Q: Are superfoods okay to consume as part of a paleo diet?
A: Paleo diets are currently enjoying tremendous attention, with many enthusiasts crediting the lifestyle with better strength, weight loss, and energy â€¦ especially when combined with physical activity. The basic idea is to only consume foods (and food groups) that were available to our ancient ancestors of the Paleolithic era (think over 10,000 years ago): mainly vegetables, some fruit, nuts, eggs and meat (although it is possible to follow a fully plant-based paleo diet, like this one). Off the menu for Paleo followers are grains, legumes, dairy, starchy foods, processed foods, sugary foods, and alcohol. So where does this leave superfoods?
Happily, most superfoods make absolutely wonderful additions to a Paleo diet. These foods can enhance the nutrition of those following conventional guidelines, while also being helpful for those looking to go Paleo without such a large dependence on animal protein. Here's the breakdown on how superfoods are such a perfect fit for Paleo:
Super-Nuts & Seeds: Nuts and seeds offer excellent easily-digestible protein and natural minerals, and are given the green light in Paleo doctrines. Consuming superfood varieties of this food group means you're packing in even more nutrition, from minerals like calcium to the world's most beneficial fats. hemp seeds, chia seeds, cashews, cacao and flax seeds all make the list!
Super-Berries: Berries are the most highly emphasized fruit on the Paleo diet, and a welcome snack relief for those with a sweet tooth. Almost all berries can be considered superfoods thanks to their high level of antioxidants, but some stand out as even more nutritionally charged, including goji berries, goldenberries, mulberries, maqui berries, and acai berries. Many of these â€œsuper-berriesâ€ offer additional health benefits, like protein and healthy fats.
Super-Greens: Ask any Paleo-supporter and they'll likely agree: vegetables are a big thumbs up. Best of all are the non-starchy varieties, like leafy green vegetables (start washing that kale!) and sprouts, but don't forget about the most nutrient-dense, micronutrient-rich vegetables of all: sea vegetables like nori and dulse, as well as grasses like wheatgrass and barley grass. These green superfoods help keep the body clean and well-nourished from the inside out.
It goes without saying that regardless of whether or not you choose to follow the Paleo path, these superfood ingredients are of incredible benefit. Nevertheless, it really does seem there's a reason that the popularity of superfoods as energy foods is as ancient as it is legitimate. Are you on the Paleo diet, or maybe just Paleo-curious? Try one of our Paleo-approved superfood recipes in our recipe bank, such as these delicious Good Seed Crackers.