The Best Superfoods You’ve Never Heard Of

Diets

We all know that we should eat well if we want to lead long, healthy lives. However, one of the main problems people face is that they simply don’t know where to start. If you’re about to embark on a journey to a healthier lifestyle, adding some of the best superfoods to your diet is not a bad place to start. You might have heard the hype all before about the top superfoods out there, but there’s truth in much of what you read. So, let’s take a look at some science-backed superfoods (including some weird ones) and why you should try them for yourself.

What are Superfoods, Anyway?

five of the top superfoods on wooden spoons on a table

The chances are that you’ve heard the term “superfood” a lot over the years. But, wait just a minute here, do you actually know what are superfoods? Before we start looking at some of the best superfood you can add to your diet, let’s take a brief moment to look at the word itself. In short, you can apply this word to any whole food (i.e. unprocessed food!) that is rich in vitamins and nutrients.

There are no guidelines out there on what makes a superfood and what does not – there aren’t even any rules that determine which are the best superfoods. However, people generally recognize the top superfoods as ones that have high nutritional value and those that offer health benefits. These advantages should have scientific research to back them up. That’s why, while there’s a lot of hype surrounding many types of food, we’re only interested in the facts when it comes to the top superfoods.

The Top Superfoods are Raw and Vegan

a bowl of raw vegan food with vegetables and rice on a marble background

Now that you know a bit more about what are superfoods, it goes without saying that there are many different types of superfood out there. While the top superfoods you already know about are sure to be nutritious, some of the best superfoods are of the raw and vegan variety.

So, why should you eat uncooked food? Well, when you eat the top superfoods raw, you can be sure that they have all the vitamins and nutrients possible. Often enough, the cooking process means that you lose some of the food’s nutritional value. Whenever possible, it’s worth trying to eat the freshest possible food and not cooking it too much – that’s exactly what raw vegan food is.

The Benefits of Raw Vegan Food

But wait, why should you eat raw vegan food, anyway? Well, for one thing, some studies show that choosing to eat raw fruit and vegetables can have a wealth of benefits such as boosting your mental well-being.[1] That means that eating vegan and raw food could make you feel happier and healthier.

Experts have also found that there is a link between eating plant-based (i.e. vegan) food and preventing some diseases. For example, some research suggests that eating more raw vegan food can halt the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.[2] What’s more, one of the most exciting pieces of research suggests that eating raw vegan food can reduce your genetic risk of getting heart disease in the long run.[3] It’s win, win, and win again.

The 10 Best Superfoods You Have to Try

1. Sumac Spice

a spoonful of the superfood sumac spice on a table

Looking for a tangy spice to add to your next dish? You might just have found it. Not only is sumac spice an excellent addition to any recipe, but it’s also brimming with benefits that you may not have heard of before now. For example, research shows that it is rich in antibacterial properties and could help to kill off harmful bacteria.[4] As though that weren’t enough, studies claim that it is a “promising source of antioxidants” as well.[5]

One of the first things that you will notice about this superfood is that it tastes a little lemony. For that reason, you can add it to any dish on which you would usually squeeze a little lemon juice to give it some zest. For instance, the spice works remarkably well with fish.

Pro Tip: The next time you’re whipping up a paella, sprinkle a little sumac spice into the mix! The fresh, tangy taste is just perfect!

2. Ceylon Cinnamon

a scoop of ground ceylon cinnamon and cinnamon sticks

You might have heard the hype surrounding cinnamon. For a long time, experts have touted it as one of the best superfoods. It’s true. Research suggests that including this spice in your diet could improve all areas of your general health.[6] However, there’s something you should know.

Not all cinnamon is created equal! Research from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry suggests that cassia cinnamon (i.e. a common strain of the bark, most likely to be found in cinnamon flavoring) is high in coumarin.[7] This additive can have toxic effects and may damage the liver when you consume it in large amounts.

Switching to ceylon cinnamon rather than the cassia variety is a smart move. Ceylon has a smaller amount of coumarin which means that it does not pose a threat to your body. What’s more, studies suggest that this particular type of cinnamon can have some astounding health benefits including the ability to halt the progression of Parkinson’s Disease in its tracks.[8]

One of the simplest ways to add top superfoods like ceylon cinnamon to your diet is to put some in your tea. When you’ve brewed a hot cup of your favorite drink, add a stick of this stuff into the mix. The result will be a delicious beverage high in health benefits.

