By Jill Levy
While most experts agree that you should focus on improving the overall quality of your diet first and foremost, supplements can still be a valuable addition to an otherwise healthy eating plan.
If you're looking to boost your antioxidant and nutrient intake, what is the best superfood supplement?
Depending on your goals, there are a number of nutrient-filled superfood supplements to choose from — ranging from those that provide protein and/or fiber, to those offering beneficial fats and phytonutrients like polyphenols.
Choosing one or more superfood powders to add to your daily routine is a great way to take the benefits of a clean eating plan to the next level, such as by supporting healthy immune system function, digestion, a healthy response to stress, gut health, and much more.
What Are Superfood Supplements?
There's no standard definition or criteria to determine what exactly superfoods are. However, most often the term "superfoods" refers to a variety of mostly plant-based foods that provide you with essential nutrients that can help benefit the way you function and feel.
Because they tend to be brimming with things like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, superfoods are also some of the best foods for promoting healthy aging.
What are some examples of superfoods that you may be familiar with? Popular types include acai berry, spirulina, bone broth and wheatgrass.
These foods can be hard to come by in their fresh/unprocessed forms, since some grow in remote parts of the world and are often not easy to transport due to their tendency to soil easily. Others such as bone broth protein powder make it much more convenient to benefit from traditional, nutrient-filled foods/beverages that can otherwise be time-consuming to make.
This is why you'll often find superfoods in supplement form, such as dried powders, tablets and capsules.
What are superfood supplements most beneficial for? Superfoods can help optimize your body’s ability to function by supplying certain beneficial nutrients, including both macronutrients (carbs, protein and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and so on).
Many superfoods have been viewed as health supporters in in Traditional Chinese Herbalism and Ayurveda due to their beneficial properties.
For example, superfoods such as herbs, functional mushrooms, sprouted seeds and other antioxidant-filled ingredients like goji berries have long been believed to help support immune system function, promote healthy energy levels, support a healthy mindset and restful sleep, and support recovery from exercise.
Best Superfood Supplements
1. Bone Broth Protein
Bone broth powders, such as Ancient Nutrition’s Bone Broth Protein (BBP) that comes in several flavors, is derived from real bone broth liquid but dehydrated so it's shelf-stable through its expiration date. BBP inherently contains collagen, which supports healthy connective tissues throughout the body, including those needed for healthy gut function, skin health and joint comfort.
Additionally, BBP is chock full of certain minerals and nutrients — including glucosamine, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. These can support gut and joint health.
Adding BBP to your diet is an excellent way to obtain more amino acids, especially the types called glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine, that are not typically found in high amounts in meat, fish and eggs.
BBP can be consumed 1–3 times daily to increase protein/amino acid intake. (Be sure to read and follow label directions for use.) BBP powders come in several flavors, including Chocolate and Vanilla, along with the most popular Pure variety. It mixes easily with water, green juice, coffee, almond/coconut milk or smoothies, and can even be baked with or cooked.
For even more benefits, try BBP with Turmeric, which has also been linked to a number of health benefits thanks to its content of curcumin. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can help to support joint health and mobility as well as healthy cognitive function.
2. Plant Protein
We all require a certain amount of “essential” amino acids/protein every day to facilitate functions such as building and repairing tissues, making enzymes and hormones, and keeping our bones, muscles, cartilage and skin healthy.
Vegan/plant-based protein powders come in handy for plant-based eaters because they make it easier to obtain the amino acids that the body requires for general health. These protein powders are often made from seeds, grains and legumes.
Ancient Nutrition’s Plant Protein+ powders are made with a unique blend of seven superseeds such as hemp, flax, pumpkin and others that are higher in protein, as well as other essential nutrients. Flavors include Chocolate, Vanilla and Berry.
One serving provides 15 grams of protein and zero sugar, with 4 grams of carbs, making it suitable for people following a plant-based, paleo or low-carb diet. Unlike many other vegan protein powder options on the market, these formulas are made without soy, pea protein or grains.
