Many so-called “superfoods” are over-rated, expensive and often not backed by adequate scientific evidence.
However, that doesn’t mean all “superfoods” are useless, over-priced packaged products or non-evidence based.
There are many foods which rightly deserve their “superfood” status such as green tea, oily fish, berries, medicinal herbs, cruciferous vegetables, seaweeds, dark chocolate and so on.
Many of the superfoods discussed in this article are relatively inexpensive to purchase and some can even be produced easily from home, such as with fermenting foods and sprouting.
In no particular order, let me take you through twelve of my favorite superfoods.
1. Green Tea & White Tea(Camellia Sinensis)
Ever since then I have been hooked on green tea, white tea, matcha and consuming other nutritive herbal teas.
Green tea has an impressive array of health benefits from it’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, to boosting the immune system, reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, lowers cholesterol, supports gum health, aids weight loss and much more.
Typically I will drink around 1-3 cups of organic green or white tea daily.
Chyawanprash is a delicious nutritive tonic, which is a mixture of sugar, honey, ghee, Indian Gooseberry (amla), jam, sesame oil, berries, herbs and various spices.
Chyawanprash is an excellent source of natural Vitamin C, due to the Amla Berry it contains.
The rich quantity of Vitamin C makes Chyawanprash a great choice for supporting the adrenals and thymus gland.
I take about 1/2-2 teaspoons of Pukka Herbs Golden Preserve Chyawanprash daily, usually just straight off the spoon.
Although sometimes I will add the Chyawanprash to a herbal tea such as Rooibos or Nettle leaf for an additional boost, especially during the colder winter months.
3. Fermented Foods
Some examples of fermented foods include kefir, raw sauerkraut, kombucha, miso and cultured vegetables.
Maintaining the gastrointestinal microflora is essential for healthy digestion and optimal well-being.
The gut flora is thought to account for around 70% of the immune system and has many other functions such as preventing opportunistic microbes such as candida albicans, bad bacteria, and parasites, improving nutrient absorption, preventing increased intestinal permeability(leaky gut) and much more.
My favorite fermented food probably has to be water kefir or kombucha, both are very tasty, almost like a fizzy, sparkling, champagne type beverage, but good for you at the same time.
4. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts have been wrongly demonized by the anti-fat and low-fat diet preachers over the years and not based on sound scientific evidence either.
Nuts are actually one of the food groups with the most robust scientific evidence for their ability to support and improve cardiovascular health.
In fact frequent nut consumption is part of the reason why the Mediterranean diet is so good for maintaining heart health.
Nuts are good sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and many other beneficial phytonutrients.
5. Bee Pollen
The rich content of B-complex Vitamins makes bee pollen a great superfood choice for increasing energy naturally and nourishing the adrenal glands, nervous system and overall endocrine system.
Bee pollen is a complete food and contains easily digestible amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other beneficial phytonutrients such as rutin, which supports capillary health.
A small number of individuals have allergies to pollen, so if you have a known pollen allergy, avoid consuming bee pollen products. It’s always best to start with a single individual bee pollen grain to check for tolerance.
I actually really enjoy my tablespoon or two of Organic bee pollen granules daily and pollens have been a huge staple superfood of mine for years.
Pine pollen is also worth checking out as an alternative, especially for those into fitness and bodybuilding.
6. Sardines(Oily Fish)
However certain animal foods are also excellent “superfoods” and provide many difficult to obtain nutrients, especially for those following strict plant-based diets such as vegans.
One of my very favorite animal-based superfoods from a nutritional and health perspective is the humble Sardine.
Sardines are absolutely packed with a number of health promoting nutrients including protein, Vitamin B12, pre-formed long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids(EPA/DHA), bio-available selenium and calcium, iodine, Co-Enzyme Q10, RNA/DNA and they are also a rare dietary source of Vitamin D3.
One typical serving of sardines provides well over 100% of the daily recommended intake for Vitamin B12, which is essential for homocysteine metabolism and nervous system function.
When it comes to supporting cardiovascular health and preventing heart disease, you won’t find a better all-round superfood choice, than oily fish such as Sardines.
Read more about the health benefits of oily fish such as sardines at: The No.1 “Superfood” For Auto-Immune, Neuro-Degenerative & Cardiovascular Diseases
7. Raw Cacao & Dark Chocolate(70%+ Cocoa)
Raw cacao and dark chocolate are excellent sources of heart-healthy flavanols, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cardiovascular support properties, such as their ability to improve endothelial function.
It’s best to choose dark chocolate with the highest cocoa content, ideally 70%+. Choose brands with low or no added refined sugars. Raw chocolate bars tend to be healthier overall and due to cold pressing methods, usually have a higher flavanol content.
One of healthiest ways to get cocoa flavanols easily into the diet is by using Aduna’s Super Cacao Powder.
Studies have found that two teaspoons of Aduna’s Super Cacao powder daily, can help to maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, contributing to normal blood flow, healthy blood circulation and supporting overall cardiovascular health.
