The term Super Food is a designation that has been given to whole-food ingredients (ranging from fruits and legumes to teas and spices) which are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. A quick Internet search will lead to several sites; all in agreement that eating a diverse, whole foods plant-based diet (hence, packed full of super foods) will offer protection from numerous degenerative disease pathways. Despite the affiliation with marketing strategies and trends, these nutritional powerhouses provide functional doses of potent antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, fiber and amino acids, leading to the well-earned status of Super Foods.
In the text below you’ll find a comprehensive list of superior super foods. Additionally, you’ll find more information on why not all super foods are created equal, as well as some of our favorites for common health complaints and concerns. Be sure to follow us on online for more science-based health information, realistic and applicable healthy living tips, and coupon codes.
The Ultimate Super Food
Although at first glance it seems difficult to narrow down just one ingredient to receive the title of the Ultimate Super Food, oolong tea is by far the front-runner. As it contains more than 4,000 health-promoting compounds, it was a clear choice that this is a daily must have for anyone looking to maximize their health.
Oolong tea, from the Camellia Sinensis plant, is a semi-fermented tea that is regaining its popularity due to its ability to aid in weight loss. In a recent study, the majority of subjects using oolong tea reported successful weight loss, a decrease in waist circumference, and a reduction in lipid levels. Oolong’s polyphenol content fights obesity by activating the enzyme responsible for dissolving stored fatty deposits in the body.
Breaking down the science:
This high-polyphenol tea has an established historical significance, and therefore has substantial evidence. More than 35 published studies have demonstrated oolong’s abundant health benefits, among them the anxiety reduction due to the presence of the amino acid L-theanine. