Although many superfoods seem like a modern discovery, most of them have been utilized throughout human history. Archaeological records show that flaxseed was grown in ancient Babylon for over 5,000 years, and chia seeds were a well-known staple food of Aztec warriors. Acai berries were gathered by the Amazonian cultures, and hemp was cultivated in Europe starting approximately around 1,200 BC.
Simply put, the term “nutrient density” refers to the concentration of micronutrients and amino acids (building blocks of protein) in a given food. A piece of white bread for example, is not a nutrient dense food. Blueberries, on the other hand, or grass fed meats, have a high ranking. We are all relatively familiar with macronutrients, (protein, fats, carbs) but micronutrients are equally important. There are many nutritional components that classify as micronutrients: vitamins, minerals, organic acids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Why does nutrient density matter?
The human body requires approximately 40 different micronutrients for normal metabolic function. Maximizing nutrient density should be the primary goal of our diet because deficiencies of any of these essential nutrients can contribute to the development of chronic disease and even shorten our lifespan.
The World Health Organization states, “even though they are only needed in minuscule amounts, these substances are the magic wands that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances vital to growth and development.”
Superfood Chocolate Bark
1 C cocoa butter
1 C cacao powder
1/3 cup sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar)
½ tsp sea salt
Sprouted pumpkin seeds
Sprouted almonds or walnuts
In a double broiler, melt the cocoa butter on low heat. Add cacao powder and mix until smooth. Add sweetener and salt and mix again. Pour onto lined sheet pan or into chocolate molds.
Sprinkle chocolate with superfood toppings, and place in freezer to harden. Break into pieces and serve. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, or longer in the freezer.