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The Ultimate Superfood Guide

Superfoods are the most vibrant and nutritionally dense foods on the planet, which have been found to contain profound healing and dietary effects. They have often been used for thousands of years by indigenous people to heal the mind and body, and can be thought of as nature’s medicine. In today’s toxic world, it is essential to include them in your diet for optimal performance, rejuvenation and vitality, so please utilize this accessible guide to determine which foods are right for you.

Superfood Brand
Açaí: Açaí is a small dark purple berry that grows on the açaí palm in the Amazon forest of Brazil. The nutrients come from the pulp and skin of the fruit and tastes like a mix of berries and chocolate. The berry is high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids making it great for supporting the immune system, healthy skin and preventing aging. Sunfood Acai Powder, 8 oz, Organic, Raw, Freeze-dried Navitas Naturals, SAMBAZON and many others.
Agave Nectar: Agave is a natural sweetener produced from the agave cactus native to Mexico. It is produced at low temperatures to protect its natural enzymes. Agave is low on the glycemic index making it a great sweetener for those with blood sugar issues. * Note: you must be careful when purchasing agave because many of the brands on the market are highly refined and highly heated, making it no better than regular fructose sugar. Madhava, Wholesome Sweeteners, Organic Blue  and more.
Apple Cider Vinegar (unpasteurized): Natural (undistilled) organic, raw ACV can really be called one of Mother Nature’s most perfect foods. It is made from fresh, crushed apples which are then allowed to mature naturally in wooden barrels, as wood seems to “boost” the natural fermentation. Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural cleansing and healing elixir due to its high probiotic content and its acidity. Its acidic nature helps promote hydrochloric acid production in the stomach therefore greatly improving any digestive ailments. Furthermore, by improving digestion, it promotes healthy skin, inflammatory levels and metabolic function. Bragg’s Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, Dynamic Health and Spectrum Naturals.
Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is a succulent that contains many healing properties such as soothing the skin and the digestive track. It is the most beneficial nutrient for the skin on the inside and out. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. Aloe Vera is rich in vitamins A, B12, and E, as well we the minerals calcium and magnesium. It is also a source of essential fatty acids and enzymes. Aloe is ideal for any intestinal disorder (chrons, IBS, acid reflux) due to its ability to heal the intestinal lining as well as skin disorders (eczema, rashes, burns). Premier Research Labs Aloe Pro (free of preservatives and additives) and Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Juice.
Baobab Fruit: The African Baobab is an enormous tree bearing fruit that contains many essential nutrients including minerals and Vitamin C. It is rich in antioxidants (650 ORAC/g), calcium, potassium, magnesium as well as fiber (50g/100g). Immunologic Baobab Superfruit Powder
Black Cherry Concentrate: Black cherry concentrate has long been used medicinally not only for its high vitamin C value but also for its ability to promote healthy uric acid levels in the body making it ideal for those dealing with kidney stones, gout and arthritis. It is rich in antioxidants and is an excellent cleanser for the kidneys and liver. Dynamic Health Concentrate, Now Foods, Only Natural and more.
Blue-Green Algae: Blue green algae (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) is one of nature’s most efficient, versatile, and prolific nutritional powerhouses. Algae is the very basis of the entire food chain and is responsible in large part for creating and renewing all life forms. Amazingly, algae contains every vitamin, mineral, and amino acid that the body needs. It is the highest known source of natural vegetable protein (58%) in the world. It contains all the essential amino acids in a perfect balance for the human body, the essential fat, DHA, for brain development, peptides for nerve regeneration, and is 98% assimilable by the body. Blue-Green algae provides energy for life, mental clarity, and increased physical stamina making it essential for all athletes, children and even babies. Source Naturals, Future Biotics, American Health, Klamath and others.
Sprouted Brown Rice Protein: Sprouted brown rice protein contains 83% protein, derived from raw sprouted whole grain brown rice. This highly digestible, hypoallergenic, vegan protein is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential and non-essential amino acids. This form of protein is ideal for lean muscle mass, boosted metabolism and digestive health. It contains a full spectrum of enzymes for controlled blood sugar and slow burning fuel. Sunwarrior Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Source Naturals, Jarrow Formulas and Nutribiotic.
Cacao: Cacao is the purest raw form of chocolate known as the “food of the Gods.” This powerhouse of a bean is one of the highest natural sources of magnesium and antioxidants while being rich in manganese, iron and chromium (great for blood sugar control). Containing Theobromine, cacao enhances mood and brain function. It is ideal for muscle contraction, cardiovascular health, PMS symptoms and energy. Cacao also contains PEA a “love” chemical as well as anandamide- a neurotransmitter of bliss. Navitas Naturals, Tisano, Sunfood and Earth Circle Organics.
Camu Camu: Camu Camu is a small berry-like fruit with purplish red skin and yellow pulp, produced by the camu camu bush of the Amazonian rain forest of Peru. It has the highest Vitamin C content of any plant in the world. Along with its immune boosting properties, it is ideal for adrenal health therefore promoting energy, healthy hormone production, adaptability under stress, normal bowel movements and vein integrity (great for bruise prevention). Navitas Naturals, TerrAmazon, Mamas Camu and others
