the Whole Foods in Valencia, CA to purchase some because they roast their own beans and had plenty of them. However, when I went to grind them in my old steel blade grinder, the beans were so hard, they would barely grind and they thrashed the inside so badly, they broke the hard plastic lid! I thought your suggestion was a good idea because green coffee bean extract is too expensive and hard to get. However, now it looks like I will be spending too much money on some kind of expensive industrial strength grinder. Help!

  5. I work/live/play in the Philippines and here you can buy huge bushels of Moringa Oleifera (known as Malunggay here) for less than $1USD.

    I’ve been filling up the big Gatorade bottles with all the Moringa iced tea I’ve been making. I also use it in salads, soups, omelets, etc. It’s a pretty fascinating veggie. When you boil or make sun tea with it, the tea tastes nice and sweet with no sugar needed. But if you eat it raw it has this delicious horse-radish/red beets taste.

    For months I complained that living in the Philippines meant I couldn’t get enough Veggies in my diet. But after discovering Moringa a month or so ago I feel like I’m in the best possible place for getting all my greens through this superfood for supercheap! 🙂

    1. Justin – where in the Philippines do you live? I’m interesting in traveling there at some point myself. If you like, you can email me via my website.



  6. Suprise! The Starbucks by my job just started serving “refreshers,” including 2 drinks made from green coffee beans. Not sure if it’s nation-wide though.

  7. Do any replicated and reliable large-scale scientific (but I repeat myself) studies provide any positive proof that any of this stuff works to make one fitter, stronger or even happier? I can’t believe all this enthusiasm based only on wild unsupported dreams. Bizarre.

    1. There have been a few studies on Cordyceps, Tumeric, and Green Coffee Beans. Check Ergo-Log.com and suppversity.blogspot.com for overviews on the scientific papers done on these products.

  8. Regarding cordyceps, has anyone tried Lingzhi tea or ganoderma mushroom tea? Any thoughts on these? (Great with turmeric btw.)

  9. Hi Tim, My Name is Herman Thompson and I’m from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I really did hope to be able to enter the Shopify competition but my country is not allowed (as yet).

    I must say that my perspective on life has changed dramatically since I read your book The Four Hour Work Week and I’ve dabbled with a lot of business ideas. Sad to say though I haven’t been able to get off the ground as yet. My friends tell me that I need to think realistically but I’m still gonna continue trying. At least I know what not to do in the future.

    I must admit that I’ve been feeling a bit depressed lately as I’m almost 30 and I still have nothing to show for my life so far. All I’m asking of you is for some advice. As you said “you should focus on enhancing your strengths, not trying to make your weaknesses better, because in the end your weaknesses will be mediocre at best”. Well I have no creative bone in my body (although I would love to be able to visualize an end product before I even begin), but I do recognize talent when I see it. I’m a good judge of character and of creations. You can say I have an excellent eye for recognizing greatness but not a good eye for visualizing what can become. My question is how can I turn that into a business?

    I have just three main dreams (amongst the smaller ones) in the pool called my life. The first is to tour Europe (not a two week tour but more like 5 years soaking in the different cultures with my family). Secondly I would like to visit Dubai and spend at least one night in the Burj Al Arab hotel. Last but not least meet I want to meet Tim Ferris in person.

  10. FYI, I tried the green coffee extract as suggested in this article and nearly destroyed my burr grinder.

    If anyone tries it, I recommend experimenting on a cheap blade grinder first, rather than using an expensive burr grinder like most coffee aficionados would have.

    1. @Steve, I don’t know if you saw my earlier entry on this but I used a cheap blade grinder and it broke the plastic lid. Since I did not get reponse from Tim or Rich, I did some more research and finally it dawned on me thst all I had to do was grind it at the store where I buy it. So, that has worked fine. The new Starbucks Refresher drinks with green coffee bean extract are kind of ridiculous because they are loaded with sugar.