3. Indian Gooseberries/Amla

superfood indian gooseberries or amla on a table

While they may not be the most popular fruit, there’s a reason why we’ve included Indian gooseberries in our list of the best superfoods. The humble amla (or Indian gooseberry) has been around for generations. Historically, cultures around the globe have used this fruit to cure ailments and to provide a whole host of nutritional benefits. Plus, it is a type of raw vegan food!

Experts suggest that the fruit could be beneficial when it comes to fighting off common colds thanks to its high Vitamin C content.[9]  You can buy Indian gooseberries or amla in powder or fruit form. Using this ingredient to make a healthy drink is an easy way to instantly increase your vitamin intake. The next time you need to boost your immune system, you know what to do.

4. Baobab Fruit

a spoonful of dried baobab fruit in a wooden spoon

While the world is açaí crazy, there’s another exotic fruit that should be included in the list of top superfoods. The baobab fruit is native to Africa and is commonplace in many traditional recipes around the world. However, the truth of the matter is that it’s only now gaining popularity in the western world. It might just be one of the best superfoods, as it’s rich in calcium, fiber, and protein.[10]

Some of the health benefits of including baobab fruit in your diet could include healthy hair and skin, a stronger immune system, and even improved digestion. [11] Should you have problems digesting your food, you might find that including this fruit helps make things easier.

The simplest way to get your hands on this specific ingredient is to get baobab powder, which is available online or from health food stores. You can add this extra to your superfood smoothie for some rather astounding results.

Pro Tip: If you love smoothies, food prepping has to be your secret weapon. Chop a load of fruit and vegetables and keep them in bags in the freezer. When you’re ready to blend up your drink, just grab what you need!

5. Sorghum

sorghum grains in a pile on a white background

Touting more antioxidants than blueberries, according to research from the University of Georgia, you seriously cannot go wrong with sorghum.[12] This grain is one of the best superfoods out there and makes a great alternative to rice or other grains. The research suggests that this particular ingredient could have significant anti-inflammatory activities which will boost your health.

To cook sorghum, you need to place the bran in boiling water for around 40-55 minutes. You can use this food as the base of your meal. Serve it with a stew, curry, or as a salad for a tasty meal that is rich in fiber and protein as well as having loads of antioxidants.

6. Purple Corn 

ears of purple corn on a table with kernels in a wooden spoon

Have you tried purple corn yet? If you haven’t, you could be seriously missing out on one of the top superfoods out there. Research from the American Chemical Society has suggested that the pigments found in purple corn could help to fight obesity.[13]

Plus, animal studies have found that a compound in this superfood could help to fight obesity. [14] Overall, that means that including purple fruit and vegetables like this one in your diet could be a great way to improve your health. Cook purple corn just as you would regular corn and enjoy it as a side dish in your next Mexican-inspired meal.

7. Moringa Powder

superfood moringa powder in a bowl and a spoonful beside it

Could moringa powder take over as one of the best superfoods, stealing the top slot from super greens such as kale, green tea, and matcha? Research suggests that this raw vegan food could be the answer to improving your intestinal health and helping your immune system skyrocket. The study looked at the effects of dehydrated moringa leaves (AKA moringa powder) had when added to animals’ diets.[15] In theory, the results could apply to human diets as well meaning that this powder is one of the best superfoods.

Using this type of powder could not be easier. You can make a delicious smoothie out of some of the top superfoods by combining the powder with honey, lemon juice, and a little water. Mix it all together and drink it down for some seriously healthy results.

8. Cricket Flour

a scoopful of cricket flour on a white background

The notion of eating bugs might be too much to stomach for some people, but experts believe it could be the key to sustainability in the future. One example of this is cricket flour. As the name suggests this type of flour consists of crickets which manufacturers grind up. An article from the Institute of Food Technologies suggests that there’s a variety of reasons to try this alternative.[16]

The experts note that crickets are low in fat, high in protein and other nutrients, and have a nutty, tasty flavor. Eating foods that are high in protein like cricket flour could be linked to a significant boost in cardiovascular health.[17] There’s also evidence to suggest that a high-protein breakfast is a key way to stop you snacking too much in the day. Cricket-flour muffins, anyone?

