Superfoods: The Superior Powerhouses of Well-balanced Nutrition

Picture 2Once again, I am fascinated through my study of herbology to see glimpses of God’s provision for our health and well-being in His created world. Superfoods are whole foods that are naturally concentrated with important nutrients. These are God’s created vitamin and mineral supplements and far superior to the supplemental industry. Though most supplements, in the same manner as drugs, can definitely be usual at times, they are extremely expensive and are made from unnatural substances.

Here are a few superfoods that you may want to consider adding to your diet..

Spirulina: The Protein Powerhouse

spirulinaSpirulina is a blue-green algae that grows on freshwater ponds. Spirulina is 55-70 percent protein by weight and considered my many to be the greatest plant source of usable protein and is rich in B vitamins and gammalinolenic acid (GLA). Spirulina does have a strong flavor and can be purchased in capsule or powder form. The powder form will be better in quality and economy, but capsule is a good option to avoid the taste. It is one of the most expensive superfoods but the benefits far outweigh the cost. Recommended dosage is 6-10 tablets or 2 Tablespoon powder daily.

Seaweed: The Mineral Supplement

Seaweeds are the richest plant source of minerals, providing 10-20 times the minerals in land-based plants. They contain a more well-balanced and broader spectrum of minerals necessary for the body than any other organism. They are used to promote longevity, prevent disease, and boost a healthy metabolism to those courageous enough to consume them. Many seaweeds can be used on different dishes such as salads, soups, Asian dishes and salad dressings. The easiest to come by and disquise is kelp powder and can be added to smoothies, oatmeal and other dishes without much flavor varience. Other seasweeds include: kiziki, arme and dulse.

Bee Pollen: The Energizer

Bee Pollen is an incredible concentrated powerhouse of nearly all known nutrients that imparts energy to the nervous system. It is a complete protein, containing all 22 amino acids, and has a higher concentration of the eight amino acids essential to human health than most other forms of protein. It contains high levels of 27 minerals, enzymes, and coenzymes; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; niacin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid; vitamin C; and the fat-soluable vitamins A and E. Recommended dosage is 1-2 teaspoons per day. Use in moderation as 1 teaspoon represents 4.8 billion grains of pollen! Works well to combine in blended drinks.

Shitake Mushrooms: Immune-System Defenders

shitakeShitake mushroom contains lentinan, a polysaccharide complex that has been shown to possess significant immune-enhancing properties. It contains active agents that form the first line of defense against viral infections and other illnesses. Try adding it in your meals several times a week. Shitake mushroom can be easily grown (see how they can grow in logs) but is also available in dried whole or powder form through Mountain Rose Herbs. Don’t go for the ones available in your supermarket as they are not the best quality but many health food stores may carry fresh varieties that are excellent chopped up on top of salads or included in soups.

Nutritional Yeast

Often called brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast is a superior source of protein and includes all of the essential amino acids. It is 50 percent protein and is one of the best sources of the entire B-vitamin complex, excluding B12. Nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of many minerals and trace minerals. Yeast comes in powder, flakes and tablets. Best to comsume in its raw state. Powder form is very potent in flavor whereas the flakes dissolve more easily and taste better. Tablets are expensive and the least effective. I personally have not been able to enjoy this yeast yet, but I do add it to my children’s breakfast cereals without any complaint. ;)


flaxseedsFlaxseed: The Heart Healer

Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which is important for keeping the arteries clean, the heart functioning, and the immune system in good health. Recommended dosage is 1 Tablespoon daily. Flax will improve your immune system and is also beneficial for healthy skin and hair. Flaxseed can easily be made into an hearty egg substitute as well. Flax seed is also available in an oil form, but is more expensive and must be stored in the refrigerator to prevent it from getting rancid. We love adding flax and chia seeds to our oatmeal and smoothies. Easily grinds up into a fine powder with a coffee grinder.

