The term “superfood” is one of those buzzwords that you hear being thrown around a lot nowadays. Most of us have a vague notion that superfoods will not only dramatically increase your health, but also your all-around wellbeing. But what is a superfood, really? According to Meryl Pritchard from Kore Kitchen, superfoods are nutrient-dense, antioxidant packed foods that aid in fighting disease, increasing your natural energy, and boosting your metabolism and immunity. And in most cases, these “superfoods” can easily be incorporated into your favorite salads, smoothies, and even desserts. If this hasn’t already sold you on adding superfoods into your diet, I asked Meryl to break down the top 10 superfoods and how each one uniquely benefits your body. Keep scrolling to learn more…
Our first superfood is spirulina, a blue green algae found in freshwater lakes. Spirulina is one of the most complete food sources in the world. This superfood is jam-packed with protein (more than any meat, fish, or poultry!) and contains all 8 essential amino acids. Spirulina is easily digested, creates a healthy environment in your body to prevent disease, and promotes the growth of healthy probiotics. In addition to all of these benefits, spirulina also helps regulate your appetite (no binging on unhealthy foods here!) and cleanses your body of toxins and heavy metals.
Some of you may recognize this superfood from your favorite smoothies. Acai is the top Amazonian super berry and is high in antioxidants and dietary fiber. Believe it or not, acai has anti-aging elements and is beneficial to your skin and eyesight. This superfood can even help you regulate cholesterol. What’s not to love about this delicious berry?
Chocolate lovers, this one is for you! Cacao is the raw form of chocolate (before all of that cream and sugar is added), which makes it the perfect guilt-free snack. As if I needed another reason to be obsessed with it, this superfood is the most antioxidant dense food out there and contains more vitamin C than most berries. Cacao is an excellent source of magnesium and promotes a happy, healthy heart. If you need a quick midday pick-me-up, cacao contains neurotransmitters for a natural boost of energy.
Maca is an ancient Peruvian superfood that is both energizing and revitalizing. Something we found especially interesting about this superfood is that it contains B vitamins, which help balance hormones (hello clear skin!) and rejuvenates your body during mood swings, anxiety, and depression. It sounds like a dose of happiness to me!
Hemp seeds are small nuts that grow from the hemp flower. They have a light, nutty flavor that pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes (see some of our favorites here), and are great sources of essential fatty acids and protein. Hemp seeds are a great way to naturally amp up your beauty game, too! They aid in building strong hair, nails, skin, and even muscles and connective tissues. I recommend mixing hemp into your next smoothie for added protein.
These little seeds pack a strong punch! The word “chia” literally means strength in Mayan, and rightfully so. Chia seeds provide a sustaining flow of energy and make the digestive process easier for your body. Even though these seeds are tiny, they can absorb 12 times their weight in water, in turn helping you stay hydrated and retain electrolytes. Because chia seeds are flavorless, you can easily incorporate them into your diet on an every day basis.
7. Coconut Oil
I don’t have to tell you twice about my coconut oil obsession. The internal and external benefits from this superfood are plentiful! Coconut oil is an antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and a natural repellant to most things that will harm your immune system. In addition to its health benefits, coconut oil can also strengthen your hair, skin, and nails. It’s one of my favorite beauty products that I use on a regular basis. Keep a jar of organic coconut oil in your pantry or medicine cabinet, you won’t be sorry!
Goji berries are new on my radar and I’m happy to say I’ll be keeping them around for years to come. This superfood contains 18 different amino acids (including the 8 essential ones!) and up to 21 trace minerals that are vital to good health. Goji is regarded as a longevity and strength building food, and secretes the human growth hormone that makes you look and feel younger. Not only are you getting a delicious snack out of these berries, but they are also improving your immunity and metabolism while you eat. Yes please!
Lucuma has been referred to by Incan cultures as “the tree of life” and “Gold of the Incas” is an amazing fruit from the Amazon, primarily found in Peru. Lucuma’s subtle sweetness is great to add to smoothies and baked goods. This superfood comes with so many nutritional benefits—a rare quality for it being a sweetener. Lucuma is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that reduces the effects of aging and improves eyesight, and contains iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium, and protein.
10. Camu Camu
Camu Camu is a small berry about the size of a grape that grows on a shrub and is harvested in water. It is one of the most abundant sources of vitamin C (as much as 60 times per serving as an orange!). It’s also rich in disease fighting properties, antioxidants, and amino acids, all of which are easy for your body to absorb. Unlike most berries, camu camu is not sweet but very acidic tasting, similar to a cranberry because of the high concentration of vitamin C. For all of our athletes out there, this superfood promotes muscle growth and repair and will naturally boost your energy.
Will you be adding any of these superfoods into your diet?
I know that I will!