The BoKU Beginners Guide To Superfoods: What Are They & Which Ones Are The Best?
Savvy marketers slap the label “superfood” on nearly every item you can find in the supermarket, hoping the claim will compel shoppers to add it to their cart. Superfood potato chips? Yup. That’s a thing.
But what is a legitimate superfood?
In this article, we’ll explore the following:
- The definition of a superfood
- Categories of superfoods
- Examples of common superfoods
- Examples of rare, exotic superfoods
- How are superfood powders created?
- Superfood and green powders: the good, the bad and the ugly
- The easiest way to consume multiple organic superfoods in one sitting
What Is A Superfood?
When most people think of superfoods, fruits and vegetables come to mind. And for good reason. Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and micronutrients (trace minerals). But the world of superfoods encompasses far more than the produce you can get from your local farmer’s market.
Some consider certain animal-derived foods to be superfoods like wild salmon, but at Boku, we focus exclusively on plant-based sources. We’ll take a look at other superfood categories in the next section. For now, though, let’s get back to answering the question, “What makes a superfood a Super Food?”
Yes, it’s the vitamins and minerals. But there’s far more to the story than what the nutrition label reveals.
For instance, everybody knows that broccoli is a superfood. According to the nutrition facts label for chopped broccoli, one cup provides 135% vitamin C and 11% vitamin A.
Those two nutrients are alone worth it to listen to your mom and finish your broccoli. There’s also a little bit of protein, calcium and iron.
But the thing that makes superfoods super that’s not listed on the nutrition facts label (or the ingredients label of a product that includes broccoli) is what’s called phytochemicals.
There are thousands of phyto- (phyto is Greek for plant) chemicals—also known as phytonutrients—in a single plant. These natural compounds, generally speaking, help defend plants from fungi, bacteria, viruses and hungry insects.
These same natural chemicals that protect plants help protect us, too.
They support our immune system, hormonal balance, mood, and play a significant role in maintaining homeostasis.
When your body is in a state of homeostasis, you don’t just feel ok, you feel great: your energy is rock-steady all day, you feel calm yet laser-focused, you have abundant energy and you’re in good spirits.
That’s why eating plants rocks! But if you want to look and feel your best, you shouldn’t merely be content with eating a plant-based diet.
To repeat: plant-based diets may not improve your health!
After all, wheat is a plant. So is corn. Rice also comes from a plant. (Technically, the rice plant is a grass, but let’s not split hairs.)
Eating lots of heavily-processed and genetically-modified grains, which come from plants and unfortunately form the basis of much of the food supply in the west, can contribute to health problems.
Instead, you need to eat a superfood-based diet to feel amazing every day!
In short, superfoods deliver the most impressive amount of nutrients and phytochemicals that you won’t see on the nutrition facts label—in the fewest amount of calories possible.
Types of Superfoods: More Than Fruits and Veggies
Finally, for the thousandth time, the advice to eat lots of leafy, green veggies has sunken in. But you don’t particularly like spinach or kale not to mention that you have no time to cook healthy recipes. So you research super greens powder and consider buying one online.
Before you make that purchase, however, consider that there’s way more to superfoods than leafy green veggies.
The best superfood powders contain not just super greens but several other superfood categories that offer maximum nutritional density with relatively few calories.
In addition to fruits and veggies, superfoods also come from:
- Pods (ex: Mesquite, Vanilla Bean, Cacao)
You should strive to include as many whole-food sources of superfoods in your diet every single day for optimal health.
That’s because the more diverse your superfood intake is, the more you are supporting your well-being. Remember: the nutrition label doesn’t tell you all the different types of antioxidants that plants possess.
You may be familiar with the term “polyphenols.” Polyphenols are a specific subset of antioxidants. Flavonoid compounds such as quercetin, catechins, anthocyanin are examples of polyphenols.
Each polyphenol and other type of antioxidant serves a different function. This is why it is so important to consume a wide variety of superfoods and not just one or two leafy greens.