For some cautions in regards to flaxseeds consumption, visit Kimi’s post titled Flax Seed and Oil.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds is considered by many to be the new ‘superfood’, due to being high in easily digestible protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, soluble fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and are a digestive, disinfectant, febrifuge and ophthalmic. According to Mountain Rose Herbs,

“They are currently being used for their nutritional and medicinal properties, endurance for athletes, for suppressing the appetite, weight loss, leveling blood sugar, and for aiding intestinal regularity. ”

Hemp Seeds

For further reading on the benefits of hemp, check out my Hemp milk article.


Fermented Cod Liver Oil

According to Weston A Price Foundation,

“Cod liver oil supplements are a must for women and their male partners, to be taken for several months before conception, and for women during pregnancy. Growing children will also benefit greatly from a small daily dose. Cod liver oil is also rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docasahexaenoic acid (DHA). The body makes these fatty acids from omega-3 linolenic acid. EPA is as an important link in the chain of fatty acids that ultimately results in prostaglandins, localized tissue hormones while DHA is very important for the proper function of the brain and nervous system.”

Green Pastures offered the new fermented version of Cod liver oil, which is being shown to be far superior to standard brands on the market. It has been processed without heating through the traditional way of allowing it to sit and ferment, thus retaining all the nutrients. Other facts about the Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil:

  • Fermented CLO is easier to digest than regular CLO
  • Absorption is increased and the nutrients are easier to assimilate
  • Contains 2 1/2 times more Vitamins A & D and uses no heat during production therefore retaining the precious enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients
  • Fished from pristine waters off the Alaskan Aleutian Islands to ensure purity

I am eager to try the Chocolate Cream version! We should all enjoy that without any problems…;)

Coconut Oil

According to by Bruce Fife:

- Protects against heart disease, cancer & diabetes
- Acts as an antioxidant in its resistance to attack by free radicals,
protecting against degenerative diseases, in general.
- Protects from a range of infectious diseases. Fife lists 28 infectious
and degenerative disease conditions that coconut oil can help to relieve,
reduce or prevent.

We consume coconut oil regularly in smoothies, in baked goods, and for most of our sauteing and cooking needs.


The majority of these supplements can be purchased in small quantities or bulk form through Azure Standard or Mountain Rose Herbs.

References: The information above on spirulina, seaweed, bee pollen, shitake mushrooms was provided through Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. All the information above is for educational purposes only.

Further Reading:

Choose Superfoods Over Supplements - by Nourishing Days
The Power of Maca - Kimi @ Nourishing Gourmet shares some of the health benefits of consuming maca as a superfood.
Hemp Seed: Nutritional Value and Thoughts – Kimi shares her findings on the value of hemp.
Cod Liver Oil Series - by Kelly at the Kitchen Kop – helpful review of fermented cod liver oil.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

36 Responses to Superfoods: The Superior Powerhouses of Well-balanced Nutrition

  1. Tina February 18, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I am looking more into the benefits of coconut oil. I had a fungal infection around my eyes and nothing seem to clear it up. I started to put coconut oil and then applied vit e for the flaky skin and I am happy to say my eyes are clear :) !! As I read your post about the benefits of coconut oil, I read the articles by Fife, it was pretty interesting especially about reducing cholesterol. My hubby found out he has very high cholesterol and the doctor said he will give him 3 months to try to lower it on his own before he prescribes him medication. So I have made him some cayenne pepper mix with warm water to take in the evenings. I also want to try to get the benefits of coconut oil however I am not sure which kind I should buy. I’m trying to figure out if the unrefined is better for me or the expelled.. Any help would be great! Thanks so much.

  2. Carrie May 3, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    Thanks for all this great info in one place!! I look forward to incorporating these into our diets more, instead of the usual vitamin supplements. :) As a sidenote, I’m not sure if it’s just my view, but it seems that this post is doubled, like it’s the same post stacked one after another. I felt like my mind was playing games on myself, but I think it really is doubled up. Anyway, thanks again for your help with being healthy by simply using things from God’s creation!

