One of the latest fads are super foods in powder form. What do I mean? Foods like acai berries, chia seeds or spirulina that are pureed, dehydrated, producing powders which contain large concentrated quantities of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Let’s take a look at each of them and get to know them better!
Acai Berries: The acai berry is a round fruit which looks like a grape and tastes like a fruity red wine with a chocolate after taste…!!! It comes from Brazil and has basically become fashionable from the surfers who would add it to different smoothies and claimed that it would give them a lot of energy. The acai berry actually does contain beneficial properties and helps battle constipation. It is a strong antioxidant that offers great amounts of energy and strengthens your immune system.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: You have to be sure that the powder you are buying is trustworthy (meaning that the berries have been dehydrated and frozen immediately so that all of its bioactive ingredients that are beneficial to you are preserved.
Chia: Chia seeds “sprang” out of Central and North America and they are said to have given superhuman properties to the famous Aztec and Mayan tribes. They are small black and white seeds that can be consumed with both sweet and savory flavors. When they come into contact with liquids they create a very enjoyable jelly. They are an immensely powerful super food since they contain large amounts of plant fiber, protein, calcium and energizing fatty acids. The powder you ingest should be stored in an airtight container.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: It may cause allergic reactions to those who are allergic to oregano, thyme, mustard and sesame seeds. If you are taking anticoagulant medication, please consult your doctor before consuming.
Spirulina: Spirulina is one of the most ancient seaweed. It is assumed to have created most of the quantity of oxygen which was needed for all of the organisms on earth to evolve…!!! Spirulina seems to have come from Central America and Africa. It “loves” lakes and rivers as well as combinations of drinkable water and salt water. It needs very intense sunlight in order to grow. Powdered spirulina contains an exceptional form of protein as well as the most minerals and trace elements. It is a great source of carotenoids and Vitamin A which is why it is considered a beneficial food for eye health. It also contains a large amount of phytochemicals that battle inflammation in the body and generally strengthens your immune system.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: You should be very careful which manufacturer you choose to buy spirulina from since many times it can contain many pollutants.
Cocoa Powder : Cocoa powder is an exceptionally nutritious plant based food. It comes from the cocoa tree of the Theobroma Cacao genus which has been grown in North America for millions of years (it most likely comes from the highlands of the Andes in Columbia or from the Amazon region).
The word “Theobroma” is of Greek origin and means “Food of the Gods”!!! Cocoa beans are processed to get chocolate which contains the fat, milk and sugar of the bean. Cocoa beans are of high nutritional value and contain good quality fat, vitamin B complex and plenty of antioxidants that strengthen the body’s immune system. It is not by chance that the chocolate beverage has been enjoyed for thousands of years since man has perceived its health benefits. (The Spanish conquerors brought it to Europe from North America.)
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: The less processing the cocoa bean has undergone, the better it is. Try to buy raw coca nibs or dark chocolate for the best benefits.
Paprika: Paprika is a powdered spice that is made by drying out the fruit of the Capsicum Annuum plant, which is better known as the pepper plant. The word paprika is of Hungarian descent and is essentially the Greek term “pepper” and the Latin term “piper” paraphrased! Paprika originated in Central Mexico and made its way to Europe by the Spaniards in the 16th century. It is made from various types of pepper plants and is an important source of Vitamin A, strengthening the health of your skin and eyes. If you are paprika devotees and lovers, consuming it on a daily basis, you should know that consuming 1 tablespoon of paprika you acquire 10% of the daily recommended quantity of iron!
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: The dominant substance in paprika (according to the latest data) is capsaicin. It has strong analgesic properties that can relieve stomach pain. In small quantities it can act in an anti-inflammatory manner. But be careful friends because if you over consume it, it may lead to the exact opposite result!
Turmeric: Turmeric is a powder that is obtained by processing the Curcuma Longa plant which comes from North Asia (India). The word turmeric is of Arabic origin and most probably means “yellow root” (due to the golden yellow color it gives to food when added). It is a spice which has characterized Eastern cuisine, and not unfairly of course. It contains essential oils that offer anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and anti-cancerous properties when combined with curcumin. Over the last few years there has been a worldwide research on turmeric, in relation to medication that can be developed to battle cancer. It contains minerals, trace elements and a good amount of fiber. Rich in B Vitamins that help keep your skin healthy.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: The consumption of 10 g of turmeric a day can offer you up to 25% of the daily recommended iron intake. It is safe to say that a good combination of spices on a daily basis can offer us health benefits we never thought possible!
These super food powders (along with many more) can actually offer amazing benefits. It is important to weigh the cost of these products and then decide if you can include them in your daily lives. I also believe we should consider that each country has its own super foods and especially the Mediterranean has many of these types of foods such as olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables and so much more…
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Dietician/Nutritionist Christo Papavaggeli.