The 8 Superfoods You'll Always Need in Your Kitchen

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Superfoods may be something you've heard about, but never really understood what they were. As much as we would like to think they were food items that give us super powers; they are actually foods that are packed full with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that reap amazing health benefits and aide our bodies against diseases. So maybe they do give us super powers? Regardless, here are the 8 superfoods that we believe should always be stocked in your home due to their versatility and long shelf life.

1. Goji Berries

Goji berries are dried berries that come from a shrub native to China. They are packed full with nutrients and are a great source of vitamin C. There bright orange-red berries have been used for centuries by Herbalists to boost the immune system, treat visual ailments, and help poor circulation. They can be mixed into some many recipes as well as placed on yogurt and salads as a fruity topping. 

Note: Goji berries may interfere with some drugs like warfarin and diabetes/blood pressure medication. Consult with a doctor before use.

2. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that has no leveling power. It gets its name "nutritional" because it contains a lengthy list of vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B6, Folic Acid, B12, protein, and fiber. Better yet, it is just as delicious as it is nutritional. Nutritional yeast is a great topping for popcorn and soups as well as a fantastic substitute for cheese. When kept dry in a dark place it can last for up to two years. 

3. Cacao Powder

Cacao powder is raw chocolate in its purest form. That means it is much less processed than cocoa powder. With only 15 calories per tablespoon and the highest source of magnesium/antioxidants, it is absolutely guilt free. Some benefits of consuming cacao powder include low blood pressure and improved blood flow. If you would like to incorporate cacao powder into your diet it works as a fantastic chocolate agent for baking recipes, cookies, smoothies, oatmeal, raw treats, of mocha coffee.

Note: When buying cacao powder look for ones that don't say Dutch or "alkalized" on them. That means it is processed with 90% of the antioxidants taken out.

4. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are small seeds that are cousins in relation to the marijuana plant, but contain no psychoactive ingredient. They have been cultivated for industrial use from paper to textiles and have been harvested for their fibers, seeds, oils, and meal. They contain 20 amino acids and have a desirable ration of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. They are a great source of magnesium and potassium and work wonders for protein needs and muscle repair. Hemp seeds can be added to soups, salads, pilafs, or pesto. Their mild taste names them a simple and easy contribution to any meal.

5. Seaweed

Contrary to popular belief there are actually four main types of seaweed. There's Green algae (sea lettuce and grapes), Brown algae (miso soup seaweed), Red algae (sushi seaweed), and Blue-green seaweed (spirulina and chlorella). Seaweed is packed full with minerals such as folate, calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron and zinc. It also is a great source of omega-3 acids. Seaweed can be used to aid digestion, prevent chronic disease, protect against stress, and prevent sudden heart attacks and stroke. The bet way to incorporate seaweed into your diet is by laying it on a bed of rice with veggies, adding it to soups/salads, using it to garnish dishes, or simply eating it as a snack.

Note: Seaweed is good in portions. Eating it too frequently may cause Thyroid and digestive problems.

6. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are tiny seeds native to Mexico. They are very popular in the health community due to the fact that they're easy to digest, they're versatile, and they are nutrient-dense. Chia seeds are full of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, manganese, vitamin E, potassium, calcium, omega-3, zinc, and the list goes on. Studies show that they help with skin, aging, digestive health, heart health, energy, bone health, muscles, weight loss, and help treat disease.  They serve as a great addition to oatmeal, smoothies, salads, and stir-fries.

7. Maca Powder

Maca powder comes from the maca root vegetable that is grown in the Andes. It is rich in antioxidants and enhances energy, mood, memory, female sexual health, estrogen levels, and male fertility. Maca powder can also undo damage from fatigue and help with regeneration and repair. It can be incorporated into baking recipes, oatmeal, or sprinkled on top of cereal for a punch of energy in the morning.

8. Black Garlic

Contrary to its counterpart, black garlic has a much higher content of allicin (the active ingredient in with garlic) without the order. It was introduced to the Western market six years ago by Korean decent. It is a fermented version of raw garlic, giving it a sweet, mellow flavor with an inky hue. Black garlic is heart healthy with anticancer benefits. It also protects against infections and other diseases. Black garlic can be used as a substitute for raw garlic in any recipe.