Are superfoods really super? The term “superfood” was coined to describe ingredients that are nutrient-rich and have known benefits that positively affect health. They are considered natural enhancements that provide benefits such as stress relief and aiding brain functions.

Here we’ll be focusing on fruits and vegetables, but some types of dairy and fish are also considered superfoods. Consumers are more informed than ever about what they’re putting in their bodies and are seeking out functional foods that do more than just taste good. Take a look at the many benefits of four popular superfoods; they could give your product the edge it needs to beet the competition.

4 super popular superfoods

Beets

Beets are low in calories, high in complex carbs, and packed with nutrients. They are a good source of vitamins A, B and C, which boost the immune system and help your body create red blood cells. Don’t forget about the potassium and fiber, too, which support digestive system health. And if all that wasn’t beneficial enough, beets have a higher betalain concentration than many other veggies. Some studies suggest that betalains help ward off cancer and other degenerative diseases. Check out our freeze-dried beet offerings.

DragonfruitDragon fruit

Dragon fruit, also known as the pitaya, generally grows in tropical climates such as Central America and Asia. It’s packed with nutrients, antioxidants, protein and vitamin C, and has a high concentration of phytonutrients that can prevent various diseases. It also boosts the immune system and can stimulate other antioxidants already in your body. Some research suggests that the carotene and lycopene in dragon fruit can help prevent cancer, and that regularly consuming the fruit can help control diabetes. You can use freeze-dried dragon fruit in a variety of applications, especially when you choose easy-to-use freeze-dried powder!

BlueberriesBlueberries

Blueberries are a delicious superfood full of fiber and vitamin C. Some studies suggest that blueberries can lower levels of bad cholesterol in your system, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Like dragon fruit, some of the nutrients found in blueberries may also help prevent or reduce cancer. Blueberries can also help enhance memory in older adults and fight Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Did you know that blueberries are one of the only foods that are naturally blue in color? There are approximately 30 different species of blueberries growing throughout various regions. We offer freeze-dried wild blueberries and freeze-dried cultivated blueberries to suit whatever flavor and appearance requirements you have.

Kale

Packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol and quercetin, kale is definitely super. Kale has a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) rating and absorbs free radicals in your body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage at the cellular level. They are linked to heart disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and arthritis. Kale’s ability to reduce these free radicals makes it a true superfood. Baked kale is a popular trend these days, but freeze-dried kale makes it easy to use in more ways and add to more recipes and products.

Superfoods make for super food products

Superfoods are healthy and great for consumers, but they also present an exciting opportunity for restaurants and consumer brands. Freeze-dried, powdered superfoods can be used to naturally boost flavor and nutrition in almost any product. Not only do they automatically add vitamins and minerals to a variety of recipes, but superfoods like beets and dragon fruit have strong color pigments. When powdered, they can add color and texture to new food products – without adding unnatural dyes or additives.

Intrigued? Reach out to see how you can use freeze-dried superfoods in your next product. For more information about Mercer’s freeze-drying process, connect with us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.