10 Superfoods That Improve Your Brain. 22 Superfoods That Make You Prettier. 35 Superfoods That Will Win You Gold in the Olympics. Do these titles sound remotely familiar? If I were a vegetable, fruit, seed, or a grain, I certainly would want to know how to get on one of those lists! Well, it appears there’s more to the competition than just optimum health.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a superfood as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” From a marketing standpoint, a superfood is “associated” with decreasing cancer-risks, packed with antioxidants, and is beneficial to cardiovascular performance. It all sounds great. And we must have it, even if costs too much.
Another fun, marketing angle for superfoods is that they all seem to have a mysterious back-story, something exotic, usually. For example, Maca, a root vegetable, is grown in the Andes mountains of Peru at an altitude above 11,000 thousand feet. Legend has it that Incan warriors used to consume maca before battle to increase endurance. Doesn’t maca sound way more exciting to add to your smoothie than a turnip? Why, yes it does!
The best part of the superfood craze is that it’s changing the way Americans view a healthy diet. We’re becoming more educated about nutrition and implementing dietary improvements. It appears, however, that nutritionists, produce growers, and even writers have the final word on which superfoods eventually make their list.
Regardless of opinion, the fact remains that some foods are higher in nutritional value than others, containing a wealth of vitamins, antioxidants, and other health-promoting properties. Nonetheless, there are some superfoods that always make the cut, and then there are other, less popular ones also worth being recognized.
- Brazil nuts
- Brussels Sprouts
- Chia Seeds
- Green Tea/Matcha
- Sweet Potatoes
- Wheat Germ
Arame – It’s a sea plant collected on the coast of Japan. It smells funky, but it’s packed with calcium, iodine, iron, and magnesium.
Black Pudding – Americans are just now becoming familiar with black pudding, a longtime favorite amongst the English and Irish as a fried breakfast food. Black pudding is made with oatmeal and pig’s blood. Although it’s high in fat, it’s chock full of protein.
Natto – The Japanese use natto in many of their meals as it promotes heart health. It’s high in pyrazine and helps destroy arterial plaque. Natto is fermented soybean, and most sources claim it tastes disgusting, no matter how you try to dress it up.
Camu Camu – Grown in the Amazon, Camu Camu supposedly has the highest concentration of vitamin C of any food, anywhere. It comes in supplement form, as the actual fruit is not readily exported.
Cordyceps – Grown in China, it’s used to improve stamina and performance. It’s a fungus that grows on caterpillar larvae.
Purslane – It’s a weed that looks a little leafy and is high in vitamins A, B, and C, omega-3s, and contains melatonin.
Teff – A gluten-free grain from Ethiopia.
What I’d like to think is that this superfood trend will continue and eventually be a commonplace way of eating. Organic and whole are the foods of today and the future if we hope to maintain our health and prevent illness and disease.
What’s “popular” today might fall back on the list tomorrow. Regardless, knowing about nutrients in all the foods you eat, super or superer, will help you make more informed choices about what you’re feeding your body.