  3. Superfoods September 2, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    what an awesome post. love bee pollen, maca, and green smoothies!! you rock

  4. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship August 10, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    Someday I’ll have the $ to add some of these to our diet – for now, real food is all I can afford! I did try flax oil once…but it went rancid waaaay before I could use it. :( I have a post on precautions in buying and storing flax seeds AND oil here: (I learned my lesson!)

    I’m also posting tomorrow on my new favorite place to buy coconut oil in bulk…

    • Lindsay August 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

      Actually, the only more expensive items on this list are the spirulina and cod liver oil. All the other superfoods are extremely reasonable and well worth incorporating into your diet. I spent $3 for a pound of kelp powder for example.

      • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship August 15, 2009 at 8:01 am #

        Thanks, Lindsay. I appreciate the time you take to respond to comments. Perhaps I’ll look into some of these powders to add to smoothies. Great info!

  5. Maggy August 10, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    I found a honey with the bee pollen left in. I wonder if that counts as bee pollen for nutritional purposes? Anyone know?

  6. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home August 10, 2009 at 7:49 pm #

    That’s a great list of superfoods. We try to include most of those in our diet when we can!
    One great way to use Nutritional Yeast is to sprinkle it on popcorn! I make popcorn as usual, with melted butter and sea salt, and then sprinkle a bit of the yeast as well. It’s got kind of a rich, cheesy taste to it. We all love it, and I rarely make popcorn without it. It’s also quite good on pasta!

  7. Amy Fisher August 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    I sprinkle the nutritional yeast flakes on my popcorn daily!! I love it! It is my favorite snack~fat free and nutritional! My kids love it too!!!

  8. Tiffany August 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    I picked up some nutritional yeast and was going to add it to my 1 year olds oatmeal, but how much should I add? It’s about 2/3 cup uncooked. A tablespoon? A teaspoon?


    • Lindsay August 11, 2009 at 2:19 am #

      I would recommend start with 1-2 teaspoons after the oatmeal has been cooked.

  9. Melanie W. August 10, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    I would love to know your take (or anyone’s) on wheatgrass. AND, what about wheatgrass in combination with spirulina? I see benefits of both but I have also read spirulina would cancel out the wheatgrass benefit of balancing your PH levels. I have asthma and cronic sinus problems and I am determined to not go under the knife again for sinus surgery, as it seems to only be a temporary fix. I have been to many doctors, including natural med doctors and we are having a lot of trouble getting to the cause of the polyps that continue to grow, which cause infections and my asthma to get worse. And, from all of the antibiotics I had been on (from the not-so-natural med doctor I had before) my immune system is pretty weak. I am leading towards wheatgrass if I have to choose one for the anti-inflammatory benefits and the detoxifying as well. But I have been interested in spirulina for all of its health benefits as well. Any advice??

    • Annie August 12, 2009 at 5:20 am #

      My two sons (5 and 3)had chronic respiratory infections and asthma (their only triggers being colds and illness). We had them on zopenex and pulmicort via nebulizer, and singulair and often prednisone and antibiotics. And they were still sick more than not. Naturally I started looking into other alternatives. I started them on cod liver oil and coconut oil, and I kid you not they did not get sick with respiratory problems all winter. Now if they do get a cold, they get over it with out all the extra meds. Not sure if this would work with adults with asthma, but I swear by it for our kids!

      • Melanie W. August 12, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

        Thank you Annie! I will consider this. Would you clarify for me how you gave them the coconut oil? Is it simply an oral dose? Or would you add it to something else? I would love to where you found this information if you remember.

    • Camille February 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

      Dear Melanie W.,

      I’m so sorry about your struggles with asthma. I used to have delicate case of asthma into my teen years. Exercising just a little, causing me to breathe hard would make me have to settle down because of a sharp pain in my upper chest. As I got into sports slowly it seemed to mellow out some as I exercised more but still I used my inhaler. Then I stopped doing sports and my same conditions came back with being sensitive to hard exercise. It seemed like maybe when I was in sports I was exercising my lungs which probably helped my asthma to not be so severe. BUT the things about this all is that we started to get into coconut oil. I was so excited the moment we had the order shipped home I started eating some for about a week, I started out small with 1tsp. 3x a day up to 1 Tbls. 3x a day. I learned from a book called, Eat Fat Lose Fat, that the lungs NEED saturated fat to function properly, also coconut oil does boost the immune system.

      So one day after I started eating the oil, I’m outside with my family and running about, breathing hard and feel just a smidge of pain in my chest. Normally it would have been worse but I just know it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, if it hadn’t been for eating the coconut oil. Check out the book it’s so much more than just what the title says. It’s over all a health primer. I hope you get this, I know the message was a while ago.


  10. Michelle @ Find Your Balance August 10, 2009 at 6:05 am #

    I use nutritional yeast all the time and I know it has B vitamins but I thought it lacked B12? Anyway I think it’s super yummy as a parmesan replacement. Also, just posted a recipe for a wonderfully healthy dessert using chia seeds! Thanks for your informative post!

  11. Becky August 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    I’ve read of the wonders of coconut on your blog before, and heard friends rave about it, but i have a question: does it taste coconut-y? Particularly in frying. Also, can you deep-fry in it? I understand there is probably no healthy way to deep-fry but my husband is too big a fan. Anyway, i’m asking about the flavor because while i’m a big fan, my hubby despises coconut.

  12. Dana August 9, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    Try sprinkling nutritional yeast over cooked, buttered (or olive oiled)whole wheat pasta! I’ve been making non-dairy mac-n-cheeze with nutritional yeast for years (although my recipe is far from low-fat!).

  13. ~M August 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    I use nutritional yeast occasionally for dairy-free applications like Fat Free Vegan’s Easy Vegan Lasagna (I use Tinkyada brown rice lasagna sheets to make it gluten-free).

    But, we use seaweed and arame (I think also a seaweed) and chia ALL the time. Here is a great soup with arame:

    I also use seaweed as a grain-free wrap for turkey or smoked salmon with smooshed avocado like this:

    And I love CHIA! It can be used to replace protein (gluten), fat/oil, and/or eggs in a recipe. I soak chia for 20 minutes in water and blend it in my Vitamix to add structure and nutrition to (gluten-free) pancakes…I freeze this slurry in ice cube trays and add to smoothies instead of regular ice cubes to add creaminess and nutrition. They also make a great faux tapioca pudding. Here are some links:

  14. tina b August 8, 2009 at 7:39 am #

    ok, this might be the dumbest question ever…but, is baker’s yeast the same as the yeast i use when i make bread?? very sorry – it’s silly that i don’t know the answer to that…

    thanks for this post, tho! it was very helpful!!


    • Lindsay August 9, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

      No, it is not the same thing. It is called nutritional yeast or brewer’s yeast.

  15. amy August 8, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    when you say “baker’s yeast”…are you meaning something different from the yeast I use to bake bread? and also different from Brewers Yeast?

    • Lindsay August 9, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

      No, it is also called Brewer’s yeast.

  16. Angela August 7, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    how about the most perfect superfood – breastmilk! designed by God, made by mamas as the perfect nutrition for babies! happy world breastfeeding week!!

    loved the other info in your post – when i really think about it, it amazes me how much goodness nature packs into various foods. we love baking with flaxseed meal instead of oil/butter makes the best wholewheat bread(6 tbsp meal in place of 2 tbsp oil or butter).

  17. Chele August 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    We have dairy allergies here, and we use nutritional yeast as a replacement for parmesean cheese, to make vegan boullion, and several other dishes. It really is great and makes wonderful dishes.

