A Superfood is defined generally as “a food considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being”. Many move to Costa Rica in hopes of doing that very thing, benefiting their health and well-being. In this day and age there are varying discussions on superfoods (Are they really super?) but it is certain, eating healthy is smart. This is one easy thing to accomplish in Costa Rica and if you are into the superfood movement, you will love it here.
Cacao. Not only are Cacao seeds the main ingredient in chocolate but they can be turned into cacao butter, cacao oil, cacao powder, all which have varying uses and all of which smell like chocolate. Yum. But it is the antioxidant flavanols which you find in cacao that are of benefit to your health. Cacao plants grow very easily in Costa Rica, particularly in secondary rainforest areas. What to try something really different? The fruity, somewhat slimy, “meat” of the Cacao is a unique experience in itself!
Kale. Grown mainly in the central valley area of Costa Rica, you will find a couple different leaf types of kale are available here. Kale is from the same family as broccoli and contains the same vitamins and anticancer chemicals.
Chia Seeds. Chi chi chi chia, we all know the infomercials where you can own your very own pottery pet that grows a chia fur, well who ever thought people would eat those seeds? The proper name for Chia is Salvia Hispanica. This tiny seed is known for its high omega-3 fatty acid content, as well as calcium, phosphorus and manganese.
Coconut oil. One of the best oils to cook with, coconut oil promotes heart health, brain health and the immune system. It is easy on your digestive system and great for use as a topical moisturizer. Plus, it adds a nice coconut flavor to any dish.
Agua de Pipa. Drinking coconut water has become a trend; companies are capitalizing on the bottling of this refreshing juice. This clear “water” is taken from young green coconuts called pipas and is sold on practically every corner of every beach town in Costa Rica. Here you don’t buy it in a bottle; you drink it straight from the coconut. If you can’t find a vendor, just look for a tree and knock one down (of course you will need a machete to open it). Known for its rich electrolyte concentration, this juice also contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and plant hormones called cytokinins.
These are only a few of the superfoods available in Costa Rica that you will find at most local farmers markets, plus usually they are organic. Due to the marketing and distribution of these kinds of foods, they can be quite costly at the supermarket in Canada or the US, but in Costa Rica they are very affordable. How does $2 for a bunch of kale or $1.25 for a pipa sound to you? It is easy to make these, and other, superfoods part of your healthy lifestyle in Costa Rica.