Guide to My Favourite Superfood Powders—Benefits, Tips & How to Use Them

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I’ve been using superfoods for years—it all started when my dad introduced me to spirulina as a source of plant-based protein and iron after I turned vegetarian. Since then I’ve loved experimenting with using different superfoods to boost my everyday meals. I get asked quite a lot about them, so I thought I’d do a basic guide to a few of my favourite superfood powders from a local Malaysian brand, Organicule Superfoods. Here’s a round up of why I use each superfood, tips for using them and recipes you can try them in.

 

WHAT IS A SUPERFOOD?

Before we begin, it would make sense to clarify what a superfood actually is. While there is no exact definition, ‘superfood’ is a term loosely used to describe foods that are extremely nutrient-rich, with an exceptionally high content of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They usually have health-promoting properties such as preventing the risk of diseases or improving aspects of physical or emotional health. Are they a cure all? Definitely not! However they are a great way to supplement a balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle to boost overall health.

Bear in mind superfood powders are usually potent and only small quantities are needed for a powerful effect. Most superfoods also usually lose some of their benefits when exposed to heat, with exception to maca powder, which I personally digest better when taken cooked.

 

WHERE I GET SUPERFOODS IN MALAYSIA

I’ve been buying superfood products from iHerb or imported brands for years, so when I heard of Organicule Superfoods I was over the moon to see a trustworthy local brand now selling them in Malaysia. My favourite thing about the Organicule products is that they are all high quality and USDA certified organic.* Because they work directly with producers, their products are also extremely affordable! 

*with the exception of Spirulina and Chlorella, where naturally occurring nitrate is needed to cultivate the algae which is why they are better when classified as ‘natural’ rather than ‘organic’.

GUIDE TO MY FAVOURITE SUPERFOODS

BENEFITS, TIPS & HOW TO USE THEM


cacaopowder

Cacao Powder

WHAT IS IT

We all know from cocoa powder from chocolate. Cacao powder is similar, just less processed. While both come from the same cacao bean, cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures and sometimes chemically processed.

The process changes the molecular structure of the bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value. Because cacao powder is less processed than cocoa it retains higher levels of antioxidants and flavanols.

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Organicule Cacao Powder

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cacaogranola

BENEFITS

Antioxidant power house: Cacao is one of the richest sources of polyphenols (flavanols specifically). Flavanols help improve blood flow which in turn supports heart health and reduces inflammation. It also promotes cell regeneration which is great for the brain, memory function and healthy skin.

Ease PMS symptoms: Cacao is a great source of iron, magnesium and zinc—minerals that can help support the body leading up to menstruation and reduce PMS symptoms by balancing hormones. Iron also helps build blood which can be beneficial as your body prepares itself for menstruation.

Mood booster & de-stresser: Chocolate make you feel happy? It’s not just in your head! Cacao contains phenylethylamine (PEA) and can boost serotonin levels which is why we often associate it with happiness. Cacao can help promote a general sense of ease and calmness, while alleviating stress and mood swings.

HOW TO USE IT

Use it like how you would use cocoa powder. Add it to sweet treats, smoothies or porridge for a chocolate touch. As with most superfoods heating cacao will reduce some of its benefits.

Cherry & Almond Adzuki Bean Brownies | Chocolate, Almond & Peanut Butter Energy Date Ball | Oil-Free Superfood Cacao, Maca Granola with Hazelnuts & Dates

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Cacao Nibs

WHAT ARE THEY

Cacao nibs are also derived from the cacao bean and are small pieces of the crushed beans. After the beans go through the process of being harvested, dried and fermented, they are then cracked to produce cacao nibs. While the nibs are sometimes roasted, raw cacao nibs are unroasted. They are bitter, nutty and have a dark chocolate flavour.

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Organicule Cacao Nibs

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cacaonibs

BENEFITS

Cacao nibs share all the same antioxidant, mineral rich and mood boosting benefits as cacao powder.

High in fibre: They are also extremely high in fibre, with 2g of dietary fibre per 1 tbsp (10g) serving—which along with the other benefits of cacao you probably won’t find in a processed bar of chocolate from the supermarket. Fibre is great for supporting digestion, regulating bowel movements and promoting feelings of fullness.

HOW TO USE IT

Think of them as nature’s original bitter chocolate chips. I love sprinkling them over treats to offset sweetness and give a little crunch. Try adding them as a topping over smoothie bowls, porridge and sweet treats.

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Moringa Powder

WHAT IS IT

Native to India, moringa powder is made from the leaves of the moringa plant, which has been used for its medicinal purposes for generations and is known as the ‘Miracle Tree’. It contains over 90 nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 20 kinds of amino acids and minerals such as potassium, calcium and iron.

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Organicule Moringa Powder

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moringaproteinballs

BENEFITS

Fights free radicals & inflammation: Moringa is rich in several antioxidants such as flavanoids, polyphenals, vitamin C, quercetin and chlorogenic acid. These powerful antioxidants help keep cells healthy and functioning at their best as they fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress and inflammation. They may also help lower blood pressure, moderate blood sugar levels and prevent heart and brain diseases from developing in the long run.

