From chia seeds to goji berries, moringa powder and raw cacao, superfoods are taking over the health conscious food world. And with good reason. These nutrient dense foods offer the perfect support for our, oftentimes, undernourished, overworked and stressed-out modern lifestyles. While we have been conditioned to work harder, sleep less, and stay constantly plugged in, our bodies can only take so much before they rebel and we begin to get sick, experience anxiety, depression and worse.
What's needed is balance. Actually what's really needed is ending the glorification of busy and rest and rejuvenate when it is needed, but if that's not possible in your life at the moment, at least combat some of the negative with a nutritional boost here and there to give your body the optimal support it desires for fighting off the icky side effects of a stressed-out lifestyle. Find balance in small changes... reaching for a handful of goji berries and pumpkin seeds for a midday energy boost versus another adrenal-stressing cup of coffee, add greens to your weekend pancakes, challenge yourself to drink a green smoothie daily for a month... It becomes easier to find this balance with superfoods. Let me introduce you to some of my favorites.
Acai (ah-sigh-ee) Berries: These deep purple hued berries are what I like to call "pretty skin food." Upon using this nutritious tropical berry in my acai smoothie bowls, I noticed my skin becoming clearer, more even-toned and smoother. It's no coincidence, this superberry is chock full of omega fatty acids giving it its unique creamy texture and skin-beautifying properties. With a taste that can be described as a mix between chocolate and wild berries, acai is a delicious addition to any diet. High in antioxidants, low glycemic and rich in fiber and protein, this is a superfood everyone should consider investing in.
Camu Camu: So good they named it twice! This potent superfood has more vitamin C than any other plant in the world and 30-60% more than an orange! Full of amino acids, beta carotene, calcium, iron and much more, this tart and tangy little berry is a perfect antidote to pretty skin and a healthy immune system.Red Maca Powder Maca is a fabulous energizing adaptogen, literally finding imbalances in your body and working to bring back balance making you feel your best. It's a powerful superfood, so I recommend starting with a 1/2 teaspoon otherwise, feelings of racing heart or intense thirst could overwhelm you. The best thing about these superfoods is you only need a little bit because they're so concentrated so they will last you a long time and benefit your body tremendously. I add in around 1/2-1 tsp to my smoothie or acai bowl everyday. I choose the red maca as it's a bit more mild and sweeter tasting.
Chia Seeds: High in protein, fiber and omega fatty acids, as well as iron, phosphorous, manganese, copper, niacin, zinc... this tiny seed is a superstar of the superfood world. Use it to gel up and make a chocolate chia pudding, to add thickness to your smoothies or oatmeals and to make raw jams. Start small, these little seeds can give you a tummy ache if you aren't used to so much fiber :)
Maqui Berry: Semi-sweet, semi-tart, this little berry is bursting with antioxidants as well as vitamin C and potassium. Maqui, sometimes called the Chilean wineberry, supports cardiovascular health and boosts the immune system.
Spirulina: Ooh, I love this green guy. A complete source of protein, Spirulina is high in B vitamins, vitamin E, beta carotene (more than carrots!), iron and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid otherwise only found in breastmilk). Not the best tasting, so mix in a smoothie sweetened with banana and pineapple like my Love & Light Smoothie and feel the energy and green goodness zing through your whole being!
Cacao: Raw and unprocessed, this chocolate is anything but a "guilty" pleasure. Instead this unassuming little brown bean has more antioxidant flavanoids than any foods tested so far from blueberries to green tea. Also a happy food, cacao increases the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonin that promotes a positive outlook and just makes us feel good. Put a tablespoon of this good stuff in your chia pudding with a low-glycemic sweetener like stevia or coconut nectar... it only tastes guilty :)
Goji Berries: The goji berry is about as nutrient dense as they come -- rich in protein and contains 21 essential minerals and 18 amino acids. Used as a medicinal food for thousands of years, goji berries strengthen the immune system, provide anti-aging effects, protect the liver and support cardiovascular health. Word of caution: these sweet little berries are in the nightshade family, so be weary of you're allergic.
Lucuma: Fresh tasting and lightly sweet, lucuma is a great alternative to sugar. It, like many other super foods, has a high nutrient density and is a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, iron and trace elements like potassium, calcium and magnesium. Enjoy some of this anti-inflammatory goodness in your smoothie or banana "nice"cream.
Matcha Green Tea: Boasting more antioxidants than blueberries, high levels of beta carotene and packed full of vibrant green energy from the sun in the form of chlorophyll, this natural stimulant will leave you more focused, alert and calm unlike nervous energy from a cup of coffee.
100% Raw Coconut Butter: Composed primarily of medium chain fatty acids which are burned for energy instead of stored like longer chain fats, raw coconut butter is great for those looking to lose weight while still feeling full and satisfied. It contains lauric acid like is found in breastmilk which helps boost immunity. And tastes delicious. What are you waiting for? Add a tbsp to your morning smoothie and stay satisfied until lunch.
These are just a few of my favorites. Try them, try other ones and let me know what you think and how you use them. Have fun and experiment! And see how great it's possible to feel in these chaotic, modern times. You're worth it! xoxo
**Note: This post contains affiliate links, but I only suggest the products I use and hope it makes it easier for you to find them. I usually make my purchases for superfoods on Amazon or Sunfoods depending on sales and the cheapest price.