1 Cacao: Not to be confused with cocoa, its highly processed counterpart, cacao is a raw, pure form of chocolate. In its natural state, cacao is not sweet but has a super rich, earthy chocolate flavor. Native to Central America and parts of Mexico, cacao was used as far back as 5000 years ago. It is said that cacao is 40x more antioxidant rich than blueberries, is one of the highest plant-based sources of iron, has more calcium than cow’s milk, and is full of magnesium to promote both heart and brain health.
Cacao is also the ultimate mood food. It contains compounds called polyphenols which decrease anxiety and encourage calmness. Although science hasn’t exactly proven it, personal research has found we definitely feel better after a bit of dark chocolate.
2 MORINGA: A drought-resistant tree that is native to the southern foothills in the Himalayas. This super-tree has culinary, beauty, and medicinal uses from almost every part including its roots, bark, fruit, flowers, and leaves.
Since learning about the plant, we’ve been obsessed with its culinary uses as well. Rich in protein, moringa is also a good source of iron and vitamins B6, C, and A. In addition, it has antioxidants quercetin and chlorogenic acid which help to lower blood pressure and moderate blood sugar. The plant has also been known to promote lactation for breastfeeding moms, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammation.
3 TIGER NUTS: Similar to peanuts, tiger nuts are not really nuts at all. Originating in Africa, tiger nuts are small tubers or root vegetables. Tiger nuts are pre-historic and are believed to have been around in the Paleolithic era – over 1 million years ago! In addition, they are also considered one of the oldest cultivated plants in Ancient Egypt.
Said to prevent heart disease and improve digestion, tiger nuts have a slightly sweet, mild nutty flavor. They are full of minerals phosphorus and potassium, as well as antioxidant vitamins E and C.
4 MATCHA: With over 100x more antioxidants than green tea, matcha is all the rage in health and wellness these days. Matcha is the finely ground powder of green tea leaves. Unlike traditional green tea, the plants grown for matcha are covered with cloth before harvesting to encourage the plant to produce more of the amino acid theanine which is responsible for it’s umami flavor. Traditionally used in Japanese Tea Ceremonies, matcha in modern times has become so common that matcha lattes can now be found almost at every coffee shop in town.
The main reason for its upgrade are the amazing health benefits. Full of polyphenols, its antioxidants help to protect against heart disease and cancer, reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and boost metabolism.
5 CHIA: Native to Latin America, this ancient plant is part of the mint family and has been cultivated for over 500 years. In the 1980s chia made a comeback in the US with the sale of Chia Pets. But in recent years, this super seed has become a health and wellness staple. The seeds are an incredible source of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate. They also have a high amount of dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. Plus they are loaded with fiber.