Beauty booster: Along with its high levels of antioxidants, moringa is jam-packed with skin-loving vitamins such as vitamin A and E, which help keep skin healthy and radiant and prevent signs of ageing. Moringa also contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that fight infections and encourage wound healing.

HOW TO USE IT

With a light green colour reminiscent to matcha powder, moringa is a great addition to smoothies, sweet treats and even savoury dishes. Try using them in dips or adding them over your favourite soups.

Super Green Protein Balls

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Maca Powder

WHAT IS IT

Sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng, maca is an ancient superfood native to the Incan empire. A powerful adaptogen, it is mainly known for its ability to enhance energy levels and balance hormones. Maca powder is made from the dried root of the maca plant which grows underground and has a unique earthy, malty flavour. 
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Organicule Maca Powder

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macabuckwheatporridge

BENEFITS

Hormone balancer: Maca is well-known for it’s potential to balance hormone levels, especially for its ability to balance oestrogen which can help alleviate menopausal symptoms. Some studies have shown that maca can also help increase libido in both men and women.

Enhances strength, stamina & endurance: Maca may help improve exercise performance, particularly during endurance events as it has been shown to have the potential to help increase stamina, boost energy levels and increase strength.

Relieves stress & anxiety: Often linked to the flavanoids present, maca has been associated with its ability to enhance mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It may also improve brain function and memory.

HOW TO USE IT

I prefer to eat maca cooked to prevent stomach cramps and digestive issues. Traditionally maca has been cooked, boiled, baked, roasted or fermented and eaten as part of a meal alongside other Andean food, but not eaten raw. Raw maca contains enzymes which inhibit the digestion and assimilation of food. Add it to your warm morning porridge and baked recipes like granolas and cakes. I love it paired with cacao powder as it gives a great chocolate malt flavour that reminds me of Milo.

Energising Maca & Cacao Buckwheat Porridge | Oil-Free Superfood Cacao, Maca Granola with Hazelnuts & Dates

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Baobab Powder

WHAT IS IT

Baobab powder, made from the fruit of Africa’s ‘Tree of Life’, is a superfood rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, fibre (making it a powerful prebiotic) and several key minerals. Taste-wise it has a fresh, citrusy flavour which compliments other ingredients and flavours easily.

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Organicule Baobab Powder

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baobab dressing

BENEFITS

Boosts immunity: Baobab powder is extremely high in vitamin C (58% of the recommended daily intake) and antioxidants making it great for vitality and keeping immune systems strong. Vitamin C can also help increase the production of collagen, which is needed to grow tissues and cells and can keep skin and hair healthy.

Supports digestive health: With 6.5g of dietary fibre per 2 tbsp (12g) serving and both soluble and insoluble fibres present, baobab is great for supporting healthy digestion. Fibre acts as a prebiotic which feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut and can also improve satiety, meaning it’ll help you feel full for longer.

Helps control the release of blood sugar: Baobab’s high level of fibre can also help control blood sugar levels, which prevents sudden fluctuations that may lead to drops of energy, headaches, and serious conditions like diabetes over the long term.

HOW TO USE IT

As a good source of vitamin C, Baobab is beneficial for helping absorb non-heme iron, the type found in plant sources, which is why I love pairing it with iron-rich foods like Spirulina. Along with smoothies, its fresh, citrusy flavour adds a nice tangy touch so try adding it to salad dressings or over savoury dishes.

Soba Noodle Salad Bowl with a Baobab & Tahini Dressing | High Protein Spirulina Hemp Milk

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Spirulina Powder

WHAT IS IT

Considered to be one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, spirulina is a blue-green algae loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Regularly consumed by Aztecs, spirulina is renown for its ability to boost stamina and is a good source of plant-based protein, also high in iron, copper, and B vitamins.

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Organicule Spirulina Powder

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BENEFITS

Nutrient powerhouse: Spirulina is extremely nutrient dense and is a great supplement for those on a plant-based diet because of its high levels of plant-based protein and iron. A single teaspoon (3g) contains 2g of protein and 1.7mg of iron, 10% of your RDA. It’s rich in healthy fats, including the extremely rare GLA, which is essential for maintaining a sharp mind and heart health. Spirulina is also one of the richest sources of beta-carotene with10 times more beta-carotene than carrots, per serving.

Fights inflammation: Spirulina gets its unique blue-green pigment from phycocyanin, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and inhibits the production of inflammatory molecules. Its impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help protect immune cells, increase blood flow and prevent heart diseases and allergies.

Assist with muscle recovery & strength: Spirulina’s ability to increase blood flow has been linked to helping athletes minimise oxidative damage, which can cause muscle fatigue. Some studies have shown that spirulina can help improve muscle strength and endurance.

HOW TO USE IT

I love pairing spirulina with baobab (or foods that are high in vitamin C) as they help with the absorption of the non-heme iron present. Add it to your post-workout smoothies or use it to naturally add a beautiful blue-green colour to your dishes. As an algae, spirulina has quite a strong seaweed flavour so a little goes a long way! Start with less and work your way up to a teaspoon serving.

