Nourish - The Top Ten Superfoods with Natural Superpowers
So what are superfoods?
Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.
They are jam-packed full of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. This makes them fantastic nutrient powerhouses to help fight disease, infection, free radicals and to help promote and support good health.
High in antioxidants
One of the most touted benefits of superfoods is their high levels of antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body.
Admittedly, free radicals are a natural occurrence through metabolism. However, an increase in the number of free radicals often occurs as a result of external factors. Consequently, these additional and unnecessary free radicals put an extra load on our bodies. These could be from:
- cigarette smoke
- burnt foods
- deep fried fats
- excessive sun exposure
When enough of these free radicals are created and not counteracted by antioxidants, symptoms of illness can occur. This can be anything from cardiovascular health to immune system problems.
With this in mind, it’s certainly never a bad idea to up our antioxidant game and improve our free-radical-fighter levels and support our immune systems.
Luckily, superfoods taste AMAZING! But just in case you need even more convincing, I’ve got a few fast facts about them for you.
No. 1 – Goji Berries
Goji berries grow on vines in the protected valleys of inner Mongolia and Tibet. They’re known for their high antioxidant and immune-boosting properties and are a very rich source of vitamin C. These little powerhouses contain all 18 amino acids, and lots of vitamins and minerals too including A, B1, B2, B6 and E and trace minerals.
- sprinkled on cereal
- in smoothies
- added to yoghurts
- added to a trail mix or even on their own!
No. 2 – Raw Cacao
You’ve heard me rave about the benefits of raw cacao for both your body and your taste buds on this blog before and I won’t stop there!
In its raw state, cacao is extremely nutritious and is a great source of vitamins and minerals. These include magnesium, iron, chromium, copper, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.
In fact, it’s actually one of the world’s most potent sources of the mineral magnesium. This mineral helps to alleviate fatigue, irritation and stress, as well as boosting energy levels. Furthermore, cacao has been shown to relax the walls of blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.
The humble cacao bean is also a haven of antioxidants. These antioxidants help prevent and repair free radical damage, protecting and repairing cells and therefore helping to keep you healthy.
- as a delicious and nutritious treat
- added to smoothies
- as a hot chocolate
- mixed through porridge
- in desserts
- in raw treats and raw chocolate energy balls.
As far as superfoods go, cacao is probably the easiest to add into anyone’s diet because c’mon, it’s chocolate 🙂
No. 3 – Chia
Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, minerals, protein, good fats and fibre.
Most notably these powerful seeds are renowned for their omega-3 properties. Consequently, this makes them a superfood for the brain and heart, as well as a beauty food for healthy skin, hair and nails.
They are high in nutrients, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, selenium, iron, magnesium, and calcium. They are a particularly good source of dietary fibre, making them great for digestion.
These tiny seeds provide a high amount of fibre which forms a gel-like solution, moving through your body and cleaning up as it goes along.
- As a tasty chia pudding
- Add on top of muesli, granola or porridge
- Make a chia pudding and mix through porridge
- Add to yoghurt
- Add to smoothies,
- Use as an egg replacement
No. 4 – Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains short and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT fatty acids) which are digested more easily and utilized differently by the body. Our bodies metabolise MCT fats in the liver, immediately converting them into energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function). This is instead of storing it as fat, as is the case with trans fats.
Fatty acids in coconut oil contain antimicrobial properties, which have a soothing effect on bacteria, Candida, or parasites that cause poor digestion.
In addition, coconut oil is very heat-stable, meaning it has a higher smoking temperature than polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils. As a result, it will not produce free radicals from heating the oil during cooking, unlike many others. If you’re preparing recipes that require high temperatures, definitely consider coconut oil for this type of cooking.
And coconut oil is not just for your cooking – it’s a wonderfully hydrating treatment for your skin and hair too!
- Rub into the scalp for an anti-dandruff treatment in the evening and wash out the following morning.
- Use as a hair mask for a really good deep condition.
- Rub all over the body as a super hydrating and moisturising skin care routine
- Use as a face moisturiser if you want to avoid adding any products on your skin.
- Check out this blog post on 26 ways to use a jar of coconut oil for more tips!
- in raw cakes
- raw energy bars
- raw chocolate
- add into green tea or coffee for an energy boost
- mix through porridge
- cook with it.
The list could go on and on. Superfoods like coconut are incredibly versatile and very easy to add to your diet.
No. 5 -Bee Pollen
Historically, Bee Pollen has been used in cultures around the world. The Chinese have used bee pollen medicinally for thousands of years. Records also show this superfoods use during ancient Greece! Additionally, bee pollen was used in ancient Egypt and even shows up in Indian folklore as well, in both North and South America.
Bee pollen is pollen collected by bees that’s been carried back to the hive on their bodies and mixed with their secretions. It consists of bee saliva, enzyme and pollen. Honey, nectar and wax may also be present. Then the bees pack the pollen into granules.
Admittedly it doesn’t sound particularly pleasant, but Bee Pollen is considered to be one of nature’s most complete foods.