  11. The last several comments are dull letters on black (?) I remember laetrille and how much those with cancer claimed that they were in remission as long as they took it, they pleaded with the FDA to let them continue to use it. It made me angry that they were not listened to. It is still used in Mexico with other non invasive trt and does very well for the patient. I would have liked these people be carefully watched with it and see what happened. That is a scientific way to study something, is it not?

  12. In order for apricot kernels to be effective in the treatment of cancer, they must be used in adequate doses. What complicates this dosage is that we each have different capacities to process amygdalin (B17) safely. The body actually expects small quantities of dietary cyanide. Sickle cell anemia is a cyanide deficiency disease. Technically, it’s a thiocyanate deficiency disease, but the body requires cyanide to produce thiocyanate. A further complication is that, there are dozens of different cultivars of apricot kernels available for purchase, all of which have drastically different concentrations of amygdalin. A comfortable dosage with one apricot kernel isn’t necessarily a safe dosage with another.

    Bitterness is the indicator for amygdalin content and we want the most bitter apricot kernel available. It is this kernel we want to be basing our dosages on. Apricot kernels range in amygdalin content from little more than sweet almonds all the way up to that of bitter almonds. This entire range is being marketed as “bitter apricot kernels”. One end of the scale has the potential to be very effective – the other end has the potential to be detrimental. Apricot kernels are very high in fat, and if a person were using a mildly bitter kernel in massive quantities, they’d be suffering from the impact of high fat.

    Finding the kernel with the highest concentration of amygdalin available to us should be the goal. Trial and error is the means.

  13. I stumbled upon a drink called “Life Shotz” (www.lifeshotz.com) that I´m trying right now.

    Do you Tim, or anyone else, know anything about this product? Is it worth drinking, or is it fake?

    Thanks for a great blogpost 🙂

  14. Hey, i’m a great fan of this blog and the books!!

    One doubt where can i find the Suma Root & the 4 Ginseng Blend ? I’ve look for it and cannot found!


  15. Great list of foods, some of which I have been incorporating in my lifestyle for quite some time like the turmeric which I also like in a tea that I boil with coconut oil because the oil helps to break it down which makes it more bio-available. Great for joint inflammation. In regards to the green coffee beans, you say to just grind them. What do you use to grind them? Would a vitamix work? I have had some serious issues trying to find a way to get the green coffee beans ground, which is very high in antioxidants and I would love to incorporate it consistently into my diet but they are as hard as rocks. Any advice?

    1. I found that the easiest thing to do is grind it at a grocery store with a large industrial strength grinder. The at home models are not strong enough to grind the hard green beans.

  16. Great list!

    With regards to tumeric, I’ve really gone out of my way to start using it in recipes. I love making curries (in a crock-pot), and topping homemade kale chips with some curry powder to give it a cheesy flavor.

    Moringa is another one of those little known gems that I was glad to see here. Too bad it hasn’t caught on enough to be as mainstream and readily available as it should be.

    While not as well known for endurance enhancing qualities like Cordyceps, the medicinal mushrooms Reishi and Chaga are arguably the two greatest herbs/foods one can consume.

  17. Love pu-er tea and use it a lot. it is a good thing. will certainly look into the paricot seed.

    Is green tea in general not a very good an healthy thing too? just wondering why it didnt make it? 🙂

  18. Mike Adams, The Health ranger, rated Tumeric in top 3 of the supplements he takes. Anyone one who wants Moringa powder or fresh Tumeric, I will trade in -kind or sell it to you. Money back if not satisfied.

  19. I’ve used a lot of these over the last couple years including just started using suma about four months ago. My wife is a certified personal trainer, Barbara Christensen, and last month she also turned on to a tumeric and curcumin supplement called Empower. So far I’m impressed. She also has me doing the green coffee bean extract in a pre-workout supplement to help lean me up a little more, and so far so good. I didn’t think I’d get the same energy level as with other pre-workout supplements, but was quite surprised. I haven’t tried the Pu-Ehr, I’m still an espresso sort of guy.

  20. I read this article with great interest as there is indeed some foods I have never heard of. More research required. Moringa and Tumeric are favorites of mine.

    Thanks for the article.

