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Where Superfoods Come From

Where Superfoods Come From


Hint: It’s not the supermarket aisle

It is estimated that blueberries have been growing in North America for more than 13,000 years.

We have probably all heard the term "superfood," and have some idea of what these nutrient-rich foods are. As the quite self-explanatory world implies, these are foods that in one way or another are very good for you. From preventing diabetes or lowering cholesterol to giving your brain a boost of omega-3s, the list of possible health benefits from superfoods is long.

Click here to see the Where Superfoods Come From (Slideshow)

Nutritionist and author Elizabeth Somer explained to WebMD that even people who generally are healthy could benefit from adding a few simple superfoods to their diet. "I'd say that 50 percent to 70 percent of suffering could be eliminated by what people eat and how they move: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension can all be impacted," Somer told WebMD.

The list of superfoods is long, and new food items with a "super" status keep appearing, as new studies and research prove their health benefits. Dark chocolate, for example, was long seen as just another fatty and sugary chocolate, but recent studies have ranked it among the beneficial foods, as cocoa contain high amounts of the good-for-you antioxidants known as flavonoids. But while the different superfoods and their health benefits are often talked about, it is less known where most of these foods actually come from. The cancer-fighting broccoli might seem like a classic American vegetable (and nightmare of many children), but this green vegetable was actually not cultivated in the U.S. until the 1920s, and has its roots in Italy. And quinoa, the protein-packed super grain, can be traced back as far as 5,000 years, when it was a staple part of the Incan diet in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia.

Curious to find out where more of our popular superfoods really come from (hint: it’s not the supermarket aisle)? Click through our slideshow and learn all about the origin of eight health-boosting superfoods.


One Small Change: What Makes Superfoods So Super?

Acai, pomegranate and goji, oh my! In honor of the recent Superbowl and an article recently published on learnvest.com entitled, “A Doctor Dishes: Which ‘Superfoods’ Are Worth the Cost?”, I started thinking: where did the term “superfood” come from and what makes them so darn super? Here’s what my research dug up:

There is speculation as to whether the research backing up some of these superfoods has been overstated. In other words, can pomegranates alone really prevent cancer just because they have high antioxidant levels? Since then it seems like every health food marketer is claiming their latest exotic “superfood” will make all the difference in our health and well-being, it's important to get to the bottom of these claims before spending our hard-earned money.

As a result of recent criticism of the lofty health promises, some legislation has occurred, with the European Union prohibiting the use of the term “superfood” unless accompanied by a medical claim supported by evidenced-based research. In the US, we still have no regulations on the use of the term.

So, that leaves us with our original definition: A nutrient-rich, healthy food. Let’s consider what makes foods healthy for us:

  • Moderate in calories
  • High in fiber
  • Rich in omega-3 or monounsaturated fatty acids
  • High in vitamins and minerals
  • Low in trans- and saturated fat
  • Low in added sugars
  • Rich in phytonutrients (such as antioxidants and other healthy compounds found in fruits and veggies)

Do we really need to spend $12.99 per pound (or more) on exotic foods that can provide us with these nutrients? Probably not. And in fact, the learnvest article indicates that some of the nutrients in these exotic foods may be lost during the packaging and shipping process. Yet another reason to buy local!

If you hadn’t already guessed, the best superfoods are ones that we find at the grocery store every day like dark leafy greens, fruits, veggies, lean protein, legumes, nuts, whole grains and foods rich in omega-3’s like flax and salmon. Consider one small change by adding a “superfood” to each meal that you eat.

Breakfast: Add a handful of blueberries to your morning cereal, some ground flax or chopped almonds to yogurt, veggies in your omelet or just enjoy some oatmeal with cinnamon.

Lunch: Pack some carrot, celery or cucumber sticks with lunch. Put a big handful of spinach on your sandwich. Make that sandwich with whole grain bread. Choose the soup and salad or a sandwich and salad. Finish of the meal with a sweet, but healthy ending: fruit. Choose beans instead of meat for lunch one day.

