5 Interesting Superfoods You Need to Try

Updated on May 4, 2018
Kim Maravich profile image

Kim is an RN and author of the book "360 Health: Your Guide to Cancer Prevention, Healing Foods, & Total Body Wellness."

What is a Superfood?

By definition, a superfood is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Often, people seek out superfoods not for flavor or palatability but for nutrient density. Perhaps they've heard a particular substance is the new "it" food. Or maybe they're looking to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals in their diet. Nevertheless, superfoods can be extremely helpful to include because they can heal and protect the immune system.

The list of top superfoods seems to change from year to year. Newer and "better" ones are constantly emerging and being spotlighted. The following are a few you may not have heard of or tasted. Each contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties known for boosting health.


Teff is a gluten-free ancient grain.
Teff is a gluten-free ancient grain. | Source

1) Teff

What is it?

Teff is is a fine, ancient grain that originated in and around Ethiopia. Its kernels are among the tiniest of any grain, about the size of a poppy seed. This makes teff easy to cook with or grind into a flour. It comes in a variety of colors, from white and red to dark brown. The grain has a very mild, nutty flavor.

Benefits

Teff has an excellent balance of amino acids and is high in protein. It's also packed with fiber and is abundant in thiamine, manganese, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Naturally gluten-free, teff is a useful grain for those with celiac disease or sensitivities to gluten.

Among its benefits, teff may help the cardiovascular system and overall immunity. Due to its rich iron content, it may help reverse anemia. The calcium, magnesium, and manganese in teff can also support bone health. And because of the fiber, teff may improve digestion, control blood sugar, and aid in weight loss.

How to Use It

You can use teff like you might use millet or cornmeal. As a gluten-free flour alternative, it can be used just like traditional flour to make pie crusts, cookies, breads, and an assortment of other baked goods. Teff can also be eaten whole and steamed, boiled, or baked as a side dish or a main course. Teff is similar to quinoa and cooks quickly. It can act as a substitution for quinoa in many recipes.

Hemp milk is nutrient dense and vegan-friendly.
Hemp milk is nutrient dense and vegan-friendly. | Source

2) Hemp Milk

What is it?

Hemp milk is produced from seeds of the hemp plant. The seeds are soaked in water and ground. The resultant milk has a nutty flavor. Rest assured, the chemical THC (found in marijuana) is not present in this milk. Hemp and marijuana come from different plants in the cannabis family.

Benefits

Hemp milk is a favorite among vegans and those with lactose intolerance since it is non-dairy. This milk is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is a “perfect protein," containing all 20 amino acids. Among other nutrients, it also contains calcium, iron, vitamin B12, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, and phosphorous.

Because of this mineral and antioxidant content, hemp milk benefits the immune system. Its rich potassium composition also makes it a heart-healthy beverage. Potassium works as a vasodilator in the body. In addition, hemp milk may support optimal brain functioning since high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important in boosting in cognitive performance and memory. Finally, the calcium and phosphorous levels in hemp milk support a strong bones and teeth.

How to Use It

You can make your own hemp milk using hemp seeds, water, and a little sweetener of your choice like vanilla extract, raw honey, or maple syrup. (Check out an easy recipe here.) Store-bought versions are becoming more widely available. Use hemp milk in your smoothies, coffee, or cereal instead of regular dairy. It can also be used for baking vegan dishes.

Grass-fed beef liver is rich in B vitamins, iron, and CoQ10.
Grass-fed beef liver is rich in B vitamins, iron, and CoQ10. | Source

3) Liver

What is it?

Simply stated, liver is the organ meat from an animal. Various kinds of liver may be eaten including those from beef, chicken, pork, duck, lamb, and cod.

Benefits

Liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It contains protein, iron, all of the B vitamins (including B12 and folic acid in significant amounts), balanced quantities of vitamin A, many trace elements and minerals including copper, zinc, chromium, phosphorous and selenium, essential fatty acids, and the powerful antioxidant CoQ10.

Eating liver can help ward off anemia and fatigue. The high levels of folate make it beneficial for pregnant women to help prevent birth defects in fetuses. Its many nutrients also help support the body’s detoxification pathways. Consuming liver actually helps to cleanse our own livers because it provides the body with all the nutrients needed to eliminate waste from our systems. Learn more about the health benefits of liver here.