Carob: Carob powder originates from carob pods, which are a member of the legume family. Carob was first used thousands of years ago and referenced in the bible. It was once believed that John the Baptist sustained himself using the carob bean, so carob is also referred to as St. John’s bread. Carob is an excellent source of calcium, is low in fat, and is said to contain more than three times as much calcium as milk. It contains protein as well as vitamins A, B, B2, B3 and D. It is also high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium and contains iron, manganese, barium, copper and nickel. Additionally, Carob is free of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine, as well as oxalic acid, which prevents the body from using calcium and zinc. Carob is naturally sweet and is a great cacao/chocolate alternative. Barry Farm, Bob’s Red Mill, The Raw Food World, Swanson Organics, Natural Zing One Lucky Duck, Frontier and others.
Cayenne: Cayenne is a red, hot chili pepper that is extremely high in Vitamin A, B complex, and C. It also helps produce hydrochloric acid which acids in digestion and elimination. Capsaicin, found in the cayenne pepper has been proven to kill prostate cancer cells and stop heart attacks. Simply Organic, Indus Organics, Swanson Organics and others.
Chia Seed (Salba): Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and antioxidants. Chia seeds can be used as an oatmeal replacement, pudding or shake thickener. They are also excellent for maintaining normal bowel movements. Navitas Naturals, Nutiva, Bob’s Red Mill and others.
Chlorella: Chlorella is a single celled green algae that is a powerhouse of nutrition. Extremely high in chlorophyll and magnesium, chlorella is the best detoxifier, getting rid of toxins from the skin, liver, brain and other organs. Chlorella is a complete protein source and aids in clear skin, blood sugar balance, mental clarity, balanced digestion, a strengthened immune system and mood stability. NOW Foods, Natural Greens, Mercola and Source Naturals.
Cinnamon: Once revered as more valuable than gold, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have used cinnamon as a superpower used to treat things such as colds, indigestion and cramps. Cinnamon is also believed to improve energy, vitality and circulation while being a great stabilizer of blood sugar levels. McCormick, Kirkland Signature, Frontier, Nature’s Bounty and others.
Coconut Butter/Oil: The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means, “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and face of a monkey. Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut contains anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties making it excellent for immune system stimulation and for topical treatment. It also has the ability to stimulate the thyroid therefore increasing metabolism and aiding in weight loss. Artisana, Nutiva, Nature’s Way, Kevala and others.
Cordyceps (Fungi): Cordyceps, one of the better-known traditional Chinese medicines, consists of the dried fungus Cordyceps sinensis growing on the larva of the caterpillar. It is commonly used in China for the replenishment of general body health due to its ability to strengthen the kidney and adrenal glands. Cordyceps is an adaptogenic herb that can boost the immune system, increase energy and stability, increase oxygen intake through increased lung function, battle fatigue and increase sexual function. Now Foods, Jarrow Formulas, Nature’s Way, Swanson, Planetary Formulas and others.
Durian: Durian is revered as “the King of fruit” in South-East cultures. Durian is decadent and creamy in flavor but has a distinct sulfur-like smell likened to onions. It is a large fruit native to Thailand, with a thorn-covered husk. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as the amino acid tryptophan-which is essential in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being, happiness, and sleep regulation. Furthermore, it is considered an aphrodisiac “When the durians fall, the sarongs fly up.” Fruit King, Siam and Wel-B.
Flaxseed Oil: Flaxseed oil is clear to yellow in color and is produced from cold pressing the dried seeds of the flax plant. This oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which are essential to human health as well as lignans, which are converted to hormone-like substances. Flax oil aids in breast cancer prevention, healthy cholesterol levels, improved joint mobility and heart health. *Note: flaxseeds are high in phytoestrogens which influence hormone balance, therefore, use under guidance. Nature Made, Barlean’s, Jarrow, Foods Alive and others.
Ginko Biloba: Ginko Biloba comes from the Ginko tree located in China, Korea and Japan. It is one of the oldest living species and has been used for hundreds of years to increase sexual energy and promote longevity. Ginko also increases blood flow to the brain resulting in enhanced memory, mental clarity and reduced fatigue. Doctor’s Best, TruNature, NOW Foods, Swanson, and others.
Ginseng: Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb found in only the Northern Hemisphere. Benefiting diabetes and promoting anti-aging, ginseng has been used for thousands of years to improve overall health. This herb has been recommended for enlightenment, increasing energy, reducing stress and preventing illness. Swanson, Nature’s Way, Now Foods and others.
Goji Berry: Goji Berries, also known as Lycium berry, are native to the Himalayan region of China and Tibet. These tiny berries are a complete protein, contain 21 trace minerals and contain more iron than spinach or vitamin C than an orange. They also contain vitamin A, E, and some B while being extremely rich in zeaxanthin, which is excellent for eyesight and polysaccharides, which activate the brain and long-term energy . They are known to stimulate hGH through their therefore promoting vitality, longevity, energy and stamina.
Navitas, Sunfood, Doctor’s Best, Dragon Herbs, Himalania and others.