Dinner: Roast some salmon and top with a simple mixture of plain yogurt, dill and lemon juice. Make a big side salad with all the colors of the rainbow (including fruit!) and top with a moderate amount of vinaigrette. Steam or sauté your favorite veggies in garlic, ginger and/or cayenne for a kick. Cook a whole grain like quinoa (cooks in 15 minutes), barley or brown rice and top with some lean protein, like salmon, to let the juices drip down and absorb into the grain.

Snack: Pair a fruit or veggie with a healthy fat or protein such as nuts, low-fat string cheese, a hard-boiled egg or yogurt. Munch on a handful of pecans and dates -- it tastes just like pecan pie! Or have a couple or squares (not bars) of dark chocolate, 70% or more.


What defines a superfood?

Here's how to tell if you've got a true superfood on your hands:

A superfood is a whole (read: real, unprocessed, in its original form) food with high nutrient density -- providing more bang for your buck. Usually plant-based, superfoods are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

There's no standard criteria or an approved list of superfoods, according to the American Heart Association. For that reason, among others, many nutritionists avoid using the term to prevent unrealistic expectations of protection from chronic diseases. Bottom line: These are not magic substances, but foods that are especially healthy for you, and there are dozens of them.

The best health foods possess three of these four components, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  1. Good or excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
  2. High in phytonutrients and antioxidant compounds, such as vitamins A and E and beta carotene.
  3. May help reduce risk of heart disease and other health conditions.
  4. Readily available.

3. Spinach

Like broccoli and kale, spinach is loaded with properties that enhance health across your entire body. According to researchers, spinach contains over a dozen flavonoids that are beneficial in fighting cancer and inflammation in the body. The benefits of Spinach for your health are amazing, here are some to name a few:

  • Protection against eye disease
  • Strengthening of bones
  • Balancing of the high acidic content of most American diets
  • Boosting brainpower through omega-3 fatty acids
  • Boosting the immune system with high concentrations of several essential vitamins

Frequently Asked Questions

Standard multivitamin supplements contain minerals that are inorganic mineral salts. Minerals in this form are little more than crushed rocks that have been processed with acids. You can recognize these minerals on a label because they are always listed with two words: zinc picolinate, calcium citrate, magnesium glycinate, etc. Even the small amounts of minerals from these substances that make it into the bloodstream are lacking in cofactors that facilitate effective utilization by our cells and can therefore contribute to toxic buildup in tissues with long-term consumption.

HealthForce Superfoods® products are derived from actual whole foods. We believe in nutrition the way Nature intended. For example, Vitamineral Green™ consists of 25+ whole superfoods (e.g., nettles, wheatgrass, spirulina, kelp) and whole food juices that have been dried at low temperatures and then ground into a powder, with no fillers, binders, or excipients added. Vitamineral Green was formulated to be the most mineral and vitamin rich product possible, sourced from 100% whole foods. Since the micronutrients in Vitamineral Green are from whole foods, the body recognizes and utilizes them more effectively than those found in conventional multivitamin supplements.

“Hard-core” is our pledge to offer the purest, most potent, and therapeutically beneficial products possible. HealthForce Superfoods® is committed to nutrition the way Nature intended. We produce highly therapeutic, whole food supplements packaged in our exclusive EcoFresh Nutrient Lock Packaging™. Our mission is to achieve the highest levels of purity and potency possible in our products, and thus we do not use any binders, fillers, or excipients (flow agents). In addition, our TruGanic™ standards and practices take quality, purity, potency, and therapeutic value to a new level, offering products free from pesticides, GMOs, and irradiation. Finally, all of our products are certified vegan and gluten-free and produced in a vegan, gluten-free facility.

Our commitment to offering the cleanest, highest potency, and most affordable product to YOU, our valued customer, is what moves us. This the heart and soul of HealthForce Superfoods®. We truly care, and we are committed to providing you with the best possible products at the best possible value. We focus on supporting peoples’ healing and regeneration first and foremost. HealthForce Superfoods is proud to offer hard-core products with hard-core packaging, offering hard-core results.

TruGanic™ is a purist, hard-core, quality standard for sourcing and production that we apply to ALL HealthForce Superfoods® products. Our TruGanic products must pass tests to verify that they are free of pesticides, GMOs, and irradiation. Read more about the TruGanic standard.

