What are superfoods? Sure, you’ve heard that term tossed around before, but do you know what it really means? Superfoods are generally known as foods that contain high levels of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Check out this list of superfoods you need to know. Some of these are well known, while others have newly emerged.
Açai is a small purple berry found in the rainforests of South Africa. Many praise the berry for its weight loss and anti-aging benefits. Its high levels of antioxidants in the form of anthocyanins help to fight cancer and heart disease. It is also one of the few fruits that contain oleic acid, the same heart-healthy fat in olive oil.
Goji berries are tangy, orange-red berries that are found in Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Thanks to their high levels of vitamin C, Chinese herbalists have been using goji berries for centuries to treat visual ailments, circulation problems, and to boost the immune system. While science has yet to back these claims, it is true that these berries are high in plant-based antioxidants and compounds.
Cacao powder contains flavonoids (which help to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart), is less than 15 calories per tablespoon, and contains almost no fat. To satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt, cacao powder is the way to go. But be sure to choose the raw or nonalkalized versions, as the others have been processed and have depleted its nutritional benefits.
Seaweed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine, and zinc. The form of seaweed you are most familiar with is likely nori, the seaweed sheets they use for sushi. However, other varieties include dulse, arame, hijiki, wakame, and kombu.
Remember Chia Pets? Yup, these are those same seeds (however, do not consume the seeds that come with Chia pets). Found in Mexico, Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and calcium. They have a crunchy, nutty flavor, and can be added to things like salads, smoothies, or stir-fries.
Mostly found in Southeast Asia (and rather hard to find in the US), mangosteens are about fist-sized with a thick, purple rind, with white segments on the inside. The rind contains xanthones, which may combat cancer and inflammation. Mangosteen-juice products include xanthones and can be found in some health stores.
Maca is a root grown in the Andes that is pickled, dried and ground into a powder. There have been mixed reviews about its benefits, but maca powder is generally used to boost energy, endurance, and libido. With an earthy and nutty flavor, maca powder can be sprinkled on nearly anything.
Kefir a drink made from fermented milk that is a bit sour, usually comparable to yogurt. Originating in Russia, kefir is praised for its probiotics, which is said to boost the immune and digestive systems.
Brace yourselves – hemp seeds are rich in protein, amino acids, omega-6 and omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, and potassium. Thanks to their mild taste, you can add hemp seeds to your favorite dish.
Made from deactivated yeast with no leavening powder, nutritional yeast is rich in protein and fiber and is one of the only vegan friendly sources of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is mostly found in meat and dairy products, but nutritional yeast that is fortified with B12 is a great option for vegans and vegetarians.
Black garlic is made by fermenting raw garlic with prolonged exposure to heat and humidity, which tones down and sweetens the flavor. Sulfuric compounds that help with heart health and provide anticancer benefits are just part of black garlic’s allure. Since it is fermented, they are a great source of important probiotics.
Is there a superfood that you swear by which isn’t well known yet? Share your secrets with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
For a light and healthy lunch, join us at the Brick Market & Deli in Pomona. We’re open Monday-Friday 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm, with online ordering available.