8 Superfoods for a Super-You
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
If you’ve explored the vast world of nutrient-rich foods, you’ve probably heard of the term “superfoods". Okay, so what makes them so special compared to the rest of the food pyramid? Super powers, like teleporting or superhuman speed? Yeah...not quite.
Even if you don’t know exactly what they are, it’s pretty well known that superfoods are a good thing. The term dates back to the early 20th century, but has only recently grown popular in the mainstream media. There is no official definition for this food group, however, Oxford Dictionary describes a ‘superfood’ as a, “nutrient rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”. For this reason, many nutrition specialists advise people to incorporate these foods into their diet.
While they don’t give you telepathic abilities or invisibility, the following nutrient-packed ingredients hold a variety of amazing health benefits, that can help you feel close to invincible, while also being dangerously easy to incorporate into your diet.
With that being said, don’t feel that you need to go searching every local farmers market to find the most premier foods out there, or that you need to completely alter your diet to only include superfoods.
Below, we are going to provide 8 easy-to-find ingredients that will supercharge the way you feel.
Let’s check out some of the top superfoods, and learn about their incredible benefits that will leave you feeling indestructible!
1. Goji Berries
Goji Berries originated in the hills of Asia, but have grown over time throughout the US and Canada, with the largest-scale cultivations in Ontario at 4 acres and California at 18 acres. These vibrant berries bloom from a shrub in the late spring to early summer, and ripen mid-summer.
Goji berries are jam-packed with nutrients such as iron, copper, zinc, and selenium. These vitamins and minerals are essential to organ function, optimizing metabolism, and protecting cells.
Goji also provide a variety of health benefits, such as antioxidation, improved immunity, flu protection, and anti-aging.
Add these chewy nibs to your smoothie bowl, trail mix, cereal, or as the Chinese culture originally intended their use, infused in soups and teas, for a boost of antioxidants.
2. Chia Seeds
Even though these have only recently been recognized as a modern-day superfood, chia seeds have been part of the human diet for about 5500 years.
Originating from ancient Mexico and Guatemala, chia seeds were originally used by the Aztec and Mayan cultures for medicines, food preparation, religious rituals and even in cosmetics. This grain is now enormously popular throughout many countries, providing fiber, gluten free protein, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Struggle with lactose-intolerance but in need of a way to incorporate calcium into your diet? Look no further, just one ounce of chia seeds provides 20 percent of the daily target for calcium, which is the key source of strengthening bones and improving muscle performance, as well as maintaining regular heart rhythm and brain function.
Chia seeds offer a whole ton of scientifically-proven health benefits, including anti-blood clotting, improved blood sugar level in type 2 diabetes, lowered cholesterol and improved gut health.
These tiny seeds can be added to yogurt and oatmeal for a bit of texture, or can easily be made into pudding by mixing a quarter cup of seeds with one cup of liquid, such as almond milk or fruit juice.
If you want to get a little creative, you could even try adding chia seeds to Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Granola!
3. Bee Pollen
While bee pollen has been around as a health food for centuries in Eastern Cultures, it has recently gained some buzz in the Western health community for its loaded vitamins and minerals.
As you may already be able to infer by the name, this superfood is the raw material that bees produce, transported from pollen to the hive. It consists of flower pollen, wax, enzymes, honey, and bee secretions.
According to the natural health director of Neal Yard’s Remedies Susan Curtis, bee pollen withholds a wide array of nutritional ingredients, including flavonoid rutin, shown to improve blood circulation, and help slow premature aging by stimulating the growth of new tissue. Bee pollen is a nutrient powerhouse of eighteen vitamins and minerals, including a B complex, all essential amino acids, fatty acids, RNA/DNA nucleic acids, enzymes, and is at least 23% protein.
The General Federal Board of Health even considers bee pollen as medicine, with several health benefits, including strengthened immune system, boosted liver health, decreased inflammation, and eased menopausal symptoms.
Add bee pollen into practically anything for some extra texture and flavor, from waffles to smoothie bowls!
Check out Cooking Like a G's instagram for fun and easy recipes to get your buzz on!
Turmeric, popularly known as “curry powder”, is a spice or medicinal herb used worldwide in an array of different forms, seen throughout traditional Indian cuisine, cosmetically used in Thailand, produced Japanese tea, and found in our mustard and butters here in the USA.
