Do you want to supercharge your health, energy, focus, stamina, and resilience? Superfoods might be the answer for you , especially if you are a busy traveler, entrepreneur, or digital nomad.
I’ve been traveling full time for four years and I always bring along my pantry of key superfoods and supplements to maximize my health and energy. I recently asked hundreds of digital nomads and full time travelers to name their top superfoods and supplements that they always travel with. Here are the results in order of most popular:
- Magnesium. When I fly back to Bali from the US, people always have me bring them some magnesium powder. Magnesium is an essential mineral that supports regular blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is required for producing and storing energy. In many places, you might not get enough magnesium from your diet because of magnesium poor growing conditions
- Green Superfood Powder. This is like getting all your veggies at once! Great if you are traveling and don’t have access to fresh vegetables or fruits. I always drink some of this the first few days after I fly to a new continent. A good blend will have several green superfoods in it like moringa, wheat grass, and spirulina.
- Chia Seeds. Great source of Omega 3 and 6, they are great for hydrating. I started adding these to my sports drinks after hearing about the Tarahumara indian runners using chia drinks in Born to Run. We have found that this is pretty easy to find in many countries, you might not need to carry more than a small package with you in your luggage.
- Fish Oil. Other travelers preferred krill oil. Fish oil has wide ranging cardiovascular and neurological benefits.
- Coconut Oil. Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, which are great for brain health. Concentrated MCT oil is on of the key ingredients in Bulletproof coffee. It’s also great for cooking with, and we sometimes use it as baby lotion.
- Nut Butter. Personally, I’m a big fan of Justin’s Almond Butter Packets. When I used to work as a food microbiologist, we tested his products and they were awesome!
- Cacao Powder. Literally the superfood of the gods. In the Mayan tradition, cacao (chocolate) was money, and only the spiritual leaders and rulers were allowed to drink it. So many important antioxidant and trace minerals. This is my number one brain food
- Maca Powder. Another ancient South American superfood, used by Incan warriors. I’m a big fan of Black Maca, the best version for athletes – muscle building, stamina, and focus. In general, Maca is useful for endocrine health (which in turn enhances libido). Tastes pretty good when added to smoothies.
- Ashwagandha. A root that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia, I found that this was super strong for me. I add a teaspoon to smoothies in conjunction with maca and experienced a ton of “fire in my belly”.
- Shilajit. This was one that I was less familiar with. Shilajit is basically organic resin that seeps from rocks in the Himalayas. You add only a very small amount to your water and it gives you a steady “internal fire”. Takes some getting used to with the taste, but now I like it.
Bonus! I personally travel with these superfoods:
- Pine Pollen. The only superfood with testosterone (not just precursors) in it, I add this to my post eight workout smoothies. Also increases libido, so look out!
- Mushroom Coffee. Handy little single serving packs for traveling, they taste great, and the mushroom component gives you a sustained alertness.
- Pu Erh Tea. Fermented tea cakes from Yunnan province, China. This really helps me with mental clarity and focus. When We visited the tea market of the south in Guangzhou, we bought some high end cakes that you can’t find anywhere else and they are potent to say the least. Because of their fermentation and aging process, I imagine the benefit come from complex organic compounds and organic acids.
- Dark Chocolate Bars. I’m on a quest to find the worlds best chocolate bar. 70-80% cacao is the right amount to start with.
- Ben and Jerry’s. Just kidding! But is is my favorite thing to get when I return to America 🙂
You will also be able to find local herbs and spices wherever you go that have high phytonutrient and antioxidant components. Turmeric and Pepper are two of the most common. In Bali, Turmeric based Jamu is a drink that cures pretty much everything.
Obviously, do your research and consult your doctor before adding these to your diet, and then, go slowly, because some of them can be very strong, depending on your system. If you have a particular deficiency in some nutrient or mineral, you might notice strong effect for a few weeks that taper off after continued use. I noticed this with magnesium. As with any supplement, I recommend cycling on and off periods. for example a month on follow by 1-4 weeks off (in my opinion, the same applies to caffeine as well)
- Oils seem to be important, with Chia, Fish Oil, Krill Oil, Coconut Oil, and Nut Butter all fat rich superfoods.
- Powders are best for travel because they maximize nutrient content without the weight
- Each traditional culture had their key superfood, and we can now take advantage of all of them
For more info, you might like these episodes of The Art of Adventure:
AOA 111 | Lucie Aujeska | Superfoods For High Performance
AOA 071 | Chris McDougall | Natural Born Heroes | Maximizing Human Performance
AOA 104 | Tony Wrighton | Zestology: How To Get More Energy