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Why You Should Add These 10 Superfoods to Your Diet

July 15, 2014

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Superfoods are one of the trendiest topics in the health and nutrition world. It’s almost impossible to read any book or article about nutrition without the mention of them! But what exactly is a superfood and why are they so good for you?

The term “superfood” is a classification for foods that have the highest concentration of nutrients and vitamins. While you might immediately think of things like chia seeds or maca, which are added recipes to boost their nutrients, superfoods aren’t just additives! Many superfoods are actually vegetables, like kale or mushrooms, which can be eaten on their own!

For the most accurate information on superfoods, I went straight to the expert: David Wolfe. David is a health, eco, nutrition, and natural beauty expert as well as an advocate for the power of a plant-based diet. The first time I heard him speak was while I was a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where he talked about the benefits of raw food. I was instantly hooked!

David also speaks a lot about the healing powers of superfoods. Each superfood has a unique nutritional benefit, so you can pick which to add to your diet based on the nutritional benefits that you are looking for! Here are 10 of the most super superfoods to add to your diet for any and all health needs!

Spirulina or Blue-Green Algae

This superfood is a great addition to your morning green smoothie! According to David Wolfe, blue-green alga is the world’s richest source of complete protein. Spirulina, which is a type of blue-green algae that can be purchased at health food stores, provides minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes. It’s a great dietary addition for healthy, strong skin and hair.

Camu Berry

The camu berry is a very good source of vitamin C. It can help your body to rebuild tissue, purify blood, enhance immunity, and increase energy.  Camu berries can be bought in powdered form and are an easy addition to raw desserts or smoothies.

Medicinal Mushrooms

These mushrooms include reishi, cordyceps, shiitake, and several others. Medicinal mushrooms are high in polysaccharides and have strong immune-enhancing components. They have even been effective in fighting off cancer cells. You can purchase them in powdered form or in capsules as a daily supplement, or as dried, whole mushrooms, which can be rehydrated or used in sauces.

Honey

Bee pollen and honey both have very high levels of vitamin B9 and all 21 essential amino acids, which makes them complete proteins. Both honey and bee pollen are also a great source of minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics. Bee pollen can be purchased and added to smoothies or taken as a supplement. Honey can also be eaten on its own or added to sweeten any dish, but for maximum health benefits, raw, local, organic honey should be used.

Seaweed

Seaweed and most other sea vegetables have tremendous health benefits. They contain nutrients that help to remove heavy metals and detoxify the body. They also provide minerals that can decrease the risk of cancer and regulate cholesterol. Dried and salted seaweed, called nori, is a great addition to any Japanese dish. Larger, dried pieces of seaweed, like kombu, can be added to boiling water for soup and removed before serving.

Hemp Seed

This smoothie addition is packed with protein. In fact, it contains 33% pure digestible protein. It is also rich in amino acids and vitamin E. Hemp seeds also  have a relatively bland taste, so adding a scoop to your morning berry smoothie won’t change the taste too much!

Raw Chocolate

Cacao is the superfood that everyone already loves to eat! Not only does it taste good, but raw chocolate is also the highest source of antioxidants found on earth. Plus, it helps to balance brain chemistry and boost your mood.

Avocado

This healthy food sometimes gets a bad rap due to its high fat content. In reality, the avocado is packed full of healthy fats including monosaturated fats and glutathione. These fats, along with nutrients like vitamin E, folate, and lutein help protect your body from terminal illnesses like cancer.  Spread some on your morning toast or whip up a batch of guacamole to stay healthy!

Kale

Calorie for calorie, leafy greens like kale provide more nutrients that any other food. They are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help protect you against heart disease and cancer. To maximize the nutritional benefits, eat kale raw (be sure to massage it first!) or lightly steamed.

Goji Berries

Another berry that is very beneficial to your health! Goji berries can be purchased dried in either whole or powdered form. They are very high in antioxidants, iron, and vitamins. They also contain every type of essential amino acids. Goji berries can be snacked on plain, eaten with raw chocolate, or added to a smoothie! 

Do you have a favorite superfood?  How do you like to eat it? Tell us in the comments section below!

About the author

Lauren Caster is a contributing writer to Wellness Today. She resides in Portland, Oregon where she enjoys cooking for friends, doing Bikram yoga, and exploring new restaurants and food carts in town. She is one part of the blogging duo behind the blog Brooklyn-Portland, she received her diploma in Baking and Pastry Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and is a 2013 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition