Searching for a way to enhance your diet throughout the blustery months? Look no further! Superfoods are nutritional powerhouses that help your body thrive, and they’re especially essential during cold and flu season.
Here, we take a closer look at what superfoods are best to incorporate into your diet, how they work and where to fit them in the menu.
Most of us know vitamin C is a necessary building block of a healthy immune system, but what if it could be even better?
Powdered camu camu is filled with potent antioxidants. Just one teaspoon holds up to 750 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C content. That’s nearly 60 times as much as an orange! These compounds work synergistically to seriously enhance protective properties.
This sour, cherry-like fruit may reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels, while its antimicrobial properties are being researched as well.
While camu camu has a strong, perhaps unpleasant tartness, we think it’s worth the lip pucker. Try mixing it in with some coconut yogurt or a citrusy salad dressing to get the most of out its taste and its benefits.
There’s a reason your grandma always tried feeding you cabbage as a kid. This humble brassica is rich in fiber, promoting healthy digestion and feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut. this is a great ingedredient to have in your fridge year-round, but a serving of cabbage can be especially beneficial if you’re indulging over the winter months.
It’s one of the best sources of glutamine, an amino acid which can support gastrointestinal (GI) issues like leaky gut, heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If you aren’t into the tang of sauerkraut or kimchi, don’t write this veggie off. Try grilling it with some fresh garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil for a delicious, Asian-inspired side dish.
Also known as Sambucus, elderberry is a powerhouse for cold and flu preventative. It’s even said that the “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates, swore by it. You’ll find an array of elderberry cough syrups and lozenges in just about any health food store, but it can also provide relief from headaches, muscle pain and stress.
Try steeping these berries into a soothing tea or turn them into a tasty jam.
It’s not just a delicious spice anymore! Turmeric is an adaptogenic superfood that fights chronic inflammation to keep you moving with ease throughout the colder months. Studies also link this root to improved cognitive processes. In simpler words: it’s a brain booster.
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is notoriously hard to absorb. Combat this by adding black pepper to enhance this superfood’s absorption by 2,000 percent. Yep, you read that right – two thousand percent.
Try adding this orange aromatic to tofu scramble and vegetable curries, or mix it with steamed non-dairy milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and ginger to make a warming cup of golden milk. Don’t forget the black pepper!
Nope, not cocoa: cacao (pronounced cuh-COW). The two come from the same bean, but the latter is an unprocessed version, which means the impressive nutritional profile is preserved.
Raw cacao is a significant source of four happiness-boosting neurotransmitters (serotonin, tyrosine, phenylethylamine and tryptophan) which can bring much-needed joy to these cold, snowy days. Cacao is densely packed with calming magnesium. Best of all, it has more iron than beef, more antioxidants than blueberries, and more calcium than dairy milk.
Next time you find yourself reaching for cocoa powder, opt for cacao instead.
If the sleepy winter blues have you curled up in bed in the face of a jam-packed to-do list, maca is here to the rescue. The Peruvian root has been shown to boost energy levels and reduce depression. Maca is completely caffeine-free, so you can enjoy increased stamina without the crash.
Add a spoonful of this delicious powder to your overnight oats or morning smoothie to start your day off right. Careful, though! Maca is also a known aphrodisiac that may enhance fertility.
This medicinal mushroom (no, not that kind of mushroom) is all the rage these days – and for good reason. Early studies show that chaga activates white blood cells, helping us fight off infections and problematic inflammation. This is a wonderful superfood to incorporate into your diet during cold and flu season.
Chaga brews into a great tea. Before you cower at mushroom tea, know that chaga actually has a surprisingly smooth, slightly earthy taste. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it.
We know it can be hard to get all your greens in through the winter months, and we don’t blame you. Thankfully, this blue-green alga is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
Mix a teaspoon of spirulina powder into your pancake batter to easily incorporate some protein, B vitamins and minerals. The mesmerizing blue color makes nutrition fun.
Cold weather can be tough on the skin, but hemp is rich in nourishing omega fatty acids. Regularly consuming hemp seeds and oil can provide some relief for that dry, itchy skin. These healthy fats can also enhance brain function and decrease joint pain.
Sprinkle these onto salads, stir into soups or blend them into a creamy pasta sauce.
If you’re one of many people whose sleep schedules suffer during winter, you might want to try tart cherries. These tangy fruits contain tons of naturally-occurring melatonin, tryptophan and anthocyanins: three compounds that work towards higher quality and longer sleep.
Tart cherries can also lower your recovery time between workouts. Say goodbye (or goodnight) to sore muscles.
Sprinkle some of these dried fruits on your next post-workout smoothie bowl, or juice up with some warm plant-based milk, sweetener and vanilla for a soothing bedtime beverage.
Superfoods are a delicious and nutritious way to enhance your diet while providing some fantastic health benefits. We love playing around with these powerhouse ingredients. How will you use them?
- Healthline: 7 Everyday Tonics that Help Your Body Adjust to Stress and Anxiety
- Spoon University: If You Need Vitamin C, This Berry Has Your Back
- Healthline: 7 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Camu Camu
- Healthline: 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Cabbage
- ND Health Facts: Glutamine
- Healthline: 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
- Healthline: 10 Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
- Healthline: What Are Chaga Mushrooms and Are They Healthy?
- Be Good Organics: Cacao: 5 Little Known Benefits of This Amazonian Superfood
- Healthline: 10 Health Benefits of Spirulina
- Healthline: 6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
- Healthline: GLA: Fit for a King?