October 4th 2017
Sprinkling: everyone’s doing it. Not in a rude way, and not in the gardening sense, but in relation to superfood powders. From slipping a little spirulina into smoothies or switching up a breakfast builders brew for matcha, potent powders of the health food variety (read: not drugs) are sneaking their way into our day to day diets. But do you know your maca from your moringa? Is nutrient-rich dust really the future of food? Can you have too much of a good thing? I spoke to top notch nutritionists and foodies to find out which superfoods deserve a spot of your shopping list.
Think of it as the Lucozade of ancient times; the Incas depended on this root vegetable for energy when going into battle, and also in the bedroom (it has aphrodisiac qualities). Nutritionist and food blogger Jenna Zoe thinks it can still be of benefit today:
“This sweet tasting root vegetable is actually an adaptogen, a rare group of foods that encourages your body regulate its hormones. This means that if you have low energy, it can rev you up, and conversely if you’re always wired, you’ll be able to relax. Proceed with caution, however, if you suffer from hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues or if you’re pregnant or menopausal. Also if you’re taking medication, HRT or other hormone supplements, always consult your doctor for the go-ahead. Bear in mind that you only need a small amount to see the effects- half a teaspoon to 1.5 teaspoons max”
Mix into porridge, yogurt, hot drinks or baking to maximise your mojo.
Naturya Maca Powder, £9.99, buy online
Jenna thinks that we should give superfoods such as this the green light:
“I think the powders that are most appropriate for us all are greens powders. No matter how healthy our diets are, we are still surrounded by toxins such as pollution, household cleaning products, plastics and second hand smokes. Dark green powders are excellent at safely removing these from the body”
Powdered moringa leaf packs in 13 essential vitamins and minerals and all nine amino acids, as well as an impressive antioxidant profile that trumps goji berries, blueberries and even the celebrated açai. It’s also rich in iron, which makes it especially suitable for vegetarians, vegans and anyone deficient in this mineral. Moringa isn’t miles away from spinach taste-wise, so it works well in sauces, stews and soups, not to mention green juices if you’re into that kind of thing. Sales of this super supplement have risen by 2500% in the last three months, and with Livia Firth, Lily Cole and Suzy Menkes as fans, it's fair to say that moringa is definitively en vogue (and suprisingly unspendy compared to competitors).
Aduna Moringa Green Superleaf Powder, £7.99. buy online
The baobab tree takes me back to GCSE geography- it knows how to survive hard times, that’s for sure. In powdered fruit form it’s nature’s Berocca- it’s loaded with vitamin C to support your immune system, while it’s potassium content helps to prevent fatigue and keep your nervous system in check. It’s a good idea to consume it in conjunction with iron rich foods (hello moringa), as it’s abundance of vit C boosts iron uptake. Baobab Moringa mojito anyone?
Organic Burst Baobab Powder, £8.99, buy online
Jenna’s favourite supergreens powder helped her to clear up her candida issues and resultant acne, and seeing her glowing skin nowadays is pretty good evidence that a potent blend of greens can pack serious health and beauty punch. Given that we should be consuming between 9-12 portions of fruit and veg each day (with numbers in favour of veg), getting a helping hand from a plant-based powder can’t hurt. This one mixes B12, zinc and omega rich Chlorella and Spirulina (saviours for your skin in particular) with natural probiotics to aid digestion and keep gut flora in balance. It also doesn’t taste of pond weed, thanks to the addition of stevia and peppermint. A major plus in my book.
Sunwarrior Ormus Greens, £45, buy online
The supermodel superfood has officially arrived in the form of Elle Macpherson’s alkalising food supplement. It has the sleekest packaging we’ve ever seen in a food aisle (hide it away from grubby hands and husbands), and what’s inside promises to support all 11 systems of your body. That’s quite some claim, but the fact that it was formulated by nutritionist and integrative medicine specialist Dr Simone Laubscher gives it health-giving clout (and let’s all take a moment to consider how Elle has aged...or rather...hasn’t). Take 10g a day if you can afford it; you’ll reap the benefits of bioavailable greens, Chinese herbs, digestive enzymes and super mushrooms. I’m a bit baffled about the mushroom thing, but if it brings me any closer to achieving “The Body” I’ll give it a go. It tastes pretty musty, so I would advise hiding it in a juice.
