Are superfoods really all that super?
That’s the question I just keep asking myself, because in my opinion, all food is super, so long as it’s fresh and real and from a farm rather than a factory.
So is it just catchy marketing luring shoppers into yet another purchase, or do certain foods contain a higher nutrient density than their peers? Like kale, or acai, or cacao.
Turns out, there are some standouts in the crowd. A study by the CDC took an objective look at 47 different foods and measured their nutrient values. If they contained at least 10% of your total recommended daily value of 17 essential nutrients per 100 calories, then they were considered super.
Here’s what came out on top…
Chinese cabbage: 91.99
Beet greens: 87.08
Leaf lettuce: 70.73
Romaine lettuce: 63.48
Collard greens: 62.49
Bottom line: GREENS. When it comes to getting your daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals, you really can’t go past greens (meanwhile, where’s kale on that list?) but there are other foods, not on this list, that also boast other benefits, like high antioxidant values or immune boosting capabilities.
Which is partly why the superfood list keeps growing; there are so many different things to measure that it just depends what you’re looking for in order for a certain food to be deemed ‘super’. The key? Variety. Eating as many different fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and even grains will give your diet the greatest cross-section of vitamins and minerals. No one food has it all, but all foods have a little something, ergo, the more variety you have, the more you benefit.
Here, my favourite ‘super’ foods…
1. Cacao – life without chocolate is vanilla, but rather than gorge on the heavily processed, sugar-laden stuff I choose raw cacao instead. It’s packed with flavonoids, which act as natural antioxidants to protect against ageing free radicals, plus it tastes bitterly delicious. Add it to your morning smoothie for a chocolate thick-shake that’s totally guilt free or use it in raw sweet treats for an energy boost throughout the day.
2. Cress – we know greens are good, and cress is considered the most nutritious of them all. Despite the painstaking removal of leaves from stem, the hard work is paid in full when you think about all the goodness you’re giving your body. Add it to salads, sandwiches or even green smoothies.
3. Kefir – cultured, fermented foods are my ultimate ‘super’ food as they flood the gut with immune-boosting good bacteria. My daily hit of coconut kefir keeps germs at bay, while also giving me energy and vitality long term.
4. Turmeric – inflammation in the body is the root cause of many dietary (and skin) issues, so reduction is key. Of all the spices we use to cook with, turmeric and its active ingredient – curcumin – is probably the most beneficial, with studies showing it has the potential to ward off dementia and cancer, fight cold and flu, reduce risk of heart attack and stroke and even help with weight loss.
5. Berries – it’s the high antioxidant value of berries that make them a must-have addition to your diet. But don’t play favourites based on good marketing, play the field and enjoy the health benefits of blueberries, açai, raspberries, mulberries, blackberries, goji berries… you get the gist.
6. Spirulina – As I don’t eat much meat, spirulina is my protein go-to as it contains all 8 essential amino acids and 10 non-essential ones. It’s also high in iron, vitamin B12 and chlorophyll, and is the perfect addition to my morning muesli or smoothie.
Wondering how to get more in your diet? Try these picks…
IsoWhey Superfood Powders (shown here: Organic Sacha Inchi, Turmeric and Gubinge)
Or, for the non-cooks in the house: Bioglan Superfood Tablets and Capsules range, $29.95 each (for 100)
Tell me Happies…
Do you eat superfoods?
Which ones are on high rotation for you?