The What, Why + How Behind The Nutritional Powerhouses You Should Incorporate Into Your Diet
It doesn’t matter if you can spell curcumin in your sleep, or your version of “healthy” is a burrito without the cheese (I feel you recent college grads!) - superfoods are a group of nutritional powerhouses that we should all know about. But, trust me - they can get confusing. From pomegranate to celery - the foods that get Superfood Status sometimes seem like they could be found in your grandmother’s pantry.
But, I’m here to break it down for you. When I first became interested in bettering my health, I began favoring Golden Milk lattes over a glass of wine each evening after listening to a friend’s recommendation. Even though I knew it was good for me, I had no clue why.
When I went to find out more, the only information that I could seem to muster was that it would make me sleep better and my skin would glow. Big help. It seemed everyone was focused on how these Superfoods could make me look or feel - but not much else.
So, I want to change the conversation. This blog post will help you understand what the heck Superfoods are, why you should pay attention to them, and which ones to incorporate into your diet.
So, what are Superfoods, anyway?
Contrary to popular belief, Superfoods are not a specific food group, according to the American Heart Association. But by definition, Superfoods are foods that are nutritionally dense, and therefore packed with health benefits.
Superfoods fall across tons of different categories from healthy fats to antioxidant-rich foods. Some experts in the health and wellness field actually say the term “Superfood” is more of a marketing term than anything else. But regardless, Superfoods can give us a boost of nutrition when added to our meals.
We have to remember that even though Superfoods are nutritionally dense, no single food can provide us with all the health benefits that we need in a day. So, it’s important to vary our diets with a variety of Superfoods to stay nourished. According to Harvard Medical School, we should be thinking in healthy food patterns, “combining healthy choices across all different food groups.”
We can think of Superfoods as an addition or “powerhouse” nutrient that can enhance or supplement certain meals.
How can Superfoods help our health?
Depending on which Superfoods you choose to incorporate into your diet - they can help with everything from heart health to reducing the risk of cancer.
On a micro level, Superfoods can also help with our everyday ability to feel good in our body. For example, when I switched my evening drink from wine to Golden Milk (filled with the Superfood turmeric) all those years ago, I noticed that I had a deeper sleep, calmer start to the morning and better digestion.
Over the long-term, incorporating Superfoods into your diet regularly can have major health benefits. Most of them are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, filled with vitamins, and known to reduce risk of diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s - talk about longevity!
My Top 5 Superfoods To Incorporate Into Your Diet
Below, you’ll find my top 5 Superfoods that are really easy to incorporate into your everyday diet - and have centuries of research to back their benefits.
What it is: A bright orange root-plant in the Ginger family. It’s often used in Asian or Indian cooking - and beware, it can stain!
Why it’s a powerhouse: Turmeric contains high levels of curcumin (and has other helpful vitamins like magnesium, vitamin B6 + vitamin C), which is said to have magical powers. Curcumin has thousands of published scholarly research pieces on its benefits - it reduces blood sugar levels, inflammation, regulates immune function, and has high antioxidative properties.*
Where you can find it: In group form for $9 at Brandless - or even check out their Golden Milk package for a delicious way to get your turmeric fix.
How to use it: Enjoy an evening Golden Milk latte, add to your spice rack and incorporate into any protein (especially good on tofu!) or roasted veggies.
What it is: Maca is a plant in the radish family that originated in the Andes Mountains in Peru. It has been around for over 3,000 years and its roots were often used to make medicine in traditional culture.
Why it’s a powerhouse: The most prominent use for Maca is related to increased energy and hormone balancing. Some pro-athletes have been turning to Maca root for endurance for years. It’s also great for mood improvements and increasing memory.*
Where you can find it: Brandless has a wonderful version of Maca in powder form.
How to use it: Add a teaspoon to smoothies or any blended drink - especially if you need a mid-afternoon energy boost!
What it is: A tree that originated in India, but has grabbed the eye of prominent researchers around the world. Dubbed the “miracle tree,” this plant has been used for everything from typhoid to fertility.
Why it’s a powerhouse: Get this - Moringa has seven times the amount of vitamin C in oranges, four times as much calcium and double the amount of protein in milk, four times the vitamin A in carrots, and three times the potassium in bananas. Talk about Superfood! It also has the unique power which can help treat malnutrition and obesity.*
Where you can find it: Brandless has an organic Moringa powder for $6. You can also consume its leaves or seeds.
How to use it: In powder form, you can add Moringa to smoothies, soups or anything that it can dissolve in. It has an earthy flavor.
What it is: Coconut oil has been controversial over the years, but there’s no denying its health benefits. This oil is filled with fatty acids such as MCT and HDL that can help with a plethora of health issues from memory to immunity.
Why it’s a powerhouse: Coconut oil has a unique mixture of healthy saturated fats that can easily convert to ketones (important for our brain health, especially). Whether you eat it or even put it on your skin, Coconut oil can help burn calories and protect skin, hair and teeth.*
Where you can find it: Brandless has organic virgin coconut oil for $3 - can’t beat that!
How to use it: You can literally use coconut oil in any way, shape or form: hair masks, toothpaste, cooking oil, in baking, and as a coffee creamer. Anything goes!
What are your thoughts on Superfoods? Which ones do you use frequently that might not be listed here?
*The nutritional values included in these statements will vary based on the serving size and the product. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please seek guidance from your physician as to any particular result you are seeking to achieve.
This post is sponsored by Brandless.