Our EcoFresh Nutrient Lock Packaging™ consists of three components: amber glass bottle, airtight metal lid with rubber seal, and oxygen absorber. Amber glass is UV resistant and can withstand heat much more than plastic. The airtight metal lid with rubber seal effectively creates a vacuum inside the bottle, preventing oxidation of fragile nutrients. The oxygen absorber is present because every time the seal is broken for consumption oxygen gets inside. The oxygen absorber counteracts this by absorbing the oxygen and extending the shelf life of the product.

Note that all plastic bottles and metal/foil pouches (and plastic lids on glass bottles) allow oxygen to pass through and come into contact with the product inside the bottle, slowly oxidizing valuable nutrients as the product sits on the shelf waiting to be purchased. In addition, plastic bottles and metal/foil pouches off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that negatively affect our health and are highly toxic to melt down. In contrast, our bottles do not off-gas and can be easily recycled (non-toxic to melt down), or better, reused for dry or liquid food storage!

All HealthForce SuperFoods® products are produced in our U.S. manufacturing facility which is certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Oregon Tilth is an American nonprofit membership organization dedicated to supporting and advocating organic food and farming. We are currently in the process of applying this certification to individual products (starting in 2018). In the past, we opted to just do our own internal TruGanic™ standard since we were disillusioned by the fact that a number of certified organic products tested positive for pesticide contamination when we sent them off to the lab. Now, we recognize the value of having third-party certifications, so while keeping our own TruGanic standards intact, we are now working with Oregon Tilth, and you will see a number of products being transitioned to certified organic. You can visit individual product pages to find out which products are certified organic at this time.

Yes, all HealthForce SuperFoods® products are 100% certified vegan. Our entire production facility is vegan, with no animal products used anywhere onsite. We are proud to be a 100% vegan company with a 100% certified vegan product line.

Absolutely not! You do not have to be vegan to use and benefit from HealthForce SuperFoods® products. We suggest a diet that includes an emphasis on high-water-content, raw, vegan foods, but we are not in the business of telling you what you “should” eat. Our passion is simply making high-quality products that are vegan and therefore suitable for everyone. If you are not vegan, and aren’t interested in veganism, don’t let “vegan” turn you away. HealthForce SuperFood products can be beneficial to anyone on any diet. If you are vegan, then our product line is an excellent resource for you.

Yes. All HealthForce SuperFoods® products are certified gluten-free. All finished products are lab-tested to ensure gluten-free status.

Many ingredients and finished products are kosher and pareve. The Orthodox Union has the most trusted kosher certification in the United States, serving companies, consumers, and food industries all over the world. We are in the process of certifying all products kosher. You can visit individual product pages to find out what products are kosher at this time.

Our VeganCaps™ are made from tapioca, which is naturally fermented into a water-soluble polysaccharide known as pullulan. This material provides the best oxygen barrier properties of any vegetarian capsule and dissolves just as easily as a gelatin capsule and faster than traditional veggie caps. In addition, HealthForce SuperFoods® VeganCaps™ are starch free, preservative free, gluten-free, and GMO free. Our VeganCaps™ are also certified kosher. Unfortunately, most vegetarian capsules on the market are made from genetically modified corn. They also usually contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a synthesized surfactant used in many cleaning and personal care products as a binding agent in the capsules.

With herbal extracts, we can offer higher potency and therapeutic value in capsule, rather than liquid form. All herbal extracts start in liquid form with a liquid solvent, usually alcohol. With the exception of alcohol sensitivity for some people, there is nothing inherently wrong with consuming the solvent along with the herb (many well-respected herbalists use extracts in liquid/alcohol form). However, higher potency and concentration can be obtained by evaporating the alcohol, so all that is left is the herbal extract itself. To enable the highest potency, this is the process that all HealthForce SuperFoods® herbal extract products undergo before encapsulation. Products that include herbal extracts are Liver Rescue™, CircuForce™, Antioxidant Extreme™, SCRAM™, and Intestinal Movement Formula™.

Not necessarily. Our EcoFresh Nutrient Lock Packaging™ system is the best in the industry and protects the integrity of the fragile nutrients in our products quite well. The amber glass prevents the most damaging wavelengths of light from destroying fragile nutrients. In addition, the glass bottle, airtight metal lid with rubber seal, and oxygen absorber in the bottle effectively creates a vacuum, preventing oxidation of fragile nutrients. Once opened, it is recommended to store products in a dry, dark, cool place (e.g., kitchen cupboard).

