Superfoods 101: Why to add superfoods into your life
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 is closed!
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?
The Cacao nibs look delicious! I would top my protein smoothie with these!
Ohhh that’s a great idea, Leah! I may have to steal it! 🙂
I’ve tried all of these, actually–cacao nibs are my favorite. Love adding them to energy/protein balls!
That’s a great way to use them! Thanks for entering, Jennifer! 🙂
Thanks for all the info! Looks like some great goodies!
They are definitely great goodies! Thanks for saying hi, Emily! Happy Wednesday! 🙂
I love Navitas Organic products, but had no idea they made bars! I would love to try them!
I LOVE the bars! You’d love them too. Thanks for entering, Patricia! 🙂
I would love to try the cacao nibs and powder!! I can imagine all the ways I can use them. I’d also love to try the bars. I’ve seen them at stores but I can’t buy snacks at that price right now!
Hi Allison! Totally – there are so many ways to use all of these superfoods. Thanks for entering! 🙂
They are good! Thanks for entering, Chris! 🙂
I most want to try the goji berries because they are so colorful and intriguing looking!
I love the color of them too. Thanks for entering, Julie! 🙂
Goji berries they sound wonderful and look great
They are some of my faves!! Thanks for entering, Latanya!
One of my favorite things about the specialized superfoods is how easy they are to incorporate into foods I already eat, like salads, smoothies and health-i-fied baked goods.
And one of the things I miss most about drinking Shakeology every day is how many superfoods it contained per shake.
Thank you for all this information. This was a super helpful and informative post!
Yay! So glad you liked it, Courtney! I know Shakeology made it easy, but I’m sure you can throw a few of these in your own smoothie and feel just as good! Happy Wednesday, my friend! (I’m wearing my k’tan baby wearer right now with a sleeping babe on my chest!)
Yay for the baby wearer! It’s like a tiny piece of me is there in some small way!
I keep meaning to take a picture of him in it, but the angle is TERRIBLE for me taking it myself hahah! Stay tuned for a photo! He’s in it again right now — it’s the only way I can get any work done. So I am eternally grateful to you! 🙂
I’d love to try the cacao nibs or berries in my morning oats! With a new baby a little pinch of the good stuff is sort of an indulgence as well as good for you.
Agreed, Alyssa! We need all the treats we can get right now ehehhe. We deserve them! 🙂 Thanks for entering!
I haven’t tried a ton of the “trendy” superfoods but I love adding chia seeds to overnight oats! They help keep me full from breakfast until lunch.
Me too! That’s how I first used chia seeds, actually! Thanks for entering, Maureen! 🙂
I’ve never tried golden berries! I’d love to try them!
You’ll love them, Heather! Hope all is well! Thanks for entering! 🙂
I’m most excited about the bars! I’ve never tried these so I’m pumped about that.
They are so good! Thanks for entering, Liz! 🙂
With a month old and a 2 year old, I am TIRED. I would love to try the goji berries for a little boost of energy!
Sounds like you need the berries heheh! Tired Mommas unite! 🙂 Thanks for entering, Amy.
I have always wanted to try mulberries! Great giveaway!
Thanks, Amber! You are welcome! Thanks for entering! 🙂
I get this question all the time ! Love all the information here!
Yay! It’s Kelli approved! That makes my day heheh! 🙂
I want to try goji berries because I’ve heard so many positive things about them and I love berries!
Hi Melanie! And they are so tasty! Thanks for entering! 🙂
I would like to try the Mulberries. I know Navitas as a quality bran. Have had their Nibs and love their Pomergranate Powder, is a go to especially when I travel for work ( just packed a bag this morning for my trip to Fl. tomorrow).
That’s a great idea to bring these for traveling. And yay for a trip to Florida. Where are you heading?
Temporary relocation to Pensacola.
Ohhh cool! Well I hope it goes well! Good luck!
I love so many of these already! I’ve never tried mulberries before…I’d love to try those!
Yay for superfoods! Thanks for entering, Kaitlyn! 🙂
I use chia seeds in my overnight oats and love sprinkling hemp seeds on salads. I’ve never tried the golden berries though, so I will be on the lookout.
Hi Amanda! Good girl — glad you are already on the superfood train! Thanks for entering! 🙂
I’d love to try the Cacao Nibs. Pure, unadulterated chocolate…my favorite!
The BEST kind of chocolate, right? Thanks for entering, Denise!
Wow! I’d love to win this!! I need super foods in my life!
Don’t we all, Alaina heheh! Thanks for entering! 🙂
I use chia seeds in my oatmeal but love the other suggestions Ashley!
Good girl, Alyssa! 🙂 Thanks for entering!
I would love to try cacao and cacao nibs. I feel like it would be a fun way to make healthy meals and snacks!
They sure are fun! Thanks for entering, Sarah! 🙂
The Cacao nibs sound yummy! 🙂
They are!! Thanks for entering, Jessie! 🙂
I really want to try the Cacao Powder because I have read many great things about it.
Yessss — it’s so good! Thanks for entering, Dee! 🙂
I’ve been taking maca and cacao for years and I have had goji berries before but never tried the golden berries or mulberries! I would be so excited to win!!!
That’s awesome you’re already on the superfoods train, Lauren! 🙂 Thanks for entering!
I LOVE the cacao nibs! They are absolutely heavenly on a spoonful of nut butter. *swoon* Yes, I eat nut butter by the spoonful. 😀 I’d love to try the Goji Berries! Either I’m not looking well or I can’t find them around here. I’ll blame it on my old eyes. lol
hahahah! Jennifer! So funny! Goji berries are delish — good luck in the giveaway! Thanks for entering!
