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What’s a Superfood?


- by Holly Larson, RD

There is no definition for superfood; it is a catchphrase used by food companies to increase sales. Too often, these “superfoods” are harvested around the world, make wild claims that aren’t based on science and are sold at a king’s ransom. In reality, many superfoods are available in your home garden and farmer’s market.

What the manufacturer is implying by using the term superfood is that the food is nutritionally dense. This means that for the calories contained in the food, it is providing a relatively big nutritional benefit; more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

If you think about your energy allotment per day, what you decide to eat is part of your overall energy budget. The best we can do for our health is to focus our intake on foods that give us the most bang for our buck. If you compare 100 calories from spinach vs. 100 calories from soda, it is clear which choice is promoting our health and wellness.

When deciding what’s for dinner, look for a wide variety of color and flavors. Often what is giving a fruit or vegetable it’s color, aroma and flavor is a phytonutrient. Phytonutrients are not considered to be essential for health but can promote wellness and help to prevent disease. Purchase a rainbow of fruits and vegetables so that they’ll appear on your plate!

As a legal definition doesn’t exist, what foods would I consider to be superfoods?

  • Green leafy veggies, such as spinach and kale
  • Buckwheat
  • Free-range eggs
  • Berries, such as blueberries
  • Herbs and spices such as basil, garlic, turmeric and cinnamon
  • Green tea

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