What’s So SUPER About Superfoods?
Superfoods are creating quite a buzz these days and for good reason. These amazing, nutrient-dense foods are popping up everywhere and they certainly don’t disappoint! From southeast Asia to the South American rainforests and beyond, superfoods have been used for many, many years in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It’s only recently that these powerful foods are hitting the mainstream and we’re certainly taking notice.
Here at Roots True Foods, we began experimenting with high-density superfoods several years ago during our R&D phase. Finding the perfect nutritional profile for each of our blends was our ultimate goal. Simply put, we studied the science extensively, applied the science and developed a product unlike anything else on the market today!
So let’s take a closer look at these ‘buzz worthy’ superfoods with their superhero-like powers and find out just what makes them so SUPER!
Lately, foods like kale, avocados and blueberries have been getting much attention for their superfood qualities. While they are indeed SUPER foods, we’re more interested in sharing the incredible benefits of the more exotic variety of superfoods.
THE BASICS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Superfoods (and super herbs) are foods that contain high levels of antioxidants, micronutrients, phytochemicals and trace minerals. These qualities play different yet important roles in the overall balance of our health. Most ancient cultures from all over the world used these powerful fruits, berries, plants, grasses, herbs, seeds and roots for medicinal purposes as a part of their ancient healthcare system and they continue to do so. For example, acai berries were used in early Amazonian folk medicine due to their powerful antioxidant levels. You’ve probably heard of acai berries by now but what about maqui berries or goji berries?
The list of benefits that superfoods can provide is endless so let’s jump right in to highlighting some of the very best! We highly recommend you consider incorporating at least a few of these superfoods into your diet to help build immune strength while promoting overall health and wellness. You can find most of these ingredients in your local health foods store or certainly online.
And yes, almost ALL of the ‘SUPER’ beauties listed below are incorporated into our line of organic, Ready-To-Blend Superfood Smoothies which are available to order online! Learn more by clicking here.
Cacao Powder & Cacao Nibs
Cacao is pure, raw chocolate native to South America. Cacao powder & cacao nibs are made from the highest quality Peruvian cacao beans and are known to be the richest source of antioxidants on the planet. They provides a wealth of vitamins and minerals including high levels of magnesium and iron. Cacao is also a great source of dietary fiber.
Chia seeds are edible seeds from a Mexican and Central American desert plant. They’re packed with nutrients that promote energy, increase mental function, support your immune system, and aid in weight loss. They’re high in protein, rich in fiber and can absorb nine times their weight in liquid which means they’ll expand to make you feel full. Chia seeds are supercharged with omega 3’s and 6’s fatty acids making them an excellent source of heart-healthy fat.
Chlorella, harvested from fresh water lakes, is a species of green algae that is extremely nutrient-dense. It contains 60% protein, 19 amino acids (including all the essential amino acids) plus a bounty of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins (+B12). It’s also a powerful detoxification aid that promotes the cleansing of heavy metals and toxins from the liver, kidneys, blood, and digestive tract. Chlorella contains essential fatty acids and boats the highest levels of chlorophyll in comparison to any other plant on Earth!
Coconut Milk Powder
Coconut boost immunity, kills bacteria and viruses, protects against cancer and other degenerative diseases and prevents osteoporosis by promoting calcium absorption. It also slows down aging and is good for skin radiance. Raw coconut is full of healthy fats and fiber so cravings are curbed, hunger disappears and energy levels are increased and maintained.
Flax seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and are well known for providing healthy omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, antioxidants and dietary fiber. Sprouted, cold-milled flaxseed allow the body to digest the flax while absorbing all of the nutritional benefits.
Goji Berry Powder
Goji berries, native to China, are one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. These little immune boosting berries contain 15 times the amount of iron in spinach as well as calcium & zinc. They’re a complete plant-based protein source boasting all the essential amino acids plus over 20 vitamins and minerals. They also help to calm the nerves and have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial compounds.
Hemp seeds are one of the most concentrated plant-based protein sources available today and are considered a ‘perfect & complete’ protein. Hemp seeds are very digestible, boast all 21 amino acids and are a healthy source of dietary fiber, chlorophyll and minerals including magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. They are rich in essential fatty acids, providing the perfect balance of omega 3s + omega 6s, which are essential for optimizing the cardiovascular and immune system as well as assisting the body in fat-burning.
