I bet you’ve heard of many popular superfoods that come with some pretty big claims, leave you wondering if there are really any superfoods worth your money. I’m here to tell you, there truly are. While not all superfoods you hear about are life changing, a few come with more health benefits than any fruit and vegetable you could get your hands on. Plus, these superfoods are so potent, you only need around one half to one teaspoon per day to get the benefits. I’ve seen more benefits in my own life from these 9 superfoods than I ever have from a plate of broccoli or blueberries. That doesn’t mean I’m going to turn down either of those, but it does mean that when I’m looking for health benefits, I turn to superfoods. I believe whole foods are the foundation of health, but not the complete package. Superfoods come in many forms like powders and whole forms, and most certainly have their place in the diet of anyone out there. I buy all mine online through iHerb, which usually has good costs and selections, plus free shipping, but you can find these anywhere health food products are sold. When adding the most beneficial superfoods worth your money to your diet, start slow if you need to and just choose one or two each month. Over time, you'll find your favorites and they last a very long time, making them worth the cost.
One of the most popular superfoods on the market and one of the best superfoods worth your money are goji berries, or Himalayan berries as some people call them. Goji berries are one of the best foods for Vitamin A content. In one ounce of goji berries, you get over an entire day’s worth of Vitamin A. You also get benefits such as a fabulous immunity, better hair and skin, anti-wrinkle benefits, Vitamin C content, and best of all, anti-cancer benefits. Goji berries have been linked to lower cancer rates and better heart health. They have a lovely sweet and sour taste and a little goes a long way. These bright red berries are also rich in hormone boosting properties and one of the best foods you can eat for a stoked libido. They also help fight PMS in women and low testosterone levels in men. I like to add a few berries to oatmeal, or use the powders in my smoothies or yogurt.
My absolute favorite superfoods since I ever started using superfoods are acai berries. I adore them! I use them in the form of a powder and the fresh, organic purees you can find in the freezer section at Whole Foods or other health food stores. Acai berries are the most antioxidant berry on the planet and contain over 20 times the amount in blueberries. In fact, the only berry to contain more antioxidants than acai is the maqui berry, which is very similar to acai. Acai has been linked to better brain health since its omega 3 content helps prevent depression and it contains more omega 3s than salmon! It has also been said to prevent wrinkles, sun damage, arthritis, and headaches. Acai has also been linked to better gastroninestinal health, along with weight loss. It helps relieve inflammation and decrease fatigue as well. Plus, you only need about ½ of the purees, and only 1 tsp. of the powder. My favorite brand of acai powder is Navitas Naturals, and it comes with around 75 servings in an 8 ounce bag, giving you a supply that lasts over 2 months, and you never have to worry about your supply going bad. I love using acai berries in smoothies and in yogurt. They have a taste that resembles both chocolate and blueberries and are truly out of this world if you’ve never had them. The purees cost less than the powder, but they don’t give you as many servings either.
Alright ladies, if you’re not using maca, it’s time to start! What are you waiting for? This superfood is known to be best for women with menopause, but I’m here to tell you any male or female will benefit from it, and not just for its famous libido boosting properties. Maca is hands down my favorite superfood for energy, well being, and a balanced mood. I have tried to go without it before, thinking I didn’t need it, and I just didn’t feel good! It is rich in amino acids and alkaloids that help promote energy, vitality, youthfulness, and a healthy libido. My favorite part about maca is hands down the taste, though. It has essences of buttercream, vanilla, and caramel and it makes for one tasty smoothie, bowl of oats, pudding, or stirred into yogurt. Maca is also low in carbs even though it comes from a starch, sugar-free naturally, and it relieves stress almost instantly. I have found it very helpful in reducing stress eating in my own life, along with irritability. Maca is a natural adaptogen, which means it brings the body into balance fairly quickly in very small amounts. Just one teaspoon of maca is all you need per day. Over time you can increase it if you wish, up to one tablespoon, which is about what I take now. Maca is also known to help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, low mood from a lack of estrogen, and boost the libido and serotonin levels. It is sold as powders or capsules, but I find the powder much more effective and enjoyable to use.
Okay, I know I said maca was my favorite, but can it be a tie? I love cacao powder, and I bet you do too! Cacao is basically raw chcolate, and it is sold in powder and whole forms like nibs. Cacao is the most potent antioxidant source of food in the world! Isn’t that awesome? That gives you even more reason to eat chocolate without guilt! Plus, cacao is much more beneficial than those sugary chocolate bars that get promoted as healthy these days. Cacao is higher in magnesium than any other food, which means it is amazing for your mood, digestive health, bone health, nerve health, for muscle repair, for a healthy heart, and for a good night’s rest. Cacao is also a natural weight loss food because it is so satisfying and halts cravings, while being very low in calories per serving. I promise that you won’t be as tempted to eat a whole bag of cacao nibs as you would a bag of chocolates. It’s very, very powerful in just one ounce amounts. Plus, I use the powder in everything! It’s rich in fiber, Vitamin C, and contains over 10% of your daily iron requirements. It’s also one of the world’s best source of zinc, copper, and manganese. Cacao is also naturally low in carbs and contains no added sugar if you buy it in raw, natural form. I like Navita’s Naturals brand of cacao products, along with Artisana’s cacao butter, which is delicious! You can add cacao to everything, including smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, healthy baked goods, trail mix, or with almond milk heated to make your own hot cocoa. I also stir just a bit in my coffee and I’ve got energy to last me all day! Cacao powder is lower in caffeine than the nibs, but is a natural energy enhancer. In fact, I often feel like I could run for miles after I’ve had just a teaspoon!
