Brimming with nutritional goodness, superfoods have become a must in our daily diet. But with so many on the market, which ones are worth the money, and what do you do with them? So you know your acai from your cacao, we’ve edited down our favourites to stock up on now.
This nutrient-packed water algae gets its nutrients through photosynthesis and has all the protein, vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes and chlorophyll your body needs for near-perfect nutrition. Spirulina – once referred to as “the food for the future” by the United Nations World Food Conference – should also be taken for its iron content, which is over 200% of your daily RDA. It’s also a winner for preventing anaemia and supporting a healthy pregnancy.
HOW TO EAT? With a slightly nutty flavour, spirulina works well in savoury dishes – try sprinkling over kale chips, mixing into eggs, stirring into hummus or simply add to smoothies or overnight oats for a nutrition hit.
When you spot Manuka honey next to the regular stuff at your local supermarket, the price difference might make you think twice, but there’s a reason this New Zealand export is worth its weight in gold. Boasting more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes than regular honey, as well as antibacterial properties that make it a powerful healing agent, Manuka honey can balance the digestive system, soothe acne, eczema, burns, wounds and even ease IBS. Just remember that all honey is a natural form of sugar, so it’s best consumed in moderation.
HOW TO EAT? Experts say that to reap the benefits of Manuka, you should take around one to two tablespoons a day. Either eat it from the spoon for an intense hit or incorporate it into your breakfast routine – spread on toast or stir into yoghurt and porridge.
Most of us are familiar with its earthy flavour and golden colour, but turmeric is much more than just an ingredient in your favourite curry. Research shows it has many benefits and may help ward off dementia as well as reducing your risk of cancer. A close relative of ginger root, turmeric is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help to support gut health, including easing digestion and bloating.
HOW TO EAT? Toss with roasted vegetables, add to rice, blend into soups or smoothies or make a tea by simmering turmeric with milk and honey. If you’re not keen on the flavour, you can also reap the benefits from taking turmeric in capsule form.
A relatively affordable superfood, flaxseed has been a staple food across Africa, Asia and Europe for centuries. Also known as flax or linseed, flaxseed is naturally brimming with fibre, protein, B vitamins, vitamin E and magnesium, phosphorous and copper. This superfood can also help to decrease the ratio of LDL (bad) to HDL (good) cholesterol in the body, as well as protect our blood vessels from inflammation.
HOW TO EAT? Sprinkle ground flaxseed on oats, add it to smoothies or mix it into your baked goods for a nutrient boost. Flaxseed oil is also a fantastic way to add a nutty flavour to your meals – try drizzling on salad or roast vegetables.
A small, dark purple berry originating from Brazil, acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is full of antioxidants and essential fatty acids, making it a superfood that can help to minimise the effects of ageing as well as support the immune system and promote healthy skin. The purple berry – which tastes like a mix of blueberries and chocolate – contains 300% more antioxidants than blueberries, and can help to protect cells from damage, reduce inflammation and prevent disease.
HOW TO EAT: Widely available in powder form, one of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to incorporate acai into the diet is via a smoothie.
Cacao contains more antioxidants than any plant food on earth. A potent mix of beneficial natural compounds, including serotonin, endorphins, phenylethylamine, tryptophan and anandamide, all of which have been shown to ease depression and create feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Extremely rich in antioxidants, cacao is also known to support cardiovascular health and help alkalise the body.
HOW TO EAT: Use in desserts and hot chocolate in place of regular cocoa powder or try mixing into smoothies and energy balls.