20 Vegan Superfoods (And Their Benefits) That You Need To Eat

The truth is, our diets often fail us.

It hurts and impairs our health on so many levels. It can increase stress, cause weight gain, anxiety, depression, lower testosterone, increase acne, lower heart health, raise the risk of diseases like dementia, and so much more.

But the fact of the matter is the same way our diet can hurt us, we can transform our nutrition in order to gain life changing benefits.

So how do we do this? 

By eating superfoods!

But what is a superfood? Although, there is no exact definition, most people would agree that superfood is one that offers extremely high levels of nutrition while providing a whole host of benefits that will keep us living longer, happier, and healthier.

Below I took the time to make a list of 20 superfoods that you should start eating right now!

These superfoods truly have amazing incredible benefits, some that might shock you. 

Remember, you are what you eat, so why don’t you make yourself a superhero!

 

Blueberries

How can you not love blueberries!? 

The top superfood on this list, blueberries host an incredible amount of benefits that will have you feeling younger and healthier.

Not to mention they taste amazing!

If you aren’t eating them, head over to your local organic supermarket and make it a priority to eat them more often, you’ll thank me later.

Blueberries are king when it comes to superfoods.

Filled with a wide array of nutrients and antioxidants blueberries are known to offer natural healing properties to the body.

Proven to lower blood pressure, decrease your risk of heart disease, and known to combat the spread of cancer, it makes little sense if you’re not adding these to your diet.

  • Improves skin health
  • Promotes healthier bones
  • Aids in digestion
  • Reduces DNA damage
  • High in essential vitamins
  • Fights urinary tract infections
  • Repairs damaged muscles after exercise

Blueberries are also considered a superfood for your brain!

The antioxidants found in blueberries improve brain function, memory, and slow down the brains aging process, making you feel younger!

Also a perfect snack to fix that dreaded hangover and detox your body.

 

Kale 

If there’s a surefire sign that what you’re eating is a vegan superfood, it’s going to be green.

Kale is the perfect example of a dark leafy green.

Filled with a multitude of micronutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folate, and manganese, all of which have been known to carry cancer-fighting properties.

Originating in the eastern Mediterranean, Kale has been a staple health food for thousands of years.

Back in WWII, it was encouraged to grow and eat Kale due to its easy cultivation and its ability to provide a tremendous amount of nutritional benefit that so many people were missing out on due to the lack of food.

The benefits of Kale include:

  • Fights aging
  • Amazing source of Vitamin K and other minerals
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Cancer fighting properties
  • High amounts of potassium which reduces heart disease
  • Protection against diabetes
  • High intake of fiber
  • Fights constipation
  • Promotes positive digestion

 

Spinach

Spinach can be known as the brother or sister of Kale, both dark leafy greens that provide a massive amount of nutritional benefit.

If it works for Popeye, it can work for you!

People love spinach for its taste and the ability to complement many different foods such as tofu, beans, salads, pasta, and so much more.

Of all the vegetables in the world, spinach has one of the highest concentrations of iron with about 2.7mg per 100g of spinach. 

Iron is well known for its benefits such as improving blood health, regulating blood cell production, and preventing anemia.

Spinach has similar benefits to kale since both are closely related.

  • Promotes eye health
  • Cancer and disease fighting properties
  • Regulates blood pressure and blood health
  • Improves skin health
  • Strengthens respiratory system
  • Fights infections
  • Prevents UTI’s
  • High concentration of iron

 

Quinoa

Quinoa is a vegan lover’s paradise.

High in protein, and filled with all the essential amino acids, Quinoa is the ultimate muscle building food.

Although it may look like a grain, Quinoa is actually classified as a seed, and is actually more closely related to spinach or beets!

It is also gluten free, lucky for all you anti-gluten freaks out there.

Originating in South America, this seed has been consumed for thousands of years, and people have continuously benefited from its amazing properties.

Quinoa is one of the few vegan superfoods that actually contains all the 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

Throw it in a bowl with avocados, tofu, chickpeas, and some spices and you have yourself a perfect muscle building meal filled with carbs, protein, and healthy fats.

  • Regulates gut health
  • High in fiber
  • Promotes heart health
  • Quick preparation
  • Disease prevention
  • Promotes muscle growth (high in protein)
  • A healthy amount of antioxidants
  • Prevents kidney stones

 

Ginger 

Originating in Southeast Asia, you have probably eaten ginger at an ethnic Asian restaurant. 

Or perhaps more common, you’ve seen it in your sushi roll right next to the wasabi. 

Ginger or ginger root can be consumed in many ways.

Pickled ginger is common in restaurants, but ginger tea is another excellent way to consume its properties.

What people don’t know about ginger is that it has amazing benefits that qualify it as a superfood.

One interesting study I found regarding the health benefits found that ginger provides better gastrointestinal relief than some over the counter medicines. 

Ginger can help reduce ailments regarding the digestive tract such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and motion sickness.

Next time you get on a boat, eat some ginger to prevent getting seasick!

Benefits include:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Indigestion and sickness relief
  • Cancer prevention
  • Reduces muscle pain
  • Reduces menstrual pain and cramps
  • Slows down Alzheimer’s Disease

 

Carrot

A root vegetable that’s delicious to eat whether raw, cooked, or steamed. 

Carrots are a great snack for between meals or can be complemented well with your meals. Carrots really pack a crunch!

Similar to apples, carrots naturally act as a toothbrush and clean your teeth and gums.

Carrots are high in keratin, a fibrous protein that’s great at fighting plaque and cavities. The natural texture from the vegetable helps massage your gums, preventing a variety of oral diseases.

  • High in fiber
  • Cleans teeth and gums
  • Abundant in micronutrients (vitamins)
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Cancer fighting
  • Natural detox (flushes out toxins)
  • Prevents cardiovascular disease

Like other vegetables, carrots are high in water concentration (around 90%). This makes it a great source of hydration.

High in carbs and low in the glycemic index, carrots are great for people with diabetes as well.

 

Turmeric

I’m sure you probably have used turmeric in cooking or spicing up your lunch, but do you actually know what it is?

“Turmeric is a bright yellow aromatic powder obtained from the rhizome of a plant of the ginger family.”

This means it contains many of the same properties and benefits in ginger which I discussed previously on the list.

Used by many as a spice for Asian cuisine, turmeric adds a little bit of a bitterness taste to the dish. 

Make sure you don’t add too much, as it will overpower your meal and will probably cause you to toss out the dish!

I love to add turmeric to my tofu scramble, giving it a yellow/golden color, and adding some spice, flavor, and the amazing benefits as well.

Turmeric has been used by monks for many generations to dye their robes, but you’ll probably use it for its amazing nutritional benefits:

Anti-inflammatory (strong enough to match certain drugs!)

  • Increases the body’s antioxidant capacity
  • Improves brain function
  • Lowers risk of brain diseases
  • Lowers risk of heart disease
  • Treats cancer and Alzheimer’s
  • Fights depression
  • Boosts serotonin (mental health)
  • Fights aging

 

Swiss Chard

A green leafy vegetable that resembles and can be mixed up with spinach or kale just based on its looks.

You can distinguish swiss chard based on the red stem that flows into the leaf and its thin sliced appearance.

I like to combine swiss chard with kale and spinach and cook them all in a pan with a little olive oil and garlic. All the leaves wilt and you’re left with the combined power of 3 superfoods (technically 4 with garlic) and their benefits all in one delicious dish!

  • Swiss chard is great for a variety of health reasons:
  • Packed with disease fight anti-oxidants
  • Loaded with fiber to help fight indigestion
  • Improves eye health
  • Brain boosting potassium and vitamin K
  • Calcium to improve bone health
  • Regulates blood pressure, blood circulation
  • Cancer prevention

Swiss chard is also known for containing a significant amount of biotin, a compound which is linked directly to improving the health of hair and its texture.

 

Beans

Although many people think beans make you gassy, the truth is they can help increase your life expectancy!

Beans are a wonderful source of proteins for all the vegans out there. Beans can be cooked, steamed, and prepared in a million different ways.

I often like to top a bagel with garlic, avocado, and black bean paste that I mashed up with a fork.

Beans is a very general term, due to the fact there are a whole lot of different beans you can choose from. Here’s just a few:

  1. Lentils
  2. Soybeans
  3. Chickpeas
  4. Black beans
  5. Kidney beans
  6. White beans
  7. Pinto beans

But beans are certainly a superfood that complements well to foods like rice, pasta, and other grains.

Not to mention eating beans with grains helps make them a complete protein source and gives you all the required amino acids which aids in muscle building and strength.

Health benefits include:

  • Improved life expectancy (research shows)
  • Improved heart health
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Prevents birth defects for pregnant women
  • Boosts enzymes
  • High in folate which helps with depression
  • Prevents osteoarthritis
  • Packed with protein (Try lentils!)

 

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are the perfect topping to salads, oatmeal, and vegan yogurt!

