I’m sure you’ve heard of goji berries, coconut, cacao and maqui as being some of the most sought-after superfoods in the world. With all their amazing nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins, it’s no wonder people run out to their local health food stores to load up on these goodies.
But let’s face it, they are expensive. Especially if you’re like me and like to have variety! I load my cupboards up with the latest superfoods and throw them into my shakes and smoothies all the time.
But aside from these more exotic superfoods, I bet your fridge and cupboards are packed with powerful foods you didn’t even know were just as nutrient-dense and super in their very own way.
Here are 8 superfoods in particular that pack a nutritional punch, and I’m pretty sure that if you’re a foodie like me, you eat them on the regular.
This bitter leafy green has garnered a lot of attention over the past few years. From kale chips to soups, to smoothies and sautés, this is one green veggie that can be used in many creative ways. I’m going to bet you’ve already used this leafy green in a morning smoothie and I commend you for doing so!
Kale is loaded with magnesium, a mineral that is involved in over 300 detoxification pathways in the body, and is important for women’s hormonal health and stress management. In fact, due to women’s fluctuating sex hormones every month, they become more susceptible to magnesium deficiency than men (1).
Aside from smoothies, I personally love sautéing kale with some avocado oil, fresh chopped garlic and garnishing it with some chili flakes. It makes a perfect side dish and goes great with either poultry or fish.
This delicious veggie contains a powerful antioxidant known as glutathione. Glutathione is the master of all antioxidants and helps support the liver in detoxification (2). In fact, it can even help to combat autoimmune disease by suppressing the “bad” genes that cause autoimmune issues (3).
Asparagus is also a natural diuretic, encouraging the body to flush out toxins, which helps support the liver, bladder and kidneys. As a bonus of eating this veggie, you’ll also get a large dose of B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E, K and A, all of which support immunity, gut health, energy production and heart health.*
Not a day goes by that I don’t chop, slice or roast this pungent bulb. Garlic is part of the onion family (also a superfood) and has been a medicinal food for many years. Known for its very powerful smell and taste, garlic has been used to treat cancer, diabetes, manage insulin, combat inflammation and protect the heart.*
Garlic is very high in sulfur, a compound that helps to support liver detoxification. Plus, it contains immune-boosting zinc, heart-healthy potassium and thyroid-supporting iodine (4). And it just so happens to add the most amazing flavor to your meals!
If you thought oranges packed a punch of vitamin C, wait till you see how much kiwis contain. One hundred grams of kiwi contains 93 mg of vitamin C, compared to 53mg in oranges. That’s almost double! In fact, kiwi’s nutrients remain intact long after harvesting, with 90% of its vitamin C content still present after 6 months. From fighting off colds and infections to strengthening the immune system, vitamin C serves many benefits.*
Kiwis also contain a lot of beneficial fiber, helping to support the digestive system and eliminating excess toxins through the bowels. Add kiwis to a salad, smoothie or cut in half and eat the fruit, leaving the skin.
From cordyceps, to chaga, to reishi and maitake, there are so many mushroom varieties to choose from. These powerhouse mushrooms help support immunity, balance hormones, are great for stamina, mental health, stress, aid in detoxification and support digestion. Yes, they can do all of that (5).
You can typically find these medicinal mushrooms popping up in your local health food store. From pills, to powers or fresh dried mushroom tea, there are many ways to enjoy these powerful ‘shrooms.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Made from fermented apple juice and incredibly rich in enzymes, apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries to aid in digestion. There are many beneficial substances in ACV, from naturally-occurring enzymes, to trace minerals and carbolic acids, all of which help to support alkalinity, cleanse the liver and stimulate digestive juices.*
I’m pretty sure you’ve gotten on the warm water and lemon bandwagon first thing in the morning? How about taking it up a notch and adding in a teaspoon of ACV? Combined with lemon, this is one amazing morning elixir to help oxygenate your blood and balance your body’s pH. Plus, you’ll supply your body with a dose of vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.*
I use this herb in my cooking all the time. It’s amazing in meatloaves, homemade meatballs, chicken or even fish dishes. It’s a very versatile herb that I hope you start to use often. Parsley is incredibly high in vitamin A and its precursor, beta-carotene. Vitamin A is amazing for cleaning up the arteries of plaque and supporting eye health (6).
Parsley is also an excellent source of calcium and magnesium, which both help to protect the bones and nervous system. Aside from using this herb in meat or poultry dishes, try whipping up a fresh parsley pesto, or add a few sprigs into your morning green smoothie for an antioxidant kick.
These tiny seeds are loaded with hormone protective zinc, omega-3s, B vitamins, and selenium. In fact, they have the highest iron content of any seed in the world (7)! You’ll also reap amazing skin benefits from eating pumpkin seeds due to their high vitamin E content.
Not only do they make the perfect snack, but they are delicious in salads, roasted with a touch of sea salt or cinnamon, and can even be made into a creamy milk.
Naturally Sweetened Pumpkin Seed Milk
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, soaked for about 2-4 hours
- 3-4 cups spring water
- 1 t vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla powder
- 2 pitted medjool dates or 1 T organic maple syrup (for sweetness)
- 1 T coconut butter
- Pinch of sea salt
How To Make It:
1. Place all ingredients in your Vitamix or blender and blend until all ingredients are well-combined. Be sure you blend long enough to pulverize the seeds.
3. For a smoother texture, strain through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. I personally like to consume mine unstrained. Keep unused milk in a glass Mason jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Enjoy your pumpkin seed milk, and be sure to load up on these amazing uncommon superfoods for ultimate health and longevity.
(Related: The Ultimate Guide to Superfoods)