The Super Elixir™, from £36, buy online
About as far from a supermodel endorsed supplement as you could get, food futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye’s Super-Shake is an innovative blend of energising minerals, vitamins and micronutrients that will put your morning coffee firmly in the corner (on a side note do definitely get your dose of this in the morning, otherwise you’ll be buzzing at bedtime owing to the caffeine content in the added raw cacao). Working on the principle that less is more, Dr Gaye has perfected a bioavailable balance of everything you need for clearer skin, improved bowel function, a sharp mind and overall health and wellbeing. Incidentally, another factor that sets Dr Gaye’s shake apart from the rest is the fact that it contains absolutely nothing that your body doesn’t need; it’s free of whey, chemicals, reconstituted ingredients, gluten, grains, dairy, sugar, nuts and pasteurization.
Dr Gaye’s Super Shake, £27, buy online
With a sweet flavour that is vaguely reminiscent of caramel, Lucuma (yet more Incan “gold”) is a perfect addition to a post-workout smoothie- its high levels of potassium help to prevent muscle cramps, regulate metabolism and ease fatigue. Nutritional therapist Gabriela Peacock has a word of the subject of health powders and workouts:
“Powders such as this are well known to suit athletes post exercise. By mixing powders into a drink the isolated proteins are absorbed more quickly. They are also favoured for their portability- they’re much easier to carry around and drink than say, snacking on slices of chicken”
On a less virtuous note, Lucuma is one of the most popular ice cream flavours in South America. If that doesn’t make you want to try it, health powders might not be for you.
Raw Living Lucuma Powder, £8.95, buy online
Nutrition consultant Karen Cummings-Palmer has a soft spot for the mighty matcha:
“I am a huge matcha fan! Swap regular green tea for matcha; it is slightly sweet, smooth and frothy. With about 15 times the anti-oxidant value of your average green it gently elevates energy levels and mood whilst boosting the metabolism. Essentially you are 'eating' finely powdered leaves instead of drinking an infusion so you get so much more goodness per cup. Not all matcha is created equally - my favourite brands are Boku and Teapigs”
Make mine a matcha latte.
Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Powder, from £3, buy online
Protein shakes have long been associated with beefcake bodybuilders, but it needn’t be that way, and on another note, they’re not just for the boys, as Strong Nutrients founder and owner of The Library Gym Zana Morris highlights:
“Strong Casein is pure protein with no added nasties, so it’s great for muscle tone and post-workout recovery. The protein will also keep you fuller for longer and keep sugar levels stable. Strong Casein is also high in calcium, which is especially helpful for women as it protects often vulnerable bones and jones. In addition to this the alkaline formula boosts hair, skin and nails- always a priority for women!”
Strong Nutrients Casein Pure Protein Shake in Chocolate or Vanilla, £27.95, buy online
The health food equivalent of a hot toddy, this sleep-promoting powder will speed you on your way to hitting the hay. Calming rosemary, hops and chamomile put anxiety to bed, while calcium and magnesium calm the nervous system. It’s soothing on the stomach, free of the usual naughty ingredients associated with hot chocolate and positively steaming with antioxidants. It’s like a hug from Bodyism founder James Duigan, in a mug. Sweet dreams.
Bodyism Serenity Powder, £50, buy online
With two different formulations, Beautiful to support healthy skin and Fundamental to give your general wellbeing a boost, this nutritionist formulated powder supplement range was developed with busy modern women in mind. Beautiful was conceived after co-founder and city professional Rosie Speight suffered recurring bouts of acne, turning to friend and nutritionist Alice Mackintosh for dietary advice. The two put their heads together after Rosie saw an improvement in her skin, and marine collagen, resveratrol and amino acid rich Beautiful is the result. As for Fundamental, this bioavailable blend of probiotics, antioxidants, omegas, vitamins and minerals aims to address overall deficiencies that are becoming increasingly more prominent within our office based, burnout lifestyles, for example a lack of vitamin D and digestive issues. The ingredients lists of both are detailed, comprehensive and nutritionally impressive, and adding your chosen formula to a morning smoothie will give you a kick up the bum, in a good way.
