Maca! Spirulina! Moringa! Are these words even real?
Trick question. Of course the answer is yes. But even if you’ve heard of these before, sometimes it can be hard to tell which ones are best for you, worth your buck, or just taste good with certain food / smoothie combinations. Besides, who has time to Google all of them?
So – anyone who’s ever been overwhelmed walking through the aisles of Whole Foods or walking into your local juicery, this is for you. Here’s your guide to the top superfoods – with this handy, you can order your smoothie with all the superfoods to your heart’s desire, with full knowledge of their benefits.
Maca is a superfood that’s relatively new to me, but I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s a Peruvian root that is often sold ground up into powder. Not only does it have a myriad of benefits for women, but also contains natural plant-based protein and fiber.
Taste: Butterscotch-y and nutty
Typical Form: Powder
This blue-green algae has a more common name: “pond scum.” But before you get freaked out by that, know that people have been eating spirulina for years and enjoying its health benefits – it’s known as “the most nutrient dense food on the planet” since it’s high in protein, vitamin B1, calcium, and iron.
Taste: Slightly grassy
Typical Form: Powder or capsules
Uses: Mix into smoothies or with yogurt (there’s a “mermaid toast” trend that’s going on right now!).
Collagen is naturally found in our bodies and makes our skin look smooth and our hair look shiny. You may know it as gelatin (the solidified version). Not only does it make us look younger, but is also a good source of protein and can replace your protein powder.
Typical Form: Powder
Uses: Use in smoothies, pancakes, bulletproof coffee / tea.
Not to be confused with cocao (think Hershey’s), cacao is the “superfood” version of your traditional cocoa powder. The difference between the two is how they are processed – cacao is raw, while cocoa undergoes processing under high temperatures.
Benefits: Improve memory, act as an aphrodisiac, balance mood swings, combat fatigue
Typical Form: Powder, nibs, or butter.
Uses: Use it in baked goods, smoothies, energy balls, or as a replacement for your store-bought hot chocolate mix.
Benefits: Unclog sinuses, rev up your metabolism, improve circulation
Typical form: Powder or whole pepper
Uses: Use it to spice up your cooking: curries, stir fries, sprinkled on top of any dish, hot chocolate, etc.
This age-old herbal remedy is also commonly used in many Eastern dishes – for me, growing up in a Chinese household, it was a staple. It’s also used in traditional Eastern medicine.
Benefits: Digestive relief, immune support, fever reductant
Taste: Pungent, spicy
Typical form: Fresh (whole root), powder, juice
Uses: Make homemade ginger tea to soothe digestion, add some to green smoothies for a spicy kick, add to stir fries or curries
Wheatgrass is a type of cereal grass – its cousins are barley grass, oats, and rye. It’s nutrient-packed and delivers the benefits of chlorophyll, but 10/10 do not recommend eating it by itself.
Benefits: High in antioxidants, detoxifying properties, helps with digestion
Typical form: Juice, powder, whole grass
Uses: Add to green juice or green smoothies, take a shot of it
I thought this was going to be the hottest new superfood way back in 2015, but it turns out it took two whole years for moringa to take hold. It’s basically dried leaf powder from Africa that is high in antioxidants and different types of amino acids.
Benefits: Gives you an energy boost, can treat cancer and arthritis
Typical form: Powder
Uses: Add to smoothies
Ch-ch-chia! Ever heard of chia pets? Well, these seeds are what they use to grow chia pets’ green hair. Beyond making for a fabulous toy, chia seeds are also popular among vegetarians and those looking to lose weight because of their high protein profile and high fiber content – they expand when in liquid, making you feel fuller.
Benefits: High in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, relatively high in protein
Typical form: Whole seeds, powder
Uses: Make chia pudding, add to drinks (smoothies, juices, kombucha) to thicken them and make them more filling
Like their cousin, chia seeds, flaxseeds have the propensity to grow when soaked in water. They work well to thicken and bind anything they’re added to, making your food more filling.
Taste: Slightly nutty
Typical form: Whole seeds, powder (ground up), milk, oil
Uses: Make a vegan egg substitute (flax egg), add 1-2 tbsp to smoothies to make it thicker
Long a staple in Indian curries, turmeric has recently gained popularity by way of “golden milk” (a warming combination of turmeric, nondairy milk, cinnamon, and other warming spices). It’s mainly known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Benefits: May help prevent cancer and heart disease, acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, calm stomachaches and heartburn
Taste: Pungent, slightly bitter
Typical form: Fresh (whole root), powder
Uses: Make golden milk before bed, add to hot drinks, oatmeal, curries, and eggs, combine with coconut oil to roast vegetables (sweet potatoes especially)
PS. You can find many of these superfoods on The Juicery’s menu – ask your Juicery staff member which they recommend.