These days, it seems like superfood powders have taken over all the trends in one form or another from matcha lattes, to activated charcoal ice-cream, to turmeric milkshakes. I’m sure you’ve seen an abundance of trendy colored foods out there. Superfoods are simply what they sound like—a food that contains a significantly higher quantity of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other health-boosting, anti-aging, and disease-fighting benefits.

Some common household superfoods are blueberries and broccoli, but the more exotic ones that superfood powders are based on come from the rainforests in Peru or the Amazon. How do we keep track of what the actual benefits of these “coloring-agents” are? And why are they added in the first place? Here’s everything you need to know about the superfood powders that are bringing color into your foods.

Cacao Powder

Not to be confused with cocoa powder, cacao powder is the unprocessed version of the cacao bean. Because the powder is not chemically processed or roasted, raw cacao powder has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and is the highest plant-based source of iron and magnesium. And, as a bonus, adding this guilt-free chocolatey goodness to your diet can result in cozy feelings of wellbeing because of its natural levels of serotonin and tryptophan. So next time you want to get your “happy buzz” on (legally), throw a little cacao into your hot chocolate. 

Maca Root Powder

This earthy and nutty flavored powder comes from the Peruvian plant in the Andes mountains. Maca is a great source of plant-based protein that enhances energy, memory, and mood. Many studies show that incorporating maca into your diet for about six weeks can result in an increased sex drive. With cuffing season approaching, you may want to start adding a teaspoon into your latte every morning. 

Turmeric Powder

Turmeric has been used in India for ages, but has recently become a popular latte option in many local cafes. After consuming processed foods, sugar, and alcohol over consistent weekends, your body could be suffering from “chronic inflammation.” Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties help fight against the inflammation and work to cleanse the liver. Next time you wake up after a weekend of going out, start the day with a glass of golden milk or a quick turmeric shot

Matcha Powder

Matcha comes from the same leaf as green tea, but is made using the entire leaf rather than just steeping it. Matcha can boost your metabolism and lower cholesterol, but most importantly it can improve your memory and focus. The L-theanine amino acid in matcha combats the jitters induced from the natural caffeine, and calms the mind and body without making you want to go to sleep. It actually gives you 6-8 hours of steady energy to help you last a full day of classes.

Spirulina Powder

This blue-green algae’s ability to boost immunity, fight allergies, and reduce fatigue is just the start. Spirulina is an extremely nutrient-rich plant which has the highest protein concentration of any known food and is actually considered a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all essential amino acids your body needs but can't produce on its own. Throw some Spirulina into your morning smoothie for a pre or post-workout protein-fix.

Activated Charcoal Powder

There’s been some controversy around this black powder, considering NYC has recently banned its use in foods and drinks, but I’d still like to recognize activated charcoal’s known benefits. This powder is not the same substance from charcoal bricks, but is an extremely absorbent substance which binds to molecules, ions or atoms. Activated charcoal basically traps the toxins in your body, and then flushes them out, which helps with kidney function and digestion.

Now that you know why these superfood powders are added to your smoothies, lattes, and juices, you’ll get more than just an aesthetic Instagram picture, but overall benefits to your health too.