We at HealthForce SuperFoods® are constantly striving to improve the quality of our products. As we source better quality raw materials, or develop an improved formulation, we upgrade our products and this is reflected by a new version number. When a version number changes by just 0.1, usually the ingredients in the product remain unchanged, but we have simply changed the relative percentage or upgraded the quality of one or more of our ingredients. Version number changes by a whole digit, from 5 to 6 for example, are indicative of more substantial formula upgrades. Sometimes these formula changes come out of inspiration (when new research or availability of new raw materials give us the ability to make an upgrade to the product), and sometimes they come out of necessity (when a raw material is no longer available that meets our quality standards and thus forces us to make a formula change, as in these cases the only alternative to a formula change would be compromising our quality standards, which is not an option for us).

We partner with Excelsior Alchemy for all our production needs. Located in Tempe, Arizona, USA, the facility is a dietary supplement manufacturing contractor following cGMP FDA regulations. They are registered and inspected by the Food and Drug Administration and are also third- party audited biannually by NSF International.

The facility is also vegan (i.e., no animal products or by-products), certified organic, gluten-free, and kosher. The production facility is free of pesticides, GMOs, irradiation, animal-sourced ingredients, fillers, flow agents, and excipients. All cleaning chemicals are the most eco-friendly available. The facility is part of a non-chemical organic compliant active pest management program.

Our production facility is registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is routinely inspected. The facility is fully compliant with the FDA CFR 111 Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) in manufacturing, packaging, labeling, or holding operations for dietary supplements.

Our facility does extensive testing of all ingredients, above and beyond regulatory requirements. Every incoming ingredient is tested for identity, microbial contamination, and heavy metals. The same tests are done on the finished blend, and further tests are done on the finished product. For an ingredient to be used in one of our products, the supplier must be qualified first through an extensive questionnaire which is then followed up by third-party Certificate of Analysis testing and then for our legendary TruGanic™ products, our unique third-party TruGanic™ testing: pesticide free, GMO free, irradiation free. Also, the facility only uses 100% non-toxic, organic compliant, and biodegradable cleaning chemicals. Our production area is a radio frequency-free zone (no microwaves, Wi-Fi, or cell phones permitted) and has electromagnetic radiation (EMF) mitigating technologies.

Our logo, which we refer to as the Regenerate Being, represents the embodiment of both physical health and spiritual health, vitality, radiance, compassion, and altruism. It was created by our original founders as a reminder that we are not only physical beings, but also spiritual beings with a deep connection to God and the angels, and that true health involves not only physical radiance but also spiritual radiance. We at HealthForce SuperFoods® look to the Regenerate Being as a symbol of our company’s foundation and as a daily reminder of our founders’ mission to bring hard-core passion, purpose, and integrity to the nutritional products industry.

All of our products are in compliance with American Herbal Products Association* Guidance Policies for Heavy Metals. We know that no one wants heavy metals in their food, especially us. We are constantly searching and sourcing ingredients with lower metal content. This is an ongoing process and one we take very seriously.

Heavy metal specifications (arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury) are set for all raw materials and finished products to ensure that all finished products comply with the American Herbal Products Association’s heavy metal standards. Any raw materials and/or finished products that do not meet our specifications are rejected.

Heavy metal specifications for ingredients and finished products are set at the lowest feasible levels, in many cases resulting in finished products well below the American Herbal Products Association standards. It is important to understand that some trace levels of heavy metals are found in nearly all dried botanicals (as well as common foods). The presence of heavy metals does not necessarily mean that a product is in violation of any product-safety standards or requirements.

*AHPA (American Herbal Products Association) is the leading trade association for dietary supplements.

We have adopted three key foundational principles for seeking out new supply sources to ensure having the cleanest, highest quality ingredients we can find: Identity, Purity, and Composition. Sourcing and qualification of new materials and sustainable vendors is an ongoing, rigorous process! Our buyer is constantly searching for the purest, true-to-source, unadulterated, sustainably-grown ingredients on the planet!

