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    Ask the Chef: Superfoods for Super Mamas

    By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef | May 6, 2015

    Do you have any superfoods that would be particularly great for super-moms?

    With Mother's Day just around the corner, now's the perfect time to take a closer look at the key nutrients that moms (and all women!) need the most.

    Women's bodies require different priorities in the realm of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than men's bodies do. And throughout adolescence, the child-bearing years, and on into maturity, certain nutrients are required to keep the female body vibrant and at its peak. Fortunately, you can usually skip the supplement aisle and get these nutrients the natural way, from healthy and delicious superfoods! Read on for some of the top nutrients for women (and moms!), as well as the best food sources.

    Essential Fatty Acids
    Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are incredibly important to a woman's health, as these help produce energy, build cells, clot blood when needed, and transport oxygen. For women who are pregnant or breast feeding, essential fatty acids are even more important, and experts recommend getting at least 500-600 mg per day. Chia seeds are a wonderful superfood source of essential fatty acids, as they contain eight times more Omega-3s than salmon! Other delicious sources of this nutrient include hemp seeds, soybeans, acai, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

    Many women struggle with anemia, or not getting enough iron. Of incredible importance, iron is the nutrient that produces and supports red blood cells, which keeps us active and energized. Luckily, iron is abundant in a superfood diet: cacao beans are a great superfood source of iron, as well as magnesium and antioxidants (and even dark chocolate will supply some iron too). Women can also eat more kale, chia, spinach, and mulberries to maintain a healthy iron level.

    Folic Acid
    This nutrient is most essential during the child-bearing years because it's been proven to reduce the risk of birth defects. However, it's also shown promise in preventing some types of cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, many of the processed foods we eat are stripped of folic acids when they're refined. Whole grains and green leafy vegetables are good sources of folic acid. Women can also incorporate more carrots, apricots, avocados, and melons into their diets for a folic acid boost!

    This is a nutrient that helps keep the brain sharp, which is important to women of all ages. One of the best natural sources of betaine is the goji berry. These tiny berries contain numerous free-radical-fighting antioxidants, amino acids, carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals, and they make a delicious addition to oatmeal, cookies, and trail mix. Other great sources of betaine are beets and quinoa.

    Fiber is important in every diet, but it's often overlooked. This nutrient keeps the digestive track moving and helps promote a healthy weight. Flaxseed or chia seed powders are great superfood sources of fiber, as well as essential fatty acids. Other great sources of fiber for women are beans, whole grains, berries (mulberries in particular have a TON!), and oatmeal.

    True, antioxidants are a broad category, but they are profoundly important for anti-aging and disease prevention. Green tea has been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer by up to 22%, and maqui berry's off-the-charts anthocyanins help to enhance memory and prevent age-related loss of cognitive functioning. Truth be told: if it's a nutrient-dense superfood, it likely has a great collection of antioxidants to offer.

    Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! And if you're still searching for that perfect Mother's Day gift, how about hosting a homemade brunch with some of our favorite superfood recipes?