Without getting google involved, I think the term superfood applies to any food with extra strong nutritional properties. For instance, an orange is renowned for its vitamin C, but there are other plants on this planet that have tremendously more vitamin C per weight or serving size. 'Super' 'foods' seems an accurate description. Albeit a grossly overused one.
Let's look at the best ingredients to take your smoothie to the next level. Most of these are rare superfoods with unique properties, and a couple others are there for flavour.
1. Camu Camu
The word superfood doesn't do this Amazonian fruit justice. Camu camu is the highest source of vitamin C on the planet. One teaspoon of freeze dried powder is 12 times your daily needs. That means an immune system so strong that it slows ageing and even prevents oxidative stress that leads to cancer. It's even great for mental clarity and elevates mood.
It's the second most important ingredient in our Forever Young product. As the vitamin C density helps the marine collagen be absorbed by the body. Creating youthful skin.
The subtle citrus flavour of camu camu blends in quietly to any smoothie, allowing other ingredients to shine. You only need one teaspoon per smoothie.
Add this if: You're run down and feel a cold coming on.
One of several ancient algaes that we recommend. Chlorella, as the name suggests, is a rich source of chlorophyll. One serving of this single cell algae is twice your daily B-12 needs, and is a rich source of iron.
Add this if: You're vegan or undertaking a detox.
Another microscopic algae. The B-12 and iron properties are similar to chlorella, with some solid copper and B vitamin scores thrown in.
Spirulina companies love to propagate that roughly 60% of it's weight is protein. Which is great. However, you consume this in teaspoon size portions so using it in your plant-based protein argument against Crossfit Chris is not a good tactic. He will verbally bench press you. One spirulina serving is 2-3 grams of protein.
Despite the protein mismarketing, the detoxifying properties are infamous.
Add this if: You are lacking vegetables and need a cheeky shortcut to micronutrients.
4. Blue Green Algae AFA
The most well known AFA is the most well grown. E3Live AFA is the brand name. There are several farms on Klamath Lake in Oregon farming the most nutritious blue green algae on the planet. But E3Live does a great job of distinguishing themselves, suggesting that their organic practices, and algae quality, are second to none.
AFA stands for Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae. It's a brother to spirulina and chlorella. Though arguably more nutritious (certainly more expensive). It has twice the chlorophyll as spirulina and contains over 40 minerals. AFA stimulates stem cell growth, increases brain activity and an Italian study showed that it has cancer preventing properties.
Beyond those superfood powers, blue green algae started our planet. Sparking evolution. Sorry Jesus, we're choosing science over your book.
Add this if: You want to look younger, feel mentally sharper and potentially evolve to a new species of human. Add a teaspoon every day for ten years and you might have wings.
5. Mixed Greens
If you're unsure on what greens you need or just want to play the field, then there are plenty of powder products that have a mixture of algaes. This one is the best seller on Amazon. And this article goes through plenty of other options.
Apart from the green superfoods listed above, I like to see wheatgrass and barley grass on the ingredient list. I never get excited when I see spinach, kale or any other foods I can access raw. Similarly, I don't like when they are flavoured with a sugar alternative and some other extract. I like my other smoothie ingredients to control the flavour, not my mixed green powder.
6. Bee Pollen
Bee pollens are rich in free amino acids, and B vitamins, including folic acid. They are flexibly used as an energy source, an immune booster, an allergy treater and to improve digestion.
Add this if: You want to try a non-green multi-vitamin.
The potency of this root is obvious just by touching it. Your fingers will be stained orange. The definition of anti-inflammatory, turmeric can do everything. Prevent cancer, inhibit cancer cell growth, relieve rheumatoid arthritis, relieve cystic fibrosis patients and protect against Alzheimer's.
Add this if: You're body is aching.
Our favourite spice. The versatile flavour can improve anything from coffee to homemade pancakes. And the nutritional properties stand up against anything. One of the strongest antioxidants on the planet, it's also anti-diabetic, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory and anti-flatulent. That's a lot of antis.
Add this if: You want your smoothie to taste better with more nutrients. Plays amazingly well with a little raw honey and banana.
Raw chocolate. We prefer the crunchy texture of nibs but you can use powder too. The nutritional profile reads like this:
- highest source of magnesium
- highest plant based source of iron
- a powerful anti-depressant and mood elevator
- one of the highest sources of antioxidants
- dense in copper, calcium and manganese
Add this if: You want chocolate and want to feeling amazing.
As pungent in smell and taste as it is potent. Maca improves mood, energy, libido, endurance and fertility. This Peruvian superfood is also shown to relieve women's menstrual discomfort and menopause.
For those trying it for the first time, don't go beyond a small teaspoon.
Add this if: You are hormonal or have the sex drive of a retirement community without access to wifi or medication.
A simple suggestion but not to be underestimated. Mint soothes indigestion and inflammation, plus it can even reduce pimples. Equal to the digestive power is the flavour. You can make any green smoothie taste like peppermint ice cream with some cacao, dates and fresh mint.
Add this if: You want a green smoothie to taste fresh and light.
12. Peppermint Oil
The most powerful oil we've used. It's great for digestive relief, fresh breath and flavour pairing with chocolate or coconut. It also one of the best headache cures we've seen. Just apply one drop to each temple and get yourself a glass of water.
Add this if: You want a raw chocolate smoothie to taste like a peppermint ice cream.
We're skeptical of the advertised antioxidant properties. It's roasted and boiled. But what we do know is that coffee smells like heaven. And without it, our to-do list would be even longer. You can enjoy any form in your smoothies. A shot of espresso, a big cup of filter, a cup of cold brew or even some home brewed instant. The latter may have the worse reputation in the hipster community but it's strength makes it shine through in a smoothie.
Add this if: You got shiznit to do.
Now that you know your superfoods, it's time to blend. For over 20 smoothie recipes with these ingredients grab our epic eBook, Smoothie Criminal. It's free.