Goldenberry (Incan berries): Grown in the mineral-rich soils across the Peruvian Andes, sweet and tangy Goldenberries (also known as Incan Berries) help to strengthen your body in times of stress and improve circulation. Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, niacin and phosphorous, Incan Golden Berries also contain pectin, which helps to regulate the flow of food through the digestive tract as well a lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels. Navitas, Kopali, Sistema, Sunfood and others.
Green Tea: Green tea has graduated from the teapot to the medicine chest as science has shown its wide-reaching effectiveness in addressing concerns ranging from sunburn to life-threatening problems. Green tea has shown to not only aid in weight loss, but also is the most efficient nutrient in protecting against radiation damage, especially at the thyroid. Furthermore, it supports healthy tendons and ligaments, stomach function, blood sugar levels and is an extremely potent antioxidant. Bigelow, Choice Organics, Newmans Own, Prince of Peace and more.
Guarana: Derived from a plant native to the Amazon basin, Guarana is a powerful stimulant known to quicken perception, increase metabolism and assist in weight loss. It has also been found to alleviate hangovers. Guarana contains caffeine but does not create the same agitated response since it does not stress the adrenal glands. This is an excellent coffee replacement. Sunfire Superfoods Cold-Pressed Organic Guarana Powder, Swanson premium
Hemp Seeds: Among the most nutritionally complete food sources, hemp seeds contain all the essential fatty acids and amino acids necessary for basic well-being. This power food contains more omega-3s and omega-6s than any other nut or seed source, and is abundant in Vitamin E. It also contains dietary fiber and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. They make a great source of vegan protein since they contain all 10 essential amino acids. Good n Natural, Source Naturals, Natrol and others.
Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented, enzyme and probiotic-rich tea that originated in Ancient China. Considered an “Elixir of Immortality,” Kombucha was once a beverage of the Samurai and is still widely used in Japan. It is a powerful digestive aid, detoxifier, and promotes strong immunity. Kombucha wonder drink and Kombucha Brooklyn Homebrew Kit.
Lecithin: Lecithin is a great source of the nutrient choline, which is vital for brain function and development especially in children. Lecithin is also important for healthy cholesterol levels because it breaks up cholesterol in the body and supports liver health. It also contains key unsaturated fatty acid phosphatidyl complexes for optimal organ health, including brain, heart, kidneys and cellular membranes. Lecithin also contains inositol, which can aid in fat burning. *Note: Make sure to purchase only non-GMO soy lecithin or better yet lecithin from sunflower seeds. Thompson Lecithin Granules, Now Foods, Bob’s Red Mill Granules, Nature’s Bounty.
Lucuma: Lucuma is a delicious fruit, native to the Andes, that has been enjoyed for thousands of years for its nutritional content as well as its creamy flavor. Lucuma contains healthy doses of fiber, vitamins and minerals and is especially high in beta carotene, iron and niacin (vitamin B3). Lucuma is an excellent addition to smoothies, ice cream and other raw desserts. Navitas and Andean Treasures
Maca: Maca is native to the high Andes of Peru and is a powerful adaptogen that works with the body to stabilize hormones and increase libido, energy, increasing oxygen uptake and endurance. Maca root also posses natural means of improving sexual performance and has been referred to as “Nature’s Viagra.” Excellent for correcting hormonal imbalances (PMS and Menopause). Natural Arts Maca Powder, Peruvian Naturals, Navitas, Sunfood, Nature’s Way and others.
MSM Sulfur: MSM (Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane) is a naturally occurring form of dietary sulfur found in fresh, raw foods and rainwater. Sulfur is a vital mineral that is needed by the body for normal structure and function. It makes up the protein and connective tissue that comprises our body mass, assists enzymes in performing chemical reactions, and protects us from oxidative stress and harmful effects of toxicity. It has been proven to assist in collagen production therefore aiding in pain relief for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. MSM can also be beneficial for beautifying hair, skin and nails. Jarrow, Doctor’s Best, Dr. Mercola and others.
Maquí: This powerful purple berry native to the Patagonia region of Chile has been named the “new Superberry” with a 616 ORAC value eight times higher than any food on the market. They have been traditionally used by the Mapuche Indians to treat chronic diseases due to its high antioxidant value, as well as fight fatigue and increase stamina. Navitas, Natrol, Maqui, Sunfood, Dynamic Health and more.
Mesquite: Mesquite is a leguminous tree that makes its home in some of the driest climates on Earth. Mesquite is a traditional Native American food that has been used for centuries as a reliable source of nutrients in the harshest of climates. Mesquite boasts an impressive protein content and a solid variety of minerals, being especially high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sulfur. Mesquite’s combination of calcium and magnesium make it a great food for bone health. It has a molasses like flavor making it excellent for smoothies and raw desserts. Raw Food World, Sunfood and Weber,
Mulberry: Raw mulberries are succulent, tart, chewy sun-dried berries that originate from deciduous trees in a Turkish village. They come from fast-growing trees that reach about 35 feet tall. Mulberries are an amazing source of Vitamin C, iron, and calcium and fiber, and protein as well as B vitamins and Vitamin K. Mulberries are also high in a longevity antioxidant called resveratrol, which is found in the skin of red grapes and red wine. Navitas, Swanson, Natural Factors, Angelina’s Gourmet and more.
