Superfoods is a term given to foods that are very high in nutritious value. These foods guarantee to provide people on restricted diets, like vegans, a massive dose of nutrients, helping to boost their energy and improve their health.
These superfoods tend to be more expensive by weight compared to other foods. Still, they are so rich in the substances that make them superfoods that just a little is enough to increase a person’s daily nutrient intake, whether they are rich in iron, vitamins, calcium, or anything else they contain.
Most of us have heard of the all-important omega 3 fatty acids found in chia seeds, the powerful antioxidant punch found in goji berries, and the highly nutritious benefits of the calcium and zinc found in seaweed. However, nature is full of superfoods, and here are seven little-known ones you may not have heard about before.
The cacao bean is the critical ingredient for chocolate, but it has no sugar or dairy content in its natural form. Instead, cacao has caffeine-related stimulants, offering you a similar but gentler lift to coffee. Cacao is available in whole bean, crushed nibs, and powder forms.
Nibs are minimally processed, making them a less processed and more convenient form used for snacking and food preparation. Even though it is bitter at first, especially for those used to eating chocolate, you will get used to its taste over time. You can also use the raw cacao by adding it to smoothies and shakes.
Fair-trade cacao products are always certified to ensure that you buy a product that is not grown under oppressive conditions.
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, making it a superfood that can improve brain health. This is because curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier to interact with the cells of the brain directly. Some studies indicate that curcumin can help with memory and the growth of brain cells. Turmeric is either taken as a supplement or as a spice shaken over food. It relieves back pain, joint pain, reduces dry skin, and improves digestion.
A lesser-known superfood that hails from high up in the mountains of Peru is maca. Maca is a root vegetable that has been known since ancient times. It is a gentle stimulant but is believed to alleviate hormone imbalances and increase libido.
Even though there is still little known about how maca works, many people believe that including it in their diet boosts their energy and helps them improve their health. The best way to take maca is to blend a tablespoon of the powder into breakfast smoothies for its pleasant butterscotch and malt-like flavor.
Chlorella is a type of algae, much like spirulina, but it has a bright-green color and higher chlorophyll levels. Currently, chlorella is the superfood with the highest levels of chlorella and chlorophyll. Organic chlorella is available in powder and tablet forms.
Spirulina, the blue-green freshwater algae, is loaded with chlorophyll. It is believed to be one of the oldest forms of life on earth and was first used by the Aztecs. However, it is also rich in protein, beta-carotene, and lots of essential vitamins and minerals. Another thing that spirulina contains is a significant amount of gamma-linolenic acid. This is an essential fat that is vital for several organs in your body, including the brain.
Sauerkraut is packed with antibacterial properties and probiotics, all helping your body’s immune health, digestion, and metabolism. This is because sauerkraut is made from cabbage which contains one of the most potent antioxidants assisting the immune system – vitamin C. It also contains vitamin K for maintaining bone health. In addition, the fiber in cabbage reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Pistachio and Brazil Nuts
Pistachio and Brazil nuts are rich in monosaturated fats, fiber, and proteins, making them a healthy snack to eat on their own or to include in meals. In addition, a handful of pistachios offer you potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins. Pistachios also make delicious vegan butter.
Brazil nuts are rich in zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, and B vitamins. They are also one of the richest known sources of selenium, a mineral essential for a healthy immune system. Selenium also helps prevent nerve and cell damage. You can include up to 6 a day in your diet to meet the RDA of the mineral.