Remember 15 years ago when fats (avocado and coconut, for example) were really bad for you? Turns out, we now know that they’re actually pretty good for you! In fact, we often learn that some foods are much more healthy for us than we ever knew, and those become known as superfoods. And foodies everywhere enjoy every minute of getting to dress up those foods that are determined to be the new superfood in elegant, gourmet, and unique recipes. What’s even better? There are some foods that are now considered “super foods”, aka – great for you in multiple ways, and you can’t have too much!
Then: Acai Berries
Just like any other plant-based food, the Acai Berry has long held multiple benefits for anyone who consumes it on a regular basis. Perhaps the biggest bonus for the Acai Berry is that it packs a powerful punch in anti-oxidants. It also contains a generous amount of fiber, monosaturated fats, iron, calcium, vitamin A, and anthocyanin. Grown in Central and South America, the Acai Berry is actually well known as the fruit of the Amazon Palm tree, and is well known for its dark purple color.
Have you ever cracked open a pomegranate and seen the beautiful, translucent, bright red seedlings that are full of its fruit juice? Bright colors in a wide variety are a sure sign of vitamins and minerals in plant-based foods, so it’s no surprise that the pomegranate has its fair share of superfood benefits. Packed with polyphenols, pomegranates boast an overly generous portion of antioxidants that have heart health and anti-cancer benefits.
You may or may not have heard of the jackfruit, because it’s an up and coming superfood that’s still fairly new to the grocery store scene. Nutritionally jackfruits are incredibly high in protein, vitamins and minerals, and as an added bonus they’re super cheap and easy to grow and maintain. All of this together is the reason they’re on the up and up in an industry that’s been celebrating efficiency and natural health for years. As far as flavor, the jackfruit lies somewhere between a pineapple and a banana with a bit of an exotic tang twist.
This exotic-sounding superfood has recently started gaining widespread popularity, and is quickly making its mark as a food everyone should be including in their diets. Moringa oleifera, also called the horseradish tree, is a fast-growing tree with all kinds of vitamins and nutrients packed into its leaves. Although you can eat moringa’s leaves whole, you’ll more often see it in the form of a bright green powder. Moringa can help balance blood sugar, boost your energy (without caffeine!), and may even increase your resistance to cancer. Sound too good to be true? Maybe not when you consider this super green has over seven times the vitamin C found in orange, four times the vitamin A of carrots, and four times the calcium found in cow’s milk.
Now: Maca Powder
Maca powder comes from a cruciferous vegetable (the maca plant) native to Peru. This light brown powder has a nutty, earthy taste that many people use to complement oatmeal, smoothies or desserts. Maca is something of an acquired taste, but the health benefits make it all worth it. Not only is maca rich in essential amino acids, B and C vitamins, fiber and protein, it’s also rich in boosting your love life. That’s right — maca is essentially nature’s Viagra. It helps increase the likelihood of a male erection, and it boosts libidos for both sexes.
Now & Then: Green Tea
If you haven’t heard of green tea, you might have been living under a rock — but just because you know what it is, you might not know how important it is to include in your diet. Sipping on green tea in the morning can help jumpstart your day by actually making you smarter! This healthy drink improves working memory and provides low levels of caffeine to gently wake up your brain without making you jittery or causing a crash later. Green tea also has more antioxidants than any other kind of tea out there, making it a rock solid defense against free radicals that can cause heart problems, aging, stroke and even cancer. Still not convinced? Studies have shown that green tea can help improve your oral health, reduce breakouts, prevent UTIs, and regulate blood sugar levels. Bottoms up!
Trader Joes, Earth Fare and Whole Foods shoppers everywhere have probably discovered the wonder that is Teff. Other more traditional stores are catching up to speed, but chances are you’re not quite sure what all the fuss is about if you haven’t tried it or looked into it yourself. Teff is actually a tiny grain that’s found (and consumed abundantly) in Ethiopia.
Like the jackfruit, part of the reason Teff has been labeled a superfood worth trying lately is because of nutritional benefits, and because many cultures are discovering just how easy it is to grow and sustain. With a subtle, nutty flavor, Teff can be used in all different kinds of baking experiments (breads, porridge, soups) and is much better for you than traditional grains.
Finally, the kicker for anyone who’s looking for those superfoods with the highest nutritional value? Teff has a whopping 50% more protein, 5 times more fiber, and 25 times more calcium than brown rice. Move over quinoa and make way for Teff!