Top 7 Superfoods
From punch line to pudding-powered king of the co-op, these seeds are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (great news for vegetarians) and are an excellent source of fiber, which helps you feel full. They’re packed with antioxidants, protein and minerals, and they provide healthy fat, which helped me gain weight better. I even grew to like the ubiquitous chia seed pudding. Sprinkle on salads, add to smoothies or mix into yogurt.
OK, it might not be the new olive oil, but coconut oil, with its vast list of health benefits, has become the hottest fat out there for good reason. Coconut oil is not only anti-inflammatory, it also boosts metabolism, helps balance hormones and is antimicrobial. Oh, and you always feel like there’s a Mounds bar around when you’re cooking with it. Try adding some to your morning shakes, sauté your kale in it and use it to add a slightly sweet note to curries. I also love to sub it into my family’s gluten-free pancake batter.
A powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplement derived from the spice turmeric, curcumin reduces inflammation from joint wear and tear, physical injury or chronic infections. It may also be helpful for cardiovascular and skin conditions, many of which are a result of inflammation. You can pop it in capsule form or use the powder, but I found that it was easier to use fresh turmeric in soups and smoothies, or added to simple vegetable dishes.
This “super” amino acid not only builds muscle, it also plays a vital role in gastrointestinal health, supports a strong immune system, and enhances mood and mental clarity. I mixed the powder with aloe vera juice, but you could also add it to your smoothie and call it a day.
Several species of ’shrooms have significant immune-stimulating properties, containing high percentages of polysaccharides, long chains of sugar molecules that regulate immunity. These mushrooms include reishi, maitake and shiitake—all delicious. Not a fan? I feel sad for you, but you can buy mushrooms in tablet, powder or liquid extract form. (Seriously, though, why don’t you like mushrooms?)
Best known are the carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols found in the pigments of fruits and vegetables, which help boost cell health. Some are anti-inflammatory, others are potent antioxidants that help prevent cancer, heart disease and many chronic diseases. Eat leafy greens like kale and spinach in their natural form or in green juices—calorie for calorie, they deliver more nutrients than just about any other food on the planet.
You need “good bacteria” in your gut not just to keep your digestive system working, but also to boost immunity powers. You can take supplements, but fermented foods —which I love—are rich in natural probiotics. The three Ks—kefir, kombucha, kimchi—were easy to find and delicious.