5 Superfoods to Add to Your Morning Smoothie
Allison Bush | Mar 27th 2014
Maca is a root from the cruciferous family (kale, broccoli, cabbage) that grows in the mountainous regions of Peru (and other parts of the Andes.) It has been celebrated as an energy booster, a hormone regulator/modulator and an aphrodisiac. Some people have reported increased energy levels and stamina within days of using it. Maca has no known side effects, but as with any supplement, it should not be consumed in large amounts.
Goji berries have been used medicinally in Tibet for more than 1,700 years. They also have one of the highest ORAC ratings—a method of gauging antioxidant power—of any fruit, according to Tufts University researchers. And although scientists began to study this berry only recently, they’ve found that the sugars that make goji berries sweet seem to reduce insulin resistance in rats.
Chia seeds are native to South America and have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. The seeds have barely any flavor, but are packed with nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein and antioxidants. Nutritionists recommend one tablespoon a day, following it with a lot of water since chia seeds are high in fiber.
Flaxseeds are another great source of fiber. Each tablespoon of flax contains about eight grams of fiber. Flax also is a plant-based source of omega-3, an essential fatty acid that plays an important anti-inflammatory role in our body. And flax contains lignans which may reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Be sure to grind the seeds before consuming.
Often called the Camu-Camu berry, this fruit grows on a low-growing shrub in the Amazon rainforest. Camu fruits are the highest documented source of vitamin C - providing 200 times more than a banana, 56 times more than a lemon, and 30 to 60 times more than an orange. Camu also contains a broad range of other important nutrients including potent antioxidants, phytochemicals and amino acids.