Top Superfood Powders
BySarah Axtell, ND •January 4, 2024
Supercharge your smoothie with one of these superfood powders. The powdered version of these foods are easy to mix in smoothies, baked goods or oatmeal and are an efficient way to maximize your nutrition needs. They can also help boost your energy levels, support your immune system and provide a host of other healthy benefits.
1. Collagen– Collagen is a common ingredient added to skin care products to boost suppleness. It can also be taken orally to not only beautify your skin but also to repair the cartilage in your joints, making it an ideal powder for those with arthritis. An amino acid in collagen called glycine also helps digestion by improving stomach acid production and rebuilding the stomach lining. This can help prevent heartburn, constipation and heal the lining of a leaky gut. Collagen is packed full of protein, leaving your full for hours. Mix 2 tbsp collagen powder into smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal or tea.
2. Maca– Maca is a plant native to the Andes, revered for its many nutritional and medicinal properties. Maca is a true super-food, for it is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, plant sterols, protein, and essential fatty acids. Both men and women can benefit from maca’s medicinal properties. Maca enhances energy and libido. A study in the journal CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics found that women taking antidepressants, a leading cause of low libido, who added maca to their diet had more frequent and enjoyable sex than women taking a libido. Mix 2-3 tsps in a smoothie or see here for an energizing recipe for “Coconut Maca Balls.”
3. Plant-based protein powders –I prefer plant-based protein powders over whey protein powder because many individuals have dairy sensitivities (and whey is dairy-based). Protein powders are a must in your morning smoothie or bowl of oatmeal to prevent blood sugar roller-coaster rides. When blood sugar rises and then crashes due to sugar (fruit in smoothies) or carbohydrates (oatmeal), you can be left feeling irritable, hungry and tired. To stabilize blood sugar, add 1 scoop of protein powder to your morning meal. To choose a plant-based protein powder, look for one with less than 5 grams sugar and more than 10 grams protein per serving. Here is my favorite protein powder.
4. Matcha- Matcha is a form of green tea made from skillfully cultivated, shade-grown tea leaves that have been meticulously stone-ground into a fine powder. It is concentrated in antioxidants. It also speeds up the metabolism, aiding in weight loss. Morning is the best time to enjoy matcha as it is super energizing and promotes memory and focus. Drink matcha as a tea with hot water, almond milk and honey or add to a smoothie. Serving size is 1-2 tsps. This Matcha Green Tea Smoothie is my favorite way to enjoy matcha in the morning.
5. Flaxmeal (ground flaxseeds)- Flaxseeds have the power to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and promote healthy bowel movements! And as a major bonus for perimenopausal women, flax seeds have been found to significantly reduce the frequency of hot flashes. Flaxseeds have also been found to have anti-cancer effects, especially in the case of hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer. A dose of 2 tbsps of GROUND flax-seeds per day is recommended. By eating ground flax seeds, you can utilize the anti-inflammatory effects. Otherwise, if they are whole seeds they will pass right through your digestive tract. You can add ground seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, cookies, and muffins. Whenever I bake, no matter the recipe, I always add 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds to the recipe as an added nutritional boost for myself and family.
6. Raw cacao- Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume. It is different than cocoa powder in that it is been minimally processed and still contains active enzymes. It is an excellent source of magnesium, which is one of the top nutrient deficiencies in the US. Magnesium is a relaxing mineral, relieving tension in the muscles, digestive tract (and thus promoting regular BMs), and mind (and thus reducing anxiety).
7. Ashwagandha- Ashwagandha is one of the most common herbs we recommend here at Lakeside. It is one of my favorite adaptogenic herbs. In layman’s terms, adaptogens, such as Ashwagandha, make everyone in your life become less annoying!
Here are some clinical applications of this rejuvenating herb:
- Improves anxiety and sleep. It is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps the body adapt by normalizing physiological processes in times of high stress.
- Modulates the immune system. The withanolides in Ashwagandha demonstrates significant immunomodulatory effects on Th cells and inflammatory cytokines giving potential therapeutic development for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Improves sexual function in women (improved sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, satisfaction). It primarily does this by increasing testosterone.
- Supports the thyroid and metabolism. Ashwagandha has been shown to improve thyroid hormones (TSH, Free T3, and Free T4), thereby improving the metabolism.
- Enhances cognition. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that a single dose of Ashwagandha resulted in sustained attention, prevention of mental fatigue, and increased short-term/working memory. Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of Ashwagandha supplementation for improving cognition, cortisol, mood, and food cravings.
Add 1/2 tsp to your morning smoothie, baked goods, chia pudding, oatmeal, or hot cocoa (“Superfood Hot Cocoa“).
8. Moringa- Moringa is a greens superfood powder, giving kale a run for its money. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, notably vitamins A and C, iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. It is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflamamtory properties. It’s also been shown to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. Add 1-2 tsps to your morning smoothie or add to savory foods like pesto, dips, and eggs. This Supergreens Dip is a great way to use moringa powder.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.