The 5 buzziest superfoods to know about right now

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Illustration by Nicole Schaeffer

Everyone can use a little boost now and then—whether you’re having trouble sleeping, staying awake or keeping stress in check. It’s easy to get down on yourself when you’re bombarded with all kinds of health advice that’s supposed to help (get eight hours of sleep! don’t eat sugar! nix the caffeine!). What you can do, though, to help get through your day is consider bolstering your meals with one of these super-charged supplements; it might be just what you need. (Of course, you should always talk to your doc before trying anything new, as some supplements can interact with your medications.) To walk us through the ins and outs of the diet world, we spoke to Tara Miller, holistic nutritionist and owner of the Health Hut.

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Illustration by Nicole Schaeffer

For sleep:

If you’ve been overworking your Netflix account because of sleepless nights, you might have to do more than ban screens from the bedroom (seriously, sleep experts swear by this rule). As it turns out, upping your magnesium could help. “So many women complain about having a tough time falling asleep, a racing mind, restless leg syndrome and also constipation,” says Miller. “It is a relaxant, so therefore great for all those things.” While dark leafy greens and pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, Miller recommends Natural Calm, a powder you mix with water and take before bed. Another trick: Take an Epsom salt bath—it’s loaded with the mineral and will help sore muscles, too.

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Illustration by Nicole Schaeffer

For stress:

Yes, you can meditate and exercise and try not to drink too much coffee, but sometimes you will find yourself spinning your wheels, unable to pinpoint the source of anxiety . “Stress depletes your B vitamins, but you need B vitamins in times of stress to function properly, so it’s a cycle,” says Miller. Because B vitamins are related to mood and energy, taking a supplement, particularly one with B6 and B12, which can be hard to get from food, could give you the boost you need. Vegetarians and vegans should be especially aware of their B12 levels, since animal proteins are the main source.

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Illustration by Nicole Schaeffer

More than just a pesky weed, dandelion is gaining popularity for its mood and energy-balancing properties. And while nothing gives you a jolt like a double espresso (well, maybe a quad), for people who are sensitive to caffeine, it can mean a day of jitters and buzzing nerves. The latest coffee alternative is made from the dandelion root. “One of the most popular is Dandyblend,” says Miller. “It has a sweet taste and that dark rich flavour that coffee would. And it’s great for your liver, great for detoxification and obviously caffeine-free and gluten-free.” She adds that in places like New York, you might find dandelion lattes on the menu, but you can make your own at home with almond milk.

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Illustration by Nicole Schaeffer

For inflammation:

We’re told that inflammation is at the core of many health problems (skin issues, cancer, diabetes, joint pain), even though the concept is rather elusive. Eating antioxidant-rich foods can help quell said inflammation. Turmeric has long been used in various cultures as a staple spice, but it’s making headway with the mainstream as it becomes lauded for its superfood powers (its key molecule is called curcumin and can be found in supplement forms like Natural Factors Curcumin Rich Theracurmin). “[Turmeric] is so easy because you can cook with it. I use it in my quinoa or rice. Turmeric milk is also cool—kind of relaxing,” says Miller. You can also juice it—just look for the vibrant yellow bottle at your local juice bar.

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Illustration by Nicole Schaeffer

For overall stability:

These aren’t your shiitake or portobello mushrooms. The latest fungi to grab the nutrition world’s attention comes with names like cordecyps, reishi and chaga. “My favourite right now is reishi,” says Miller. “They’re adaptogenics, so they really work to balance your hormones and they give you what you need. You could take it and you could be stressed and they’ll calm you down, or if you are really low energy, it kind of picks you up and creates a balance within your body.” You can take most of them as a capsule, tea or tincture.