Sasha Campbell
COLUMNIST

I first fell in love with superfoods during a very challenging time in my life. Five years ago I found myself in a difficult situation. My mother was diagnosed with cancer while my father was already battling the same illness. I was also raising two young children, one with special needs.

Superfoods provide a high concentration of specific nutrients, minerals and other healthy properties like omega 3’s, antioxidants and fibre. They give a big bang for even a small amount. You have likely already heard the term superfoods thrown around in commercials and even mentioned regarding your beauty and self-care products. However, since superfoods are often used as a buzzword, it can be hard to figure out which ones to use and how to incorporate them into your daily menu plan.

HOW MANY SHOULD I USE?
Ideally it is great to have several superfoods in your kitchen arsenal or fridge. I usually suggest starting slowly with 1-3 different superfoods, so that you can get used to their taste and learn how to use them at your own pace. No sense buying a whole load of them if you are not going to use them. Take the time to add them into your diet slowly, so you know how each tastes and what the benefits are. My key storage tip is to buy some clear glass canisters and fill each of them with each of your superfoods. This will ensure freshness and you will be able to see what you have in your cupboard.

HOW DO I USE SUPERFOODS?
Since they are nutrient dense and have lots of benefits, you want to treat them as the high quality ingredient that they are. You can use superfoods in smoothies, homemade trail mix, granola, salads and raw desserts. It’s important to preserve their nutrition- al benefits, so try not to heat them unless it is stated on the package that they can specifically handle the heat.

WHICH ONES SHOULD I BUY?
Once you are ready to jump in and try adding superfoods to your diet, it can often become confusing when shopping for them. Your choices will depend on what your specific nutritional needs are, however there are some top ones that I often recommend my clients try:

Raw Cacao: increased mental clarity, amazing antioxidant, love food
Maca: adaptogen used for stress, hormone balance, energy, libido
Algae: source of protein, trace minerals, beta-carotene, iron, used for detoxing
Hemp seeds: source of iron, manganese, protein, omega 3 & 6
Medicinal Mushrooms: immune support
Chia seeds: source of omega 3, calcium, magnesium
Aloe Vera: soothing to digestive tract, anti-inflammatory
Coconut Oil: healthy fat, immune support

Try to buy superfoods in their whole food form and avoid processed foods that use superfoods as a marketing method. Remember, it is always great to work with your healthcare practitioner especially if you have specific health needs and concerns.