Superfoods are a fantastic way to load up on the vitamins and minerals you need to get healthy and stay that way. Packed with mega-doses of nutrients, these foods can help your body fight off the diseases of aging. And they can provide the extra boost of energy you need to power through your day.
But do you sometimes feel like you’ve eaten your way through a forest of kale? Or perhaps you’ve gobbled down so many blueberries you could swear you’re starting to turn a bit blue yourself?
If so, that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on these nutrient-dense foods. It simply means you’ve grown bored with your current selection of superfoods. So it’s time to mix things up a bit.
Mix up your menu with these 16 superfoods
Following are sixteen nutrition-packed superfoods you’ve likely never even heard of.
These delicious and nutritious natural foods will blow away your menu boredom, while still providing you with plenty of superfood benefits.
Chances are you’ve never heard of amaranth. But the seed has been around a long time. In fact, it was a staple in the diet of the Incans in the mid-1400s to 1500’s
And it’s easy to understand why it was such an important food source for ancient civilizations. This grain substitute contains more calcium, iron, fiber, protein and other phytonutrients than rice or wheat. Plus it’s packed with more magnesium, phosphorous and potassium than those more common grains.
Amaranth is also a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, including linoleic acid. And this remarkable seed even provides some free-radical fighting vitamin C.
Amaranth is higher in protein than oats or rice. It provides all the essential amino acids, including lysine, making it a more complete protein than both, as well. And the seed is gluten-free which is great for folks with gluten sensitivities.
I always encourage you to watch how many carbohydrates you’re eating, and to leave the junk carbs on the shelf. But amaranth is one of the good-guy carbs that deserves a spot in your healthy diet. You can use this delicious and hearty seed in place of rice, quinoa or couscous, making it a super-versatile staple for your own pantry.
2. Aronia berry:
Also known as choke berry, the tart tasting aronia berry has been valued by Native Americans for generations.
Experts in herbal medicine say it can help in the fight against cancer, heart disease and liver damage. And it also helps support a healthy immune response, so it can help your body counter even more chronic illnesses.
Since they’re so tart, be sure to blend your aronia berries with sweeter superfoods like blueberries or cherries.
If you haven’t worked chia seed into your diet yet, it’s time to start – and our friends and affiliates at NorthStar Nutritionals offer the best, highest quality chia seeds available—Benvia Gold.
With more calcium than milk, more magnesium than broccoli, more fiber than flax, and more antioxidants than the blueberries you’re getting tired of, what’s not to love?
Plus Benvia Gold serves up a powerful punch of omega-3s and protein, and delivers it all at an unbelievably low calorie count.
Mix them into your yogurt or apple sauce. Bake them into your bread or casserole. No matter how you use your chia seed this amazing superfood can help support your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, energy, digestion and so much more
There’s no denying it. Celeriac is one ugly vegetable. If you’ve ever seen it in the grocery store, you may have walked right by it without a second glance. After all, we eat with our eyes first, and celeriac is nothing to look at.
But that was a mistake. Because while celeriac isn’t the prettiest veggie in the produce aisle, it’s delicious and great for your health. Celeriac is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C phosphorus and potassium.
Its vitamin K and phosphorus content mean it’s a bone-friendly food. And the K along with potassium make it heart-friendly too. Plus the ugly duckling veggie is a good source of fiber, vitamins B6 and B5, riboflavin, thiamine, magnesium and manganese as well.
This celery relative, often called celery root, is a versatile addition to your menu. You can snack on it raw or shredded into salads for some extra crunch and flavor. Plus it’s delicious prepared in any of the ways you would typically cook a potato.
Chlorella first started making small waves as a superfood several years ago, but it hasn’t quite caught on – which is a shame, because it’s a nutritional superstar.
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that it’s an algae. You’ll never know it’s any different from any other supplement you take. And the vitamin B12, folic acid, antioxidants, and more that you’ll be getting makes it worth broadening your horizons.
A common spice in Indian foods, you might not have realized fenugreek is as healthy as it is tasty.
You can use leaves or seeds, whole or ground, to help slow digestion, and improve how your body responds to insulin. Which means, of course, it can help keep your blood sugar levels stable, especially after meals.
(For more on how feungreek could help you control blood sugar click here.)
7. Golden berries:
Think of golden berries as the superfood equivalent of raisins. They’re just as delicious, satisfying, and sweet – while being even healthier, thanks to their high levels of protein, fiber and antioxidants.
We’d never knock those little boxes of raisins we used to get in our lunch boxes, but these days, we’re more likely to reach for a handful of golden berries.
8. Holy basil:
If you like basil, you’re going to love holy basil. All the flavor, and even more benefits.
Early studies indicate holy basil might help with diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Use it however and wherever you’d use sweet basil. Just be sure to use the fresh leaves, for the maximum results.
While Americans aren’t very familiar with jicama, this root veggie is popular in other parts of the world including South Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Pronounced hecama, this superfood has a refreshingly crisp and slightly fruity flavor. It’s excellent eaten raw in salads, baked in the oven or cooked into all kinds of savory or sweet dishes.
Jicama is very low in calories and on the glycemic index, making it an excellent snack food even for folks concerned about blood sugar. One of our favorite ways of eating it in my house is as a TV treat. Slice the veggie very thin and bake it with sea salt until crispy like a chip.
Jicama is an excellent source of fiber, particularly the soluble fiber inulin. And the veggie is rich in free-radical-fighting vitamin C, making it an anti-cancer food. Plus it provides small amounts of a number of other important nutrients including copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, folate, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and thiamin.
Eating like a king – an Egyptian pharaoh, to be precise – is possible now that more people have learned about kamut. Kamut is a superfood similar to rice, but better.
Forget the rice, kamut is far better for you than many similar grains. It is packed with omega 3s, vitamin E and protein.
So boil it up, mix it in, and enjoy!
11. Mung beans:
You know you’re supposed to get plenty of legumes in your diet. But let’s face it a steady diet of kidney and pinto beans can get boring. That’s why you need to know about mung beans.
Mung beans pack in all the nutrition of a traditional legume, but they deliver enough extra benefits to qualify them an official superfood. And even better, you can boil them without destroying their nutritional value, unlike many other beans.
With their nutty, slightly sweet flavor, mung beans are the legume you’ve been looking for.
12. Peppadew peppers:
It’s possible that you’ve eaten peppadew peppers and never knew it, because they’re becoming more and more popular with chefs in some of the best restaurants around town.
Peppadews are a little sweet, a little spicy and as bright red as a cherry tomato (about the same size, too). What makes them so special is that they’re so nutrient dense. It only takes a third of a cup to help fight cancer, protect your heart and get your entire days’ worth of vitamin C.
You might mistake a fresh pichuberry for a yellow cherry tomato. It’s a close cousin of the tomatillo. And like its cousin, is covered in a papery layer which you remove before eating.
Sometimes called Inca berries, pichuberries come to us from Peru. They’re deliciously sweet with a slightly tart tang when ripe. Low on the glycemic index, they’re a good choice for folks watching their blood sugar or weight. Plus they’re brimming with nutrients we need, earning them their superfood status.
The berries are a good source of vitamin E, vitamin A, the B-complex vitamins and bioflavonoids. Three ounces of the berries will provide you with 37 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, 18 percent of your recommended vitamin C, 13 percent of your niacin requirement and 39 percent of your daily vitamin D needs.
Pichuberries are also rich in a unique group of flavonoids called withanolides. Early research has found these natural antioxidant compounds could help fight cancer. And withanolides are anti-inflammatory, which means they could help reduce pain too.
You can buy pichuberries dried, and occasionally fresh (in season), in natural food stores, some regular grocery stores and online. Or if you have a green thumb, you can try growing them from seed in your own garden.
These may be labeled as “Jerusalem artichokes” in your grocery store’s produce section, but whatever you call them, you’re going to want to eat them.
Sunchokes promote a healthy gut while supporting your immune system, so that you stay healthier all the way around. And like jicama, sunchokes make for a delicious alternative to a favorite unhealthy snack.
Slice them into strips, sprinkle them with salt and bake for a yummy substitute for French fries.
15. Sunflower greens:
Imagine all the health benefits of sunflower seeds, only in a leafy green. That’s what you get with low calorie sunflower greens.
These sprouts should be grown for about a week to get the best flavor and nutritional benefit. You’ll probably have the best luck finding them at farmer’s markets, but you may run across them in your local natural grocery store, as well.
A grain from Ethiopia, teff is rapidly earning its spot on many superfoods lists, and for good reason. Teff is high in protein, iron, amino acids, vitamin C… and the list goes on and on.
But what makes teff really impressive is that it’s gluten free, so if you’re gluten sensitive you can use teff flour as a substitute in your baking without having to resort to prepackaged mixes.
Eating superfoods is one of the best ways to get and stay healthy in a fast-paced, fast food kind of world. Just don’t feel like you have to limit yourself, or your choices!
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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