The term “superfood” gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? Beyond the arbitrary nature of the buzzword, it could really apply to any whole food containing potent nutrients that provide a broad range of health benefits. Some examples include matcha, broccoli sprouts and salmon. The only trouble with superfoods is that they’re often expensive because of their high quality and are sometimes hard to find. So while real food almost always tops supplements, if you’re trying to include more than a couple and don’t want to bust your budget, it can be hard going. Enter a growing range of powders, goos and such made from whole ingredients yet condensed down into a portable package. Despite the fact many are packaged too look like something you’d drop in a gold fish bowl, we tested a few and here are the top three of the superfood supplement crop:
After being hurt in a bike accident in his second Ironman, Joel Einhorn needed a way to speed his recovery process. After a lot of self-experimentation he found the ancient healing practice of Ayurveda and then journeyed to India to work with expert Dr. V.A. Venugopal, who introduced him to a broad range of curative plants found in the Himalayas, particularly by those used by mountain guides. They settled on 30 of these to put into HANAH One, alongside ghee and sesame oil which helps your body process the phytochemicals. The result is a dark, smoky-tasting goo that looks like (this is for you Brits and Aussies) Marmite or Veggiemite. Ingredients like Indian gooseberry increase blood-flow, while Terminalia Bellirica increases rejuvenation. While the jar will last you longer, we found that the single-serve sachets of HANAH One are very convenient on the go, such as when on a camping trip above tree line. And if you’re somewhere off the grid and forget to bring your coffee pot, HANAH One gives you an even, consistent energy boost despite being caffeine-free.
UB Super-founder Scott Kanyok scoured the planet for some of the most potent plant foods around and then spent a couple of years tinkering with them, settling on hormone-balancing maca root, cell regenerating camu camu and blood sugar-stabilizing acerola cherry. Then he added high quality grass fed whey to the final blend – or a vegan protein blend if you can’t or don’t do dairy. A bonus is fulvic minerals that help other micronutrients cross cell walls to aid their absorption and reduce free radical damage. We like the chocolate flavor best, not least because the flavor comes from organic cacao instead of some artificial flavor. UB Super packets are handy if you want to mix up a post-workout shake at your gym – and all the better if there’s a fridge available so you can fill your shaker bottle with milk if you’re going the whey route or an alternative like hemp milk if you’re vegan (you can use water if there’s no refrigeration available). If you’re at home, we like adding in blueberries, raspberries or blackberries and a scoop of peanut or almond butter.
Amazing Grass Green Superfood
This one has been around for a while but of all the green blends we’ve tested, it’s still king of the hill. In addition to packing a potent veggie punch with the usual suspects broccoli, spinach and alfalfa, the folks at Amazing Grass have crammed in magnesium-loaded (anxiety reduction) chlorella, iron-rich spirulina and, as the company name suggests, B vitamin (energy metabolism) powerhouse barley grass and chlorophyll-stacked (blood-boosting) wheat grass. There are also gut health-promoting prebioitics and probiotics included, plus some extra fiber from flax seeds and apple pectin. Green Superfood comes in a range of flavors, including pineapple lemongrass, sweet berry and tangerine, but we still like the original’s clean, earthy taste. One of the best uses we found for it is to boost the immune system while traveling, when it’s hard to find good quality veggies on-the-go (not least at the airport food court or on the plane). Just put a scoop in your water bottle, shake for a few seconds and you’ve got a good nutritional start to your journey. Plus, the container easily fits in a carry-on bag with no concerns about leaking.