Just sprinkle some on and you’ve got some extra packed protein and all the benefits of chia seeds included:

  • Boosts testosterone
  • High in fiber
  • High in protein
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Known as a natural detox
  • High in omega-3s to fight heart disease
  • Treats diverticulosis

I recommend purchasing a big bag of chia seeds from Costco. Buying them in bulk is a lot cheaper and lasts you much longer than if you were to get a small pack from Whole Foods or other grocery stores.

My favorite way to use chia seeds is by adding them to my “protein bowl” that I eat every morning. I throw it on top of the oatmeal and mixed berries for a very delicious and nutritious whole based meal to get my day started right.

It also provides a ton of energy for me to hit the gym.

The only negative I’d say about this superfood is that you’ll sometimes find them getting stuck between your teeth. Nothing a little floss can’t fix!

 

Spirulina

Upon first hearing Spirulina, I had no idea what it was. It sounded more like something to clean my countertops rather than a vegan superfood.

I did some more research.

Spirulina is an ancient blue-green algae (one of the first life forms on earth) with a whole host of benefits for the human body.

I included this superfood in one of my earlier articles The Best Vegan Sources of Protein.

Believe it or not, but Spirulina is the world’s first superfood, and can help treat a variety of diseases and ailments. 

It’s naturally a beautiful turquoise/greenish color that will completely change that color of any smoothie you mix it into.

  • High in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Super high protein-to-volume content (2 grams per tablespoon)
  • Cancer fighting properties
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Reduces allergy symptoms
  • Improves overall mental health
  • Prevents heart disease

 

Maca 

Maca or maca root is often consumed in the form of a powder which is often used in tea and other food supplies. 

When grown and plucked it looks similar to a radish, turnip, or carrot. It can be stored away for many years before being consumed or used.

Closely related to broccoli and cauliflower, the root is where you will often find the amazing health properties:

  • Energy booster
  • Cancer fighting
  • Improves libido and sex
  • Helps men with erectile dysfunction
  • Improves mood and brain function through flavonoid compounds
  • Helps cope with stress
  • Enhances endurance and sports performance

Surprisingly, maca is one of the vegan superfoods that aids in your sex life. It’s been used by the Peruvians in ancient times to help increase sexual performance and reproduction in both humans and cattle!

Not bad if you ask me!

 

Goji

Goji or Goji berries are a bright red berry that originates from China, and is often eaten dried, similar to a raisin. 

Another delicious superfood that you can use to top on salads and oatmeal. 

Also known as the wolfberry, the Chinese have been using the treats for over 2,000 years in the form of medicinal and herbal treatment.

  • Supports immune system
  • Improves and protects eye health
  • High in anti-oxidants that fight cancer
  • Inhibits and slows down tumor growth
  • Fights anxiety and depression
  • Fights hangovers
  • Improves liver health
  • Increases testosterone
  • Lowers risks of heart problems

Goji berries are also often used in soaps and shampoos since it aids in skin health, to give you that glowing/shiny look.

If you’re wondering how to implement goji berries into your diet I suggest you take a look at this wonderful page that discusses all the ins and outs of eating this incredible superfood.

 

Dark Chocolate

You would have to agree with me that this is the most delicious food on the list? 

We’re talking dark chocolate here, not milk! 

A lover’s paradise, chocolate is known for the ability to boost your energy, sex life, and melt in your mouth.

While most people would advise you to stay away from chocolate, I’m going to do the opposite and insist you eat more of it!

Try eating a square of dark chocolate or two every single day and see if you notice the benefits.

Try consuming it during the afternoon at work when you feel lazy or sleepy. You’ll notice an increase in energy and your mood to keep going!

Maybe give it a try before the gym.

Like anything else, do not consume too much. Like they say everything in moderation.

Chocolate is sweet and can even be addictive. So limit yourself on how much you eat. 

We’re trying to find the health benefits from chocolate, not the drawbacks!

That being said consuming a tiny amount here and there has some amazing health benefits:

  • Prevents cardiovascular disease and fights diabetes
  • Lowers your risk of stroke
  • Improves fetal growth for pregnant women
  • Control that cough that won’t go away (boosts immune system)
  • Promotes healthy blood and red blood cell production
  • Cancer fighting
  • Improves skin health

 

Artichoke

Did you steal my vegetable? I artichoke you!

Bad joke. Hey, I tried…

An artichoke is a plant resembling a thistle, known for their prickly stems and rounded flowering heads.