  18. Sarah M August 7, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    Keep these posts coming, we love them! After reading The China Study a number of months ago, my family immediately gave up meat and we are slowly slowly(!) cutting out all dairy, too, so I love learning about these things, too. I have heard a LOT about seaweed, although we have yet to try it, have you found this online, we have a small health food store and it does not carry it?
    We also love flax seeds baked into our bread, sprinkled in our oatmeal, etc.
    Sarah M

  19. Natalie August 7, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Shatakis are the best! I find baby Shatakis at our local farmers market this time of year. We like to roast them in the oven with butter, salt and fresh rosemary. Prepared this way they go really fast! We also like to make little “oreos” by using goat cheese sandwiched between two mushroom caps- expensive but delicious appetizer.

  20. Abbie August 7, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    As a Korean family, we eat Shitaki mushrooms regularly. I simply reconsitute the dried ones in warm water for about 20 minutes, or use the fresh ones, slice thinly, omit the woody stems, and sautee them in a hot fry pan with 1t of seasame oil and 1t soy sauce until heated through. Top with sesame seeds and enjoy with rice and kimchi! Great blog!

  21. Molly G August 7, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    I could only eat nutritional yeast in well covered up smoothies until I tried it on popcorn. It is better than butter. Spray with olive oil ect. sprinkle with flakes and enjoy.

  22. Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up August 7, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    Hehe – Chocolate Creme. That’s what I thought too!! One word of advice – make sure it’s been refrigerated at least overnight so it’s really cold. A friend told me that and I’m glad I listened. Also, it smells delish, but does not taste like it smells!!! (I actually put up a video on my blog this week of me trying the exact same stuff: Now for some reason my son balked at it that day, but he normally takes it w/o a problem. Although the first time he tried it, he did cry.

    And it’s not horrible HORRIBLE, but it’s not great either. I’d get over it and take it if the capsules weren’t offered!

  23. Christine Kennedy August 7, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    Hi there,

    I love your blog! I had my third baby on March 8th, just a few days after you had you Titus.

    Just wanted to comment that we use nutritional yeast sprinkled over popcorn and it is really good like that, very similar to sprinkled cheese. Also, I have got the Green Pastures new chocolate cream flavoured FCLO, and I don’t recommend it. We don’t like it at all. I have also got their new Fruit attack flavour, and it is much better! I have also ordered the new Orange Oslo, but I won’t be ordering the chocolate again. It is dark brown in colour (they add a lot of cocoa to it). There is stevia added as well, but you can’t taste any sweetness at all. Fishy unsweetened chocolate. Pretty gross!

  24. FoodRenegade August 7, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    I’ve also used nutritional yeast in cream sauces — a very yummy way to get some extra nutrition into our bellies.

    Does anyone have suggestions for how to take powdered spirulina (other than in a smoothie)?

    Thanks for sharing this in today’s Fight Back Fridays carnival.

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  25. Stephanie August 7, 2009 at 7:15 am #

    Wow! This is great information! And you mention superfoods that the media usually ignores. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I recently saw nutritional yeast at Whole Foods & wondered what it is for. I’ll definitely be getting some the next time I’m there.

  26. Anna M August 7, 2009 at 6:54 am #

    My good friend makes the most delicious salad dressing from nutritional yeast and hooray, you’ve mentioned two of my favorite natural “supplements” – bee pollen and spirulina! I grew up on bee pollen and can attest to its natural immunity and energy boosting benefits, fantastic stuff. I’ve only recently picked up on the wonder that is coconut oil, and it really is marvelous stuff. Makes the best healthy desserts!
    - Anna M

  27. Jennifer D August 7, 2009 at 6:05 am #

    Many people use nutritional yeast as a cheese-type flavouring in sauces. It makes a wonderful alfredo sauce and kids will gobble it up in the form of macaroni and ‘cheese’. There is a wonderful recipe on the ‘Fat Free Vegan’ blog: So healthy and so tasty – the best combination!

  28. jc August 7, 2009 at 5:23 am #

    We sprinkle baker’s yeast on buttered popcorn and it is delicious!