Bee pollen contains:
- up to 35% complete protein
- has 22 amino acids
- is a rich source of B vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes and antioxidants.
Bee pollen is often used as a natural energy booster, as well as being popular for supporting the immune system and increasing stamina.
Interestingly, it is a natural antidote for fighting allergies, particularly hay fever and sinusitis since it helps to reduce inflammation.
Research also shows that pollen helps counteract the signs of ageing and increases both mental and physical capability!
Irish Author Susan Jane White recommends putting it in the freezer to neutralize the taste if you’re not fond of it. I personally quite like it’s caramelly, yet slightly bitter tones.
- sprinkle it on top of muesli, granola, porridge, smoothies
- add to desserts and raw chocolates.
The general recommended intake is 2 teaspoons daily.
No. 6 – Maca Powder
Maca is a root vegetable that grows in the Peruvian Andes at very high altitudes. It is a highly nutritious food that has been traditionally used to help with:
- hormone balancing
- sexual function
- enhancement of immune function
When talking about superfoods, it’s hard to ignore maca. It’s just so helpful for such a variety of things!
By increasing oxygen levels in the blood, maca helps with stamina and vitality. It also works as an adaptogen, helping one to cope with stress both physical and mental. It has also been shown to improve memory by improving the function of neurotransmitters.
Maca is easy to digest and considered naturally rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. Additionally, it contains 10% high-quality protein.
- throw it into smoothies
- add to porridge
- add to desserts (it goes well with cacao)
- sprinkle over your muesli
- mix into puddings
- add it to main meals such as stew or curry. Just make sure you sprinkle it once the food has cooled slightly so as not damage the maca via excess heat.
No. 7 – Acai
Acai Berries are an Amazonian fruit from Brazil pronounced Ah-sigh-ee. These berries are a powerful and nutritious superfood and are incredibly high in antioxidants, polyphenols, anthocyanins (the purple piqment), amino acids and dietary fibre. Equally, they brag high levels of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, beta-carotene and vitamin E.
They are incredibly rich in antioxidants and are choc-full of polyphenols and essential fatty acids 3,6 and 9 making them brilliant for heart health, eye health, skin health and joints.
- in smoothies
- raw desserts
- raw energy balls
- mix into porridge
- eat Ombar chocolate… yumm!! When superfoods make it into your favourite chocolate, life is good 🙂
No. 8 – Cereal Grasses: Wheatgrass and Barleygrass
Wheatgrass is well known for its rejuvenating and alkalising health properties thanks to its abundance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, chlorophyll and fibre.
It even contains all 8 essential amino acids making it a fantastic protein source.
Barley grass is an alkalizing food which is high in nutrients. These include the B vitamins, vitamin C and E, folic acid, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Barleygrass is a rich source of antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids and phytonutrients as well as containing high levels of chlorophyll.
Both superfoods, barleygrass and wheatgrass, are a great addition to any healthy diet, helping to boost nutrient levels and detoxify the body.
Wheatgrass and Barleygrass are:
- supportive to the immune system
- helpful to boost energy levels
- useful to improve the skin’s radiance and health
- have an alkalising effect on the body thanks to the chlorophyll content
- add to smoothies and juices
- mix through yoghurts
- add to dressings, dips, spreads
- make raw desserts
- Check out this blog post on adding greens powders to your diet for more ideas on getting these superfoods into you.
No. 9 – Algae
Spirulina is a blue-green microscopic algae with a full spectrum of nutrients that are highly nourishing to the body. It contains vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, amino acids, chlorophyll and even some essential fatty acids.
Especially worth noting is spirulina’s iron and B6 content. These help with both immune, brain and cognitive function. Additionally, it contains high levels of chlorophyll which help with cleansing, detoxing and energy levels. Spirulina is known to absorb heavy metals and toxins from the body and is overall supportive of the body.
Definitely, something to note is spirulina’s high source of complete and digestible protein. It contains all the essential amino acids. Throughout studies, it has also been shown to be a more absorbable source of protein than the protein found in beef.
Chlorella is a single-celled green algae rich in chlorophyll. It is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. These include the B-complex vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, biotin and copper.
Chlorella is an incredibly effective detoxifier helping to remove alcohol, chemicals, heavy metals and even environmental pollutants from the liver. Especially useful for helping your body cope with any alcohol consumption.
It’s also very useful to help boost the immune system, maintain colonic function by benefiting the balance of your gut flora and helping to promote strong healthy hair growth and radiant skin.
No. 10 – Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are so readily available and highly nutritious, however, most people do not eat enough of them. Fresh green leafy vegetables contain high doses of chlorophyll, easily digestible proteins, enzymes and a wide range of health-boosting vitamins and minerals. Unsurprisingly, green leafies have been shown numerous times to help lower the risk of disease and illness.
They purify the blood, alkalise the body, support the immune system, cleanse the kidneys. Undoubtedly, they are a true superfood!
Try any of the following: rocket, spinach, dandelion greens, beet greens, carrot tops, kale, watercress, parsley, lettuce, endive, chicory, broccoli sprouts and mustard sprouts.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication