Each time I walk into a health food store or juice bar, it seems as if there's always a new superfood waiting to be incorporated into my smoothie as the latest and greatest supplement. With so many items being named "superfoods," it's hard to keep track of them all and the benefits of each. With that in mind, here's a cheatsheet that will help you understand why you should pay the extra two dollars for that superfood add-in.

1) Acaí

mousse, cream, cake, chocolate
Kristine Mahan

There's more to acaí than just being a trendy social media food. This deep purple superfood is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and is packed with essential fatty acids. These properties help in supporting a healthy immune response,  reducing inflammation and fatigue, slowing down aging, and improving cognitive functioning. The super-fruit is also low-glycemic and high in fiber (which control blood-sugar levels and keep your appetite at bay).

You can incorporate acaí in your diet by using acaí powder in smoothies, yogurts, baked goods and more.

2) Ashwagandha

Allie Weiss

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb used in ayurvedic healing that has recently became popular due to its broad-spectrum of health benefits. This ayurvedic herb is utilized for fighting anxiety and depression by reducing cortisol levels and inflammation. It also stabilizes blood-sugar levels, improves cognitive functioning skills, and boosts testosterone and fertility.

You can include Ashgwandha in your diet by taking an herbal supplement or drinking an elixir.

3) Bee Pollen

cereal, corn, wheat, buckwheat, groats, millet
Hareena Kaur

Bee pollen is considered one of nature's most complete and nourishing foods, as it fulfills just about all nutrient requirements of humans. This balanced whole food is higher in protein and has more concentration of amino acids than all other animal sources. Of these proteins, nearly half are in the form of free amino acids, which are able to be readily absorbed and utilized by the body. Bee pollen also elevates energy levels, is successful in treating allergies, increases fertility, and contains enzymes that aid in digestion. 

You can include bee pollen in your diet by using it as a yogurt topping, eating it with cereal, or alone.

4) Bone Broth

cream, broth, tea, sweet, pumpkin, soup
Alixandra Rutnik

Bone broth is a nutrient-dense broth that is high in protein. It's essentially a turbo-charged stock. While stock usually steeps with meat and bones for 3 hours, bone broth steeps for 8-72 hours. The long cooking process allows for additional minerals and nutrients to transfer from the bones into the broth. Bone broth is rich in gelatin, which aids in digestion and promotes healthy skin and joints. Another benefit of bone broth is that it's high in magnesium, a mineral utilized by every organ.

You can include bone broth in your diet by substituting bone broth in any recipe that you would typically use regular broth. You can also add extra protein to your rice or quinoa by substituting bone broth in place of water.

5) Cacao

cream, candy, cake, coffee, sweet, chocolate
Kevin Kozlik

Cacao is the more nutrient-dense and less processed version of cocoa and has a more bitter taste, since there are no sugars added. Cacao is high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, especially magnesium and flavonoids. Studies have shown that there are more antioxidants in cacao than there are in red wine and goji berries. These features are what make cacao affective in improving mood and heart function, as well as lowering cholesterol and inflammation

You can include cacao in your diet by adding it to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.

6) Camu Camu

milk
Owen Yin

Came Camu are large berries that are very high in antioxidants and are considered one of the top natural sources of vitamin C– they contain up to 60 times more vitamin C than an orange. Navitas Organics markets their camu powder as "immunity growing on a tree." In addition to vitamin C, this underrated superfood is rich in manganese, which supports bone health and combats diabetes. It's also high in carotenoids-antioxidants that improve mental and physical health.

You can include Camu Camu in your diet by blending it in smoothies, yogurt, and fruity desserts.

7) Chlorella

matcha, tea, herb, green tea
Sam Jesner

Chlorella is ranked as one of the top superfoods and for good reason. This nutrient-dense, freshwater algae supplement is high in protein and has significant levels of vitamins and minerals. Chlorella is effective in detoxifying the body from heavy metals, protecting the body from UV radiation, supporting a healthy immune system, and aiding in digestion. It also lowers blood-sugar and cholesterol levels.

You can include chlorella in your diet by taking 3-6 chlorella tablets daily or mixing it in smoothies.

8) Collagen

Allie Weiss

Collagen peptides are one of the latest health supplements that are taking social media by storm. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our bodies and is a basic building block for skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints. Collagen proteins also help repair the lining of the stomach and heal leaky-gut syndrome. Collagen supplements come with a long list of benefits including glowing skin, joint health, increased athletic performance, improved digestion, and high-quality sleep.

Collagen peptides come in unflavored powders, which can be added into smoothies, baked goods, and coffee.

9) Ginger

Allie Weiss

Ginger is a powerful healing root that is jam packed with nutrients and has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger is effective in relieving pain, improving digestion, and treating nausea symptoms. Ginger is also great for easing an upset stomach and relieving gas.

You can include ginger in your diet with ginger chews, ginger teas, and cooking with ground ginger spice. 

10) Hemp

sesame seed, corn, condiment, quinoa, wheat, millet, cereal
Christin Urso

Hemp hearts are nutritious seeds rich in essential fatty acids and fiber, and they're considered a complete protein. These seeds have a mild, nutty flavor, are easily digested, and are a great source of energy. Hemp hearts offer a variety of health benefits ranging from increased energy levels and quick recoveries from disease and injury. Hemp is also effective in reducing inflammation and fatigue and boosting the immune system.

You can include hemp seeds in your diet by sprinkling them on top of salads, yogurt, and smoothie bowls. 

11) Matcha

matcha, green tea, herb, tea
Sam Jesner

Matcha is finely ground green tea leaves that are rich in antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic compounds. Drinking green tea in its whole form is more beneficial than loose leaf tea because it allows additional antioxidants to transfer from the leaves into the drink. It would take around 10 cups of green tea to equal the antioxidant and caffeine levels of 1 cup of matcha. 

You can include matcha in your diet by pairing it with creamy and tropical flavors. Some examples are matcha lattes, tropical matcha smoothies, and matcha frozen yogurt.

12) Maca

tea, herb
Cody Byrne

Maca is an adaptogenic superfood root that is known for balancing hormones, energy levels, and boosting mood. Maca is incredibly nutrient dense and is a great source of phytonutrients. Some of its health benefits include alleviating PMS, decreasing symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and helping to promote fertility. Maca is also a good source of stable energy and has no crash period like caffeine does.

You can include maca in your diet by adding it to smoothies, oatmeals, and desserts.

13) MCT Oil

yogurt, milk
Andrew Zaky

MCT's are the healthy fat your balanced diet needs. MCT's are medium chain triglycerides that are associated with numerous health benefits and can be found in coconut or palm kernel oils. They're easily digested and used by the body as fuel, whereas longer triglycerides are harder to digest and therefore stored as body fat. This superfood also supports hormonal balance and promotes healthy gut bacteria.

 You can include MCT oil in your diet by adding it to smoothies and bulletproof coffee.

14) Spirulina

Allie Weiss

Spiraling is a freshwater algae superfood that's known for its bold, grassy flavor and impressive nutritional profile. It's high in iron, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals. When compared to chlorella, spirulina has a greater concentration of  iron, protein, and vitamins. Spirulina promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria, detoxifies the body from heavy metals, reduces inflammation and cholesterol levels, and boosts energy. 

You can include spirulina in your diet by adding it to smoothies and baked goods. It can also be taken in tablet form. 

15) Turmeric

cilantro, pepper, coffee, chili, condiment, cinnamon, turmeric, herb, curry
Shreya Sahni

Turmeric is a root with powerful anti-inflammatory properties that has been used in ayurvedic healing methods throughout history. The golden spice is rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, flavonoids iron, and many other nutrients. Cur cumin, which is found in turmeric, reduces inflammation and pain. Turmeric also assists in cognitive functioning, fighting diseases, and treating common colds.

You can include turmeric in your diet by drinking golden milk, cooking with ground turmeric spice, and taking turmeric pills.

The benefits of these foods are real, but they tend to get lost with over-promotion in the mainstream media. With a basic understanding of the benefits from these superfoods, you can finally walk into your favorite juice bar and order what your body needs, as opposed to what's marketed towards you.