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Top superfoods to get into your diet

Updated: Mar 17

You must have heard the term superfoods, especially if you are one of those passionate foodies, who wants to explore the food arena and how to use food as medicine. I found my passion in many superfoods several years ago and incorporating them in my diet on a regular basis.

In my below article I am covering:

  • what are superfoods?

  • most noted superfoods out there as well as their benefits

  • how to incorporate different superfoods in your daily diet

25 superfoods from nature to include in your diet

What are superfoods?

I have not come across yet an official definition, but superfoods are foods that are packed with nutrients, provide you with greater health benefits that your average foods. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, that help your body to heal better and faster when you are unwell, help you thrive and support the energy you need to feel at your best and many of them are known for their anti-aging properties. Superfoods are also used to help healing different chronic diseases.

If you are thinking whether there are some superfoods that are better than the others, then yes some of them are more nutrient dense than others. But to really get the benefit of superfoods, I would suggest to include a variety of them in your diet on a regular basis.

Traditional forms of medicine (like Chinese, Ayurveda etc) have used different foods, herbs and spices for their healing properties for centuries to support better health, more energy, improved digestion etc.

People who have made a shift from eating manufactured, processed or fast food to eating whole foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grass-fed beef, wild fish, do notice that they have more energy and feel so much better. When it comes to consuming superfoods, it's taking your healthy eating to another level up. Different superfoods provide you with more antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and are full of fibre and healthy fats.

Top superfoods to add to your diet:

1. Bone broth

Very high in collagen, which we don't mindfully consume enough in our daily diet and it's something we need in high quantities. Our bodies are made of water, fat and protein. Muscle building proteins make about 2/3 of your body muscle and the rest 1/3 of your body is made of collagen protein. Most people are not deficient of muscle building protein as we get it from red meat, chicken, eggs, dairy, beans etc. We need to focus more on collagen protein, which should be around 20% of your total protein intake you have. Top foods that contain collagen or boost collagen production are bone broth, chicken, fish and shellfish, egg whites, citrus fruits, berries, tropical fruits, garlic, leafy greens, beans, tomatoes, bell peppers. Bone broth contains also gelatine, magnesium, calcium, silicon, phosphorus, sulphur, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid.

2. Probiotic rich foods

These are fermented foods and drinks that help to grow good bacteria in your gut. As you might have heard, around 70% of our immune system is housed in our gut, so how we take care of our bacteria in our gut and what we feed it, is of high importance. Some examples of probiotic rich foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kvass, pickles. Read more about probiotics here.

3. Matcha

Green tea, particularly matcha, is a great drink to consume on a regular basis. Matcha has three times more antioxidants than regular green tea or white tea. It enhances your body's detoxification systems, neutralises any harmful free radicals, may induce cancer cell death, promotes weight loss, fights belly fat and boosts energy. It also contains L-theanine, which helps to increase dopamine and GABA in the brain, helping to reduce anxiety. There are many more benefits to matcha tea, of which you can read here.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric contains an active ingredient curcumin which besides giving turmeric its colour, also helps fight inflammation, prevent cancer cell growth, stabilise blood sugar levels, slow down or prevent blood clots, reduce depression, boost skin health. It contains protein, fat, fibre, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and manganese.

Remember to add fat and pepper, when consuming turmeric or curcumin in food as they help to activate the health benefits of this power superfood.

5. Ginger

The compound in ginger called gingerol helps with nausea, decrease blood sugar, reduces muscle pain. Ginger can really be used in many different ways. Add it to freshly made vegetables or fruit juices, smoothies, soups, salad dressings, meat dishes or make a warming cup of ginger tea from ginger, lemon and a little bit of raw honey.

6. Galangal

It is similar to ginger and turmeric and used quite a lot in Thai cooking. It's known to help to fight various cancers, reduce inflammation in the body, improves sperm count, has also anti-fungal and anti-bacterial capabilities, supports your brain health and is full of antioxidants. It's also used to reduce vomiting, helps with diarrhoea and generally calms upset stomach.

7. Acai berries

The level of antioxidants in acai berries are said to be 10 times higher than in red grapes, helping with oxidative stress. Acai berries also boost skin health are known for helping with cognitive function of your brain, keeping your blood sugar in balance and boost weight loss. They also stimulate healthy digestion and offer protection against heart disease.

Acai berries contain a lot of fibre, healthy fats (omega-3, omega-6, omega-9), magnesium, B- vitamins (B1, B2, B3), potassium, phosphorus, calcium and are high in antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E, polyphenols etc). You can mix acai berry powder into smoothies.

