A quick way to kick-start fresh eating in 2019 is with smoothies and juices. But why drink a normal smoothie when you can drink a superfood concoction? The wellness industry has been positively abuzz for years with supplementing your foods with powders like maca, moringa, and ashwagandha. Pinterest users are looking for options too. Searches for the magical elixirs known as “super powders” were up 144 percent in 2018.
If you’re drinking the right one for your desired effect, the results can actually be magic, says Lily Kunin, author of Clean Food Dirty City and founder of NYC wellness mecca Clean Market. “Superfood powders can be a great way to pack in extra nutrition and antioxidants, which can help increase energy, mitigate stress, and fight free radicals,” says Kunin. “There are many different types of powders that you can explore adding to your daily routine.”
Whether you’re hoping to gain some muscle this year, have more energy, or sleep more soundly—here are the options worth their salt.
If You Want To Feel Less Stressed…
If you’ve been looking for Mother Nature’s version of a chill pill, this is it. Mucuna Pruriens is an adaptogen known at “the dopamine bean.” The precursor to dopamine, mucuna is associated with “happy brain waves,” deeper sleep, enhanced brain function, and overall well-being.
Think of it as your mood-boosting, stress-reducing, sleep-enhancing new best friend—it’s even been known to “ignite the brain’s pleasure centers.” The science of this buzzy ingredient is as long as its ancient backstory, but expect to start seeing it everywhere in 2019.
The adaptogen comes from the powerful mucuna pruriens plant and is usually ground into powder form. Most importantly, praise be, it’s a superfood powder that doesn’t taste like dirt. Mucuna is known for its smoky caramel flavor, so enjoy it in nearly everything: milks, coffee and tea, smoothies, baking, hot chocolate, and even soups (it’d be so tasty in a butternut squash soup).
Sun Potion Mucuna Pruriens, $43, is a beautifully sourced version, with the standard 15 percent L-Dopa (anymore more would be too much of a good thing).
If You Want Stronger Hair, Nails, and Gut…
Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides
Collagen is nothing new, and while it’s been literally everywhere for years, the sourcing of the bone-supporting powder will be a renewed focus in 2019. Specifically, look for grass-fed and ethical versions.
Collagen is already readily available in your body, in fact, our skin is 80 percent collagen. As we age, though, we produce less collagen, causing muscle-mass loss, less elastic skin, and joint pain. Fear not, though, as taking collagen consistently on a daily basis can reduce joint pain, improve muscle mass, and even improve skin elasticity. “Grass-fed collagen is a clean form of protein that promotes a healthy gut, healthy joints, and ligaments, as well as strong hair, skin, and nails,” says Kunin.
Grass-fed is the way to go here because it’s 100 percent organic collagen, versus other versions, which can come from animals given antibiotics and confined to horrible living conditions. In this instance, money usually conveys quality. Check out Vital Proteins Organic, Grass-Fed Collagen, $65, which is unflavored and nothing but high-quality collagen. If you are a pescatarian, there is also a Marine Collagen version.
Mix into your smoothie or even water, if you don’t mind the slightly gritty texture. If smoothies aren’t really your thing, great news, because this form of collagen is also fantastic in actual food—add to stews, soups, sauces, or your daily coffee or tea.
If You Want Healthy Muscles…
Ashwagandha is so 2018—kidding, it’s got a plethora of beautiful mood-boosting effects and is definitely worth including in your daily smoothie. But the superfood worth trying this year is tocotrienols or tocos. My brain immediately thinks of tacos, too, but you’ll equally love tocos for its ability to support and boost connective tissue and skin, as well as healthy muscle function. Think of tocos as your overall supporter for general long-term health.
Tocos comes from rice bran solubles, which does not sound sexy, but it’s one of the greatest and purest forms of Vitamin E. It comes straight from rice, whereas many Vitamin E supplements are synthesized from soybeans.
“It can help hydrate the skin and connective tissues and promote the removal of toxins from the body,” says Kunin. Sun Potion Tocos, $20, is a whole lotta wellness bang for $20, and the brand always assures the highest quality of product sourcing, so you know what’s in it and where it comes from.
Kunin says it’s delicious stirred into anything, and she’s not wrong. The flavor and texture are reminiscent of vanilla ice cream. You can add to smoothies, elixirs, or even put one to two teaspoons directly into your mouth.
If You Want a “Beauty Powder”…
Pearls in jewelry are iridescently glowing and beautiful, pearlescence in beauty products gives off an ethereal lit-from-within look, and pearl powder in superfood form follows suit. Possibly the closest thing we have to a beauty elixir, pearl has a plethora of glow-enhancing qualities. “This beauty powder is powerful for anti-aging and is an incredible source of antioxidants,” says Kunin.
Surprisingly, pearl powder comes from actual pearls, and the high-quality powders should come from high-grade freshwater pearls and be nano-size ground so your body can absorb it easily. It may sound like some new-age revelation, but the practice is old-school, as it’s been used for centuries by Taoist herbalists to support inner and outer radiance.
Get ready for the super list of benefits: strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help the body’s natural collagen production, evens and clears skin, strengthens bones, supports the nervous system, helps sleep cycles, and is an excellent source of minerals (calcium, iron, and zinc) and amino acids. It basically is your do-it-all beauty and healthy aging powder.
Inner and outer beauty indeed—you can add it to smoothies, baked goods, coffee, or tea, but you can also add it to your moisturizers and face masks. Moon Juice Pearl, $48, is a beautifully sustainable option you’ll love.