What are Super Foods and What is so Super about Them?
We hear so much these days about the so-called super foods, but I wanted to know what criteria are used to determine whether a food qualifies as super.
Here is what I learned. As with most topics of discussion, there are many variables. The first one being subjectivity. Being subjective usually translates to “in my opinion.” While many experts agree which foods qualify as super foods, many do not. It is subjective. There used to be about five to ten foods on the super list, but in my research, I have discovered lists of ten, twenty, and even as many as a hundred foods that some consider super so I’m just going to list the top three most agreed upon.
Before we get started, it is worth noting that super foods is not a scientific term but more of a marketing tool. Many foods are just as healthy for you but often not found on the proverbial super food list.
It is no secret that blueberries are delicious. The variety of ways in which blueberries can be utilized is limited only by ones’ creativity and imagination in the kitchen. There is blueberry pie, blueberry muffins, blueberry cobbler, blueberry ice cream, smoothies and more.
Packed with flavor and good for you, blueberries are vitamin rich, high in fiber, as well as rich in phytochemicals (the chemicals that produce deep color and smell) and brimming with antioxidants. Sprinkled on cereal or simply eaten by themselves, blueberries indeed qualify as a super food.
Interestingly enough, according to some nutritionists, blueberries, good as they are, are really no more super than cranberries or red raspberries per say. In fact, most berries, as long as they aren’t poisonous, offer about as much goodness for you as blueberries do. Blueberries however, are preferred due to their sweetness, availability, and unlimited use.
Next up on our super food list is legumes or better known as beans.
Legumes aka beans, qualify as a super food due to the sheer variety of nutritional benefits they contain. Whole grains also fall into the super food category as well but contain less protein than legumes.
Beans are high in protein and have two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is the type of fiber that lowers your cholesterol while insoluble fiber gives us that feeling that we have had enough to eat and don’t need anymore right now. In essence, you fill fuller, longer.
Beans also contain trace minerals such as manganese and a host of vitamins and can reduce your cholesterol levels.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Growing up, most of our lives we have heard the old saying, eat your vegetables. Turns out, there is good reason for those words of wisdom. Green leafy vegetables truly do belong in the category of super foods. Dark green vegetables such as Kale, cabbage, broccoli, mustard, and collard greens as well as Swiss chard and spinach are chock full of vitamins A, K, and C and fiber, along with healthy doses of minerals and calcium. All those are good things for your body.
While these foods (and many more) are listed as super foods, there are many others that have proven health benefits, are just as rich in certain nutrients, and are very good for you like fruits and nuts.
Some nutritionists believe that labeling some foods as super foods isn’t really fair because of other foods available that contain vitamins, minerals and protein in healthy doses as well.
So, when it comes to super foods, there is no dispute as to their benefits, the arguments come as to which foods really are super and which are just plain ‘ol good for you.
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