Words and photos by: Mackenzie Piccarreto, Certified Herbalist and Integrative Holistic Health Coach
What Makes Them So Super?
Superfoods. Are you on board? Or are you convinced they’re just another wellness trend? Although the term itself seems to be slapped on every just about every package these days, most superfoods have been around for centuries.
We know by now that fruits & vegetables are the way to go for a balanced, healthy lifestyle. However, superfoods take this notion to the next level. They’re jam-packed with even more nutrients and can help to provide your body with the vitamins + minerals it needs to not only thrive, but to prevent disease.
Although a quick google search may lead you to think every food is a superfood, there are certain ones that stand out above the rest. Some might already be right in your kitchen (think kale or blueberries), while others hail from South America (think acai). Either way, many superfoods come in a powder form so it’s very easy to include them in your diet!
Here are some of my all-time favorite superfoods!
Acai: Whether you’re very familiar with acai or you’re still figuring out how to pronounce it (ah-sigh-ie), there’s no doubt about it’s popularity. These brazilian berries have popped up on every health-centered menu around the world, and for good reason. They’re loaded with antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats. Because they can spoil within one day, you’ve probably only seen them in a powder or frozen form. My favorite way to enjoy acai? The traditional “acai bowl”– basically a thick smoothie topped with all of the goods (fruit, nuts, seeds, honey).
Coconut: It’s no secret that coconuts are incredibly good for us. Whether you’re enjoying the meat, water, milk, dried out flakes, or oil– your body will thank you. Coconut water is one of the highest sources of electrolytes, while both coconut milk and oil provide delicious, healthy fats. Coconuts are antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and have about a million different uses. Are you sold yet?
Turmeric: This ancient spice has become the new “it” superfood, but it’s been used in both Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Curcumin, the main component, is revered for its anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting properties. Turmeric is one of the most healing spices on the planet so the bottom line is: whether it’s in a capsule or on it’s own, you need it! I love to add the powder to eggs, chicken, curries, or my new favorite… a turmeric latte. Mixed with spices like ginger and cardamom, it the perfect warming drink– without the caffeine.
Goji Berries: With more than 10x the antioxidant level as blueberries, goji berries pack a serious punch. They’re considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and are truly delicious! You’ll most often see the dried berries; I love to add those to oatmeal, cereal, or even in a trail mix. The powder variety is perfect for smoothies.
Cinnamon: Now this is one that I’m sure you’ve heard of! While cinnamon may seem like just another tasty spice in your cabinet, it’s actually been associated with lowering both blood sugar and cholesterol. It’s also very high in antioxidants. Sprinkle that stuff on everything!
Cacao: Not to be confused with cocoa, cacao is the unrefined, raw version of the cacao bean. They make look the same to the eye, but cocoa undergoes a process that destroys a large amount of the antioxidants and flavanols (the stuff that keeps you healthy). Cacao is packed with nutrients, has 40x the antioxidants of blueberries, is the highest plant source of iron and is a natural mood elevator/anti-depressant. No wonder we want chocolate when we’re down in the dumps! Long story short, yes, chocolate is a heath food! Cacao itself is not bad for you, it’s usually all the added chemicals and sugar that turns it into candy. I love using cacao powder in smoothies, to make my own chocolate bark or even in a healthy hot chocolate.
Want to try Mackenzie’s turmeric latte, but don’t have time to make one at home? Pick one up in our cafe for a limited time!