This post and giveaway all about superfoods is sponsored by Navitas Organics. Thanks for supporting our sponsors.
Greetings, friends! I don’t exactly remember when I first heard the term “superfood” come up, but I do know that it was since I’ve been living in the San Francisco Bay Area — so within the past five years. While superfoods have been around for a lot longer than that (some of them are ancient, actually), the term itself didn’t seem to make it into the mainstream public eye until we all became a little bit more focused on our health as of late.
Well, I’ve always thought I had a decent working knowledge of all things superfoods, but then, a couple of months ago, I asked the lovely people in the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group what kind of questions they have about health and wellness, and the term superfood came up. Always wanting to know more, I jumped on that topic and decided to do some research on my own and also reach out to my favorite superfood company, Navitas Organics, for the real deal.
It turns out that there is no official/legal designation for what makes a food a superfood, but the general consensus is that superfoods are foods that contain a lot of beneficial nutrients — they are powerhouses known to help people get healthier and perform better. And in addition to a balanced diet, you can optimize your nutrition by eating more superfoods on a daily basis.
There are two kinds of superfoods: (1) traditional superfoods, which most people can readily recognize and hopefully are already eating (like broccoli, nuts, sweet potatoes, etc.) and (2) specialized superfoods, which are the more obscure foods and sometimes have the lesser-identifiable names, like chia, maca, cacao, etc..
There are easy ways to incorporate these specialized superfoods into your life for a host of benefits, including and not limited to, improved immune function, bowel regularity (a SUPER important part of wellness and one we shouldn’t be too shy to discuss, by the way), reduced inflammation (another big marker of health), better energy and overall optimal health.
Yet, perhaps the most important thing to note is that these specialized superfoods are not just for the wellness-obsessed health nut (like me) — in fact, everybody can benefit from superfoods, and the barrier to entry is low, low, low. Don’t be scared of these foods, just because you may not be familiar with them and aren’t used to seeing them on your pantry shelf. They are quite easy to start eating.
Now, to dig a little bit deeper with information straight from a reputable source, next up, you’ll find an interview with the new Navitas Organics in-house registered dietitian, Miranda Hammer. Miranda is answering all of our burning questions, and don’t miss the giveaway at the end!
All of our superfood questions answered
But first, a little bit about Miranda: Miranda Hammer, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, natural foods chef and the founder of the website Crunchy Radish. She focuses mostly on plant-based foods, and in her role with Navitas Organics, Miranda creates benefit-oriented superfood recipes, answers fan questions and represents Navitas Organics at health and wellness events and more. (Sounds like a fun gig!)
Miranda has a Master’s Degree from the Clinical Nutrition Program at New York University, and she’s been featured in Vogue, on mindbodygreen, on Well + Good, on food52 and of course, now on A Lady Goes West.
Here are her answers … (and you can see MY comments in parentheses).
In layman’s terms, what is a superfood?
Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods that provide benefits for health and well-being. They can range from chia seeds to blueberries to spinach to cacao.
(Salmon, sweet potatoes, avocados, almonds and bananas are superfoods too. All of my faves.)
Does the everyday person need to eat superfoods?
The everyday person should integrate traditional superfoods into their diet, such as dark leafy greens, berries, nuts, seeds and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts to name a few — for optimal health.
For added nutritive benefits and functioning, integrating more specialized superfoods, such as chia seeds, maca, cacao and goji berries, adds additional benefits for bowel regularity, immune function, reduced inflammation and optimal wellness.
(But remember, it all starts with a solid diet, and then you can try to add the extras on from there. You can’t add superfoods to a fast food diet and expect to feel better.)
What are some of the most popular superfoods?
Cacao, goji berries, chia seeds and matcha.
(I remember when it was hard to find chia seeds in the stores, now they are everywhere. But you want to choose the highest-quality ones, of course, and a little goes a long way. I use one tablespoon a day.)
How are superfood berries different from regular berries?
All berries are considered superfoods in my book, due to their antioxidant power and vitamin and mineral makeup. Specialized superfoods such as goji, mulberries and goldenberries do contain higher amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which help with immune function, boost collagen production and protect against premature aging.
(Based on my research, goldenberries and goji berries have more protein than your average berry and have an amazing amount of antioxidants, which protect the body from damage, and which I think I need now more than ever as I struggle with sleep deprivation from life with a new babe.)
What are some easy ways to start incorporating superfoods into your diet?
