Every time you turn around, it seems there’s a hot new superfood that you supposedly need to add to your diet, like, yesterday. But more often than not, these foods end up being more hype than healthy. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to cut through the noise and find out which foods really are super with a capital “S.”
1. Hemp Seeds
With a nutty flavor and impressive nutritional profile, hemp seeds are set to replace chia as the seed du jour. Not only are they a complete vegetarian protein (containing every essential amino acid your body needs), but hemp seeds are also full of fiber, vitamins, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Eat them raw or toasted, sprout the seeds, grind them up, or steep them to make tea; this do-it-all seed goes well in everything from oatmeal to salads to smoothies.
2. Chaga Tea
Chaga mushrooms are a seriously powerful member of the fungus family: Countless scientific studies indicate these ‘shrooms are full of antioxidants and immunity-boosting properties. As strange as it sounds, chaga is actually best consumed as a brewed tea. This not only increases the bioavailability of nutrients in the mushrooms, but it also tastes delicious. Mix it with hot water for a basic brew, make a chaga chai latte with milk and spices, or use cold chaga tea as a liquid base in your morning smoothie.
3. Haskap Berries
While blueberries, goji, and açai berries are frequently touted as the ultimate superfoods, there’s a new fruit in town: Meet the haskap berry, a member of the honeysuckle family native to Canada, Russia, and northern Japan. Given their limited growing area, haskaps can be a challenge to find, but it’s well worth the effort: They best the other berries in terms of vitamins and micronutrients, and they’re high in fiber and potassium. Whether frozen, dried or in the form of a juice, jam or liqueur, haskap’s potent powers will do your body good.
4. Sea Vegetables
More than just a vehicle for sushi, seaweed and other sea veggies are long overdue for an appearance on your dinner plate. These greens come in many shapes and forms, from wakame to nori to chlorella, and pack a potent nutritional punch. Whether you crumble dulse flakes in your soup or add sea asparagus to your salad bowl, these légumes de mer are an exciting replacement for traditional greens (we’re looking at you, kale).
5. Maple Water
This just in: Maple water is the new coconut water. For an electrolyte boost, this tasty low-cal liquid from the almighty maple tree can’t be beat. A host of minerals, only a tiny amount of sugar, and lots of healthy plant compounds (including five never before seen in nature!) make this an ideal post-workout drink. Or add it to your tea or coffee for just a hint of sweetness and maple-y flavor.
6. Cacao Nibs
Derived from the bean of the cocoa plant and ground up into smaller fragments, cacao nibs give your average dark chocolate bar a run for its money. They are crunchy, bursting with true chocolate taste, and they happen to be one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on earth. Snack on them solo, use them when baking in place of standard chocolate chips, or throw them in anything from ice cream to protein shakes for a one-two flavor punch. They’ll make you cuckoo for cocoa.