Turmeric spice has gained lots of attention from both the medical and scientific world as well as the culinary world -- and for good reason.
First off, let’s start off with its wide array of health benefits. Ever get those dire muscle cramps after an intense workout? Add some turmeric to your protein smoothie, to decrease muscle soreness and inflammation. And ladies, turmeric can also be used to soothe menstrual cramps, for that not-so-special time of the month.
This spice has also been used as an aid for long-term diseases such as cancer, preventing the spread of cell growth, “shown to interfere with multiple cell signaling pathways”. Instead of radiation and chemotherapy, Curcumin, the chemical compound derived from Turmeric, can be used as a natural, plant-based remedy to aid in treating a wide variety of cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, gastrointestinal cancers, and breast/ovarian cancer.
Turmeric is loaded with natural components, including vitamin C, fiber, iron, potassium, zinc, necessary for our body’s digestive health and the reproduction of body tissue.
There are a wide variety of uses for this zesty spice. While traditionally used in Indian curries, Turmeric can also be added to teas and smoothies, or even in a tofu scramble.
Originating from the hemp plant, cannabis sativa, these seeds are the edible part of the hemp plant (which don’t contain THC).
Native to Asia, the rich and nutty flavor of hemp seeds date back for at least 3,000 years in Chinese culture, incorporated into medical and food uses. Hemp seeds withhold an exceptional range of healthy fats, proteins and various minerals, including vitamin E, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Blend hemp seeds into your smoothies, or sprinkle some into to your salads, yogurt, or veggies for a light crunch.
Native to the Amazon rainforest, this berry is rich in antioxidants and contains an insane amount of vitamin C -- to be exact, a single teaspoon of freeze dried camu camu powder provides 10 times the amount (682 mg) than that of an average sized orange!
Feel like you’re coming down with a cold and about to chug that packet of Emergen-C? Instead, try mixing some camu camu in your juice! Compared to vitamin C packets, which contain the equivalent vitamin C content, research shows that camu-camu juice has even more powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties,
Some other health benefits of camu-camu include the reduction of sun damage and improved cognitive function. The powerful berry also contains polyphenols, the bioactive compounds that help to fight off cancer-causing damage to DNA.
Incorporate camu-camu powder into your smoothies, juices, and lemonade for a refreshing and tangy flavor!
Flaxseeds have been used for over centuries in Mediterrean cultures as medical and food-purposed methods,
However, flaxseeds are now currently cultivated worldwide, due to their high levels of fiber and oil -- just one teaspoon of flax contains 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. This superfood has been shown to withhold a multitude of health benefits as a rich source of lignans, a plant compound that has been shown to prevent the risk of cancer. Other positive effects of flax seeds include improved cholesterol, controlled blood sugar, and lowered blood pressure.
Season your cast-iron pans with the oil, or add to pancake, muffin, or waffle batter for a slightly nutty and earthy flavor!
Maca has a long history of medical and culinary uses as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals, including copper, iron, fiber, and vitamin C, while also a strong source of healthy carbs.
Originally found in high altitudes of the Andes mountains in South Peru, Maca is a cruciferous vegetable , meaning that it comes from the same family as broccoli or cabbage. Tired of that same old veggie stir fry? Sauté some Maca with your vegetables and add a touch of ginger for a fresh and fun new twist!
Maca has been used throughout history to improve and increase fertility. Maca powder can also be incorporated into one's diets to improve mental state, and has been proven to reduce depression in an observed group of patients.
Maca powder can easily be integrated in your diet as a supplement added to oatmeal, granola bars, or baked goods.
So, if you couldn't already tell, these simple, yet ‘super ingredients can go a LONG way, benefiting your health --not just in the short-term, but in the long run as well.
Yes, these are a lot of ingredients to throw at you. How about a simple alternative that has all of these nutrients jam-packed into one delicious smoothie? Try Shakeology -- the all-natural, diet shake supplement, that will make you feel more than ready to tackle any challenge that dare lie ahead.
What makes Shakeology different than other diet supplements? It's more than just a protein shake -- because your body runs on more than just protein! Jam-packed with with fibers, vitamins, superfoods, and the rest of the nutrients your body needs to perform at it’s best, not to mention a variety of yummy flavors to choose from, Shakeology's truly got it all. Stop waiting and get your hands on a pack today!