“Superfood” is sort of a trendy name that has been given to any fruit or vegetable that has over-the-top nutritional properties. Personally, I think any fruit or vegetable is fabulous! Nevertheless, certain fruits and veggies really pack a punch in the nutrient department, and that’s where superfoods come in.
While there is no official scientific definition for a superfood, most people agree that superfoods can only be found in nature. From what I can tell, the more obscure the fruit or vegetable, the higher the nutritional properties!
WedMD describes superfoods as “a non-medical term popularized in the media to refer to foods that can have health-promoting properties such as reducing one’s risk of disease or improving any aspect of physical or emotional health. So-called superfoods may have an unusually high content of antioxidants, vitamins, or other nutrients.”
Blueberries, for example, have been placed into the superfood category because of their relatively high number of anthocyanins or flavonoids (the blue pigment), antioxidants, and other compounds that have anti-aging properties.
By definition superfoods are low in calories and high in nutrients meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients – nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.
Superfoods also contain phytochemicals, which are substances that are only found in plants. (phyto means “plant”). Scientists are just starting to discover and name these nutrients, which have a tremendously powerful effect on the human body. The effects of NOT consuming sufficient amounts of phytochemicals in our daily routine has led to a society that is both very unhealthy, obese and at risk for many serious diseases such as heart attacks, cancer, and diabetes.
Whether you think it’s just a trendy term or not, we can ALL benefit from eating more “superfoods”!
If you’d like to read a really interesting book on the importance of phytochemicals and nutrient density, I HIGHLY recommend you check out the book Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman. GREAT stuff!!
Do you have any favorite superfoods? Let me know about them in the comments section below.