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What is a Superfood?

Cocoa powder is full of antioxidants.
Tomatoes may reduce a person's risk of getting prostate cancer.
Flax seeds are considered a superfood.
Pomegranates.
Mangosteens are considered to be a superfood.
Quinoa.
Papaya is a superfood of the fruit family.
Mango is a fruit that can be considered a superfood.
Dark chocolate contains beneficial antioxidants.
A pile of blueberries, often considered to be a superfood.
The occasional slice of chocolate cake is fine, because it is made from superfoods.
Garlic.
Probiotic yogurt can be called a superfood.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
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A superfood is a food rich in phytochemicals, which are special chemicals that have been noted to have disease-fighting properties. Phytochemicals can reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, or in some other way contribute to a person being healthier. When foods are high in these phytochemicals, they may be eaten not only because they taste good, but because they are good for the health too.

There are a number of superfoods, many of them derived from vegetables or fruit. Surprisingly, there are a few that most people wouldn’t normally just sit down and eat alone. For instance, cocoa is considered a superfood because it contains flavinoids, which have antioxidant properties. Most people probably wouldn’t eat raw cocoa powder, but it may be nice for people to know that their chocolate bar may make be both anti-aging and delicious.

Examples of fruits included in this category are blueberries, cranberries, red grapes, pink grapefruit, mangos, mangosteen, papaya, watermelons, and tomatoes. What makes these fruits so super is that they are packed with phytochemicals. For example, tomatoes are high in lycopene, which may reduce risk for prostate cancer, and high in beta carotene, which may promote greater mental alertness and slow conditions like Alzheimer’s. Vitamin C is another nutrient indicated in anti-aging and possible reduction in risk of developing cancer.

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Some special, but not always easily obtainable, fruits are called superfruits because of their high phytochemical content, and also because they may be rare. This term is also frequently bandied about as a marketing ploy, since consumers may feel more inclined to choose a fruit that is super instead of an average ordinary fruit. This subcategory includes blueberries, cranberries, acai, goji (wolfberry), guarana, noni, mangosteen, and pomegranate.

There are plenty of vegetables that are worthy of the title superfood. There are high amounts of different phytochemicals in many leafy green vegetables. Some grains and other food additives are also considered super, including soybeans, flax seed, and quinoa. Garlic, aloe vera, honey, and any foods thought to have probiotic qualities may also be classed with this term.

With the exception of a few of the rarer foods on the list, people can provide themselves with a wealth of phytonutrients by eating a diet rich in fiber that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. In fact, it would be a mistake for people to limit their diet to only the foods on any superfood list, since other valuable nutrients could be missed. A well-rounded diet, with perhaps a few superfoods added, is probably one of the most nutritious ways to eat. People shouldn’t forget to allow themselves the occasional piece of chocolate cake or a cup of coffee, since both of these are derived from superfoods as well.

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Discuss this Article

bagley79
Post 12
I am so glad cocoa is considered a superfood. They keep coming out with studies that show how a little bit of dark chocolate is good for you because it contains more antioxidants.

I have had to acquire a taste for the dark chocolate, but now that is what I prefer over the milk chocolate varieties. This doesn't mean I can go out and eat tons of chocolate every day, but a little bit in moderation is actually good for me!

John57
Post 11
I realize the importance of getting a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet, but feel like some of the new superfoods they are talking about are quite expensive.

When I saw how much acai and mangosteen cost, I decided some grapefruit would be just fine. I have never seen any of these superfoods on sale either.

If you were to buy organic superfood, that would cost you even more. When it comes to adding nutrient rich fruits and vegetables to my diet, I like to buy what is in season, and support my local farmers markets as often as I can.

Mykol
Post 10
One superfood that I have recently been using is quinoa. This is an ancient grain that is great for someone who is allergic to gluten. I like to use this in place of hot oatmeal in the morning. Sweetened with a little bit of honey, this keeps me full all morning long. I have also seen some recipes for salad using quinoa. I haven't tried any of them yet, but they look delicious and nutritious.
andee
Post 9
@wavy58 -- I don't know if it is possible to eat too much fruit, but I do know if you are trying to lose weight, you need to watch the amount of fruit you eat. Even though fruit is good for you, the natural sugars in some of them aren't the best for weight loss.

I like to make fruit smoothies with all different combinations of fresh fruit. Sometimes I have superfoods in there and other times I don't. I usually use what I have on hand, and figure I am getting a good variety that way.

discographer
Post 8
I think pomegranates are the ultimate superfruit. It is extremely rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It is also proven that dark red fruits fight cancer.

I try to eat a lot of fresh pomegranates whenever it's in season. I don't buy pomegranate juice that they sell year around though. I feel like I'm not getting all of the benefits of this superfruit that way.

SteamLouis
Post 7
I do believe that food is like medicine and eating the right foods can protect us from disease.

However, I don't understand the obsession with "superfoods." Is it a coincidence that all of these foods are exotic fruits and super expensive?

I'm skeptical about superfoods. Aside from fruits like blueberries and grapefruit which are easy to find and affordable, I don't go out of my way to eat superfoods.

stoneMason
Post 6

Is spirulina superfoods?

What about tropical fruits like kiwi, mango and pineapple?

seag47
Post 5
I'd rather eat superfoods than take superfood supplements. I think there are probably benefits in superfoods that haven't even been discovered yet, so we get the most out of them by eating them whole.

Salmon is a superfood. I love mixing a little bit of teriyaki sauce with canned salmon, because it tastes like some of my favorite sushi rolls.

Almonds are a great superfood to eat raw and unsalted. Also, kidney beans are great for you, and you can mix them with seasoned noodles for extra sustenance.

Oceana
Post 4
I'm glad that I have several options for superfood nutrition. I cannot stand the taste of papayas, and grapefruits are way too bitter for me.

However, I love blueberries and mangoes. In fact, mangoes are the most delicious fruit, in my opinion.

Watermelon is excellent, also. So, I get cravings sometimes for foods that are actually good for me. That's not what people normally crave, but once you get your body used to eating them, I think that it senses that you need the nutrition and makes you want more.

lighth0se33
Post 3
@wavy58 – Since even superfruits contain sugar and calories, it is possible to eat too much of them. This is especially true if you are trying to lose weight.

I ate several superfruits a day while trying to lose a few pounds, and I drank cranberry juice, too. The juice was loaded with sugar, and even the natural sugars in the fruits were contributing to my calorie intake.

I'm sure this was better than eating cake and cookies all day long, but still, I couldn't lose weight while eating mostly fruit. I switched it up and consumed more vegetables, and I started to lose the pounds.

wavy58
Post 2
I have no problem at all including chocolate and coffee in my superfood diet! It's awesome that two of the things I enjoy most are so beneficial.

I do eat several fruits and vegetables every day. However, I do have a question. Is it possible to eat too much fruit?

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