I must confess, I absolutely love superfoods! They are nutritional and flavorful powerhouses that are worthy of a place in not just a tennis player’s diet, but everyone’s diet. These are foods that are packed with nutrients that will help improve your health in a number of ways.
From the high antioxidant levels in acai berries to anti-aging effects of goji berries, and everything in between, these superfoods will have you feeling and looking your best. And, every one of them can be used in your next smoothie.
Here are my top 10 smoothie worthy superfoods in alphabetical order. You can add one or a combination of several to the majority of your smoothies. In case you’re wondering, goji berries are my favorite superfood :)
My Top 10 Superfoods
Acai berries are the fruits of the acai palm tree, which is native to the Amazon region. These dark red fruits contain more antioxidants than any other food we know, including red wine, blueberries, and dark chocolate. Additionally, acai has few calories, plenty of fiber, proteins, trace minerals, and monounsaturated fats. They have been shown promising in preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol, and killing cancer cells. Use the frozen pulp of acai in your smoothies to get the whole food without added ingredients. Pair it with cacao or other fruits and add a little natural sweetener to bring out the rich, fruity flavor of these berries. FIND IT HERE.
Cacao is the seed of the cacao tree, which grows in Central and South America. They are often called beans and are the flavor behind everything chocolate. Most chocolate products do not count as superfoods because the processing has eliminated much of the nutrition. If, however, you get raw cacao, you have a minimally processed food that is packed with nutrition. Raw cacao contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that can improve your health in a number of ways. Cacao has been shown to increase blood flow, lower bad cholesterol levels while raising levels of the good type, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and improve brain function, vision, and mood. Add cacao to a smoothie, but do not expect it to be sweet. Raw cacao is bitter and needs a little natural sweetener. FIND IT HERE.
This pale orange powder is loaded with vitamin C. In fact, a mere teaspoon of the stuff serves up 2,400 milligrams—about 30 times more than a medium orange. That’s great news for your skin, since vitamin C may help fight against damage caused by the sun’s UV rays and boosts the production of the skin-smoothing protein collagen. FIND IT HERE.
Chia seeds are an ancient food from Central America and Mexico. The Aztecs cultivated the chia plant and the seeds were a staple of their diet, alongside maize. These small seeds are very high in fiber, which makes them good for weight loss and weight maintenance. They are also high in healthful omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Chia seeds also have a significant amount of protein, no cholesterol, and several important minerals. Add a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds to your smoothies and you will get many benefits. They can control your blood sugar levels, prevent blood clots, reduce high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve your digestion, and give you energy. FIND IT HERE.
The health benefits of coconut oil come as a surprise to many. We have long been told to avoid saturated fats like the plague, but the experts were wrong about this one. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but in spite of that it has been proven to aid weight loss, lower LDL, or bad cholesterol and raise HDL levels, and even help to reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil has also been shown to have an antibiotic effect. In studies, it helped to treat pneumonia and to kill the bacteria that cause acne. You can store coconut oil much longer than other oils because it does not go rancid easily. Add a tablespoon to a fruity or chocolate smoothie and you will enjoy the subtle flavor of coconut as well as all these health benefits. FIND IT HERE.
Goji Berry Powder
Also known as wolfberries, these tasty red berries are an excellent choice for any fruit-based smoothie you concoct. They are native to Asia and have been used there for thousands of years. The people of China, India, and Nepal have long realized that these berries are special. They are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Goji berries are an excellent plant-based source of protein and are perfect for vegetarians and vegans. They can help protect you from heart disease and improve your eye health. Goji berries have some interesting compounds not found in many other foods. A class of oils called sesquiterpenoids that is found in goji berries boost the production of human growth hormone, which produces anti-aging effects. Other components of the fruit can improve the functioning of your immune system and even help patients with serious autoimmune disorders. Goji berries taste great in any fruit-based smoothie. FIND IT HERE.
Hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant, which is also the origin of marijuana. Plants that are used for hemp products contain little or none of the psychoactive compound THC. Hemp seeds contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for combating heart disease. They also contain so-called “super” fatty acids called gamma-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid. These fats are good for your skin, help to increase your metabolism, lower cholesterol in your bloodstream, and decrease inflammation. Hemp seeds are also high in protein and fiber. They have been shown to improve immune system functioning, improve brain health, and regulate blood sugar. With a mild, nutty flavor, you can add some to any smoothie. FIND IT HERE.
Maca is a root that grows in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The natives of the region have long recognized the health benefits of this root. Today you can buy it in pill, powder, or liquid form. The powder is a good choice for smoothies, and you can add a tablespoon or two to any recipe. One of the main reasons the native Peruvians used maca was to enhance virility. It is thought to improve energy and mood, lower stress, and to increase sexual function and fertility. In addition to these positive effects, maca is rich in protein and B vitamins, which makes it a great supplement for vegans and vegetarians. Maca also has vitamins C and E, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous. FIND IT HERE.
This dark purple powder boasts more antioxidants than fruits like acai berries, blueberries, pomegranates, or blackberries (are maqui bowls the new acai bowls?!). Maqui is especially rich in anthocyanins, a family of phytonutrients that have been shown to have a protective effect against heart disease and cancer. It may help protect against a cold or flu too since some evidence suggests that anthocyanins boast antimicrobial properties. FIND IT HERE.
Another superfood used by the Aztecs, spirulina is an ancient type of blue-green algae that grows in lakes around the world. The Aztecs learned to harvest it and use it as an important source of nutrition. It is high in protein, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta-carotene, zinc, copper, iron, and trace minerals. Spirulina can relieve allergy symptoms because it blocks histamine production. It can also improve the functioning of your immune system and help bring relief to people suffering from autoimmune disorders. Spirulina also acts like a sponge for toxins and can remove heavy metals from the body. You can get powdered spirulina and add it to any smoothie. Try using it with ingredients that have strong flavors, as many people do not like the taste of the algae. FIND IT HERE.
The top ten are the best of the best superfoods, but there are others worth exploring. Flax seeds have long been recognized as a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and are, therefore, an excellent way to reduce inflammation. They are also high in fiber and antioxidants. You do need to grind these seeds before you use them, or they will pass right through you.
Chlorella, like spirulina, is a species of blue-green algae that is harvested from lakes. It has high amounts of protein, B vitamins, vitamins C and E, iron, magnesium, and trace minerals. Like spirulina, it can detoxify your body by removing heavy metals.
I encourage you to explore the wonderful world of superfoods and all their amazing benefits by adding one (or more) to your next smoothie. Try them all out, but use just a little to start with to gauge your body’s reaction. If you like it, increase the amount you use. In no time, you will be feeling your best thanks to the power of superfoods.
Where to buy Superfoods?
Your local health food store should carry most, if not all of these superfoods. But for those of you who prefer purchasing online, I recommend Amazon. They have numerous products for instant price comparison, and as a Prime member, I take full advantage of their free 2-day shipping.
What is your fave superfood for smoothies? Share in the comments below :-)