TSS Guide to Superfoods

Do you find yourself wondering when Brussels Sprouts became trendy, or what the heck matcha is? Does walking through a Whole Foods’ aisle feel like exploring a foreign country? Does the very thought of cashew cheese give you a headache? Superfood intimidation is a real thing. But luckily, THE SWEAT SCENE is here to help. The following guide demystifies even the most super of superfoods. 

Chia Seeds Photo: Hannah Udren (Tulane '18)

Chia Seeds
Photo: Hannah Udren (Tulane '18)

Chia Seeds

 Derived from the desert plant “Salvia Hispanica,” these tiny seeds are nutritional superstars. With their mild, nutty flavor these black and white seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids  (AKA the good kind of fat), protein, complex carbohydrates, and antioxidants. Plus, just one ounce contains 11 grams of fiber- that’s almost 50% of your recommended daily value! Sprinkle them on a salad, add them to a smoothie, or mix some into Greek yogurt­.

Cacao

Swiss Chard Photo: @thehappygardeninglife

Swiss Chard
Photo: @thehappygardeninglife

Have a sweet tooth and an insatiable desire for chocolate? Try Cacao instead of Cocoa. Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans, while cocoa is made by roasting the beans at high temperatures, thus making cacao the more natural, antioxidant-laden alternative. Cacao is high in Resveratrol, the same antioxidant found in red wine, known to boost nervous system functioning and prevent Heart Disease.  Another antioxidant found in the powerful powder is Phenylethylamine, a natural mood enhancer. Not to mention Cacao is rich in magnesium and iron­– two essential minerals to proper health. Add a scoop of Cacao powder to a protein shake or snack on Gone Nuts Cacao clusters.             

Spirulina

Nothing sounds yummier than snacking on some blue-green algae, right? Don’t knock it until you try it. Spirulina is a bacteria found in freshwater lakes, natural springs, and saltwater. The health benefits of this edible bacteria are numerous– it strengthens the immune system by actively promoting cell regeneration, fights inflammation due to lots of Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), eases PMS symptoms, provides healthy bacteria to the digestive system, has a high concentration of chlorophyll (a natural detoxifying agent), is a great source of iron­– the list goes on. In fact, spirulina has four times the antioxidant power of blueberries...so yeah, add a scoop of spirulina powder to give your morning juice for a nutritional boost or snack on Go Raw Super Chips.

Hemp Photo: @realandvibrant

Hemp
Photo: @realandvibrant

Swiss Chard

Romaine is great and all but when it comes to lettuce there are so many leafy green options that offer a greater nutritional punch. Belonging to the same family as beets and spinach, Swiss chard is one of those lettuce powerhouses. Just one cup is only 35 calories yet provides 300% of the recommended Vitamin K daily value, 13 polyphenol antioxidants, and 4 grams of fiber. And don’t be fooled, just because it’s a type of lettuce doesn’t mean it only belongs in salad- to prepare, try braising, steaming, or roasting it. It also adds great flavor to Asian style dishes, like this Swiss Chard stir fry recipe. Now that’s one versatile veggie.

Hemp

Even though it comes from the Cannibis sativa plant, we’re not suggesting the superfood powers of smoking. However, new research suggests cannabis can be used effectively in a detox. Until more info comes out though, we’ll stick to the nutritional stacked hemp products–hemp seeds, hemp milk, and hemp oil. Technically a nut, they boast healthy fats (think Omega 3s), protein (a complete one at that, read: contains all amino acids), fiber, vitamin E, and several minerals. Not sure where to start? Check out Bon Appétit’s guide to hemp, and start incorporating Cannibis plant products into your diet in more ways than just through brownies…  

Just like the old saying goes­, don’t judge a book by its cover, well don’t judge a superfood by its funky name or weird color. Don’t be intimidated! All it takes is a little bit of research, a few hours at Whole Foods, and an open mind to become a superfood expert. Now go and be enlightened– your stomach, skin, hair, and mood will all thank you!

 

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