Lucuma powder comes from the Peruvian lucuma super fruit that looks similar to an avocado and tastes a bit like a cross between a mango and a sweet potato. This low-glycemic fruit is an amazing source of nutrients including beta-carotene, zinc, iron, calcium, antioxidants, protein and dietary fiber. Slightly maple-like in taste, lucuma is a low-sugar alternative to sweeteners that is safe for diabetics and a great source of key micronutrients. (also read: Smoothies for Diabetics)
Maca powder, native to Peru & Bolivia, comes from the roots of the maca plant. For centuries people have been using maca to enhance fertility, boost their immune system, increase their libido and to provide natural, sustainable energy. Maca is ‘adaptogenic’ which means it has the ability to balance your body’s hormones naturally while providing energy, endurance and mental balance. Maca is extremely rich in vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, iron, potassium, calcium and fiber. It’s also a good source of plant-based protein and fatty acids. Maca is truly ‘super’ in every sense of the word.
Maqui Berry Powder
Native to the Patagonia region of South America, maqui berries are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet. Their (ORAC) antioxidant levels are four times higher than blueberries and twice as powerful as acai berries. They’re high in vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium, and have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Mesquite powder comes from the pods and seeds of the mesquite tree native to Argentina. Mesquite has a mild, sweet, nutty, molasses-like flavor with a touch of caramel and a hint of chocolate. It contains rich quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc and is an excellent source of the amino acid lysine. It is also high in dietary fiber and protein. Mesquite is a true superfood that satisfies hunger and stabilizes blood sugar levels. The soluble fiber in the seeds and pods slow the absorption of nutrients, resulting in a flattened blood sugar curve.
Sacha Inchi, a complete plant-based protein, hails from the highlands of Peru. The seeds used to produce the sacha inchi powder come from the star-shaped pods from the vine of the sacha inchi tree. Often referred to as the Incan Peanut, sacha inchi is not a nut but rather a seed. It’s a highly digestible form of protein that helps build and repair muscle. It contains all 21 amino acids, is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals + has a very high concentration and proper balance of omega 3-6-9 fatty acids for cardiovascular health.
Wheatgrass is a true superfood, containing more than 70 vitamins and minerals, hundreds of live enzymes, essential amino acids and antioxidants. It is an abundant source of pure plant protein — approximately 85% by weight. Wheatgrass has long been used for its ability to cleanse the body and stimulate natural and healthy energy. It contains roughly 70 percent chlorophyll, allowing it to alkalize the body, which helps the body eliminate toxins and maintain a healthy pH balance.
Turmeric comes from the root of the turmeric plant native to southeast India. It’s a relative to ginger and it’s the quintessential spice in curry. It’s combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects explains why it’s been used in both Chinese and Indian systems of medicine for thousands of years as one of nature’s most powerful healers. Turmeric supports healthy brain function as well as healthy immune, digestive, cardiovascular and circulatory systems. It’s also great for the skin, providing antioxidants to support your cells against free radicals. Curcumin is one of the most important chemical components of turmeric and is activate by black pepper which is why you’ll see a small amount added to our GLOW blend.
Other SUPERFOODS you may want to consider using for their extreme health benefits on a daily basis would be: virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, cinnamon, cayenne, bee pollen, pink salt or sea salt and raw probiotic powder.
You can find most of the superfoods recommend at your favorite local health food market or online. NOTE: Be careful when buying online as you want to make sure you’re buying a reputable brand from a good supplier. Definitely read reviews of the supplier if you’re buying online. Make sure the ingredients are raw, pure, ideally organic and have absolutely no fillers.
Here are some of our favorite brands/companies:
Navita Naturals – superfoods
Essential Living Foods – superfoods
Sunburst Superfoods – superfoods
Sunfood Superfoods – superfoods
Nutiva – coconut oil, coconut manna, hemp seeds, hemp protein powder
Manitoba Harvest – hemp seeds, hemp protein powder
Garden of Life – plant-based protein powders, probiotic powders
Mountain Rose Herbs – teas, herbs, apothecary, superfoods, super herbs
Thrive Market – online organic marketplace
Moon Juice – superfoods, wellness products, gifts
Bulk Herb Store – spices, herbs, teas, wellness products and books
Terrasoul – superfoods
Amazing Grass – superfoods, grasses, proteins
Although this small list only scratches the surface, the world of superfoods is fascinating when you begin taking the ‘food is medicine’ approach.
We’ll end with a favorite raw, superfood recipe!
Recipe + photo by: Secret Squirrel
Website click here.
CACAO COCONUT RAW BLISS BITES
Yields: 20 balls
1 cup medjool dates
1 cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup raw cacao powder
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
½ tbsp water
⅔ cup buckinis
1. Lightly toast desiccated coconut in a pan on low heat until lightly toasted and aromatic. 2. Add all ingredients except for buckinis to a food processor and pulse until sticky when pressed between the fingers.
3. Add buckinis and pulse a few times until mixed through. Be careful not to over pulse.
4. Grab a tablespoon of mixture and roll into balls.
5. Finally, roll the balls into desiccated coconut and place in an airtight container in the fridge.
6. These will keep for around 2 weeks in the fridge. ENJOY!