The Ultimate Superfoods List, and How to Get Them in Your Diet
Most of human history has been a hunt for calories. For a very long time, we existed as hunter-gathers, with our ancient ancestors sometimes stalking their meals for days and across many miles. They supplemented what they could by gathering other calories that grew from the earth, not understanding the complex human body, but knowing that if you didn’t get enough calories, you would grow weak and eventually die.
The existence of grocery stores, fast food, and prepackaged meals have been just a speck on the timeline of human history, but they have put us into an entirely different food-based predicament on the opposite end of the spectrum: an abundance of food everywhere we look, but a lack of nutritional value.
Many ancient cultures turned to things that they saw as “superfoods,” things they could gather from the earth that we only now know and understand scientifically, but even back then they knew provided plentiful nutritional benefits. The ancient Aztecs used spirulina, derived from a type of microcell algae that grows in both salt and fresh water. Quinoa is an ancient grain that is now an extremely popular substitute for rice that provides protein and many other nutrients that rice does not.
We may not need to forage for algae to keep us going but in our busy & hectic schedules and a preponderance of foods that don’t offer the nutritional benefits that we need, people are again turning to superfoods that they can add to their daily diet for a wholefood solution to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
List of Superfoods
- Cereal grasses
- Dark, leafy (cruciferous) greens
- Green tea
- Nuts & seeds
- Yogurt and kefir
- Olive oil
- Turmeric (or curcumin)
- Sweet potato
- Ancient grains
- Kombucha and kimchi
- Dark chocolate
What is a Superfood?
The reason that humans have a “sweet tooth” is that sugar is extremely densely packed with calories, and that sweet taste is nature’s way of letting us know that there is a large supply to be found within it. Modern advances in science and food have led to various ways to trick the body by making compounds that are far sweeter than sugar with little-to-no calories, but the craving for sweets still remains (especially if you are overstressed or tired).
While there is no one specific flavor used by nature to denote it, a “superfood” is one that is densely packed with nutrients rather than sugar. For example, spirulina could be considered a superfood because it offers a wide spectrum of different beneficial nutrients in a single serving: antioxidants, b-vitamins, copper, protein, iron, and others. Cereal grasses could also be considered superfoods because wheatgrass, oat grass, alfalfa grass, and barley grass are very low in calories yet densely packed with all of the nutrients that we need to survive.
Other foods may be considered superfoods because they contain a lot of specific types of nutrients that help us stay healthy: the omega-3 fatty acids + protein in salmon, the healthy fats of avocados, or the artery-coating properties of olive oil.
Are Superfoods Good for Me?
To state the obvious - yes! While there are different classes and types of superfoods, they are all given this classification because they are extremely good for you. Some, like spirulina or cereal grasses, may offer a wide host of benefits to your health, while others provide benefits that are more focused on a single aspect of your well-being (cholesterol reduction, inflammation, heart health, etc).
People don’t typically seek out superfoods for their taste, although some of them can be quite delicious (salmon, avocados, berries, etc). More people today are focused on reducing their caloric intake rather than increasing it as our ancestors did, but anyone who wants to keep their body in good health would be well served to add as many of these superfoods to their daily diet as possible!
What Are the Supplements that Include Superfoods?
Just as with the superfoods themselves, there is a wide range of supplements that seek to harness the power that these nutrient-dense foods provide. Some of them are, like superfoods, intently focused on providing a particular type of benefit (weight loss, heart health, bone strength, etc), while others use the superfood power to help pack every nutrient you need for the day into a single serving.
Superfood supplements are a booming industry, so there are a lot of them on the market, and not all of them are great. The list below will go through some of the best that we’ve found that are available today, and provide a wide spectrum of benefits and tastes:
Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health
With so many nutrients derived from superfoods inside that it should be considered a superfood unto itself (that’s about as meta as you can get), Green Vibrance from Vibrant Health tops our list because it covers the entire spectrum. Including six different types of cereal grasses, spirulina, and a wide variety of plant-based micro nutrition, fiber, antioxidants derived from berries and turmeric, flaxseed, ginger root, and even 25 billion CFUs of probiotics derived from 12 different strains, this superfood-powered supplement is the gold standard for nutritional value.
Superfoods are so-named because they can pack a lot of nutritional punch into a single serving, and many of them offer a wide host of various benefits to keeping your body healthy. With nutrients designed to increase your heart health, provide antioxidants that help reduce free radicals (which means it fights cancer), strengthen your bones & skeletal system, provide immune support, enzymes that fuel your body’s natural reactions, and even probiotics that help aid a healthy gut biome & digestion, this supplement is far more super than any superfood can ever hope to be on its own!
Maximum Vibrance by Vibrant Health
The only thing - and we mean the ONLY thing - that Green Vibrance may leave to be desired is that it doesn’t pack a lot of protein. Maximum Vibrance from Vibrant Health, on the other hand, provides a whopping 20g of plant-based protein along with all of the other benefits that come in every serving of Green Vibrance (listed above).