Noni: Noni is a tall evergreen and flowering tree shrub that is part of the coffee family. Every part of the plant is usable. Noni can be used to alleviate inflammation, relieve constipation as well as aid in healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Noni can also be used to increase mood especially with symptoms of depression. Doctor’s Best, Agro Labs, Dynamic Health, Healing Noni and others.
Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional Yeast is THE food for vegetarians and vegans as it is rich in protein, B vitamins including B12. With its natural cheesy taste it is an excellent addition to all meals. It contains glutathione, used for detoxification, GTF (glucose tolerance factor) for blood sugar control, Beta Glucans for immune health, BCAA’s for amino acid synthesis, trace minerals and pre-biotics for gut health. Red Star, Now Foods, Kai, Bragg and others.
Pomegranate: Pomegranate is a delicious antioxidant rich fruit that has been the basis of traditional Indian health remedies. Rich in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants, research has shown it to be helpful in the prevention of breast, lung and prostate cancer. It also may assist in lowering blood pressure, regulating cholesterol and reducing plaque in arteries. Source Naturals, Nature’s Way, Pomegranate, Life Extension and others.
Reishi Mushroom: Reishi is unrivaled in its long history as one of the most powerful herbs to help ensure a long, healthy life. In fact, in China and other Eastern societies, the Reishi mushroom is the most widely used symbol of longevity. Reishi can be used to build physical resistance to disease and to treat a wide range of aliments, including liver disease, hepatitis, autoimmune disorders, allergies, depression, and even cancer. It is most widely used to regenerate liver tissue as well as act as an anti-infective in the liver. Nature’s Way, Solaray, Fungo Perfecti, Swanson, Starwest and others.
Rooibos Tea: Rooibos tea from the Cape in South Africa is famous for its concentration of antioxidants and polyphenols. It is naturally caffeine-free and low in tannins so you can drink it all day. Rooibos is also excellent for boosting glutathione levels, which is the most important antioxidant because it is within the cell, and it is in prime position to neutralize free radicals. Furthermore, glutathione promotes efficient liver detoxification making it essential for toxin elimination from the body. Davidson’s, Choice Organic, Numi, Twinings, Swansea and others.
Sea Salt, Unheated and Unrefined: Salt is essential for life and was once the most valued commodity on earth. Unheated sea salt is entirely different than table salt in that it essential to health because it contains essential minerals. Common table salt lacks minerals and trace elements because it is purified and refined, leaving only sodium and chloride. After refining, common table salt is mixed with iodine, bleaching agents and anti-caking chemicals to create a stark white, free flowing product. Unheated sea salt is needed for every function in the body including hydration, kidney, lymph and cardiovascular health, fluid balance, and hydrochloric acid production needed for digestion. Celtic, Selena, Real Salt, Spice Lab and others.
Spirulina: A cyanobacteria once coveted by the Aztec, spirulina is now considered once of the most nutritious food sources known to man. Once called “the best food for the future” by the United Nations World Food Conference, this blue-green algae is a complete protein rich in B vitamins and has been reported to help correct anemia, reduce radioactive damage and lower cholesterol. Now Foods, NuSci, Starwest Botanicals, Sotru, Earthrise Nutritional, Earth Circle Organics and others.
Tocotrieniols (stabilized rice bran): A member of the vitamin E family and an essential vitamin, Tocotrienols have high antioxidant properties, sweeping the body of free radicals. Tocotrienols are essential for cellular health by increasing cellular energy, maintaining healthy cell membranes, repairing DNA and aid in enzyme production. Rice Bran contains all 7 components of Vitamin E Complex, CoQ-10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Glutathioine, Vitamin B Complex, Antioxidants, Carotenoids, Essential Amino Acids, Essential Fatty Acids, Enzymes, Phospholipids, Polysaccharides and more. Rice bran has also shown to relieve blood sugar imbalances. Bob’s Red Mill, Now Foods, Nutrabio and others.
Tomato Concentrate: The simple tomato has gained a stellar reputation due to the discovery of a carotenoid called lycopene, a health promoting phytochemical that gives the tomato its red color. In the body, lycopene acts like a powerful antioxidant, helping to scavenge and neutralize harmful free radicals that can accelerate aging and cause disease. Tomato concentrate has been shown to prevent prostate and lung cancer. Mutti and Bonide.
Turmeric: Turmeric root has long been used in ancient Chinese and Indian health systems as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory properties and has been effective in treating weak bones, soothing menstrual difficulties and bruises as well as aiding in digestive relief. Studies have also shown it to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and be effective in pain relief in arthritis. Swanson, Nature’s Way.
Wheatgrass: An unprecedented alkalizing and detoxifying green, wheatgrass deeply cleanses the blood, organ and lymph system. One ounce of wheatgrass has the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of green vegetables in nutritional value. It is a powerful thyroid stimulator, correcting obesity and reducing acidity in the body. Due to its remarkable similarity to our own blood composition, regular consumption has tremendous anti-aging benefits. Amazing Grass, Navitas, Starwest, Tribest and others.
Yerba Maté: Yerba Maté is made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the South American holly tree. It is both nutritious and stimulating, possessing the same health chemicals found in chocolate and coffee. Unlike coffee, yerba is not acid forming and does not cause anxiety or a “crash.” Along with boosting energy, yerba increases mental clarity, focus through its rich content of potassium, magnesium, amino acids and antioxidants. Guayaki and Eco Teas.