8. Goji berries

Goji berries have around 12 times more antioxidants than blueberries and considered one of the most nutrient tense fruits. They improve longevity, vitality and energy, protect your skin, inhibit the growth of cancer cells, support your eye health. Goji berries are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 C, E, plus in 18 amino acids, beta-carotene, 21 trace minerals, selenium, germanium, linoleic acid, iron, calcium.

Goji berries are great to add to your homemade trail-mix, top your smoothie bowls or salads with.

9. Blueberries

They are filled with antioxidants and phytochemicals, helping to fight cancer, boost brain health, support your heart health and digestion, improve wight loss and alleviate inflammation. It's important to note here, that wild blueberries though smaller are twice as anti-oxidant rich than cultivated blueberries. Blueberries contain fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, manganese, thiamine, vitamin E, copper, riboflavin.

Add them into your smoothies, or on top of your smoothie bowls. Make some healthy blueberry muffins, add them to salads or simply enjoy them alone as a snack.

10. Elderberries

Elderberry is used for many health concerns: sinus issues, as a prevention and support in cold and flu season, helps to fight inflammation, chronic fatigue, helps with allergies, constipation, nerve pain and cancer as well as acting as a natural diuretic (promotes urine production).

Elderberries contains quercetin, rutin, phenolic acids, kaempferol flavonoids (that help with cell damage) and anthocyanidins, which have immune boosting properties. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium and iron.

11. Sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn contains not only omega-3, omega-6, omega-9 essential fatty acids, but also omega-7 fatty acids (also known as palmitoleic acid) being beneficial for the heart, type 2 diabetes. The berry also has cancer fighting benefits as it contains phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. Sea buckthorn oil helps with skin problems (acne, dermatitis, eczema, stretch marks, dry skin and gives sunburn relief) when applied topically and also can be consumed internally as an oil to help with anxiety.

12. Camu Camu berries

Camu camu berries are known to be the top vitamin C rich foods, containing around 60 times more vitamin C than orange. They are very sour on their own, so most people consume them in a powdered form mixed into other foods. Camu camu berries support lowering inflammation, treat depression, herpes, great for eye and gum health.

Camu camu berries contain phytochemicals, amino acids (leucine, valine, serine), minerals like copper, magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium, iron.

13. Acerola cherries

Same as camu camu berry, Acerola cherries are very high in vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants (carotenoids) and anthocyanins- the same as found in kale, blue berries, carrots and red wine. Acerola cherries are great for skin and hair health, cancer prevention, improved digestion, immune system support, cognitive function and supporting oral and dental health.

Mix acerola cherry juice or powder into smoothies, yoghurt, chia-seed pudding.

14. Amla berries

Amla berries are not maybe as well known, but they sure can be considered as superfood. Amla berries decrease inflammation, help control blood sugar, reduce cholesterol levels, have anti-cancer properties, prevent constipation and enhance digestive health, promote liver health, keep your skin and hair healthy and also support cognitive function. The berries are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium.

Their taste is described as sour, bitter and strong- in India they often eat it with salt and red chilli powder.

15. Pomegranates

Filled with antioxidants and polyphenols, they slow down cancer growth, reduce inflammation, fight infections, boost brain function. A single pomegranate can hold over 600 of these delicious nutritious seeds, which are also used to make pomegranate seed oil having both external and internal benefits for the body. Pomegranates help with reducing arthritis and joint pain, support our reproductive organs, lower blood pressure, improve heart health, fight bacterial infections, improve your memory. Pomegranates contain vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, phosphorus and iron.

Eat them on their own, add them to salads, smoothie bowls or serve them even sprinkled on top of meat.

16. Figs

Figs can be consumed either raw or dried which does affect the nutritional value. Health benefits of figs actually increase when dried. But do be mindful and not over consume them as their carbohydrates level increases quite dramatically when dried. Figs are an high anti-oxidant food filled with polyphenols. They have anticancer properties and support digestion, endocrine, reproductive, respiratory health. The fruit is also used for treating anemia, diabetes, skin diseases, ulcers, urinary tract infections. Figs have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. People using fig leaf and fig fruit extracts have also seen great results in reducing wrinkles.

Figs contain a good amount of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, thiamine.

17. Spirulina

Spirulina is considered as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. If you compare gram for gram, it's higher in protein than red meat and contains all the essential fatty acids as well as anti-oxidants. It helps with preventing plaque build-up in arteries, lowers blood pressure, has anti-cancer properties, enhances brain function, detoxifies body from heavy metals, helps eliminating candida, reduces cholesterol, boosts energy, lowers the possibility of stroke and helps with sinus issues.

Spirulina contains 39g of protein per 100g, has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, contains vitamin A, B6, C, E, folate, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, selenium.

Add it into smoothies, mix it into water, sprinkle over foods.

