Superpowders have become big business in the health and nutrition industry, but do they work? We investigate what makes them healthy and why we should be supplementing with them.
In 2018 we’ve seen a rise of a number of health trends and fads and none are more popular today than the superpowders. First, it was superfoods. Foods that have a mystique about them, being from foreign lands and used by traditional healers and ancient people due to being overly nutrient-dense. These foods include, but are not limited to: goji berries, hemp seeds, chia seeds and blueberries. Soon after, everyone needed to have these to remain in perfect health but sanity prevailed when it became apparent, quite obviously, that while they were good for you, nothing is better than a balanced diet.
Today we’re faced with superpowders. They are powdered versions of fruits, vegetables and other flora that are purported to have great health benefits. They are also in line with the same thinking that made superfoods so popular, and many people swear by their healthy properties and the benefits they derive from them.
In this article we are going to discuss all of the most popular superpowders on the market right now and identify what exactly they claim to do.
Commonly known as the drumstick or horseradish tree, moringa is probably one of the most popular superpowders from around the world. It, like many of the other powders that will be reviewed, is high in antioxidants and has been said to have many far-reaching health benefits, however many of them have not been studied. Moringa is also very high in vitamin C and can form an important component of the diet of a person who doesn’t get enough vitamins and minerals from their daily meals (which should always be your first focus).
As it is high in antioxidants, moringa has the ability to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and protects against toxicity. By adding it to your diet you will increase the amount of essential daily nutrients you’re getting but it still shouldn’t be seen as a cure-all solution.
Origin: Amazon rainforest
Much like how blueberries are called a superfood, acai berries are touted in the same exact manner, but their more exotic feel serves to elevate that status even higher. Not only does acai taste great, but it has many healthy properties that promote heart health, helps with weight loss, boosts your immune system, fights against ageing and is linked to a healthy libido, which means that you’ll more than likely be in a better mood too!
Acai can be consumed in powder form and is added to smoothies to not only boost their nutritional value, but also make them taste amazing. Yes, once you taste acai you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
Origin: Sub-Saharan Africa
Commonly referred to as the “Tree of Life” in parts where it originates, baobab has long-since been used in many cultures due to it being nutrient-dense. Most importantly, it is a rich source of vitamin C, which means more energy and better skin. What sets it apart is also how it is a major source of fibre and antioxidants and is known for its prebiotic qualities as well.
It stands head and shoulders above supplements that contain these same ingredients as it is a natural source. Often, it is difficult for our bodies to absorb all the nutrients from supplements, which makes getting them naturally so much more important.
The maca root is a cruciferous vegetable similar to broccoli, therefore making it nutritious and good for our health. High in fiber, and low in fat, it has many uses and can be consumed as it is or in powder form. The powder is said to also improve sex drive and fertility. Due to the enhancement of libido, it can also serve to improve your mood!
Maca is easy to incorporate into your diet as in powder form it can be added to smoothies, breakfast, or even to enhance the health of the muffins that you’re baking.
Origin: Freshwater worldwide
Chlorella is available worldwide as it is an algae, found in freshwater, differentiating it from many of these other powders we’re covering in this article. What also makes it different is that it must be taken as a supplement or powder because humans cannot digest it in its natural state.
Chlorella, first and foremost, is a complete protein which makes it an important source for vegetarians and vegans. But aside from its protein content, it is also high in omega-3s, vitamin B12 and C, fibre and antioxidants.
Origin: Mexico, Central Africa
You may have heard of spirulina before, which can be consumed in tablet form or as a powder. It is packed with nutrients and is regarded as the most nutrient-dense food on Earth due to its concentration of protein, vitamin B, iron, magnesium, potassium, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and much more.
It being so nutrient-dense means that it is a wide range of health benefits for blood pressure, cholesterol, heart health, brain function and everything else in between. It is also utilized as a dietary supplement and has the potential to address humanitarian issues such as malnutrition.
At its core, matcha is simply green tea, but with a twist. It has all the healthy benefits of green tea such as being high in the antioxidant catechin which is important for heart health, and cancer and type-2 diabetes prevention. What makes matcha different is that whole leaves are ground and then brewed, rather than how green tea is regularly made. This causes it to have a much darker pigment. The thinking behind it is that when you drink regular green tea you are missing out on a lot of the nutrients and with matcha you get them all.
Matcha is whisked into hot water rather than placed into a cup in a tea bag. This gives it a thicker consistency, but no ill effects have been found. It is just as safe and healthy as it is to drink green tea, with matcha being slightly more expensive.
Origin: Southeast Asia
Turmeric is what gives most curries their yellow colour, but it isn’t only about the look. There are compounds within turmeric that have been found to have medicinal properties, which are called curciminoids.
Curcumin benefits people by reducing inflammation and being high in antioxidants, while also being linked to an increase in brain levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. While many of the other superpowders covered keep us healthy, turmeric has been found to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, which gives it a medical edge.
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