  21. How about a case study on obstacle course racing? As this “sport” is really gaining some huge participants. Some very elite all around athletes competing. Sample races Spartan, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Superhero Scramble. Might go well will the Merrell campaign. Thanks.

  22. Tim,

    As you have been doing for some time, I also have been searching for the ultimate answers to many of the questions that have perplexed me in the way of health, spirituality, fitness, etc.

    One of the things I have experimented with is sleep deprivation with varying degree’s of success. Have you had any experience/ experimentation with these techniques and do you have any insights you could share with me.

    Thank you.

    Yours in adventure,


  23. Thanks for the knowledge. As someone who follows David Wolfe I know about some of these amazing foods. The green coffee bean extract is all that and more.

  24. I knew about all but two of these superfoods. I used to live on a diet almost completely superfood and 100% raw. I felt the best then than I ever have in my life! Well as time would have it, I got married and my husband was appalled at how much these superfoods cost. (Funny how he didn’t mind consuming them when he wasn’t paying for them =)) Wish all of these goodies were more affordable.

  25. I just would like to say, Thank You. Thank you for posting that you too consume some of the same Superfoods as I. I would love to be able to one of these day..have a taste of Pu-erh Tea. Sounds tasty!! I didn’t always eat like this.. One day it just hit me.. Why feed anything more than my cells, when my cells make up my body 🙂

    After this thought … I just knew there was more to life than what meets the eye!! I began a 2 year study and the Universe lead me through the right doors.. On a daily basis I consume Sulfor water, Water Kefir, and a drink mix of: home made almond and vanilla bean milk with Cacao, Moringa, Baobab, Maca, and fulvic acid. I then eat a good NON GMO lunch and thereafter drink chaga tea..grow my own medicinal mushrooms. I do not feel that I am an elitist.. though different and mentally elite.

    It was great to find someone else who shares the same nutiritonal outlook as I.. Thank you! Very nice to virtually meet you. I look forward to hearing from you..if you would like to respond.

    To Health.

  26. Has there been any further study on the impact of Apricot Seeds & Sprouted Mung Beans. Specifically, I know they are supposed to help slow tumor growth by attacking cancer cells. My question is, is there enough statistical data to suggest to what degree it does this?

    I am just curious, cause I have heard this before, including the technical explanation, but never anything about how much it helps.

  27. The Spiruline its a superfood and i guess i way better that that one you mention, it got to be rank 1. What do you think?

  28. Hi. Thanks for the info! Any thoughts on tumeric vs. camu camu for pain relief/acute inflammation? I recently bruised my tailbone and my husband broke his ankle (totally unrelated) and I’m wondering which would treat the pain better. I would rather stay away from NSAIDs and other traditional pain relievers, though we have both taken them in conjunction with other herbs.

  29. This is a great article! According to a quote in an article I’ve stumbled across, Royal Velvet may be a good brand to pursue. Although nothing is mentioned about any precautions on their website, they certainly promote knowledge on the high standards consumers should hold these products to. My marathon training community had a discussion on this stuff recently. Very interesting stuff!

  30. I applaud this gentleman for changing his life for the better in such an admirabIe and complete way. His courage to invest in himself is something that truly makes the world a better place, and for that I congratulate him, and all others who have made similar, self-improvement choices. Although, I am genuinely surprised that with all these out in the sticks (or antlers, ha!) natural remedies anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants, that neither Tim nor Rich mentioned the anti-oxidant powerhouse Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is more than 550 times more powerful of an anti-oxidant than Vitamin C, scoring between 21,915 to 28,222 when testing for five different major oxidative radicals. The benefits are numerous and quite incredible ranging from a natural anti-inflammatory, faster recovery from exercise, joint and tendon protection and repair, eye health, to acting as an internal sunscreen by boosting the body’s natural SPF. Astaxanthin is made from Micro-algae from sea kelp that salmon feed on, that’s why salmon meat is pink, the pink is astaxanthin. If you haven’t tried it, I highly suggest you picking up a bottle from BioAstin. I have no financial interest in any astaxanthin products whatsoever, but it is the only reason I haven’t had shoulder surgery for a torn A/C joint from 9 years ago, and my neck, back and shoulders thank me on a daily basis for using it! (football hurts, kids.) I am also excited to try the Elk Antler Velvet, and Camu Camu as I am always looking for natural ways to improve myself. Keep doing what you are doing, ladies and gentlemen, your cumulative self improvement is truly making the world a better place to live, learn, and grow. Go Do.