High Protein Spirulina Hemp Milk | Super Green Protein Balls

chlorella

Chlorella Powder

WHAT IS IT

Like spirulina, chlorella is a freshwater algae. As its name suggests, it is rich in chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants vital for photosynthesis. It has the highest amount of chlorophyll of any plant making it great for detoxing the body as it helps to cleanse the blood and eliminate heavy metal toxins.

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Organicule Chlorella Powder

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BENEFITS

Detoxes the body & cleanses the blood: While green vegetables are a good source of chlorophyll, none contain as much as chlorella which contains 3-5% chlorophyll. With such high levels of chlorophyll, chlorella is great for detoxifying the body. It helps cleanse the bowels, liver, and blood as it binds to toxins and heavy metals and stops them from being reabsorbed.

Packed with nutrients: Similar to spirulina, chlorella is extremely nutrient dense and packed with protein, the carotenoids beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lutein, vitamins B and C and minerals such as zinc and iron. As with most algae, chlorella is a good source of healthy omega-3 fats well, with 100mg from just a 3g serving.

Helps balance blood sugar levels and cholesterol:Chlorella may help lower blood sugar levels, as it is believed to activate a number of genes at the cellular level that improve insulin sensitivity and encourage a healthy balance.

HOW TO USE IT

Compared to spirulina, chlorella has a more grassy flavour, which someone once compared to a ‘freshly mowed lawn’ when they caught a whiff of my chlorella smoothie. Add it to your smoothies and again to naturally colour your dishes. Compared to spirulina which has more of a blue-green pigment, chlorella is just green.

Chlorella Matcha Mint Breakfast Parfait | Super Green Protein Balls

hemphearts

Hemp Hearts

WHAT IS IT

Hemp hearts come from the same plant family as marijuana, but won’t get you high as they contain nearly undetectable levels of THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana). Incredibly nutritious and rich in healthy fats, protein and various minerals, hemp hearts are one of very few plant sources that contain all 9 essential amino acids, making them a complete protein.

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Organicule Hemp Hearts

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BENEFITS

A complete source of protein: Not only are hemp hearts packed with protein, with a staggering 8.8g in every 2 tablespoons (28g), they also they provide all 9 essential amino acids making them a complete protein—a rarity in the plant kingdom. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from your diet. Hemp seeds also contain significant amounts of the amino acids arginine and glutamic acid.

Abundant in healthy fats: Hemp hearts are rich in ALA and GLA healthy fats and can help to promote an ideal balance between omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Healthy fats aid cell growth and support healthy hair and nails. Along with the high amounts of arginine, they are also beneficial in helping prevent heart disease, keeping arteries open and decreasing blood pressure.

Aid with digestion: Rich in dietary fibre—both soluble and insoluble—hemp hearts are great for promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut which support healthy digestion as well as a strong immune system.

 

HOW TO USE IT

Hemp hearts have a lovely nutty flavour and I love finishing off all my meals, savoury and sweet, with a sprinkling of them. Add them to your smoothies for a natural boost of protein or use them to make your own home-made hemp milk, at a fraction of the price!

High Protein Spirulina Hemp Milk | Super Green Protein Balls

hempprotein

Hemp Protein

WHAT IS IT

Organicule Superfood’s take on protein powder—a complete plant-based protein made entirely from hemp. With 14g of protein per serving, this protein powder is not only a great supplement to support muscle growth and recovery, it’s also packing in fibre and healthy fats. The hemp protein is as pure as they come: unflavoured and free from any added sweeteners, gums and other additives.

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Organicule Hemp Protein Powder

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BENEFITS

Hemp protein shares all the same benefits as hemp hearts being a complete plant-based protein, rich in healthy fats and fibre, as well as various vitamins and minerals.

Easier to digest than other plant proteins: While hemp protein may contain less protein per serving than other plant-based protein powders such soy or pea, it is usually less refined and considered to be much easier to digest. This means the body can use almost all of the amino acids for important functions such as repair and maintenance.

Low in anti-nutrients: Whole grains, seeds, legumes and nuts usually contain anti-nutrients, which exist as part of the plant’s natural defence system in the wild. Anti-nutrients like phytic acid inhibit the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium while tannins decrease the absorption of iron. Unlike other plant-based proteins, hemp contains low levels of both these, making it easier to absorb all the minerals in the plant.

HOW TO USE IT

Add to water or plant-based milk to make a quick post workout protein shake. If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, add it a smoothie instead or use it to make your own protein bliss balls or protein bars.

Super Green Protein Balls

Algae amino acid Anti-aging anti-inflammatory Antioxidants Baobab Beautify Benefits Breakfast Cacao Cacao Nibs Chlorella Chocolate Cocoa Constipation Dairyfree Detox diet Fibre green Healthy Heavy metals Hemp Hemp Hearts hemp protein HormoneBalance immunity Iron Juice Maca Magnesium Minerals Moringa omega 3 Organic Food Organic Product Organicule OrganiculeSuperfoods Overnight Oats Plant Milk Premature Aging Recipe Smoothie Smoothie Bowl Spirulina SSAYANG Superfood Vegan Vitamins

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