The number of superfoods available today can seem intimidating, especially if you’re not quite sure where to start. The thing is that superfoods are just nutrient-dense foods that anyone can incorporate into their diet, not just athletes. Here are six superfoods that you can get started with for a rewarding health boost.
1) Chia seeds
With the ability to absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, chia seeds are often touted as a runner’s food because they prolong hydration. They do more than provide fuel for athletes, however. Chia seeds have 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per serving, which makes them a healthy addition to any diet. Most notably, they’re the richest plant-based source of omega-3s, the essential fatty acids that protect your heart and brain. They also provide nearly 20 percent of the daily intake for calcium and 14 percent of that for iron. Try these super seeds in a chia jam or simple chia pudding for breakfast.
Everyone needs to consume high-quality protein sources as part of a healthy diet. This includes vegans and vegetarians who may find them hard to come by. Spirulina to the rescue! This green superfood algae is a complete protein because it provides all nine essential amino acids that must be obtained through our diets every day. It’s also chock-full of antioxidants, vitamins, iron, and potassium. Our favorite ways to enjoy spirulina are in a delicious fruit smoothie or guacamole dip. You can also sprinkle spirulina over salads, or mix it right into the dressing.
Chlorella is another green superfood powder that will make you do a double take. It gets its name from the high amount of chlorophyll it naturally contains. Chlorophyll is a nutrient that cleanses the body by removing heavy metals, synthetic chemicals and other toxins. Also a complete protein, chlorella boasts all nine essential amino acids, as well as high levels of vitamins and minerals. Try it in smoothies, salad dressing, or mixing it into your favorite pesto sauce. Chlorella is already green so it won’t affect the color!
4) Cacao Nibs
You never thought that chocolate could be good for you, but these raw organic cacao nibs sure are! These delicious bits of real cacao are simply chocolate before the cream, sugar and unhealthy ingredients have been added. Cacao nibs are packed with antioxidants that support a healthy brain and heart. They are also one of the best food source of magnesium, which is involved with over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Another great thing about cacao nibs is that they’re so easy to incorporate into your diet. Mix them in trail mix, smoothies and baked goods, or scoop a few spoonfuls over your oatmeal for delicious chocolate flavor.
A superfood that outshines what we think of as traditional healthy foods is moringa powder. Per ounce, moringa powder contains more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots, more iron than spinach, and more calcium than milk. It even has more potassium than bananas and more fiber than oats. How’s that for a superfood? Preliminary research suggests that moringa powder may also help control blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. This nourishing powder adds a major health boost to smoothies, salads, and other foods that you sprinkle it over.
6) Goji Berries
These slightly sweet and crunchy red berries are known as the world’s most powerful superfood, and rightfully so. They are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you’ll ever encounter. Antioxidants are the protective compounds that fight cell damage associated with disease. Goji berries are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which boost the immune system, support eye health, and give your skin a youthful glow. Packed with amino acids, goji berries have unusually high levels of protein for a fruit. Enjoy these superfood berries as a snack, in baked goods, or reconstituted in hot tea or water.
Which superfoods will you start incorporating into your diet?