  31. Hey Tim, the pu-erh tea brand that you recommend is not available on amazon. I really would like to start drinking pu-erh but I don’t want to buy a low quality brand that won’t reek the great benefits. Do you know of any pu-erh brands that come in bag form and are good quality?

  32. Quite educating and interesting one, but these are pratically beyound our reach here in nigeria. Can u assist in providing it for us

  33. Great post! Get interest more likely in Moringa (Olefiera) the world’s most nutritious plant. Thanks for your post Tim.

    1. Awesome read, I did not know about turmeric, all the others are rather wonderful too. Look forward to more of your posts.

  34. Was wondering if there’s an update to this list..? did anything change or did you add anything to it? (I guess you too are trying out new stuff all the time..)

  35. My latest daily add-on is OCEAN MARINE PHYTOPLANKTONS which is 700,000 Better than allsuperfoods combined.

  36. Hey Rich/Tim,

    I love Yerba Mate, but I swear by my morning smoothie. Can I put dry yerba mate into my blender and mix it into my smoothie?


  37. what’s up with the photoshop’d silver running man at the top of the page ? did he eat too much colloidal silver? un nnatural spectacles , A sucker every minute.

  38. Thank you for sharing this story as it is always inspirational when someone turns their life around, especially in their forties or above. I would also like to add Radicchio to the list of superfoods, as it has high levels of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Although more main stream than some of the above, its health benefits are amazing.

  39. Hi, im doing a 24hr endurance obstacle course race in june. I am planning on purchasing and trying the superfoods 1-6 as each one offers me something I need, I may leave out number 4. I don’t know if u can help answer my question, But when should I b taking each one? As in time of day and amount?

    Im 33yrs old, race in elite so fit and healthy and weigh about 63kg.

    Loved reading this article going to get ur book 😉

    Thanks! Laura

  40. Wow, really healthy list. It’s amazing to see that how many natural alternatives are there for intake.

    Thanks you so much for sharing this lovely post with us.

  41. Nice article very positive points about Superfoods, but I want to say if you are a men and women, our bodies go through significant changes to maintain good health it requires a specific mixture of vitamins and minerals. I used NATURAL SUPERFOOD so l do not feel weakness. [Moderator: link removed]

  42. Well I’m on the Camu Camu, and loving it. Half a teaspoon full, in water, morning and night. Good stuff, the effect is apparent within 20 minutes, I feel great, even when I’m knackered at the end of the day. I also wake up feeling good, and have started laughing in my sleep…………..

    Just taken my first dose of Turmeric, half a teaspoon full in hot water (Ugh…. no likey)

    I’ll stick with it and see what happens for the anti inflammatory effects.

    How do folks ingest this stuff in the least offensive manner?

    1. I like to make up a powder blend of equal parts matcha green tea and tumeric and then add small amounts of cinnamon, ginger and black pepper extract. Add a heaping tbsp to hot water with some coconut oil and butter (grass fed of course) and blend with a stick blender till frothy. Delicious and energizing.

      The fat and pepper extract increase bioavailability of the curcuminoids in tumeric.

      You could also try Ukon supplements from Enagic:

      Grating raw tumeric root into soups and salads is also tasty.

  43. What exactly does Rich mean by “Developing an acuity for sleep deprivation is a big part of my personal success equation.”?

  44. I was in Japan almost 20 years and quickly acquired a taste for natto. But why not simply eat it the way Japanese do instead of some weird American way? Take it out of the package and place into a small bowl. Add a bit of shoyu and whip the mixture with a chopstick 50 times, 100 times, whatever it takes to get it to the consistency you like. Some Japanese have been known to whip it over 200 times. Place the whole mixture on a small bowl of rice and enjoy. Non-Japanese like myself add avocado, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, grilled onions … Japanese often eat it with a piece of grilled salmon.