From £55 for a 30 day supply, buy online
Another much hailed skin saver, doing Collagen Shots clearly doesn’t rival tequila is terms of nocturnal thrills (this supplement is designed to be taken before bed), but the skin payoff is clearly far superior, and while I was expecting the technically fish rich powder to taste a bit aquarium like, I’m pleased to report that knocking one back wasn’t unpleasant. Supported by clinical studies in terms of tester feedback and skin resilience, and with a high marine collagen content, along with a lineup of B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, copper and hyaluronic acid amongst other natural active ingredients, if you’re looking to ‘feed’ your skin from within this is a good bet.
From £39.95 for a 30 day supply, buy online
Vegan, certified organic by the Soil Association and approved by the Vegetarian Society, sports recovery blends don’t get more wholesome than the pea, hemp, lucuma and wheatgrass based Alchemy offering. With just six nutrient rich ingredients, it’s safe to say that the fillers and sugars that bulk up some less reputable protein powders are very much absent, and the slightly savoury taste disappears upon contact with a Nutribullet and smoothie base. The packet looks dainty but supplies enough of the good stuff for 30 servings, and if you need a quick hit of plant protein, it comes in at 7g per serving, which should go some way to bolster flagging muscles.
Alchemy Sport Elixir, £40, buy online
According to Mintel, 24% of us are looking to supplement our daily diet with a protein powder, but of course not all protein dusts are made equal. Whey protein in particular gets a bad rap, but unless you’re vegan or have a particular dietary requirement, dodging whey altogether isn’t necessary, as long as you’re opting for a high quality powder that’s abundant in amino acids, rather than fillers. Neat Nutrition is quickly building a devoted health and fitness following thanks to its simple, honest and effective supplement range, and the whey protein powder in particular is one of the ‘cleanest’ on the market. Certified organic ingredients, ethical production and realistic serving sizes (rather than the cauldron sized tubs that many of us are familiar with) make it a whey base game changer in the supplement world.
Neat Nutrition Whey Protein, £34, buy online
I’m not going all 80s slimming shake on your here- Innermost makes nutrient heavy, evidence based powder boosters and blends (six to be exact) that are functional, rather than pure fluff. The Lean One in particular features inulin, a soluble, starch like substance that has been linked to lower levels of visceral fat (the killer kind…), along with high quality whey concentrate and isolate to aid muscle repair and recovery, yerba mate for energy and pomegranate and bilberries for an antioxidant rush. Basically, it’s a research based post-workout beverage of dreams, but if you’re dodging sweeteners, bear in mind that it contains sucralose.
Innermost The Lean One, £24, buy online
Newly formulated with added digestion revving, prebiotic fermented grass (not just cow fodder I promise), this concoction goes ‘beyond’ by blending ten different sources of ‘greens’, from spirulina to broccoli and the quintessential green, kale, with digestion enhancing herbs such as ginger and liquorice root. Rich in calcium and a source of iron and soluble and insoluble fibre, it’s a virtuous addition to a smoothie and easy to sneak into any diet, although I’d disguise it well it a full flavoured juice or smoothie if I were you…
Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens, £24.99, buy online
Purple fruit and vegetables are rich in anthocyanin, some of the most potent and powerful antioxidants on the planet (hence blueberry being championed as a superfood). This vibrant powder combines purple grape, purple carrot and beetroot for a hefty protective antioxidant hit, along with the fun side-effect of turning everything it touches to a violet. If you’re looking to liven up smoothies, salad dressing or just, you know, cake, it’s essentially nature’s food colouring, without the weird synthetic chemicals.
Inner Me Purples, £8, buy online
Let’s end the gallery with a steaming hot chocolate. Given the healthy nature of the powders before it, however, it would only be fitting for this rich chocolate powder to boast an impressive nutritional profile. Handy then, that this flavanol charged cacao powder has been approved by EU health boards for having superior heart health benefits, thanks to said blood flow enhancing flavonoids. Increased blood circulation is also good news for skin, and Aduna’s business model is equally healthy, supporting small, sustainable cacao producers in West Africa. All in all, this is as heartwarming as hot choc gets.
Aduna Super-Cacao, £7.99, buy online
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