Plant Protein+ can help promote a healthy body composition and fat metabolism, while increasing muscle recovery. It also features adaptogens that can help reduce stress-induced food cravings, promote a positive mindset, and support athletic performance and sleep.
3. Organic SuperGreens Powder
SuperGreens powder is prepared from a mix of superfoods including organic berries, vegetables, grasses and algae that supply a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium and more.
Within this formula you'll find ingredients including spirulina, alfalfa, beetroot juice, goji, acai and oat grass juice. Adding a scoop of Organic SuperGreens to your smoothies and drinks is a great way to support healthy detoxification, promote proper digestion and nutrient absorption, and to help maintain a healthy immune system.
Try a daily serving in water, fresh pressed juices or smoothies for a burst of energy and a quick boost in your intake of greens.
4. Organic Mushrooms
"Functional mushrooms" are special species of mushrooms that can help provide immune support, assist your body in adapting to stress, and also boost your energy and reduce fatigue.
These include mushrooms like chaga, reishi, lion's mane, maitake, cordyceps, turkey tail and others. These mushroom species feature beneficial compounds such as polysaccharides and polysaccharide peptides, beta glucans, glycoproteins and triterpenes, which may be lacking in your diet if you don’t regularly consume a variety of nutrient-rich plant foods.
Mushroom supplements usually come in the form of dried powders that are easy to take by mouth in capsules, or to add to coffee and other beverages. For physical and cognitive benefits, consider adding a high-quality mushroom supplement to your routine — ideally one that features multiple mushroom species, which together provide an array of compounds that help the body to maintain equilibrium.
One example is Ancient Mushrooms Multi Mushroom Immune Organic Once Daily supplement, a full-spectrum formula made with a blend of organic mushrooms for healthy cognitive, immune system, and gut support.
5. Matcha Powder
Matcha is a nutrient-dense type of green tea powder that is made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Unlike some other tea varieties, matcha green tea typically undergoes very little processing, which helps to maximize its content of antioxidants and polyphenols.
Research shows that matcha can help to support a healthy metabolism, healthy energy levels, and potentially a healthy body composition. Because it's brimming with phytonutrients such as EGCG and polyphenols, it can generally support several bodily systems. Because it does inherently contain caffeine, be careful not to overdo it.
Try our Ancient Elixirs Superfood Matcha that contains matcha plus energizing coconut MCTs and adaptogenic superfoods like ashwagandha, reishi and chaga. To get started, simply add a scoop/serving to hot water once or twice daily, or try some in smoothies, energy balls or even certain baked goods.
6. Dried Berries (Like Camu Camu, Goji and Acai)
Certain types of berries are extremely high in vitamins like vitamin C and A, as well as antioxidants including flavonoids, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
Certain berries have been staples in Traditional Chinese Herbalism for centuries and have been credited with improving vitality, energy and longevity. They are also loaded with nutrients that can help support the health of the eyes, skin, heart and more.
There's reason to believe that phytonutrient compounds found in berries such as acai, camu camu and others may help support healthy cognitive function, and promote a healthy immune response and inflammation response.
You can find superfood berries in dried or powder forms at many grocery stores and health food stores. Most are flavorful and a delicious and easy way to add vitamins and minerals to smoothies, trail mixes, baked goods and many other recipes.
7. Hemp Seed Powder
Hemp seeds are a great source of both protein and healthy fats, including some omega-3s which are often lacking in people’s diets.
In addition to supplying a variety of essential amino acids in the form of plant-based protein, hemp also contains a good deal of nutrients including fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.
Try adding some to smoothies, oatmeal, healthy baked goods, energy balls and other recipes in which you might use flax or chia seeds.
As always, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including consuming superfoods or dietary supplements.
Jill Levy has been with the Dr. Axe and Ancient Nutrition team for five years. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Fairfield University, followed by a certification as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Jill takes a “non-diet” approach to health and really enjoys teaching others about mindful eating, intuitive eating and the benefits of eating real foods.