18. Chlorella

Chlorella is a cousin to spirulina rich in phytonutrients, including chlorophyll, amino acids, beta-carotene. Chlorella helps to boost energy, fights cancer, helps detoxify body from heavy metals (mercury, lead) as well as from radiation and chemotherapy, supports weight loss, reduces high cholesterol and high blood pressure, relieves asthma attacks, helps with bad breath and mental function and supports your immune system. Chlorella contains vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamins B1, B6, iron, phosphorus.

Mix in in water and drink or add it into your freshly blended juices and smoothies.

19. Organ meats, aka glandulars (liver, heart, kidneys etc)

Organ meats from animals are packed with important vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. They are higher in nutrients than muscle meats that we mostly consume. It's recommended to consume different organ meats on a regular basis supporting the same organs in human- liver, kidneys, heart, tongue, brain, gizzard, tripe, oxtail, liverwurst.

Liver for example contains 50 percent more vitamin B12 than meat and more folate and other B vitamins than other foods on earth. Liver is more packed with vitamins and minerals than broccoli, kale or spinach. But it's very important that you get the liver from a good source, where you know the animal, bird has not been fed antibiotics, has been able to roam freely on the grass. Same as for human, liver is a detoxifying organ for animals. Organ meats protect against anemia, promote muscle-building, support healthy pregnancy.

Organ meats are high in vitamin A, B vitamins, CoQ10.

20. Medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms include mushrooms like Reishi, Cordyceps, Chaga, Shiitake, Lion's mane, Turkey tail, Maitake etc. They have anti-cancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant properties. They boost immune function, protect heart health, improve energy levels, support weight management, promote better brain function, help strengthen bones, support reproductive health and fertility.

Medicinal mushrooms contain a wide array of nutrients including vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus.

I have also written a blog post on medicinal mushrooms.

21. Sprouts

Soaking and sprouting seeds, legumes, nuts has been a common practice in many cultures around the world. It allows to unlock healthy compounds found in plant foods, reduce the anti-nutrient levels in those foods, make them better absorbable for humans and increase the availability of nutrients. For example, folate increases in sprouted grains up to 3.8 times, mung bean sprouts have significantly higher vitamin C, broccoli sprouts contain more vitamin A and vitamin C, vitamin K. Sprouts help to increase energy levels, provide mental clarity, improve weight loss, decrease inflammation.

Learn how you can sprout seeds, nuts and beans from here.

22. Herbs and spices

There are more than 100 herbs and spices that can be used internally and topically for healing. Herbs and spices not only boost your health protection in so many ways, but they also boost the flavour of your foods. It's good to incorporate as different and as many herbs and spices in your foods as you can (creativity in action): cinnamon, rosemary, basil, chives, parsley, mint, cilantro, thyme, sage, oregano, anise, bay leaf, cardamom, coriander seed, Cat's claw, cayenne pepper, cumin seed, turmeric, clove, fennel, fenugreek, juniper berries, lemongrass, nutmeg, saffron etc.

If you want to learn more about adaptogenic herbs, click here.

23. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds contain a high amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation, improve brain function, protect against diabetes and cancer. They are also great to use in seed-cycling for managing your hormonal levels better during the cycle. Check how to do seed-cycling from here.

Flaxseeds are high in magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamine. I add milled flaxseeds to smoothies, smoothie bowls, sprinkle them on on top of eggs and salads.

24. Coconut

Coconut is high in medium-chain triglycerides, a healthy fat that supports the health of your gut. It also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Coconut can be consumed as coconut water, coconut milk, eating coconut meat, or using coconut oil made from the meat. Coconut oil is excellent for skin (helping with eczema, dandruff. psoriasis, dermatitis, burns), scalp, hair moisturiser. Coconut oil helps preventing heart disease, high blood pressure, protects the liver, treats kidneys and also used for UTIs (urinary tract infections). It also reduces inflammation and arthritis, is good for cancer treatment, supports memory and brain function (contains MCTs), reduces stomach ulcers and aids digestion, used also for gallbladder disease and pancreatitis. Coconut oil is also great for gums and helping reducing tooth decay. You can used coconut oil for oil pulling. Make sure to pick cold pressed extra-virgin coconut oil.

25. Dandelion

You can consume the dandelion root, greens, seeds and flower. Dandelion is high in fibre and antioxidants containing vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K. Dandelion root can help to reduce cancer growth, lowers cholesterol levels, is a great liver supporting food, fights bacteria and strengthens bones.

You can make dandelion tea, dandelion root coffee, add dandelions leaves to salads.

The above is definitely not an exhaustive list of superfoods, but gives you a good introduction into incorporating them in your daily food for great health.


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