What many of us deem to be superfoods are simply foods that are exceptionally rich in particular nutrients, often times at a much higher rate than what is regarded as the norm. These days, superfoods tend to be characterized as specialty items. Although, wild blueberries, broccoli sprouts, kale, and many other commonly found foods are also quite nutrient dense and high in antioxidants, and can easily be considered a ‘superfood’. That said, following are a few of my favorite intensely nutrient items that I incorporate on most days, depending on what I feel my body is needing, including helpful information for each.

Pictured below are hemp seeds, maca powder, goji berries, and chia seeds.

Hemp seeds have a pleasant nutty flavor and supply Omega 3 as well as Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids, all ten essential amino acids, and a healthy dose of protein. They can be added to smoothies, soups, salads, whole food meal bars, breakfast porridge and desserts. I often enjoy chopped mixed fruit sprinkled with hemp seeds. They are also really delicious as an added topping for pasta.

Maca powder is produced from a root vegetable native to Peru and is a member of the radish family. It has a slightly sweet, malty flavor that pairs exceptionally well with chocolate—among other things! Maca is an adaptogen, a hormone balancer, and an excellent source of minerals, B vitamins and protein. I love adding maca to various blended concoctions and savory dishes. I even include it as an ingredient for creating various types of condiments.

Goji berries have more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots, important trace minerals including selenium, iron, copper and zinc, and contain eighteen different amino acids. Their flavor is a cross between dried cranberries and raisins, and they are not overly sweet. While goji berries are wonderful to snack on straight, they are great for adding to smoothies, fashioned into a medicinal tea, and sprinkled into salads, fruit mixes, trail mixes, soups, cereals, etc. I often use goji berries in place of raisins with much success.

Chia seeds are rich in protein, calcium, iron and fiber as well as Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. They are ever-so-slightly reminiscent of flax seeds though taste creamier and sweeter and also a tad nutty. They absorb at least nine times their volume in liquid and are wonderfully hydrating, and are especially great for helping to increase athletic endurance. Plus, they keep you sated and energized. I love using chia seeds to enrich and thicken smoothies. In addition, they are excellent for making various types of dressings, puddings, cereals, sprinkled on top of salads, as an ingredient in crackers or breads and more. I often chose heirloom white chia seeds for their milder flavor. However, if you are unable to obtain that variety of chia, you can opt for more readily available heirloom black chia seeds without worry.

Over the many years that I have incorporated superfoods into my eating regimen, I can comfortably say they have positively enhanced my overall well-being and will remain an integral part of my daily habits. The four superfoods mentioned above can easily be included and help boost immunity by providing extra amounts of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids.