Over the years, research has demonstrated that healthy dietary patterns can reduce disease risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. It also allows you to get more energy naturally. Dietary patterns such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet, which are mostly plant-based, have shown significant health benefits and reduction of chronic disease.
However, there are a few foods that can be singled out for special recognition. These “superfoods” offer some very important nutrients that can power-pack your meals and snacks, and further enhance a healthy eating pattern.
2021 Superfoods list
High in fiber, berries are naturally sweet, and their rich colors mean they are high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients. How to include them: When berries are not in season, it is just as healthy to buy them frozen. Add berries to yogurt, cereals, and smoothies, or eat them plain for a snack.
Goji berries are one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. They are incredibly sweet, with a berry taste that is reminiscent of raisins. The Chinese have long recognized their health benefits, which include protecting against cancer, improving circulation and reducing inflammation.
Dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health). They also add fiber into the diet. How to incorporate them: Try varieties such as spinach, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, or mustard greens. Throw them into salads or sauté them in a little olive oil.
Peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds — nuts are the world’s most plant-based source of protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease. How they can fit into your daily diet: Add a handful to oatmeal or yogurt or as a snack. But remember that they are calorie-dense, so limit to a small handful.
Peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds — nuts are some of the world’s best plant-based source of protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease. How they can fit into your daily diet: Add a handful to oatmeal or yogurt or as a snack. But remember that they can be calorie-dense, so limit to a small handful.
A fine source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids, all of which help reduce the risk of heart disease. How to include it: Use in place of butter or margarine in pasta or rice dishes. Drizzle over vegetables, use as a dressing, or sautéed.
The health benefits of olive oil are well documented. The Mediterranean diet, which includes consuming olive oil daily, has been linked to lower rates of heart disease and stroke. Some studies show that people who consume extra virgin olive oil daily have a 40% lower risk of heart attack compared with those who rarely eat it.
A good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, whole grains also contain several B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. How to include them: Try having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Substitute bulgur, quinoa, wheat berries, or brown rice for your usual baked potato.
Get the benefits of whole grains when you add seeds to your diet. Seeds are a great source of fiber, protein and good fats. They contain antioxidants and other phytonutrients that help reduce inflammation and improve heart health, as well as bone density and joint mobility.
An excellent source of calcium and protein, yogurt also contains probiotics. These “good bacteria” can protect the body from other, more harmful bacteria. How to include it: Try eating more yogurt, but watch out for fruited or flavored yogurts, which contain a lot of added sugar. Buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit.
Getting enough calcium is essential to building strong bones and teeth. But, as we age, it becomes harder to do so. The body needs dietary sources of calcium to help replenish the amount lost from bone. For women, this process accelerates during menopause. Calcium helps maintain healthy blood pressure and a regular heartbeat.
These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, and turnips. They provide an outstanding source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals including indoles, thiocyanates, and nitriles, which may help prevent against some types of cancer.
Researchers have linked indoles, thiocyanates, and nitriles to improved heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.
This broad category encompasses kidney, black, red, and garbanzo beans, as well as soybeans and peas. Legumes are a valuable source of fiber, folate, and plant-based protein. Studies show they can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
These are high in vitamin C and lycopene, which have been shown to reduce the chance of prostate cancer. See Cento San Marzano Organic Peeled Tomatoes on Amazon
These are seeds of a tropical tree and are the source of all chocolate and cocoa products. Raw cacao nibs are a natural superfood which is high in nutrients such as iron, magnesium and zinc. It is also a rich source of antioxidants for our heart. It contains neurotransmitters which contribute to overall health and happiness.
Cacao nibs are the crushed seeds of the Cacao tree. You can make chocolate, hot cocoa or even ice cream with these rich and nutritious little gems. They are also very high in antioxidants for heart health and contribute to overall happiness.
Cacao The Superfood of Superfoods
Cacao is high in Magnesium and other nutrients, making it a superfood. Cacao contains many different healthy compounds, including magnesium, which are essential for health. Many people switch to cacao when quitting coffee because it contains all the benefits you get from coffee - both physiological and psychological.
Rich in Antioxidants
Superfood cacao contains high levels of flavonoids that help protect the body from disease. They may even help to lower blood pressure, improve heart health and increase energy.
High in Essential Nutrients
Cacao provides the perfect balance of magnesium, which aids muscle tension and anxiety. Studies have shown that the bean has a direct link to women craving chocolate every month. Cacao is also an excellent source of protein, iron, potassium, essential fats, calcium, chromium, and zinc.
Because cacao is naturally high in flavanols and procyanidins, it can help with inflammation. These inflammation-fighting compounds have been shown to promote the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines that temper the release of inflammatory cytokines.
The common myth that chocolate causes acne has been reviewed for years. In fact, it has been established that the dairy and sugar component of chocolate is what contributes to breakouts not the cacao content. In dermatology, a cacao skin care product has many benefits for our skin including improved circulation and hydration.
The amino acid tryptophan is found naturally in cacao. It helps to enhance relaxation, boost mood and promote better sleep. This effect has been attributed to the conversion of tryptophan from cacao into serotonin and the presence of some compounds in cacao that alleviate mood, thereby protecting against depression. Enhanced alertness and focus has also been associated with cacao consumption.
Some of the rarest cacao in the world is found in the Pacific Islands. It is that cacao which has the fine flavour and characteristics that was responsible for Samoan cacao achieving a premium price over bulk cocoa. The nutrient dense volcanic soils of Samoa add to that rich tapestry of nutrients making cacao a coffee alternative both your body and brain will love. We’ve created cacao products like our single-serve Drinking Cacao (Affectionately called Koko Samoa), cacao nibs and cacao husk tea - all of which helps minimise withdrawal symptoms, and reduce the difficulty when quitting coffee.
If having a hot beverage in your hand is as much psychologically rewarding as it is physically, Koko Samoa is your best friend. Drinking cacao is a called many things in many cultures, but the practice of pure organic cacao beverages is ancient. With it, you can systematically decrease your coffee consumption over a 21 day period or longer.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. For professional dietary advice you should always consult a Registered Dietitian (RD), and for diagnosis of a health condition you must see your physician.