20 Latin Superfoods to Try for National Nutrition Month (with Recipes!)

March is National Nutrition Month

That's right, just because it's no longer the season of New Year's Resolutions doesn't mean that you can let go of those healthy living goals we know you made on January 1st. Instead, we're making it easy for you to eat healthy with these 20 Latin superfoods (and the good-for-you recipes that go along with them)! Now, power (eat) up. There are no excuses this time.

1. Pichuberry

Pichuberry

This recently rediscovered nutrient-rich, antioxidant-packed berry is only now making its way into the U.S. Native to Peru, studies have shown that the pichuberry contains Withanolides, a rare group of antioxidants shown to reduce oxidative stress and support the immune systems fight against carcinogens.

We loved throwing some of this fruit (which tastes like a mix of kiwi and cherry tomato) into a Triple Berry Smoothie.

2. Eggs

Eggs

Although eggs are high in cholesterol (if that's a concern, use just the eggs whites), they're also a great source of riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and phosphorus. They're also a very good source of protein and selenium, so we love having them for breakfast, lunch or dinner, too. What's wrong with that?

We loved having them in this simple recipe for Green Eggs on Toast for breakfast.

3. Pepitas & Brazil nuts

Pepitas & Brazil Nuts

Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and Brazil nuts are both very low in cholesterol and sodium. Instead, pepitas are filled with protein, Vitamin K, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. Meanwhile, Brazil nuts are also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, copper, as well as selenium. 

We love simply snacking on Brazil nuts but, for pepitas, we're addicted to having them as Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

4. Kale

Kale

If you haven't heard of kale yet, it's possible you've been living under a rock. This nutritional powerhouse his a good source of dietary fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin A, C, K and B6, and calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. Talk about wow!

We love kale pretty much every which way, from kale chips to a Blueberry Blast Kale Smoothie to the Balsamic Kale Mango Salad.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa

Hailed as a "supergrain" (even though it's technically a seed), this nugget is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. Beyond that, though, it is also a complete protein--which means that it has all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Plus, it works great as a healthy alternative to white rice!

We love quinoa in this Quinoa, Salmon & Avocado Salad, but you can also try it in a Quinoa con Leche pudding.

6. Lentils

Lentils

You're probably used to eating abuelita's sopa de lentejas, but did you know just how good they are for you?They're low in saturated fat, cholesterol in sodium, but pack plenty of goodness thanks to protein, iron, phosphorus, copper, dietary fiber, folate and manganese. So eat them up!

We love lentils in this perfect-for-cold-weather Healthy Lentil Stew, featuring potatoes, carrots, squash and a zesty jalapeño for added flavor.

7. Beans

Beans

Similar to our favorite lentejas, beans (black, pinto, garbanzo, so many to choose from!) are low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. Instead, dig into this Latino staple that's full of Vitamins B6 and C, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacon, folate, copper and manganese.

We all know the classic bean recipes, but these days we're loving Three Bean Green Chili and Canary Bean & Chorizo Soup, too.

8. Chiles

Chile Peppers

One of our favorite parts of chile peppers (like habanero and jalapeño) is the fact that there's a compound in chiles called capsaicin that causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat them. Beyond that, depending on the pepper, they're full of nutrients as well as low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

We love them in everything from Pork & Green Chile Stew to Chiles en Nogada, but we think Pickled Jalapeños may be our absolute favorite lately.

9. Avocado

Avocado

While you may have heard that avocados are full of fats, don't worry--it's all GOOD fats! Plus they're low in cholesterol and sodium and, best of all, high in dietary fiber, Vitamin C and folate. Plus, if you're concerned about the fat content, you can always opt for Florida avocados, which have less fat than the Haas variety.

We love them in as many varieties as we can get them, from a Bacon, Avocado & Corn Salad to Avocado Garlic Hummus to Avocado & Horchata Ice Cream.

10. Pumpkin

Pumpkin

We all love calabaza, especially around the holidays, but the list of goodness that comes in it is great, too: Vitamin A, B6, C and E, thiamin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, dietary fiber, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese. We say: let's eat it all up!

We love pumpkin in a Pumpkin, Acorn Squash & Tomato Soup or Spiced Pumpkin Salad for lunch, or even as Roasted Pumpkin Quinoa for a dinner side dish.

