Chances are you’ve heard about superfoods A LOT in recent years. But what really are superfoods and why is there so much hype around them?
While there’s no official definition for superfoods, the term essentially refers to foods that are uber nutritionally dense with a whole host of health benefits. They’re completely natural (and mostly plant-based), have undergone minimal or no processing, and you definitely want to include them in your diet where possible.
With so many superfoods hitting the shelves at speed, we’ve broken down some of our faves below, what they’re good for, and a recipe or two that includes each. (These fun & creative recipes aside, if you’re more of a simple cook, popping a teaspoon or two of your superfood of choice straight into a smoothie before blending works a treat too!)
Açaí (pronounced Ah-sah-ee for those wondering…) is an ancient berry that grows along the banks of the Amazon river on açaí palm trees. Kilo for kilo, the açaí berry contains more antioxidants than any other fruit in the world. It is also densely packed with essential fatty acids, protein, calcium, vitamins A & C, and other minerals unique to the Amazon soil.
Acai Berry Recipes:
Activated charcoal is made by burning carbon-rich coconut shells at high temperatures to create a black, odourless charcoal, which is then activated by steaming it to create holes in the charcoal particles. Activated charcoal has a long history of medical and cosmetic use because of its ability to bind other substances and absorb them up, leading to detoxification. It is a beneficial superfood addition to your diet when you are in need of a little extra detoxing.
Basil seeds are chia seeds’ lesser known brother. They are similar to chia seeds in the sense that they absorb moisture and multiply in size to create a thick, pudding-like gel, however they actually swell to a size much larger than chia. They also have double the iron, double the calcium and three times the fibre content, as well as a rich concentration of magnesium and potassium. Soaked basil seeds can be used for digestion and weight loss due to their high content of fibre and antioxidants, and highly satiating qualities.
Basil Seeds Recipe:
Bee pollen contains almost all of the nutrients required by the human body to thrive, including protein, healthy fats, energising enzymes, carotenoids and bioflavonoids. Include bee pollen in your daily intake for energy, vitality and strong immunity.
Bee Pollen Recipes:
Raw cacao powder is produced from certified organic cacao beans that have been cold-pressed in small batches. The cacao solids are then cold milled into a fine powder at low temperatures (below 47°C) and without chemicals. Raw cacao powder is packed with important nutrients including dietary fibre, iron, magnesium and flavonoid antioxidants.
…. to name just a few recipes! Cacao powder is an absolute pantry staple if you consider yourself a home baker. It is the most useful and nourishing addition to raw desserts, breakfast dishes, smoothies and hot bevvies.
Chia seeds are a natural source of omega 3, fibre, protein, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, calcium and iron. They are highly supportive of efficient digestion and overall gut health, helping to keel you satiated between meals.
Chia Seed Recipes:
Maca is a root vegetable from the same plant family as turnips, radishes and broccoli. As an energy booster, maca is celebrated for providing stamina and mental clarity, and has also been known to help regulate natural hormone levels in the body.
Matcha is a special variety of green tea leaves that have been stoneground into a fine powder. Matcha tea leaves are shade grown before harvest, significantly increasing their chlorophyll and amino acid content well above that of standard green teas. Loaded with antioxidants, amino acids and chlorophyll, the benefits of matcha powder include enhanced concentration and focus, improved energy and immunity, increased metabolism, and elevated mood with an inner calm.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae and a complete protein source, containing all essential amino acids and about 60% total protein. It is rich in B vitamins and other health-promoting minerals. These qualities coupled with its high iron content makes spirulina a good supplement superfood for those on vegetarian and vegan diets.