  45. Pu-Ehr is not expensive at all actually. The most expensive tea is probably Oolong tea Da Hong Pao, which can cost you $35000 per ounce.

  46. Don’t waste your money on so-called superfoods, just eat what ever is grown locally from the ground and trees and you’ll be fine. Fruit and Vegetables are superfoods.

  47. Despite the advice on taking Turmeric, I still can’t stand the taste of the stuff, so I take the Curcumin tablets. Brilliant anti inflammatory. Keeps my muscles moving nicely. Without it, I know I would be stiff and aching. I only take them when I really need them, though.

    Got two other folk onto them, one Woman reduced her painkillers from six a day to two, by taking two Curcumin pills in the morning.

    Also did some Rhodiola, and got good positive benefits from that.

    Still on Camu, and coconut oil every day, and take Ginger root occasionally.

    This single Blog post has probably done more positive things for my health and well being than anything else on the internet.

  48. Interesting read and I hate the idea of being a troll. But a small amount of the medicine in this is wrong and it upsets me.

    “blood thinners that can prevent thrombosis (blot clot formations) by essentially devouring arterial plaque”

    Arterial plaques increase your risk of clots as they damage the endothelium of blood vessels. This provides a platform for clots to develop.

    Blood thinners mean it is less likely for these clots to form on the damaged endothelium. They DO NOT devour arterial plaques.

    “natto significantly reduces the risk of suffering a pulmonary embolism (arterial blockage) that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.”

    Pulmonary Embolism is a venous blockage in the lungs.

    Heart attacks and strokes are arterial blockages.

    Pulmonary embolism can never cause heart attack or stroke. The clot that is causing the a pulmonary embolus cannot get to the arterial circulation, as it has been stopped by the lungs.

    Sorry for being a troll. I know you say you never claim to be doctor, but please have a doctor check over it.

    This website is viewed as a reputable source and when you get stuff like this wrong, people will believe it as gospel.


  49. very interesting, if you buy these superfoods and other ones I’ve researched, in powder form and mix some up in a blender (say 4 or 5) and have that every day, as well as generally eating healthily as well. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing or will it do no harm?


  50. Since reading 4HB, I’ve been drinking the Numi organic Emperor’s Pu-erh (full-leaf black Pu-erh), along with green tea, tumeric, and fresh ginger. The only qualm I have about the Pu-erh tea is that I read some contains a high level of fluoride. Hard to know which brands do and which don’t. Anyone do any research on this? Thanks! Power to you guys!

  51. What about Baobab fruit powder? Does it play nice with the 4hr Body Diet/Lifestyle? I like the taste and have used it in the past as an additive to my protein shakes… And it has low sugar content (1g).

  52. Hi from Spain, Tim. I consider you as a great researcher. Don’t you trust examine.com? Because some of these products (like Elk Antler Velvet) are not supported by science.

  53. Greetings from Finland!

    About the Elk’s antlers; they naturally drop their antlers each winter, one at a time. The antlers then grow back during the summer. There is no human activity involved in this process. In the autumn the bulls do fight from time to time, about who gets to mate with the female. This is just part of nature and nothing that should be intervened with. Thank you for an interesting article!

    Best regards,

    Håkan Lövdahl

  54. Glad you got clarification on the apricot kernels. I have a tree woot.

    The words “alkaline diet” still does my head in. It seems like a misuse of the word alkaline, most of the foods on the list to eat are very acidic, citrus would be some and our body naturally manages its PH. Stomach acid is very acidic. The diet its looks ok being mostly fresh fruit and veg so the benefit being called alkaline just damages the credibility of anyone who uses the word in connection to diet.

    Also thinking there are usually super food equivalents that are cheaper with similar nutrients. Eg raisins vs cranberries and spinach, warrigal or silver beet vs kale. And I think beetroot has lots of anti oxidants.