Superfoods are extremely high in micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All of these nutrients are essential to your health. Here are the 5 best superfoods that we have found that you should be eating in 2020.
Moringa – Reduces Tiredness and Fatigue, Promotes Muscle Growth & Enhances Skin
Moringa powder is a natural powder made from the dried leaf of the Moringa ‘Miracle’ Tree and is a rich source of protein, fibre, antioxidants, and essential vitamins such as iron, amino acids, calcium, and vitamins A, E & K (1). These nutrients support a wide range of health benefits, including reduction of tiredness & fatigue, muscle growth, healthy skin, and immune function.
In regards to muscle growth and fitness, moringa powder is fantastic. The leaf contains 9 essential amino acids making it a complete source of protein (2), perfect for those looking to up their protein intake to support muscle growth and maintenance of muscle mass, and for people who may not be getting enough protein in their diet (3).
Within the UK, 1 in 5 people feel unusually tired, and 1 in 10 experience prolonged fatigue. This may be due to lack of iron or vitamin A. Iron is essential for the reduction of tiredness and fatigue in the body, and vitamin A supports the metabolism of iron ensuring a greater uptake. A study conducted in 2016 on the antioxidant and anti-fatigue properties of the moringa leaf revealed that taking moringa significantly enhanced energy and performance by naturally increasing the use of the body’s energy reserves – making it a perfect pick me up during feeling of tiredness (4).
Furthermore, as moringa powder is jam-packed with the skin-loving vitamin A (reduces wrinkles and promotes glowing skin) and vitamin E (protects cells from sun damage), making it a good addition to the diet, and a brilliant food source for healthy radiant skin. Moreover, moringa also has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food. Antioxidants are essential for protecting, repairing, preventing cell damage, and minimising the aging process of the skin in the long-term (5).
Cacao – Boosts Mood & Improves Performance
There have been numerous studies that have been conducted on the health benefits of cacao powder, and the link to our mental health (6). These studies suggest that eating cacao can help reduce anxiety, positively affect mood, and relieve symptoms of depression (7). This is because cacao contains anandamide and tryptophan, both of which are natural mood boosters (8) (9). It is also a good source of magnesium and potassium, both of which are essential for normal psychological function, reducing tiredness and fatigue, and the running of the nervous system (10).
In terms of weight loss and fitness, maintaining a good flow of oxygen to all our organs, muscles and tissues is key to athletic performance and post-workout recovery. Cacao powder has been proven to support muscle recovery by improving blood flow to the organs, muscles, and tissues (11). This is because cacao is high in magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, beta-carotene, and omega 6 fatty acids, which are essential for your body to performs at its peak, as well as being rich in electrolytes which support muscle recovery (12).
Baobab – Slow Energy Release, Radiant Skin, & Aids in Digestion
Baobab has extremely high antioxidant content, especially vitamin C which is vital for cell protection, regeneration, as well as supports collagen formation – helping to give you radiant, glowing skin as well as preventing wrinkles. In fact, Baobab has 10 times more vitamin C than oranges, as well as twice as much calcium as milk, and 20 times the antioxidants of green tea and more than blueberries and pomegranates combined (13)(14).
Vitamin C also contributes to steady energy release in the body. Slow and steady energy release sustains us for longer periods of time and prevents us from suddenly feeling tired. Therefore, it helps the reduction of tiredness and fatigue as well as supports normal energy-yielding metabolism. Furthermore, studies have suggested that baobab has a positive effect on reducing hunger, and as well as having a positive effect on weight maintenance (15).
Baobab powder is almost 50% fibre (both soluble and insoluble), it is good for those who usually suffer from digestive problems such as bloating and constipation, as it stimulates the growth and activity of beneficial microflora keeping your bowels healthy and preventing digestive problems.
Hibiscus – Promotes Weight Loss, and Lowers Fat Levels
The secret to healthy weight loss can be found in this delicious superfood! Studies have found that Hibiscus has been extremely effective at reducing obesity, abdominal fat, and serum-free fatty acids (16). In a recent study, people with high BMIs were instructed to take hibiscus extract over the course of 12 weeks. The results of the study found that they had lost weight, decreased their BMI, decreased body fat, and improved their waist-to-hip ratio (17). These results suggest that hibiscus extract may help prevent obesity, assist in weight loss, and help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver.
Similar to the rest of the superfoods noted above, hibiscus tea is loaded with antioxidants and could be helpful in reducing oxidative stress in the body. Hibiscus tea contains two antioxidants: anthocyanins (powerful compounds may help prevent cardiovascular disease, and cancer and boost cognitive function) and quercetin glucoside (a compound that may help fight viruses and inflammation in the body) (18). In fact, hibiscus tea has a higher ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity – a lab test that quantifies the total antioxidant capacity of a food or food substance), than matcha.
Turmeric – Reduces Inflammation & Helps Prevents Chronic Illnesses
Turmeric is known for its powerful medicinal properties. The main active ingredient, curcumin, has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, it has been found to be so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects (19). Inflammation is incredibly important as it helps your body fight foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses and also repairs the damage. Although some inflammation is beneficial in fighting infections and pathogens, only short-term inflammation is beneficial, and it can become a major problem when it becomes long-term. Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation like curcumin in turmeric is important in preventing and treating diseases.
How to use it
The common form that these superfoods are consumed is in powder form. You can blend the powders with smoothies, add them to porridge, or add them to your pancake batter for nutritious pancakes. Alternatively, you can indulge in an energy bar for a quick on the go snack. There are also various teas on the market.
Shop for Moringa, Cacao, & Baobab powders here
Shop for energy bars here
Shop for teas here