It’s no secret that getting enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your daily diet is a key component of overall health. Not only can a well-rounded diet help protect against nutrient deficiencies, but it can also optimize energy levels, fight infections and keep you feeling your absolute best.
Throwing a few superfoods into the mix is one of the easiest ways to get in the essential nutrients that your body needs with minimal effort required. These incredible ingredients go above and beyond to supply you with a megadose of vitamins and minerals that can help heighten your health.
But with new superfoods entering the health and fitness circuit on a near-constant basis these days, it’s hard to know which ones actually live up to the hype and are worth your investment. Here are six of the latest superfoods that are worth stocking up on, plus why you may want to consider incorporating them into your daily routine.
Well-known for its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, turmeric is a powerful spice that should be a staple in every kitchen pantry. This is thanks to the presence of curcumin, a chemical that supplies a punch of color to turmeric and boasts a wide variety of benefits, ranging from better blood sugar control to enhanced mental health (1, 2).
Turmeric can add a burst of flavor and color to your favorite recipes and works especially well with roasted veggies, scrambled eggs, soups and stir-fry meals. Be sure to pair it with a dash of black pepper as well, as the pepper contains a compound that has been shown to boost curcumin absorption by up to 2,000 percent! (3)
Although it’s only recently entered the spotlight as a superstar supplement, bone broth has been used and enjoyed around the world for thousands of years. Made from various parts of animals simmered together with veggies, vinegar, herbs and spices, bone broth is rich in trace minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and collagen. And thanks to its stellar nutrient profile, bone broth can help improve skin health, fight leaky gut and relieve joint pain. (4, 5, 6)
Now that protein powder made from bone broth is available in a wide variety of flavors — both sweet and savory — there are plenty of options for making it a regular part of your diet. To get started, try adding a scoop to smoothies, mixing it into your pancakes or using it to bump up the benefits of your favorite baked goods.
Comprising about 30 percent of all proteins in the body, collagen is absolutely essential to the health of your skin, hair, nails, bones and joints. Unfortunately, as you get older, collagen production begins to decline, resulting in symptoms like saggy skin, wrinkles and muscle aches. Adding a collagen supplement into your routine is a simple way to slow the effects of this aging process, while also reaping the multitude of other benefits that collagen has to offer, including improved heart health and an increased metabolism.
Try giving your morning coffee a major upgrade by mixing in a hearty scoop of collagen, which can also be swapped in for protein powder in your post-workout drink or added to soups and smoothies to bring the potential health benefits to the next level.
As a staple ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, cordyceps have long been revered for their extensive list of health-promoting properties. You may be surprised by the many health benefits of mushrooms, but these are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and have even been shown to boost immunity and block tumor growth. And the benefits don’t stop there; research also suggests that cordyceps may stabilize blood sugar, fight fatigue and help protect the kidney and liver against damage. (7)
Cordycep capsules, powders and tablets are now widely available at many health food stores and online retailers, making it easier than ever to squeeze in your daily dose. To maximize the health benefits of this powerful medicinal mushroom, try adding it to soups and stews for an extra punch of both flavor and nutrients.
Originally hailing from the Andes Mountains in Peru, maca root is a cruciferous vegetable that packs in a wealth of potential health benefits. Not only is it loaded with antioxidants to protect against chronic disease and cell damage, but it’s also been shown to improve sexual function, reduce blood sugar, enhance heart health and boost energy levels. (8) Plus, it’s also considered an adaptogen, meaning it can help keep your body in balance and increase your tolerance to stress.
Maca can be conveniently found in powder, extract, capsule or liquid form. With its warm, nutty flavor, maca can add a subtle hint of sweetness to oatmeal or cereal. It’s also easy to add to shakes and smoothies to really reap its superfood rewards.
Next time you start feeling a bit under the weather, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re stocked up on this powerful medicinal plant. Rich in vitamin C and immune-boosting anthocyanins, elderberry extract has been shown to be effective at decreasing the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms like fever, headaches and nasal congestion. (9) And as if that’s not impressive enough, elderberry has even been shown to block bacterial growth and fight cancer formation. (10, 11)
Elderberry supplements are an easy way to take advantage of the unique benefits that this plant has to offer. Look for fermented varieties derived from organic elderberries to really maximize the potential health benefits of this powerful plant.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He recently authored Eat Dirt and Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, and he operates one of the world’s largest natural health websites at DrAxe.com.
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