To start adding specialized superfoods into your diet, try adding a teaspoon of cacao, maca, maqui or acai powder into your smoothie for a seamless way to start integrating them into your routine.
Additionally, adding some hemp seeds or chia seeds to your morning oats, a soup, stew or a salad is another simple way to boost your meal without too many new tastes or textures taking over a dish.
(If you’re a toast, pancake or granola person in the morning, you can add a handful of goldenberries or goji berries to the top of your spread for a simple addition. I do it almost every day, and these babies are delicious.)
What should we look for when deciding what kind of superfoods to buy?
Ideally, you want to look for products that are organic, and because most of the specialized superfoods come from various countries around the world, finding products that are fair trade and sustainable is also key.
Is it possible to consume too many superfoods on a daily basis?
When adding any new food into your diet it is important to start slow — about a 1/2 teaspoon at a time to see how your body responds, especially because some of the products, like chia seeds, are very high in fiber. You also want to make sure you are consuming water throughout the day to balance out the increase in fiber intake.
Additionally, anything in excess is never a good idea. Some superfoods are calorie dense and have high amounts of vitamins and minerals, so it’s best to stick to two to three a day and to watch your servings.
(As with any new fitness regimen or diet in your life, start small and see how you feel.)
How is cacao different from chocolate?
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate and is usually found raw. When cacao is heated and processed, it turns into cocoa and is usually infused with other ingredients such as preservatives, sugar, milk and food coloring. Chocolate is the combination of cacao or cocoa with sweeteners, milk, and possibly oil, nuts, dried fruit and seeds.
(Based on my research, cacao has a ton of antioxidants and helps with your cardiovascular health.)
What will eating superfoods do for someone’s overall health, nutrition or fitness?
Adding superfoods into your diet has a multitude of benefits, ranging from improved immune function, bowel regularity, skin clarity, reduction of inflammation and improved energy.
(And quite honestly, you feel so good knowing that you’re fueling your body up with something a little extra. Or at least I always do.)
What’s your favorite superfoods recipe, which can be a side dish for Thanksgiving?
I love a big hearty salad side loaded with roasted delicata squash. Topping the salad with spicy sunflower seeds or cashews and a sprinkling of hemp seeds is an easy way to incorporate superfoods into a large dish and still have it be a crowd pleaser for all types of palates.
And there you have it! Superfoods are beneficial and easy to add into your diet — you heard it here, straight from a registered dietitian.
A little bit about Navitas Organics
Let’s talk for a minute about Navitas Organics. I met the awesome people behind Navitas Organics before at an event they hosted in San Francisco (including the CEO and founder), and we’ve always kept in touch, because I’m such a fan of their products. If you’ve been around the blog before, you know I put Navitas Organics chia seeds on just about every breakfast I eat, and I’ve also been known to throw some pomegranate powder and goji berries into a dish as well. Yay superfoods!
Navitas Organics offers more than 60 nutrient-dense superfood ingredients and snacks, which are USDA-certified organic, and these products can be found in most grocery stores or online. The company has been around since 2003 and is based in Northern California — woohoo. And their products are oh-so-colorful and pleasing to the eye. Am I right?
And now for your chance to win …
Enter to win Navitas Organics superfoods
One lucky winner, who must reside in the U.S., will win one bag of each of the following to get their specialized superfood game on big time:
- Cacao Nibs
- Cacao Powder
- Goji Berries
- Goldenberries (my absolute favorite!)
- And several Superfood+ bars (all of which are super delicious!)
Here’s a look at the spread the winner will receive …
This giveaway will close on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Good luck!
Where to find Navitas Organics and a sale
Also, just a note: all of the Navitas Organics cacao products (including Nibs, Sweet Nibs, Powder and Butter) as well as the berry products (including Mulberries, Goldenberries and Goji Berries) and the Superfood+ Bars (Maca Maple, Cacao Cranberry, Goji Acai and Hemp Peanut) will be 20 percent off in November when you purchase directly from the brand, so head to the site to check them out.
You can also find Navitas Organics products in a lot of grocery stores nationwide, including Sprouts Farmer’s Market, Safeway and even Target. Use this store locator to find a retailer near you.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today, my friends! Good luck in the giveaway!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Navitas Organics. I received compensation and complementary products, however, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the great brands that support A Lady Goes West.Learn about superfoods and have a chance to win them on A Lady Goes West today ... Click To Tweet
Questions of the day
What’s your favorite superfood?
What superfood do you most want to try and why?
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?