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    Ask the Chef: Top Superfoods

    By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef | January 5, 2015

    What are the top superfoods I should have in my kitchen?

    There will always be debate about what are the “best†superfoods - an impossible question really, as every superfood offers its own unique spectrum of benefits. Nevertheless, this has to be one of the most popular questions I get. So, in the spirit of establishing a do-able superfood base, here are the top 6 superfoods I would recommend always having on hand (I know I do!):

    Goji Berries
    Goji berries cover such a wide array of nutrients, they really are quite the overachievers in the (already-impressive) world of superfoods. With all of the major macronutrients, over 20 vitamins and minerals, a huge variety of antioxidants, and plentiful research studies authenticating the power of the goji berry, goji berries aren't just a survival food, they're a surTHRIVEal food. Plus, given the fact that we can enjoy dried gojis straight out of the bag like raisins, throw them into breakfast dishes and baked goods, and even use them in savory dishes like pilafs and salads, the goji berry jar is definitely one that will be reached for again and again.

    Chia Seeds
    Chia Seeds are one of the most powerful seeds on the planet … and one the most versatile as well. A top source of omega 3's (8 times more than salmon, ounce per ounce!), fiber, protein, and minerals like calcium, chia seeds are an exceptional way to easily boost the nutrition of dishes. They don't offer much flavor at all (and are tiny in size), which makes them very simple to add to virtually any type of food, from cereal to stews. Additionally, their unique gelling/thickening quality makes them a fun tool to make healthy puddings and even act as a vegan egg in baking.

    Maca Powder
    Anyone who has used maca powder will likely agree that this incredible root is one of the most energizing foods on the planet, making it a true superfood staple. By helping balance the adrenal glands in the body, maca offers long-term energy and stamina without being a stimulant like coffee. Its malty flavor is a perfect match for many smoothies, oatmeal, baking, and desserts.

    Hemp Seeds
    One of the very best sources of plant-based protein, hemp seeds are invaluable for anyone looking to include more high-quality, easily digestible protein in his or her diet. Add in hemp's healthy EFA content, minerals like iron, and even alkalizing chlorophyll and it's easy to see that hemp is no ordinary protein source! Hemp seeds taste delicious, similar to sunflower seeds, and can be sprinkled on both savory and sweet dishes with confidence.

    Green Foods
    Fresh greens should always be a part of any superfood spectrum, but green powders can be very helpful to “green up†a diet even further. These powders can be added to smoothies, juices, desserts, energy bars… even cocktails! There's many wonderful types of green powders to choose from, each with its own nuances of benefits, but wheatgrass powder is one of the most flavorless (in a good way!) varieties, while offering exceptional vitamin and mineral content.

    Perhaps some people would suggest that cacao - raw chocolate - can't possibly be an “essential†superfood. But, in fact, cacao is truly one of the very best! With phenomenally high levels of anti-aging antioxidants, exceptional levels of minerals like magnesium and iron, and effective phytochemicals that help balance mood and restore energy, cacao more than earns its place in the core superfood pantry. Use cacao powder just like you would unsweetened cocoa powder, and enjoy cacao nibs as crunchy chocolate accouterments to desserts and sweet dishes.