Each potential vendor is screened through our Vendor Qualification process to ensure that they are the best fit for HealthForce SuperFoods®. We pride ourselves on transparency and quality and with the help of verified third-party labs, certifications, qualified documents, and sometimes visits to the farms themselves, we assure you that our vendors are, too.

All ingredients are put through our Ingredient Qualification process. Then each ingredient is put through the series of tests to meet our TruGanic™ standard. TruGanic™ goes above and beyond the cGMP, NSF, Organic, Kosher, and Non-GMO certifications, with a series of tests to ensure an ingredient is true to its botanical identity, that it is free of microbial contamination, gluten-free, free of heavy metal contamination, and free of pesticides, GMOs, irradiation, and solvent residue.

We also ask our suppliers questions to know the story of the products they are selling, such as:

  • Where does the botanical originally come from, what countries grow it now, what are its uses today in the herbal medicine community?
  • What farms are growing their specific productions?
  • Are the farmers paid fair wages?
  • Is this a sustainable crop for the economy and the ecology of the region?
  • Do the farmers participate in sustainable growing practices do they test every batch as thoroughly as we do?
  • Are they NSF and cGMP certified?
  • Are they certified organic, kosher, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free?

Our ingredients are globally sourced. Although our first choice is U.S.-grown superfoods, there are times when the complexity of our formulas requires sourcing quality ingredients from outside the U.S.

Sourcing globally means seeking out the highest-quality, most nutrient-dense superfoods. Sometimes sources are dictated by superfoods that are specific to a certain habitat and thus are sourced from their native environment. Like Klamath Lake blue green algae from southern Oregon, U.S. High vitamin C fruits such as acerola cherry and acai are Brazil, and whole maca root and yacon root powders are sourced from Peru. We look to India for moringa leaf, turmeric root, amla berry, and shilajit.

When sourcing, we also look into the sustainability of the crop and how its cultivation impacts the ecological system, like our U.S.-grown cereal grasses and spirulina or our North Atlantic seaweeds. Kelp, bladderwrack, and dulse are wildcrafted from the North Atlantic along the coast of Canada, and our nori is wildcrafted from the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina. These are just a few of many examples.

To ensure that the materials meet our standards for identity, purity, strength, and composition, and that you as the consumer receive the cleanest and highest quality products, we perform extensive material testing. All ingredients are required to pass rigorous testing for heavy metals and pesticides along with testing for botanical identity, microbials, gluten, GMOs, and irradiation.


How To Make A Superfood Smoothie

Smoothies are a great answer to all our cravings in the middle of the day. They are versatile, with lots of stress relieving smoothie recipes. They are easy to make, requiring only a few minutes. They are delicious and natural, since they are mostly made of fruits, veggies and seeds. And they can even be very affordable, costing less than $2 per serving.

The key here is to come up with a great superfood smoothie recipe. What are superfoods? Simply ingredients, whether berries or fruits or veggies, that pack an unbelievable amount of nutrients in relation to their size and caloric density.

Here are some of the best superfoods for smoothies:

• Kale is low in calories, but high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
• Spinach adds flavonoids, magnesium, vitamins C, E, A, and K
Blueberries have practically the highest amount of antioxidants found in any natural ingredient
Chia and flax seeds are rich in omega-3s and fiber
Avocados not only contain a great deal of fiber but also bring magnesium, potassium, folate and vitamin E
Bananas are full of potassium and fiber, not to say they add that perfect creaminess to any smoothie recipe

So what do you need to create all these superfood smoothies? One thing for sure — get a good, robust blender. If you’re going to make smoothies every day for years, it makes sense to invest in something that will do the job well, regardless of what you throw at it. Check out the options from Ninja or Vitamix, for example.

Another great tip is to embrace frozen foods. Naturally, you can’t beat buying something in season but, depending on where you live, that might be impossible to do year-round. Frozen fruits, berries and veggies, however, were harvested just at the right time and still contain all their nutrients. These superfoods for stress relief might even be cheaper than fresh alternatives, and with a great blender you’ve just invested in could be turned into perfect smoothies instantly.

Now let’s explore some true stress relieving smoothie recipes.

Easy chia berry smoothie

Nothing better to start the day than berries with some chia seeds mixed in. Add a banana and just a bit of almond butter to give you enough energy to last until lunch and this will surely become your favorite breakfast from now on.

Chia + berry superfood smoothie recipe:

1 banana
1/2 cup frozen berry blend
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp almond butter
1 cup almond milk

Kale and peaches lunch sub

When your day is just full of meetings and you feel like you need a little bit more energy to be really present, try mixing kale with peaches and topping it off with some almond butter and protein powder for raw power.

Kale + peaches superfood smoothie recipe:

1 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1 tbsp almond butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup coconut milk

Quick recharge with blueberries and oats

For some reason, blueberries and oats are just the most delicious combo you can imagine. So feel free to blend them at any time, along with a banana and some seeds to get a truly nutritious snack in seconds.

Blueberry + oats superfood smoothie recipe:

1 banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp hemp seeds (or chia, or flax)
1 cup almond milk

A red and green smoothie medley

Sometimes you feel like you need an interesting dance of colors and textures to change things up. Why not try to combine spinach and avocado with some strawberries. The flavors will surprise you!

Avocado + strawberries superfood smoothie recipe:

2 cups spinach
1/4 avocado
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 tbsp flax seeds (or chia)
1 cup almond milk

A taste of tropics on any day

Find yourself working late into the night? Don’t worry, there’s one guaranteed smoothie recipe with superfoods for stress relief that will take the pressure off right away. Simply blend mango, banana, spinach, avocado, and coconut water together and find some tropical relaxation after a long day.

Spinach + mango superfood smoothie recipe:

1 banana
1/2 cup frozen mango
2 cups spinach
1/4 avocado
1 cup coconut water


RAWr! Life. Superfoods.

SHOP RAWr! SUPERFOODS NOW

Starting to eat healthier is hard, we’ve been there.

RAWr! Superfoods is here to help through quality nutrients in a quick and effective way!

  • Stop feeling overwhelmed to know where to start.
  • No more complexity convincing you to put off starting another day.
  • Noticeable benefits will keep you going, wanting to improve the rest of your diet.

SHOP RAWr! SUPERFOODS NOW

"Ease-of-use and noticeable benefits kept us going, ultimately forming a routine to build upon. These superfoods weren't our cure-all, but who knows how stuck in the past we'd be if we didn&rsquot start using them when we did."

&ndash Pro Skateboarder John Motta & Pro BMXer/Rare Fruit Grower Joey Motta, Creators & Operators of RAWr! Life.

SHOP RAWr! SUPERFOODS NOW

Life Changing.

". Not only has the superfoods given me new energy, vitality and over all good feelings, it has given me a clear path to a healthier lifestyle that has been adopted by my whole family now. We are more fit, more healthy and I feel better than I have felt in 10 years. "

This Stuff is Great!

"I saw this product on Thrasher&rsquos King of the Road. I felt like this product would be a great way to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle and I was right. I love this stuff."

Not Enough in the World.

". Once I started using RAWr! daily, I realized some other stuff in my daily routine no longer made sense. so I quit smoking and have changed my diet dramatically. Having something so amazing to put in my body has inspired me to honor my body fully."


8. Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto

Whether you’re a whole grain person or not, you can’t ignore the nutrient-dense power of this plant-based category! Most whole grains are “full of antioxidants and soluble and insoluble fiber,” which are known to “metabolize fats and keep the digestive tract healthy.” This Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto recipe by Niki Webster sources barley as its whole-grain staple to create a creamy risotto topped off with tasty, savory mushrooms.


7-Day Superfood Meal Plan

This week's meal plan features foods that pack a powerful punch of health-promoting nutrients, like vitamin A in sweet potatoes, fiber in beans, and omega-3s in salmon.

Add some super-healthy foods to your diet with a week of dinners full of superfoods. This week&aposs meal plan features foods that pack a powerful punch of health-promoting nutrients, like vitamin A in sweet potatoes, fiber in beans, and omega-3s in salmon-just to name a few. Superfoods aren&apost always exotic or expensive-think spinach, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Here are a handful of delicious recipes with nourishing, vibrant ingredients to fuel you up and help keep you healthy.

Day 1: Mexican Cabbage Soup

Mexican Cabbage Soup: This recipe combines tons of healthy veggies-onion, carrot, celery, peppers, and cabbage-with lean black beans and flavorful spices, to create a filling, zesty soup. The combination of colorful vegetables provides a mix of vitamins, minerals and protective antioxidants. This soup is particularly nice served with crusty rye bread and a leafy green salad with vinaigrette.

Day 2: Falafel Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Falafel Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing: Deep-fried falafel can be a total grease bomb. But these pan-seared falafel still get crispy in just a few tablespoons of oil with equally satisfying results. The fiber-rich chickpeas and vibrantly-colored vegetables make for a delicious and healthy meal. Be sure to use dried, instead of canned, chickpeas in this healthy recipe-canned chickpeas add too much moisture.

Day 3: Quick Lentil Salmon Salad

Quick Lentil Salmon Salad: In this budget-friendly salmon recipe, canned salmon, rich in healthy omega-3 fats, tops lentils, carrots and celery-ingredients you probably have on hand already. Fiber-rich lentils come in a variety of colors and they typically cook faster than dried beans, so they&aposre a great choice for a fast weeknight dinner.

Day 4: Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms

Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms: Sliced Brussels sprouts and mushrooms cook quickly and cling to the pasta in this version of pasta primavera. Brussels sprouts-a member of the cruciferous vegetable family-have been shown to help protect against certain cancers. And mushrooms are one of the few food sources to provide vitamin D. To cut down on prep time, look for presliced mushrooms. Serve this dish with a tossed salad with vinaigrette.

Day 5: Cauliflower & Kale Frittata

Cauliflower & Kale Frittata: Inspired by traditional Spanish tortillas made with potatoes, this healthy frittata recipe swaps potatoes for cauliflower and adds in kale, both of which have been shown to protect against certain cancers. Not a fan of kale? Any dark leafy green will do! Serve the frittata with a slice of crusty bread and a tossed salad with vinaigrette.

Day 6: African Sweet Potato & Chicken Stew

African Sweet Potato & Chicken Stew: In this African peanut and chicken stew recipe, nutrient-rich sweet potatoes and no-salt-added tomatoes keep this creamy stew healthy. To complete the bowl, the flavorful chicken stew is served over whole-wheat couscous seasoned with lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro.

Day 7: Loaded Garden Pizz'alad

Loaded Garden Pizz&aposalad: Here a garden salad packed with tons of nutritious ingredients like mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado and sprouts rests atop a provolone cheese pizza. And it&aposs all drizzled with tangy homemade ranch dressing. We recommend a knife, fork and plenty of napkins to dig into this pizz&aposalad! Using bread flour gives the pizza crust a crisp and sturdy structure, but all-purpose flour works well in its place. For a gluten-free pizza crust variation, see the "Tips" section of the recipe.


15 Spring Players That Lead Secret Lives As Superfoods

Quick! What&aposs a superfood? Maybe blueberries, kale, and avocados come to mind? But what about asparagus, artichokes, and fennel? Yep, they&aposre nutritionally dense superfoods, too. Now that fresh springtime produce is cropping up, we&aposre unmasking 15 top seasonal favorites that are superfoods in disguise. Some will be familiar, and some might be new to you. Every pick includes recipes to help you enjoy them at their best.

15 Surprising Spring Superfoods to Try

1. Artichokes

Superfood Superpowers

When it comes to antioxidants, artichokes outrank many other foods we usually think of first, such as blueberries and dark chocolate. Artichokes are high in fiber and folic acid, they can soothe an upset tummy, and help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. They also support brain, liver, and bone health, and help balance blood pressure.

Favorite Fixes

Superfood Superpowers

Aka "rocket," this spicy green is rich in cancer-fighting phytochemicals, as well as folic acid, vitamins A and C, and ranks way up there for vitamin K. Ounce for ounce, arugula delivers more calcium than spinach.

Favorite Fixes

3. Asparagus

Superfood Superpowers

These harbingers of spring pack plenty of fiber and vitamins A, C, E, and K, along with a powerful detoxifying compound called glutathione that helps break down carcinogens. Eating plenty of asparagus could help you stay mentally sharper as you age, and you might even avoid vicious hangovers. And that whole thing about asparagus making your pee smell bad? It&aposs all down to a harmless sulfuric compound.