As though that weren’t enough to make it top of your grocery list, cricket flour is also gluten-free. All of the above means that they could fast become one of the top superfoods on the planet. Oh, and they just so happen to be great for the planet too.

You can get cricket flour online or in specialist stores. As you might expect, you can use it in the place of regular flour. The next time you’re baking a cake or loaf of bread, substitute your regular flour for this option and boost your health. Yum!

9. Ashwagandha

pieces of ashwaganda root surrounding a spoonful of ground ashwaganda

Have you heard of ashwagandha yet? This superfood packs a real punch when it comes to your health. One study found that consuming this herb could help lower blood sugar levels in healthy participants.[18] As though that weren’t enough to get you excited, there’s also been research to suggest that this type of herb has cancer halting properties.[19] There is also evidence to suggest that the herb can help to lower your stress levels too.[20]

Is there nothing that this raw vegan food can’t do? While you can add the herb to any dish, one of the best ways to consume this superfood is to drink it in hot tea. Add a little of the powder directly to your drink and stir it in well.  You can, of course, also add it to a superfood smoothie.

Pro Tip: Keep this herb on your kitchen surface and use it in any dish you happen to make! It works with almost any type of cuisine.

10. Hemp Seeds

close up on a spoonful of hemp seeds on a dark background

You may have heard of chia seeds and flaxseeds, but here’s a super seed that you might know nothing about. Hemp seeds are a powerful source of protein, which makes them one of the top superfoods right off the bat and they are a raw vegan food as well. In fact, more than 25% of this seeds composition is protein-based.[21]

It’s not all about protein, though! In fact, hemp seeds are highly nutritious in a whole host of ways.  There are large quantities of zinc, calcium, and iron found in this particular plant.[22] So, adding it to your daily or weekly diet might not be such a bad idea.

What’s more, experts have linked using hemp seed oil to relieving arthritis and joint pain.[23] Plus, if you’re looking to lose weight, there’s research to suggest that it could curb hunger pangs too.[24] If you’re a fan of salads, you can simply add these seeds to the top of your dish. Give it a go!

best superfoods title card

Conclusion: Action Points to Try

Leading a healthy lifestyle and eating well is not something that happens overnight. Quite the contrary. When you first start out, you might find that you have to work exceptionally hard to adapt your current eating habits. However, when you give it time and start including the best superfoods in your diet, you should find that it has a positive impact on your health. Here are some quick and easy action points:

Make healthy switches

What are superfoods if not healthy, wholesome foods? Overhauling your entire diet may seem drastic but, if you think about it, all you’re really doing is replacing some unhealthy foods with healthier options. One of the easiest things you can do is switch out your staple cooking ingredients for top superfoods instead. For example, you could swap flour with cricket flour or regular sweet corn with purple corn. You will hardly notice these changes in your diet but your body will thank you later.

Add powders and seeds to recipes

You might not have the time to learn brand new recipes, but this next action point couldn’t be easier. Some of the best superfoods we’ve mentioned here come in powder or seed form. Sprinkling a little of them on top of your dish is as easy as pie. It’s also an easy way to boost your nutritional intake on a raw vegan food diet.

Make your own superfood smoothie

red superfood smoothie on white linen and a bunch of pink flowers beside it

Eating healthy can be delicious too. Here’s a superfood smoothie you can try to swap out for your regular sweet treat. Not only is it loaded with the best superfoods from this list, but it is made up of raw vegan food as well.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 T of moringa powder
  • 1 T of agave nectar
  • 1 T hemp seeds

Directions

Blend the frozen fruit and water for a minute or until smooth. Add the agave, hemp seeds, and moringa powder and blend once more. Serve over ice in a tall glass!

Research, research, research

The information we’ve given you here is merely a starting point. If you’re looking for a great way to improve your lifestyle, you need to remember to do your research. The more you read up on food and nutrition, the easier it will be to make healthy choices each day. Simple.

Now that you’ve got the facts, what are you waiting for? Adding the best superfoods to your diet is simple and could have a great impact on your general health. Get started today and invest in some of the top superfoods for your cupboards.

10 best superfoods infographic

Want to learn more about raw vegan food and how to follow a vegan diet? Read our motivational tips here!

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