So if you’re looking for the best superfood powder to make it easier to consume a wide variety of antioxidants, look for one that includes not just super greens but also the categories listed above.
List Of Best Superfoods (That You’ve Already Heard Of)
Let’s scratch broccoli off the list. We’ve already covered that one :)
Other examples of green, leafy veggies or cruciferous veggies that you should be including in your diet include: spinach, kale, cabbage, parsley, and cauliflower.
Sprouts were included as a category of superfood above. Technically, sprouts are plants, baby plants to be more precise.
But the reason sprouts deserve to be in a category all their own is because they are often times more nutrient rich than their grown-up counterparts. Sprouts are also richer in fiber, which may support your digestion and elimination.
Sprouts from flax, pumpkin, and red clover, along with leafy and cruciferous greens, are some of the most nutrient-dense in the world.
But if there’s one superfood that’s arguably the most popular it’s spirulina. Spirulina is a blue-green algae with an incredible phytonutrient profile. It’s an excellent source of the red-blood-cell builder and oxygen-booster, chlorophyll. Spirulina also contains essential fatty acids.
Spirulina supports normal inflammation levels and is an excellent source of antioxidants. Many people are surprised to learn that spirulina powder is an excellent source of protein.
Some people consider spirulina to be, ounce for ounce, the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Is it the best superfood on Earth? It’s definitely in the running. Chlorella and kelp are also examples of super algae.
Another superfood you’ve heard of is raw cacao. The raw ingredient in chocolate, cacao powder comes from the seed of a pod.
Containing the natural compound phenethylamine, cacao triggers the release of endorphins and mood-supporting neurochemicals in the brain.
No wonder we feel so happy eating chocolate! Cacao can support libido and overall energy.
Beets, avocados, blueberries, cranberry, tart cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, swiss chard, dandelion greens, onions, garlic, turmeric, ginger, walnuts and green tea are other examples of superfoods you already are familiar with.
Best Exotic Superfoods (Good Luck Finding These In The Supermarket)
But what about all the strange sounding ingredients that make the world of superfoods so exciting?
Speaking of libido, maca root is a superfood that has become wildly popular in recent years. Native to the high Andes in Peru, maca root is an adaptogen, or adaptogenic herb.
Maca root has received a lot of attention lately because of its energy-supporting properties.
Adaptogenic herbs are plants that many natural health experts believe are the very cream of the crop of medicinal plants. Adaptogens help regulate the body’s response to stress.
If you’re stressed out, you likely won’t be in the mood or have the energy to get between the sheets. Adaptogens normalize the production of stress hormones in the body.
Edible adaptogenic herbs should be at the top of everybody’s superfood list. Other adaptogenic superfoods include: acai berries, goji berries and edible mushrooms, including reishi, cordyceps, chaga, turkey tail and Lion’s mane.
We are bombarded by physical, mental, and environmental stress every day. If you’re considering buying a superfood powder, make sure it’s jam packed with adaptogens!
And when it comes to fruit, there’s far more to superfoods than berries. Acai and goji berries are examples of exotic superfruits.
Both acai and goji berries have been used for thousands of years in the Far East to support health in many ways.
Acai berries are considered the ultimate anti-aging fruit. Goji berries, meanwhile, supports vision and eye health, mood and normal immune response.
Another example that deserves a place at the top of best superfoods list is lucuma fruit.
Lucuma fruit was revered as “Incan Gold,” because of its life-sustaining properties. Widely used in South America for skin and beauty, lucuma contains potent free-radicals, which may prevent premature aging.
Like all other super fruits, lucuma won’t spike your blood sugar levels; it has a low score on the glycemic index.
Next at the top of the exotic superfoods list is barley grass. Actually, barley grass isn’t exotic. You can find it at many health food stores. But barley grass, if you’re new to the superfood diet, isn’t as common as other super greens.
