From superfood fruits, to superfood veggies, to superfood powders, you’ve probably heard the term superfood thrown around a fair amount. A superfood is a nutrient rich food that often has extremely high levels of one specific nutrient and is considered to be extremely beneficial to one’s health. You’re probably already eating superfoods – even if you don’t realize it – but here’s 10 others that you should consider adding to your diet:
Maca – Found in the Andes Mountains, maca comes from a root, which is harvested and ground into a powder. The root contains several vitamins and minerals, but also helps improve the functioning of the endocrine system and assist in regulating hormonal imbalances. In addition, research shows that it is good for libido – and no one ever complained about that!
Spirulina – I bet you didn’t know you were eating algae! One of the highest sources of plant-based protein, spirulina is a powder made from freshwater blue-green algae. It contains generous levels of antioxidants and also helps reinforce the immune system due to the natural levels of enzymes.
Turmeric – Turmeric has incredible anti-inflammatory benefits and is recommended for individuals with arthritis, or athletes who work their muscles often and are prone to injury and inflammation. It is often used in cooking, as a spice and is responsible for giving dishes a bright yellow colour and a slightly spicy taste. It can also be found in tablet form and as fresh turmeric.
Raw Cacao – Time to swap your milk chocolate for dark chocolate and your chocolate chips for cacao nibs. Cacao is one of the best sources of naturally occurring antioxidants and contains high levels of magnesium, potassium and iron. In it’s natural state, it is in bean form, similar to coffee beans, which then have to be roasted and are ground into a powder for use in all things chocolate!
Bee Pollen – Found in powder and whole form, bee pollen is high in protein and is believed to contain all the nutrients needed for the human body. It is the male seed of flowers and in the bee’s world, it is used as the main food for the young bees.
Hemp Hearts/Hemp Powder – An excellent source of protein, hemp hearts also provide high levels of omega 3 and omega 6, two fatty acids that are essential for healthy bodily function. Plus, hemp hearts are high in fiber, which helps make you feel fuller longer!
Chia Seed – This tiny seed is a nutrient powerhouse, and if you haven’t hopped on the chia seed bandwagon yet, you better get on it. Loaded with protein and omega fats, chia seeds are considered an excellent addition to your diet when you are trying to lose or maintain your weight. The fats help you feel fuller for longer, while the protein supports your daily body functioning, energy levels and workout recovery.
Matcha Powder – Matcha powder is Japanese green tea leaves ground into a very fine powder. It contains several vitamins and is said to help boost your metabolism, and act like caffeine, giving you a burst of energy. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, providing energy in a natural way, not relying on sugar which causes spikes in your blood sugar.
Lucuma Powder – This superfood, hailing from Peru is a type of fruit that is harvested whole and then ground into a powder. Because it is a fruit, it is sweet and can be added as a natural sweetener in baking, raw desserts and smoothies. It is high in antioxidants and maintains a low glycemic level, perfect for individuals seeking to have a little sweetness without the spike in blood sugar or the negative side effects associated with adding refined sugar to foods.
Camu Powder – Need an extra dose of vitamin C? Look no further than Camu Powder, often referred to as Camu Camu. This powder comes from a berry, which is found in the Amazon rainforest and ground into a powder. The berry is rich in vitamin C – good for boosting your immune system - and is an excellent source of Beta Carotene, a nutrient known to help maintain strong eyesight.
But how do I consume all of these regularly and incorporate them into my diet? You are right in that the list seems long, and the task seems daunting but the reality is, that just like making any other healthy change, if you do it gradually and develop a routine, it will become a healthy habit that you will stick with. It is important to remember that you do not need to have all of these superfoods every day or all of the time. Instead, aim to add them to your diet 2-4 times a week and gradually increase to what feels right for you. Many of these superfoods, when used in small quantities and combined with other ingredients do not affect the flavor of what you are making. This is why I often throw them into smoothies, put them on top of my smoothie bowl or stir them into my oatmeal in the morning. For example, my go-to green smoothie has hemp hearts, matcha powder, maca powder, and bee pollen. Some days I mix it up and make a chocolate green smoothie, adding in raw cacao, while other days I add some extra protein with a scoop of spirulina. Turmeric I often stir into my fresh, cold-pressed juice and chia seeds make a great topping for oatmeal, smoothie bowls and salads. Gradually start to build up your collection of superfoods and you’ll be impressed by how many different ways you can find to use them!