Superfoods have only recently become a trend, but they’ve been around for many years. Superfoods are named as such because they’re packed with higher than normal levels of various vitamins and minerals. They don’t often taste the greatest on their own, but can easily be incorporated into your daily meals to reap all the benefits.
9 superfoods to include in your diet for optimal health, and how to enjoy them:
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae and is usually available in either tablets or powder. It has a savoury, almost earthy taste and is extremely high in protein, beta-carotene and vitamin B12. Spirulina helps increase stamina, build lean muscle and is full of antioxidants.
- The best way to enjoy Spirulina is in a smoothie with sweet fruits like banana, pineapple, and mango as the earthy flavour of the Spirulina can help offset the sweetness of the smoothie.
2) Hemp protein
Hemp protein is derived from hemp seeds and has a faintly nutty flavour. It is high in iron, magnesium, and omega-3s which help prevent heart disease, dementia, and inflammation. It’s also a really good source of protein and can help repair and develop lean body mass.
- Try slicing a banana, spreading with peanut butter and topping with hemp powder for a delicious and powerful snack.
3) Chia seeds
Chia seeds are tiny little seeds that essentially have no flavour although once soaked, they swell and gain a jelly-like consistency and texture. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3s, protein, and fibre – 1 tablespoon accounts for over 20% of the recommended daily fibre intake.
- Chia seeds can be added to virtually any food, but they’re great added to smoothies, or soaked in almond milk overnight and enjoyed with berries or cocoa powder and honey as chia pudding. You can also drink them in a glass of water for a daily fibre boost.
4) Cacao powder
Cacao powder is the raw form of chocolate minus the dairy and sugar and has a bitter, chocolate-y taste. It contains essential fatty acids, iron, zinc, sulphur, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, so this superfood packs quite a punch. Cacao powder is also one of the world’s richest sources of antioxidants.
- Cacao powder is best enjoyed in creamy or berry smoothies, and it’s a good idea to use a natural sweetener to bring out the chocolate taste.
Maca is a type of plant and the root is edible with a strong earthy, slight butterscotch flavour to it. It’s been known to enhance moods; lower stress, increase energy and its abundance of fatty acids can improve brain function.
- Enjoy maca with cacao, nuts or creamy ingredients, but avoid pairing it with fruits, except pineapple, dates, and bananas.
6) Bee pollen
Bee pollen is the male seed of the flower and has a slightly sweet, floral flavour. It’s health benefits include boosting the immune and digestive systems, aiding in prostate and fertility problems, supporting heart health, and being an excellent source of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.
- Bee pollen makes an excellent smoothie with blueberries and banana.
Lucuma is a type of fruit that is maple-like in flavour with a mellow sweetness. It’s been known to support heart health, decrease the effects of hypertension, normalise blood sugar, aid wound healing and is high in beta-carotene, zinc, vitamin B3 and calcium.
- This superfood works well with both fruit and vegetables in smoothies or salads.
Blackcurrants are a popular berry, although not many people tend to eat it, despite having superfood properties. They have a sweet, earthy flavour and may help prevent diabetes, aid muscle recovery and slow the ageing process through antioxidants.
- Blackcurrants work well in fruit smoothies, or on their own as a sweet snack to curb cravings.
9) Sacha inchi
This may be a new one, but this nut is a good source of omega-3s and protein with 9g of protein per ounce. It has a nutty, almost buttery flavour, with some people saying it tastes almost fishy.
- This nut is good with bananas and a sprinkling of cacao powder as a treat or replacement dessert.