Like spirulina, there’s far too many health benefits of barley grass to name here. But here’s just one: it’s an excellent source of the enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD protects your health by preventing free radicals from becoming toxic substances.
A couple other uncommon green superfoods are nettle leaf and nopal cactus.
While you don’t want to step barefoot on the former (nettle leaf is also known as stinging nettle and yes, it stings), the edible part of the plant is one of the best superfoods for supporting the respiratory system.
Meanwhile, indigenous people in the American Southwest and Mexico have been eating nopal cactus for centuries.
Research shows that nopal cactus supports the body's first line of immune defense; may help normalize blood sugar levels and even helps to recover from hangovers.
(Hopefully that’s not why you’re thinking about buying superfoods!)
Superfood Powders: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Who has the time or the money to shop for dozens of superfoods? Nobody, that’s who. That’s why superfood powders or super green powders as they’re also called have become very popular over the years.
In a world of extremely busy schedules, superfood powders offer the ultimate easy and convenient way to obtain an everyday dose of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods.
Superfood powders also remove the huge problem of food spoilage, inflated pricing and fossil fuel wasting.
With a shelf life that’s virtually endless, superfood powders contain ingredients that are harvested at their maximum nutrient value.
The ingredients are then dried at a low temperature to preserve the health benefits. And all you have to do is add water or a non-dairy beverage to the powder, stir or shake and drink it up.
Cutting out the middle salespeople, the best superfood powders are sourced directly from the farm and the company that sells the powder shakes the hands that farm the lands.
And you can get the health benefits of a green superfood powder (or superfood protein powder) for less than the price of a daily cup of coffee.
But some superfood powders are expensive and don’t include that many ingredients. You’d be better off shopping for your own superfood ingredients and blending them at home.
Another problem with some so-called superfood companies is that you don’t know where the ingredients come from. Is every single ingredient organic, sourced from an environmentally-sustainable farm with mineral-rich soil?
If not, you’re not getting the best quality—and you could be jeopardizing your health.
That’s because toxic herbicides and pesticides are heavily sprayed on conventionally-grown produce.
A fruit or vegetable really shouldn’t be called a superfood if it contains potentially-harmful chemicals, including heavy metals.
(That’s yet another reason to make sure the superfood powder you purchase contains lots of adaptogens. Adaptogens help neutralize all stressors, including environmental stressors.)
This brings us back full circle to the introduction of this article. The marketing hype around superfoods and superfood powders make it difficult for consumers to know what brand to trust.
Avoid superfood powders if the ingredients aren’t organic and the company selling it is a faceless huge corporation. If that’s the case, chances are the company doesn’t care about your health and sources cheap, diluted ingredients.
Instead, choose a superfood powder that contains a wide variety of organic ingredients and cares deeply about environmental sustainability, soil regeneration, fair wages for farmworkers and love for Mother Earth.
BōKU Superfood Powder: 55 Of The World’s Best Superfood Ingredients
BōKU is a true family-run business. It’s not a brand backed by big venture capital bucks. We haven’t nor will we ever sell out and compromise our quality and values. We strive for perfection and supreme quality. Our superfood powders are GMO-free, vegan-certified, USDA Organic and micro-batched in-house.
If you’re researching the best superfood or super greens powder, look no further and give our core product a try: ORGANIC SUPERFOOD Powder.
BōKU Superfood powder contains 55 superfoods, including 14 adaptogenic mushrooms (we call them Super ‘Shrooms) which you won’t find in any other superfood powder.
Just one scoop provides some of the most potent, organic superfoods ever known to humanity. Flood your cells with antioxidants, prebiotic fiber, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
Once you’ve experienced how vibrant you’ll feel incorporating Superfood into your daily ritual, you’ll want to check out our other line of superfood powders including our 4-source vegan chocolate protein powder, and high-octane/no jitters natural energy blend: SUPER FUEL.
Welcome to the exciting world of superfoods! Here’s to feeling super!
Get your daily dose of the world's finest superfood ingredients in just one scoop!