Superfood powders are the add-ins that make your diet super awesome
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
We now know that good nutrition is the fundamental building block for a healthy body. But to be clear from the start: the most super way to add body-benefitting foods to your diet is through items that you chew. Still, there’s no reason to stop there when it comes to boosting your nutrition. So-called “superfood powders” are essentially plant-based powders made by grinding up whole leaves, fruits, or seeds that have been identified for their high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants that can support good health. Although it may seem like a new trend to add matcha and turmeric to a wellness routine (just take a look at your Insta feed) these plants have been used by various cultures for generations because of their tried-and-true medicinal properties. Since it’s so easy to add powders to everything from soups to smoothies, think of them as a convenient way to bolster the nutrition of items you’re already eating. Start with these recipes that prove just how delicious it can be to catch some powder.
Power powders Acai Nutrition boost: Native to the Amazonian rainforest, this sweet-tart blueberry-sized fruit has off-the-chart antioxidant levels, which may give it cancer-fighting, immune-boosting efficacy. Eat more: Stir into yogurt, add to jams and jellies, or use in chocolate desserts such as puddings.
Beet Nutrition boost: The bounty of naturally occurring nitrates in the flushed powder may help keep blood pressure numbers from boiling over. Eat more: Add to smoothies, dips, yogurt, salad dressings, soups, and baked goods such as brownies.
Cacao Nutrition boost: Not only is the dark delight a source of dietary fibre (surprise!), it also offers up high amounts of flavanol antioxidants that appear to enhance vascular function for better heart functioning. Eat more: Beyond desserts and smoothies, a tablespoon or two can add depth of flavour to a pot of chili or a spice rub mix for chicken, pork, or steak.
Camu camu Nutrition boost: This pucker-inducing Amazonian fruit is one of nature’s greatest sources of vitamin C, a nutrient linked to a lower risk of suffering a stroke. Eat more: It can add a tangy citrus flavour to popsicles, smoothies, yogurt, and even salad dressings.
Flax Nutrition boost: Flax’s top-tier nutritional resume includes lofty amounts of omega-3 fat, soluble fibre, and phytochemical lignans, all of which contribute to its ability to improve cholesterol numbers and tamp down inflammation for better heart health. Eat more: Stir into oatmeal, add to homemade energy bars and balls, sprinkle on roasted vegetables, or use instead of bread crumbs in recipes such as meatloaf.
Hemp Nutrition boost: Made by finely grinding nutrient-dense hempseeds, hemp powder supplies high quality plant-based protein, fibre, and essential omega fatty acids. Eat more: Stir into a pot of simmering oatmeal, blitz into smoothies, and use in place of some of the flour in muffin and pancake recipes.
Matcha Nutrition boost: Made by grinding up Japanese green tea leaves, this supercharged tea powder can contain significantly more antioxidant firepower than regular tea. And its stress-busting amino acid L-theanine can help bring focus and calm to your life. Eat more: Beyond brewed tea and lattes, use in recipes for cookies, ice cream, energy balls, smoothies, and pancakes.
Moringa Nutrition boost: Native to North India, the ground-up leaves of the moringa tree are a source of immune-friendly phytochemicals along with a range of essential nutrients, including iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. Eat more: Blend into puréed soups, smoothies, and dips, and whisk into salad dressings.
Mushroom Nutrition boost: Bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides in functional fungi including cordyceps, lion’s mane, reishi, and chaga may improve brain functioning and reduce the risk for certain cancers. Eat more: Dissolve a teaspoon with hot water for an umami tea, blend into dips, stir into soups, and sprinkle over pasta dishes. Also, mix some into coffee to perk up your morning java.
Turmeric Nutrition boost: Curcumin, the compound that lends turmeric its golden hue, appears to pack a serious anti-inflammatory punch for better health. Eat more: Use for soothing golden milk, add to sauces for meats such as salmon, whisk into a pot of simmering grains such as quinoa or rice, and add to scrambled eggs.
Cream of the crop There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing superfood powders: