In our quest to uncover the newest, most nutrient-dense superfoods from the far reaches of Mother Earth, we often overlook the basic, easy-to-find options that are already right in front of us. Lately, I’ve noticed more natural products companies going back to the basics by incorporating ordinary (but super-healthy) fruits and vegetables into their natural products.
Here are a few that I’ve spotted recently …
Even if the names of essential nutrients don’t easily roll off your tongue, most people know bananas are an excellent source of the important electrolyte potassium. Our bodies need potassium to help regulate blood pressure, help our muscles move and improve nerve signals. Bananas (especially ones that are still a little green) are also an excellent source of resistant starch, a type of fibrous starch that is not digested, but research shows could be an effective component for weight loss and balancing blood sugar.
Try it: WEDO Banana Flour. I was intrigued by this new natural, gluten-free ingredient that can be used in baked goods (the company recommends 2/3 cup banana flour to every 1 cup of flour suggested in a recipe), as well as used to thicken sauces, add a nutrient boost to smoothies or even make your own baby food. When eaten raw, the banana flour is faintly reminiscent of bananas, but the banana flavor fades away in baked goods.
Everyone knows you get kids (and sometimes adults) to eat their broccoli by magically turning them into little trees and “watering” them with a sprinkle of melted Cheddar cheese—at least that’s what happened in my childhood home. The reason this ritual is performed nightly in homes across America is because we also know broccoli is good for us. This dark green veggie is one of our best natural sources of vitamin C and K—and some research shows broccoli is an important food source for those taking vitamin D supplements since broccoli’s nutrients are the ideal combination to keep vitamin D metabolism in balance.
Try it: Peas of Mind Crispy Broccotots. Well, of course! That’s how you get kids (and sometimes adults) to eat their broccoli – combine it with potatoes and shape it like a tater tot. These soon-to-be-at-stores frozen tots crisp up quickly and easily in the oven and help you make sure everyone is getting more of the good stuff. The company also makes Caulitots (made from cauliflower) and Carrottots (made from carrots).
A superfood is named such because you can get a big nutrient bang without having to eat buckets of the stuff. Perhaps there’s no better example than plain ol’ spinach—a handful added to a smoothie, sautéed for a side dish or stirred into pasta can greatly up your day’s nutrition. Spinach is consistently ranked at the top of lists for foods with nutrient richness—just 1 cup contains impressive amounts of 23 vitamins and minerals.
Try it: Hybread Veggie & Whole Grain Slices. I loved several things about this product. First, it caught my eye because of the light green color of the bread slices. Second, it tasted delicious—tender and flavorful just like a slice of bread should be. Third, I like that this whole-grain bread contains more than 50 percent vegetables and is only fortified with whole foods. And lastly, I love the product’s name, which is a play on “hybrid,” meaning a mixture or a thing made by combining different elements. In this case, this “bread with benefits” is made from spinach, 100% whole grain flour, beets, wheat gluten, oat fiber, molasses, brown sugar, grapeseed oil, salt and vinegar—no eggs, dairy or nuts.