I absolutely LOVE Navita’s Organics products – especially the cacao nibs – perfect for smoothies and baking!
Yay!! You’ve got an eye for good brands, Jamie! hehehe! 🙂
goji berries because i have heard ofv all good benefits.
And they are so tasty! Thanks for entering, Rana! 🙂
I’ve yet to try goji berries, they look so good!
You’ll love them, Jessie! 🙂
I want to try the organic Goji berries because I have heard great things about them.
They are delish! Thanks for entering, Elle! 🙂
Ooh I love chocolate so cacao sounds good!
Hi Nicole! It is!! Thanks for entering! 🙂
Thanks for saying hi, Mimi!
OMG that’s a really hard decision because there all look yummy but I’ll like to try the goji berries because I’ll like to top them on my smoothies and my homemade protein bars yummy .. thanks for the chance ?
Good choice, Patty! Thanks for entering!
I would love to try the superfood+ bars! I’m always looking for new healthy snacks and these look delicious!
Me too! And these are good. Thanks for entering, Kimberly!
I Am most excited to try the mulberries and golden berries, I am yet to try those. ?
Yay for berries! Thanks for entering, Diana!
No, ty! ?
Really want to try the cacao nibs! I’ve somehow never tried them but I’m always on the lookout for health chocolate flavors ?
Ahh yes! They are delish! Thanks for entering, Elizabeth!
The golden berries and mulberries look good. I’ve never had either.
Yay for berries! Thanks for entering, Sara! 🙂
I most want to try Goji Berries. I’ve wanted to add them to my smoothie bowls, but haven’t bought any yet.
Hi Annette! Ahh yes, goji berries are perfect as a topper for smoothies. Thanks for entering! 🙂
I’ve been interested in adding superfoods now that we have a busy 2 year old. I want to help teach him about eating healthy, and that health foods can be delicious!
Ohhh yes! I bet he would love all the superfood berries! Thanks for entering, Marykate!
I’ve never tried goji berries, so I would like to give those a try.
Great choice, Pat! Thanks for entering! 🙂
Cacao nib, Cacao powder…if it’s cacao I love it hahaha. I love adding it to oatmeal in the morning or to smoothies when I need chocolate in my life!
Yay for cacao! I like it too! Have a great day, Heather! Can’t wait to read your post! 🙂
I eat cacao (powder and nibs), Maca, and mushrooms and ashwagandha every day. I have never eaten mulberries or golden berries and would LOVE to try them!!
Wow, Sheena! You are a superfood queen already! Thanks for entering! 🙂
Goji Berries! Never tried ’em.
They are delish! Thanks for entering, Sheila! 🙂
I most want to try Cacao Nibs. I’m a chocolate lover.
Me too, Cheryl! Thanks for entering! 🙂
Omg I love their company!
Me too! Thanks for saying hi, Sabrina! 🙂
I’d love to try the mama!
The mama? 🙂 hehhe I bet that was a typo?? Thanks for saying hi, Christine!
I really want to try goji berries! I haven’t been able to find them in stores. I once saw a bag at Marshalls but it looked moldy ? Anyway, thanks for the cool superfood info!
Hi Melanie! Moldy goji berries? No good heheh! Thanks for saying hi and entering! 🙂
I love all things chocolate so I am excited to try that nativas organics cacao powder! It’s neat to know superfoods don’t have to be weird and they’re actually tasty things similar to what we already eat!
Yesss, Mel! Thanks for entering! 🙂
I love all things chocolate so I am excited to try that nativas organics cacao powder! It’s neat to know superfoods are actually tasty things similar to what we already eat!
I’d love to try Golden berries, I never have!! And love the benefits for immunity, collagen and premature aging, especially with working night shifts in the ICU, i need all the extra nutrients I can get!!
Hi Samantha! Oh wow! You work in the ICU at night? What a tough job — YES, you do need some superfoods! Thanks for entering, lady!
I’m most excited to try the Mulberries & Goldenberries bc it’s full of Antioxidant, vitamins & minerals and it is anti-aging! I’m already incorporating Goji berries and chia seeds to my diet so mulberries would be an awesome addition to kick start my day! Thanks for the chance of all these SuperFood gems!
Hi Maya! So glad you’re already eating some superfoods! Thanks for entering! 🙂
Yay for goji berries + goldenberries! :] Thanks so much for the giveaway!
Of course, Farrah! Hope all is well, lady!
I’d love to try cacao powder in my smoothies!
Great choice, Megan! Thanks for entering! 🙂
I want to try to the cacao
Good choice, Jess! 🙂 Thanks for entering!
How delicious! These look so good and love the use of superfoods in them!
Hi Julie! Yayyyy for superfoods! 🙂 Hope you’ve been having a great weekend, lady!
I’m addicted to chewy fruits lately, so the mulberries and goji berries are calling my name!
Hi Casey! For sure — you need these superfoods in your life then. Thanks for entering! 🙂
I add chia seeds to oats and hemp seeds to smoothies. Love the idea of the superfood bars – super convenient!
Hi Carol! The superfood bars are SO convenient! And tasty too! Thanks for entering!
I’d love to try the Goji berries because I’ve never had any before!
Thanks for entering, Dandi! The goji berries are delish! 🙂
I would most like to try the superfood bars to take with me to work as they are handy on-the-go!
They are super tasty and easy to eat any time. Thanks for entering, Renata! 🙂
I’d most enjoy trying the goji berries as they full of healthy antioxidants.
Hi Raymond! And goji berries are delicious too! Thanks for entering! 🙂
Superfoods are super great! I have tried Cacao powder and still it’s my favorite one. Thanks for sharing this post!
Thanks for reading, Jennifer! 🙂