Image Source: Inao Vásquez/Flickr

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17 comments on “The Ultimate Superfood Guide”

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Jolynn Oblak
4 Days ago

Great article. I drink pure Aloe Vera daily and can attest to it's value. If anyone is looking for high quality pure Aloe, stop by www.facebook.com/jolynnlovesaloe


Reply
Eat to Live Recipes
4 Days ago

What happened to the basics like apples, bananas, spinach, etc? Does a food have to be hard to find and expensive to qualify as a "superfood"?


Reply
Karla Simon-Emery
4 Days ago

Grace V Sinclair


Reply
Rebecca Gomez
4 Days ago

great information


Reply
Neal Priest
4 Days ago

JK!! haha! There are none!


Reply
Neal Priest
4 Days ago

Where are all the ANIMAL superfoods?


Reply
Marius Bachke
20 Apr 2014

HAHA, There are none !!! get Vegucated :)

Lily Mauger
4 Days ago

Great info..


Reply
owen
10 Months Ago

Where is moringa? It's one of the most nutritious plants in the world.


Reply
Amanda
1 Years Ago

Even though I see there is an added "*note," I still definitely don't agree that Agave should be on this list. It is no better than HFCS. Raw honey and organic Vermont maple syrup are the only sweeteners, aside from fruit, that I'll use.


Reply
Alex
1 Years Ago

This is THE best article I have ever found on superfoods ever. A complete list with plenty of nutritional details. Thank you so much, Laura, for a great informational article.


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