8. Sea Vegetables
Sea vegetables are another favorite “superfood” of mine, specifically for the reason that they are extremely good sources of hard to obtain trace elements and minerals, which are often deficient in the modern diet.
Seaweeds are the richest plant food source of the mineral iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid gland function and thyroid hormone synthesis.
Scientific research is still finding that iodine deficiency and sub-optimal iodine status to be common in certain parts of the world, especially in those following strict vegan diets.
Sea vegetables are great sources of other nutrients including amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber and even a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Examples of sea vegetables include Kelp, Nori, Dulse and Wakame. Nutritional balancing expert Dr. Lawrence Wilson recommends the brand Nature’s Way Kelp Capsules.
9. Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogen herbs are traditionally recommended to increase vitality, strength, libido and vigor.
Studies have found adaptogenic herbs to be particularly helpful for those suffering from stress disorders because they have a balancing effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and endocrine hormones such as cortisol.
Examples of adaptogenic herbs include Panax Ginseng, Licorice Root, Schizandra Berry, Maca Root, Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi and Cordyceps, Suma Root(Brazilian Ginseng), Ashwagandha root and Jiaogulan are some popular choices.
Always consult a qualified practitioner before adding any herb or supplement to your diet.
10. Broccoli & Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are one of the best plant foods for supporting healthy detoxification and studies have found the sulfur phytonutrients they contain such as glucosinolates, to increase the activity of phase 2 liver detox enzymes.
A single cup serving of Broccoli for example, contains over 200% of the DRI for Vitamin K, over 100% of the DRI for Vitamin C, plus many other vitamins, minerals and even a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Cruciferous vegetables might be one of the most important types of vegetables we can include in the diet, for cancer and disease prevention, due to their triple benefit of potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detox support properties.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in the etiology of most serious degenerative diseases. As is, the ever increasing problem of environmental toxins and pollution.
I try to consume at least one to two cup portions of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower daily.
11. Blueberries & Other Berries
Berries are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and other beneficial phytonutrients, whilst also being classed as low GI(glycemic index).
Studies have found blueberries to protect the nervous system, improve memory and cognitive function, support cardiovascular health and improve blood sugar regulation, even in individuals with existing metabolic health problems such as type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
I try to aim for a cup or two of various different berries daily such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.
TIP: Frozen berries have also shown to retain a high quantity of the beneficial antioxidants, plus are cheap and easy to to keep on hand for smoothies.
12. Curcumin & Turmeric Root
Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric(Curcuma longa), which is a member of the ginger family.
Studies are finding curcumin to have an almost endless list of health benefits from potent anti-inflammatory properties, supporting the immune system, anti-microbial properties, acting as an anti-depressant, modulating the hpa-axis, liver support, and even anti-cancer/tumor properties.
One of the limiting issues with curcumin is it’s poor absorption. However, there are several methods that can increase the bioavailability and uptake of curcumin.
One is to pair curcumin/turmeric root with black pepper, which contains a compound called piperine, that can enhance the absorption of curcumin.
Another is to pair curcumin with a fat-loving compound such as phospholipids. This is known as a “phyto-some”, which is a complex of a natural ingredient and a phospholipid. Studies have found phyto-some curcumin supplements to be significantly better absorbed than regular curcumin extracts.
The brand I take is Curcumin X4000, which is distributed by Good Health Naturally. Curcumin X4000 capsules contain the patented Meriva, which is a phyto-some form of Curcumin, that has been used in many of the very studies that have documented various health benefits from curcumin and it’s excellent safety profile.
Studies have found that sprouting foods such as grains and seeds, to substantially increase the nutrient content of these foods such as buckwheat, whilst also lowering anti-nutrients in the process, which can potentially affect nutrient absorption.
The consumption of sprouted cereals is becoming popular in various parts of the world.
Sprouting of grains for a limited period causes increased activities of hydrolytic enzymes, improvement in the contents of certain essential amino acids, total sugars, and B-group vitamins, and a decrease in dry matter, starch, and antinutrients.
The digestibilities of storage proteins and starch are improved due to their partial hydrolysis during sprouting. 
Another benefit to sprouting is that you can do it easily and inexpensively from home.
14. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos is an excellent alternative to green tea(Camellia Sinensis) because it is 100% caffeine free.
The lack of caffeine makes Rooibos an excellent choice for individuals with “adrenal fatigue”, anxiety or issues with caffeine sensitivity.
Much like green tea, rooibos is also a great source of rare and unique antioxidant flavonoids such as Aspalathin and Nothofagin.
In vitro studies have found polyphenols such as Aspalathin contained in Rooibos tea to have potent antioxidant and anti-mutagenic properties.
Another benefit to Rooibos over regular Camellia Sinensis tea is that Rooibos is also low in tannins. High intake of tannins can potentially affect absorption of nutrients such as iron.
The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.