How to Use It

Liver can be pan-seared or fried. Ground liver can be made into pâté or mixed in with other ground meats to make a bolognese or burgers. Combining liver with other ingredients helps mask its earthy flavor. Some suggest cutting up liver into pill-size chunks, freezing them, and swallowing them whole ... sort of like a vitamin.

There are also other ways to "supplement" with liver if you don't care for the taste. Desiccated liver capsules, made of dried undefatted liver, provide nutrients without having to actually "taste" the liver. Be sure to look for grass-fed sources to ensure highest quality. Another option is to take one teaspoon of extra virgin cod liver oil per day. It's a great way to obtain all of the benefits of liver.

Native Wisdom - Grass Fed Beef Liver (Desiccated) - 100% New Zealand Grass Fed & Grass Finished - Whole Food Vitamin A, B12, Iron, Zinc, Folate (3000 mg Serving, 120 Capsules)
Native Wisdom - Grass Fed Beef Liver (Desiccated) - 100% New Zealand Grass Fed & Grass Finished - Whole Food Vitamin A, B12, Iron, Zinc, Folate (3000 mg Serving, 120 Capsules)

This is of the highest quality because it is grass-fed AND grass-finished. I've taken this daily for months and can attest to its efficacy and energy-boosting properties.

 
Kimchi is a fermented food made with cabbage, radishes, garlic, and spices.
Kimchi is a fermented food made with cabbage, radishes, garlic, and spices.

4) Kimchi

What is it?

Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine. It is made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly cabbage and radishes, with a variety of seasonings including chili powder, scallions, garlic, and ginger. The ingredients ferment by combining them and placing them in a tightly-sealed jar for about a week. The result is a spicy, tangy, pickled vegetable blend.

Benefits

Because kimchi is fermented, it is a probiotic-rich food. Probiotics help to improve immunity, control inflammation, and maintain a healthy digestive system. Kimchi also contains an abundance of nutrients such as vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals like potassium, iron, and calcium. In addition, this fermented dish is filled with fiber, further promoting good gut health.

How to Use It

Kimchi is typically used as a side dish. However, it can also be combined with foods like scrambled eggs, rice, and noodles, or it may be put into tacos or soups. You can most likely find kimchi in your local grocery store, often in the refrigerated produce section. It can also be found in Asian food markets. Alternatively, you could try your hand at making it. Here is a recipe for an easy kimchi.

Maitake mushrooms have been associated with cancer prevention.
Maitake mushrooms have been associated with cancer prevention.

5) Maitake Mushrooms

What are they?

The name maitake means "dancing mushroom" in Japanese. It is also known as the "hen of the woods", "sheep's head", "king of mushrooms", and "cloud mushroom". They are polypores, meaning they have no gills on their undersides. Their fruiting body is made up of clustered leaf-like fronds or caps that are curved like spoons. Maitake mushrooms are fruity, earthy and spicy in flavor and absorb companion flavors readily.

Benefits

These mushrooms contain polysaccharides, known as beta-D-glucans, which are suspected to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. Evidence also shows that they can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar levels, and help reduce weight.

How to Use Them

Maitake mushrooms can be tossed in olive oil and sautéd, grilled, or roasted. They can also replace button mushrooms in any recipe for a more flavorful result. They might be used in soups, stir fries, to top a pizza, or as an easy vegetarian burger replacement.

Final Thoughts

These superfoods, like many others, offer potent antioxidants and micronutrients. They can help make your food choices more interesting while boosting your health in a myriad of ways. Be courageous and try one or two. You may just be surprised how well you like them!

References

Tsang, Gloria. "Maitake Mushroom: Health Benefits and How-To," 9 September 2013, Health Castle, https://www.healthcastle.com/maitake-mushroom-health-benefits-and-how-to/.

Bakshani, Nikkitha. "What is Kimchi?" 3 August 2015, The Daily Meal, https://www.thedailymeal.com/travel/what-kimchi.

Busch, Sandi. "The Health Benefits of Liver," 14 August 2017, Livestrong, https://www.livestrong.com/article/142988-the-health-benefits-liver/.

Group, Edward. "The Benefits of Organic Hemp Milk," 8 January 2016, Global Healing Center, https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-hemp-milk/.

"Teff: The Gluten-Free Grain That Aids Circulation & Weight Loss." Dr. Axe, https://draxe.com/teff/


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for documenting the nutrient value of these superfoods. Don't remember hearing of teff until now.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://caloriebee.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)