5 Nutritious Canadian Grown Superfoods Available Year-Round

Wild Blueberries and Cranberries from Canada

At U-RAAW! we try to carry as many Canadian grown nuts, seeds, and dried fruits as we can. Unfortunately due to Canada’s harsh winters, it’s hard to compete with other countries that are warm and sunny year-round.

For this reason, the availability of Canadian-grown products can be rather limited.

The good news is that despite our climate, we still dominate the market globally for a number of amazing fruits and seeds.

In this post, we outline five tasty and nutritious Canadian grown whole foods that are available in Canada 365 days of the year.

1 – Blueberries

Blueberries are a popular fruit harvested in late summer throughout many areas of Canada.

Both cultivated and wild blueberry varieties exist, the latter of which are smaller and contain higher levels of antioxidants.

Blueberries are quite expensive because it takes significant time and effort to harvest them.

Wild blueberries growing on bushes.
Wild blueberries in Quebec, Canada

Highlights:

  • Containing high levels of powerful antioxidants and phytoflavinoids that combat free-radicals in the body.
  • High in Fibre
  • Good source of potassium
  • Good source of Vitamin C (when fresh)

Interesting Studies:

A significant amount of research has been performed on the health benefits of blueberries, outlined here: Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins

Epidemiological studies associate regular, moderate intake of blueberries and/or anthocyanins with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, death, and type 2 diabetes, and with improved weight maintenance and neuroprotection.

Source: National Library of Medicine

What’s Available Year-Round:

  • Organic dried apple juice infused blueberries (Quebec)
  • Raw wild blueberry powder (Quebec)

2 – Buckwheat

Organic buckwheat hearts
Organic buckwheat groats grown in Quebec, Canada

Buckwheat is grown primarily in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. The plants produce a nutrient-rich ‘grain-like’ gluten-free seed, usually referred to as ‘hearts’ or ‘groats’.

Buckwheat can be consumed raw or toasted and can be milled into flour for use in baking and other recipes.

Highlights:

  • Mild flavoured and versatile
  • Long shelf life
  • Good source of fibre
  • Contains excellent amounts of minerals including manganese, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • Low on the glycemic index

Interesting Studies:

Buckwheat as a Functional Food and Its Effects on Health

Health benefits attributed to buckwheat include plasma cholesterol level reduction, neuroprotection, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic effects, and improvement of hypertension conditions. In addition, BW has been reported to possess prebiotic and antioxidant activities.

Source: ACS Publications

What’s Available Year-Round

  • Organic raw buckwheat hearts (Quebec)
  • Organic toasted buckwheat hearts (Quebec)

3 – Cranberries

How Canadian cranberries are harvested (video)

Thanks to optimal soil conditions in Quebec, Canada is ranked #1 in the world for organic cranberry production (and #2 for conventional cranberries).

If you’ve never seen how cranberries are harvested, checkout the video to the right–it’s quite an amazing process!

Unlike the majority of fruit, cranberries are rarely consumed fresh. Most often they are processed into a juice, sauce, or powder, or are dried and dehydrated.

Highlights:

  • Contain over 24 antioxidants
  • High in vitamin C (fresh)
  • Good source of fibre and Maganese
  • Contain Vitamin E, Copper and Vitamin K

Interesting Studies:

‘The Cranberry Institute’ lists over 600 studies that have been performed on cranberries, the majority of which seem to be focused on their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits.

The role of cranberries in promoting a healthy urinary tract has been investigated for decades. Surprisingly, the findings are not limited to the prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs); they include data in special populations from children to post-surgical, animal-models, in vitro and with a variety of products, extracts and supplements as treatment.

Source: The Cranberry Institute

What’s Available Year-round

  • Organic dried apple juice infused cranberries (Quebec)

4 – Flaxseeds

Canada is the largest grower of flaxseeds in the world, with Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan accounting for 40% of global production.

Flaxseeds contain very high levels of omega-3 fatty acids compared to most othernuts and seeds, and are also a good source of other nutrients.

To extract the most nutritionally they should be ground/milled since the body is unable to digest them properly in their whole form.

Features:

  • Extremely high in Omega 3’s (anti-inflammatory)
  • Contain copper, selenium, maganese, phospherus, and other trace minerals
  • Source of Vitamin B1
  • Good source of fibre

Interesting Studies:

Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health

Supplementation of the diet with milled flaxseed has many healthy benefits to the body. Although cardiovascular disease and canceer are probably the best researched areas that have shown convincing evidence of a beneficial action for dietary flaxseed, other areas like gastro-intestinal health and diabetes have also been receptive to the beneficial effects of dietary flaxseed.

Source: The National Center for Biotechnology Information

What’s Available Year-Round

  • Organic brown flaxseeds (Manitoba, Saskatchewan)
  • Organic goldend flaxseeds (Manitoba, Saskatchewan)

5 – Hemp Seeds

Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba are the top producers of hemp seeds in Canada.

Although the seeds can be consumed in their raw/unshelled form, they are most often shelled and consume as ‘hemp hearts’.

Hemp seeds are also ground down to make protein & fibre rich powders, and pressed to extract oils.

Features:

  • High in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Good source of fibre
  • Contain Vitamin E, and many trace minerals
  • Very high protein content

Interesting Studies:

The Cardiac and Heamostatic effects of dietary hempseed

The data discussed above supports the hypothesis that hempseed has the potential to beneficially influence heart disease. A mix of legal issues and misunderstandings has slowed research progress in this area but enough data presently exists to argue strongly for the continued investigation into the therapeutic efficacy of dietary hempseed.

Source: The National Center for Biotechnology Information

What’s Available Year-Round

  • Organic hemp seeds (Saskatchewan)
  • Organic hemp hearts (Saskatchewan)
  • Organic hemp powder (Saskatchewan)

If you enjoyed this post, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

2 thoughts on “5 Nutritious Canadian Grown Superfoods Available Year-Round

  1. Lareina says:

    Something to add to the list…haskap berries. It’s like a cross between a blueberry and raspberry. They are grown in AB and are packed with antioxidants.

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