5. Raw Coconut
If you haven’t added coconut in any form to your diet yet, I’d like to highly recommend you change your mind. You don’t have to consume straight coconut oil to get the benefits we all hear about coconut, either. Any form of coconut will do, so long as it’s mostly raw and unsweetened. I adore raw coconut butter, especially the Artisana brand, which is the best! I also use raw coconut flour to bake with, thicken oatmeal and smoothies, and increase my fiber content throughout the day. You can even stir the flour into protein puddings, or mix with yogurt for a delicious vanilla cake flavor. I also like making my own coconut butter at home using unsweetened shredded coconut in the Blendtec, or you can use a Vitamix. I use coconut butter in smoothies, and eat it straight off the spoon for an energy boost. I also only use coconut oil to cook with since it holds heat better than other fats, and it stimulates fat burn and liver detoxifying activity in the body. Raw coconut is a unique food. It’s high in saturated fat, but cholesterol free. It promotes more energy to the body, along with reduced stress. It also is not stored in your body as fat. My favorite reason for using it, though, is for the mood benefits. I find it helps greatly with depression, lack of concentration, and sugar cravings. In fact, coconut has been known to reduce all forms of yeasts and viruses in the body, and be an effective superfood to fight Candida, the worst yeast infection for women of all. Coconut is also great for athletes and anyone looking to increase lean body mass and overall energy. I usually consume the butter in 2 tbsp. amounts per day, and I use unsweetened coconut shreds stirred into foods throughout the day too.
6. Camu-Camu Berry
How many of you take Vitamin C tablets or powder? Or perhaps you just turn to oranges to get your Vitamin C? I’ve got a better answer for you that’s also deliciously tart and tangy. Camu-camu berries are the highest food source of Vitamin C in the world, with over 1800% of your daily values in just 1 teaspoon. Getting your Vitamin C from foods versus tablets is so important, because tablets aren’t as easily absorbed in the body and come with many additives. Camu-camu berries are also rich in antioxidants and you only need ½ tsp. per day, making a small, tiny bag of camu-camu powder last at least a month. You also don’t need to worry about taking it all year unless you want to. Yet, for winter, I suggest giving it a try and stirring it into whatever your creativity leads you to. You can use it anywhere you would use any other superfood powder. Vitamin C is also a potent anti-aging vitamin and helps reduce wrinkles, fine lines, skin spots, and can even help with weight loss as some studies have shown.
7. Wheatgrass Powder
I know, it sounds nasty, but this superfood is one to love! Wheatgrass contains 70% chlorophyll content and is a potent food to rid the body of toxins, inflammation and disease. It is also a powerful source of Vitamin A, live enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and is 87% protein by weight. Wheatgrass may smell gross, but it actually enhances the sweeter flavors you use in your smoothies, believe it or not. I’m partial to using Amazing Grass Cacao Infusion Green Superfood that uses wheatgrass, but I like plain wheatgrass in smoothies too. Just one teaspoon per day is all you need to get the benefits. I notice I have more energy, sleep better, my digestive health is better, and my inflammation is lower as well.
Spirulina is another one of my must-have superfoods. The most protein-rich food on the planet, with 4 grams per teaspoon, spirulina is also a powerful source of chlorophyll. Spirulina contains over 88% of your daily Vitamin B12 content in just one teaspoon, and over 800% of your daily Vitamin A content. It’s also one of the best mood enhancers out there and contains natural sources of omega 3s. Spirulina is a deep sea algae, which sounds gross, but it's undetectable in a smoothie with fruit or stevia added. If you can’t stomach the powders, just take the tablets, which are just as effective if from a good source. I have found it one of the best superfoods to beat depression, and stress related eating as well.
9. Hemp Seeds
While chia seeds get all the hype these days, and I do love them myself, I think people often overlook the power of hemp seed in the process. Hemp seeds are personally my favorite seed. They contain all essential amino acids, and the hemp protein powder is so incredibly nutty and delicious. I like Manitoba Harvest hemp and Nutiva brands, which are both raw, and most all their products are 100% organic as well. Hemp seeds have 45% of your daily magnesium content in one serving, which is 3 tbsp, along with 8 grams of fiber, 13 grams of omega 3, 6 and 9 fats, plus 14 grams of complete protein. If you’re vegan, hemp is one food you should be using to get your daily protein allotment in one single source, along with spirulina, which also contains all essential amino acids. Unlike chia seeds, hemp seeds are also alkaline boosting in the body. Chia seeds are neutral, which isn’t bad, but hemp actually actively reduces inflammation since its green hue means it has more chlorophyll. I add hemp seeds to yogurt, top my smoothies with it, sprinkle a bit on my oatmeal, and I love using protein powder in smoothies and as a protein pudding with almond milk, stevia, cinnamon, and cacao. If you add one soruce of vegan protein to your diet, make it hemp! You will not regret it!
Superfoods may sound trendy and unnecessary, but I think you’ll agree that if you ever start using them, it’s hard to quit due to their health benefits. I actually notice I’m not as hungry because my body is receiving more beneficial nutrients. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to turn down a delicious meal full of clean, nutritious foods, but it also doesn’t mean I’m going to quit using the good stuff either. I make room in my budget for superfoods by using ½ the recommended amounts, which makes them last longer. I also use them sparingly, and not all in one smoothie. Be smart with superfoods and with your budget. Quit buying the pantry snacks, and pricey beverages, and start buying the good stuff! I choose superfoods over supermarket snacks any old day! So, you tell me, do you have any superfoods worth your money that you buy?