What most people are after in the artichoke is the heart. The piece all the way down at the bottom once you peal all the pieces away from the bulb.

It has wonderful texture and flavor and goes perfect when I dip it in some vinaigrette.

Native to the Mediterranean region of the world, artichokes provide a whole book of nutritional value packed with micronutrients like vitamin k and magnesium.

  • Cancer prevention
  • Regulates blood pressure and heart health
  • Aids in digestion and decreases constipation
  • Promotes liver health and helps with hangovers
  • Increases bone health and density
  • Improves brain function

Artichokes are also a preferred way to incorporate a good amount of fiber into your diet.

 

Pomegranate

Native to northern Africa and western Asia, pomegranates are often used in flavoring alcoholic beverages and juices.

I suggest you avoid these since most of them are over sweetened and filled with sugar.

Eat the pomegranate by itself, seeds and all for the most nutritional benefit.

Pomegranates can taste a little bitter or sour, but in a very good way similar to sour candy, wanting you to come back for more. And for good reason! Pomegranate’s health benefits include:

High in cell protecting anti-oxidants

  • Stops growth of cancer
  • Improve digestive track
  • Protection against Alzheimer’s
  • Anti-viral, immune boosting nutrients
  • Increase testosterone
  • Improve sexual performance
  • Lowers blood pressure

 

Garlic

Good old garlic!

It may make you stink, but it may also help you live better and longer!

Relative of the onion, garlic is a super flavored plant. Used for thousands of years by many different cultures and ethnicities as food and medicine.

You already know that garlic can be thrown into a pan with olive oil and flavor whatever dish to an incredible level. 

Potatoes, tofu, seitan, vegetables, beans, rice, and more. Whatever you’re cooking, you should add garlic to it.

But more than just for taste, garlic has a variety of benefits:

  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-fungal
  • Increases blood flow and circulation
  • Stops heart disease
  • Combat the common cold
  • Prevents Dementia
  • Increases life expectancy
  • Protect organs from damage

 

Mangosteen

Interesting fact – Did you know that mangosteen was once banned in the United States?

But not for the reason you may think. 

Mangosteen comes from Thailand. U.S. officials feared that importing the fruit would introduce the Asian fruit fly among the food in the U.S. which would be extremely difficult to eradicate.

But don’t worry, that ban was lifted in 2007, although it may be difficult to find Mangosteen at your local supermarket. Try Whole Foods or your local Asian farmers’ markets.

When eating Mangosteen, you only eat the fleshy interior, not the outer shell or skin. Check out this link on how to open mangosteen.

Health benefits include:

  • Prevents and stops acne
  • Promotes healthy teeth and gums
  • Boosts immune system
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Promotes red cell production
  • Stops growth of tumors
  • Prevents and stops diabetes

 

Nutritional Yeast (Nooch)

Nutritional yeast or Nooch is a superfood secret for all vegans around the globe. 

It is possible for vegans to become deficient in vitamin b12, something abundant in red meat. 

Lucky for us, nutritional yeast is an excellent source of vitamin B12, just in case you find yourself not getting enough through other foods.

Nooch often comes in the form of yellow flaky powder. It offers a nutty spicy flavor and can be melted to taste a little like cheese.

I love topping my bagels with a combination of vegan butter, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast.

It has been used by many people as a source of vitamins during many wars in times where quality food was deficient.

The added benefits of nutritional yeast:

  • High in antioxidants that prevent cell damage
  • Boosts immunity to pathogens and bacteria
  • Reduces the effects of toxins
  • Fights infections
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Prevents B12 deficiency 
  • High in protein

 

Oats

You can’t go wrong with oats. 

Everybody at one time or another has consumed oats or oatmeal. 

But make sure you’re getting the right kind!

Don’t go for that sugary and processed Quaker oatmeal shit! It’s filled with sugar and artificial flavors to make it taste good.

I highly recommend purchasing “quick cook steel cut oats.” You can find these at Trader Joes or Whole foods and they are not expensive.

Super quick to prepare. Simple just mix with almond milk, soy milk, or water and throw into the microwave for 60-90 seconds and you have yourself some ready to eat oats. Add maple syrup, agave, and toppings of your choice!

Before buying steel cut oats make sure you look at the label and ingredients. 

There should be only one ingredient on the list! And that’s steel cut oats! If you see anything else on the label, put it back on the shelf!

Benefits:

  • Prevents cardiovascular and heart disease
  • Tons of fiber to stop constipation
  • Lowers risk of cancer
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Energy-boosting
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Boosts immunity to disease
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