11. Spinach

Spinach

Although spinach is high in sodium, we love it because it's a good source of niacin, zinc, dietary fiber, protein, vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, plus thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. It's also an easy green to incorporate if you're weary of trying kale.

We love spinach in everything from a Spinach Mango Strawberry Smoothie to the Spinach Apple Crunch Salad to Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas.

12. Pineapple

Pineapple

Although pineapple does have a lot of natural sugar, we love the tropical fruit because it's low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It's also great if you're needing more dietary fiber, thiamin, Vitamin B6 and C, copper and manganese. The sweetness is also a great way to get rid of some of those sugar cravings.

We love that the sweetness of pineapple makes it a perfect dessert, like in Pineapple Basil Paletas, Pineapple Sorbet or even Pineapple Agua Fresca.

13. Olives

Olives

If you like the heart-healthy benefits of olive oil, then try olives! They have the same monounsaturated fat but at less calories. Plus they're a great source of Vitamin E and are typically easy to find as a snack food. And who doesn't love pimento-stuffed olives?

We love the salty taste of olives as a snack, but also found that we adore them in this Tomato Salad with Cotija Cheese, Olives and Mint.

14. Brown rice

Brown Rice

If you haven't made the switch from white rice to brown rice yet, we ask: what are you waiting for?! This is a whole grain that is a top source for magnesium, a mineral that your body uses for more than 300 chemical reactions. Plus it keeps you full longer since it's a complex carbohydrate that won't spike your blood sugar.

We love brown rice in many recipes, including Brown Rice Salad with Cilantro Dressing, Beef and Brown Rice Soup and Jalapeño Rice Fritters.

15. Bananas & Plantains

Bananas & Plantains

Who didn't grow up eating bananas and plantains practically every day? You probably already knew that both are great sources of potassium, but they both also have Vitamin B6 and C while bananas have fiber and manganese while plantains also have Vitamin A. 

We love them in this Almond Butter & Banana Smoothie as well as the Scallop & Banana Tartare. Plus the Shrimp & Green Plantain Soup is hard to resist!

16. Sweet potato

Sweet Potatoes

Whether you're a fan of boniato (Cuban white sweet potatoes) or one of the other varieties, sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber, Vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as potassium and manganese. In fact, half a large baked potato delivers more than 450% of your daily dose of Vitamin A!

We love them in the Apple, Roasted Sweet Potato & Jalapeño Salad, a Chili Sweet Potato Burrito and, when we want a snack, Sweet Potato Nacho Fries.

17. Broccoli

Broccoli

Want all the reasons that you really SHOULD start eating broccoli? Not only does it have plenty of protein, it's also got Vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, as well as thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, fiber, folate, potassium and manganese. Talk about the wow factor!

We love the green veggie in this Latin-inspired Chinese Broccoli as well as this Summer Squash Pasta with Chorizo. They're both yum!

18. Cocoa/dark chocolate

Cocoa & Dark Chocolate

While dark chocolate is a good source of iron, copper and manganese, you can get even more if you have plain old cocoa. It has all of that, as well as potassium, zinc, fiber and phosophorous. Now isn't that a good reason to have a daily chocolate habit?

We can't get enough dark chocolate on its own, but of course also love it in Double Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding and cocoa in Cayenne Cocoa Almonds.

 

19. Grapefruit & Orange

Grapefruit & Orange

These citrus fruit aren't just great as juice. In fact, we love to eat them raw and get all of the benefits, including plenty of fiber and Vitamin C in both. Grapefruit also has Vitamin A while oranges have thiamin, folate and potassium as well. 

We love grapefruit in this Fresh Grapefruit Salsa and the Avocado, Grapefruit & Persimmon Salad, and oranges in Prickly Pear, Orange & Mint Salad.

20. Papaya

Papaya

Papaya does have a lot of calories, mainly from sugar, but we love the fruit because it is also low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It's also a great source of dietary fiber, potassium, Vitamin A and C, and folate. If that's not a great reason to dig into the tropical fruit, then we don't know what is!

We love papaya in the Papaya-Carrot Batido, Papaya Salad with Kiwi Lime Dressing and the Roasted Mahi Mahi with Papaya Salad & Black Bean Sauce.