Protein is extremely important if you are an active or athletic person, as protein helps to repair and rebuild your muscles after an especially active day or workout. Since both Green Vibrance and Maximum Vibrance are both vegan-friendly, certified non-GMO, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and plant-based, these supplements are great for those who are vegetarian or vegan. Because it’s tough to find enough protein to keep your body going & growing while following a vegan diet, Maximum Vibrance is especially helpful in that case because it provides enough protein in every serving to keep active or athletic vegans fueling their bodies for the most strenuous activities.
Raw Organic Protein & Greens by Garden of Life
Along with a search for superfoods, the “raw” movement has also been taking the health & wellness industry by storm. Heat can denature some nutrients, making their availability lower for your body even if certain superfoods are included in the mix. Raw Organic Protein & Greens by Garden of Life includes 22 raw and organic sprouts to keep your health supercharged and also packs in 22g of plant-based protein. The cacao used for the flavoring is a superfood in and of itself, as it is the raw cacao component that makes dark chocolate a superfood for its benefits to heart health.
Athletic Greens (now AG1)
Athletic Greens (now known as AG1) is perhaps the best-known greens & superfood supplement in the industry because it focused a lot of effort on marketing, advertising, and celebrity endorsements. While there are a lot of benefits the superfood supplement purports to provide, it also leaves some things to be desired. To begin with, all of those ads and endorsements cost money, which could be why AG1 is the most expensive superfood supplement on the market. Additionally, their ingredients list is mainly comprised of “proprietary formulas,” meaning that we don’t know exactly how much of what is contained within their drink. The drink is also something of an acquired taste, but if we take the company or celebrities touting it at their word, it should provide the benefit of numerous superfoods and 75 different vitamins & minerals.
Organic Spirulina Powder by Wellmade
Spirulina is considered one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and has been used for its health benefits since the ancient Aztecs used it to fuel the runners who passed messages between their cities. If you aren’t looking for one of the end-all-be-all superfood mixes like Green Vibrance and want to focus on a single superfood, spirulina is the one to turn to. With high levels of chlorophyll, plant-based protein, and numerous minerals like manganese, zinc, and iron, spirulina is one of the true superfoods that provides a wide host of health benefits in a single package.
Organic SuperGreens by Ancient Nutrition
This is an interesting one because it doesn’t have a wide host of superfood ingredients like Green Vibrance does, nor is it one single superfood like the spirulina powder listed above. Instead, Organic SuperGreens by Ancient Nutrition packs the benefits of six different - true to its name - ancient superfoods. Spirulina, chlorella, goji berry, elderberry, reishi mushrooms, and matcha (green tea) are all superfoods that have been used for hundreds and potentially thousands of years by eastern and South American cultures for their health benefits. If you want to know what kept our ancestors in shape for swimsuit season and able to run marathons on a whim, this is the superfood supplement for you!
Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood by Garden of Life
Besides having a name that is a mouthful in and of itself, this is another superfood supplement drink that can offer a wide variety of nutrients derived from superfoods to help keep your health in tip-top condition. As with the previous Garden of Life addition to our list, this one is also full of nutrients that are processed raw, meaning that none of the superfoods lose any nutritional value during the processing. This superfood supplement contains 34 different nutrient-dense, raw, organically-grown greens that provide you with things like chlorophyll, antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and dozens of phytonutrients. This superfood supplement also contains prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes to specifically help stimulate your gut flora, which can aid in your digestion and will help to keep you regular in terms of bowel movements.
While the food that we eat, the way that we get it, and the way that it is served have changed drastically over the centuries that humans have been alive, there is one constant that has remained: humans want food that packs a lot of what we need into every bite. In the past, we were looking specifically for calorie-dense foods that could provide the energy needed to hunt, forage, move around, procreate, and defend our families from warring tribes or hungry tigers. Now we are seeking nutrient-dense foods that can help provide various health benefits to our bodies.
It really is a funny paradox, when you think about it: at first, humans died because they couldn’t find enough calories. In our current, western and first-world societies, an overabundance of highly processed foods and sweeteners like corn syrup is snuck into our food clandestinely, drastically increasing the calorie count whilst also reducing the nutritional value of what we eat. We went from fighting to get enough food, to now fighting just to find healthy food amidst a sea of junk.
The beauty of the superfood supplements on this list is that many of them, like Green Vibrance and Maximum Vibrance which topped the list (for good reason) pack enough of a nutritional punch to ensure that one daily serving can help you ensure that you are getting enough of those vital nutrients to maintain your health.
The addition of things like probiotics, cereal grasses, spirulina, and chlorella is the (healthy) icing on the cake, supercharging your body to provide a gentle push in the places and processes where we most need it.
Long gone are the days when our entire lives revolved around the hunt for calories, but we substituted that persistence lifestyle for long work days & nights and a need to eat whatever we could find within our lunch break, or after work when we’re exhausted from the day. Thankfully, there are superfood supplements out there that can help ensure that no matter how stretched our schedules are, we have a single place to get what our bodies need.