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Superfood powders are at the height of fashion right now. Enter any health store and you will be met with a whole shelf of ‘miracle’ powders. But what is superfood powder? Do you really need any of these powders? What do they even do to begin with? This blog aims to address these questions and spotlights two important powders you should know about; lucuma and maca.
What is Superfood Powder?
Superfood powder has risen in popularity and trend alongside the juicing and smoothie trend. With so many pioneering these superfood trends, unafraid to experiment with unusual or unused ingredients it’s becoming hard to resist! Especially when all of these powders claim to have the most nutrient-dense natural ingredients, micro-nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. How did we ever survive without them? Perhaps an even more interesting question to ask is how the people, that have grown up with it integrated into their cuisine of culture and health, manage today with the huge rise in price and demand. However lets focus on the first question for now.
So what is superfood powder? Essentially, it is a single or a mix of ingredients in powdered form. These ingredients can be a simple mix of fruit and vegetables or a more exotic single foods that might have a more specific health benefit to offer. Prices also vary depending on ingredient and processing method so without being over analytical, the rule of thumb is to find an organic powder at the very least.
Should you take superfood powder?
After addressing what is superfood powder, the next logical question is do you need it? Just like juicing and smoothies, using superfood powder gives you a lot of nutrition in a highly concentrated way. This fits in line with our society today; people want faster, quicker, better—more. Now that we are realising just how much fruit and vegetables we need to consume daily, these powders can offer a useful fix to do just that. However, none of these superfood powders contain nutrients that can’t be found in other, cheaper, everyday foods so relying on it to cure all your woes isn’t the smartest move either. In short, wholefoods come first but powders can be a great addition to anyone’s diet to support wellbeing. There is more good news; you can keep it quite simple and you most certainly don’t need to spend a fortune.
Types of Superfood Powder
A simple ‘basic’ powder contains just fruit and vegetables. For additional protein, spirulina is a fantastic addition too. Some other powders to try: maca, lucuma, spirulina, baobab, chlorella, moringa, acai. We have already talked at length about spirulina. Two such powders, maca and lucuma, are very accessible and have some incredible benefits to offer. Let’s take a closer look.
Maca Root Powder
Grown in high altitude regions of Peru, the maca root is truly a natural ‘superfood’. Nutritionally, maca is a great source of fibre and phytonutrients. In addition, maca contains over 20 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids (i.e. protein), fatty acids, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, selenium.
It is an adaptogen which is defined ‘as a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress’. A stressor can be anything that causes the release of stress hormones, broadly categorised as physiological (or physical) stressors and psychological stressors. Taking maca can help reduce anxiety and depression and increase overall sense of well-being. This is linked to its ability to restore proper hormone balance and elevate “feel good” endorphins. In addition, it increases energy, stamina, memory and focus.
Maca root helps fertility in both men and women. In helping to balance hormones, maca contributes to improving the symptoms of PMS and menopause by controlling estrogen levels in the body. For males, it can improve sperm production, mobility, and volume.
At a minimum, maca is a rich source of antioxidants. Specifically, it increases glutathione levels in the body which not only boosts the immune system but also can help balance proper levels of cholesterol in the body. Finally, maca root supports glucose tolerance and blood sugar balance.
How to use it: Maca isn’t overly sweet but has a nutty sweet flavour. Add a tbsp to smoothies, juices, porridge or chia pudding.
Did you know? There are actually different varieties and colours of maca powder. The most popular maca powders are black, red and yellow. The yellow variety supports fertility and libido. The red variety helps balance hormones and increase energy while the black supports general mood and also digestion. When deciding which maca to use in our iRaw range, we use an organic brand that combines the four different varieties for maximum benefit!
If you’re on the lookout for a good option, try our founder’s favourite, the Organic Burst Maca powder!
Lucuma yellow-fleshed South American fruit which provides an abundance of antioxidants, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Specifically this Peruvian fruit contains beta carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium, and protein. It is also low GI and can be a great natural sweetener to smoothies and juices with it’s maple-like flavour.
The Incas loved this fruit, known to support fertility and female hormone balance. Recent research shows that it may also be helpful for supporting skin health, blood sugar, and even cardiovascular health.
How to use it: Lucuma powder is a great addition to juices and smoothies with its maple-like sweetness flavour. Additionally, you can sprinkle it on your morning porridge or add it to raw desserts (like us!).
So hopefully your questions have been answered: what is superfood powder, should you take it and what specific benefits can maca and lucuma offer you. Finally let us introduce you to one of our products that contains both superfood powders: Pepper N’Mint Cookies!
The story behind the Pepper N’Mint– Raw Chocolate Cookies
The idea was to create something delicious with rolled oats as they are a fantastic source of soluble fibres and their active ingredient ‘Avena Sativa’ has a great soothing effect on our stressful life. Then I wanted to keep the chocolate effect in place and added Maca, followed by the Lucuma to enhance the nutty-ness. Chocolate and Mint just work well together, it’s a tried and tested combination. iRaw realised by accident’ how fantastic the black pepper was in sharpening the mint flavour and giving the chocolate an extra punch. We stretch ourselves in this recipe and must make an almond butter first which really makes these little goodies an addictive bunch!