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What is a Superfood?

Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2012 at 3:51 pm under Eat Well.

“Superfoods — as opposed to vitamins or supplements — are foods that naturally concentrate important nutrients. Unlike dietary supplements, or vitamins taken in isolation, superfoods provide many nutrients that support each other and prevent the kind of imbalances that often occur when vitamins are taken singly.”- Weston A. Price Foundation

fresh blackberries and raspberries

Courtesy of mccun934

The term superfood dates back in the Oxford English Dictionary to 1915, but in recent years has been attached to a heap of food items from oatmeal to blueberries. Though it’s got great marketing power, a true superfood merely means a resource rich in antioxidants.

A food’s antioxidant profile is measured on the ORAC Scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), a system that scientifically calculates how super a food really is.  The higher the ORAC value, the more  antioxidants a food contains.

So, why are antioxidants important?

Oxygen is necessary in life to carry out normal biological functions, but it also gives off a byproduct known as free radicals. These unstable little molecules bouncing around, robbing healthy cells of electrons. Overtime this can damage tissue and DNA- causing fatigue, wrinkles, and more serious issues like cancer and heart disease.

Antioxidants come to the rescue by combating the effects of free radicals, which protects your immune system and overall health. Though plenty of over-the-counter options exist for antioxidant supplementation, there is no better way to get the nutrients you need than a plush variety of whole foods.

Some high antioxidant foods include:

Spices: Ground clove, oregano, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, turmeric, cocoa, and sage

Fruits:  Berries of all varieties including blueberries, cranberries, grapes, and elderberries; plums, pomegranate, peaches, melon, and apples

Vegetables: Bell peppers, carrots, kale, beets, broccoli, garlic, and alfalfa

Grains: Bran, corn, whole grain, sesame seeds, and oats

Nuts: Walnuts, pecans, and almonds

Legumes: Lentils, peanuts, kidney beans, and black beans

Animal protein: Seafood, salmon, lean grass-fed red meat, and milk

These are just a few foods that make the superfood list. For the entire high antioxidant food list, visit Oracvalues.com.

The Big Question:
What are some of your favorite superfoods not on the list? Share below in the comments!