Though there are no legal medical definitions of superfoods, we can all agree that they have to be nutrient powerhouses that are potent in antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. You’ve probably heard nutritionists drop names like acai, gingko and wheatgrass when talking about superfoods, and while these are also incredibly beneficial foods, it’s always better to open your eyes to the world of these uncommon ones.
Which is why we’ve done the digging for you and come up with this list of lesser-known superfoods. Extremely tasty and satisfying (though some might require an acquired taste), these superfoods have the ability to exponentially increase energy levels and boost overall health. They’re also great for boosting the immune system, elevating serotonin productions, reducing inflammation and aiding in the healing of already-present ailments alongside regular drugs.
While some might be difficult to obtain, they’re definitely worth the effort because their nutrient profiles are through the roof. From a tastier and more convenient quinoa alternative and a matcha contender, to the seeds of a plant that’s notorious for getting people high, here are 5 lesser-known superfoods that you may have never heard of, but need to start incorporating into your daily diet, pronto.
A cuter nickname for hemp seeds, these boast an exceptionally high fat content of 30 percent, except this is fat you want to be consuming. Rich in two essential fatty acids — linoleum acid (omega-6) and alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3), they’re great for stimulating skin and hair growth, regulating metabolism, supporting mental function and aiding in the regular maintenance of muscles, tissues and organs. If that’s not enough to impress you, they’re also high in protein — more than chia and flaxseeds. Sprinkle a couple of spoonfuls onto your oatmeal in the morning for a quick fix.
Like quinoa, this South American superfood grain is an excellent source of protein and amino acids, and is extremely high in iron. However, unlike its grainy cousin, kañiwa doesn’t have saponins, the coating which gives quinoa a slightly soapy flavour if not rinsed properly, so it’s actually a much more convenient alternative. Loaded with fibre and calcium as well, make this your gluten-free option at breakfast with milk and fruit.
An antioxidant powerhouse, the moringa plant is native to South Asia and has been used as traditional medicine and Ayurveda for centuries. Most commonly found in powdered form, the leaves are packed with an incredible amount of protein, calcium and beta-carotene, with almost 10 times the vitamin A as carrots and 12 times the vitamin C of oranges. The high amount of polyphenols helps eliminate free radical damage in the body while lowering blood sugar levels, making it a good option for diabetics.
Commonly found in the swamps of the Amazon rainforest, camu camu might be a nondescript shrub but bears fruit that has one of the highest vitamin C contents on earth, almost 60 times more than oranges. Also in the potent mix are amino acids, phytochemicals, and minerals that boost immunity and aid in liver health, so if you’re a regular in the party scene, better get in on this super fruit now.
We’ve known for ages that broccoli is immensely good for you, but did you know that its leaf is also a nutrient powerhouse? Once used for renewing the soil, this relatively new vegetable in the market comprises leaves that grow on and around broccoli florets and heads. Its calcium content far surpasses kale, and the high levels of vitamins A and K, and phytonutrients make the broccoleaf a great way to detox while eliminating free radical damage.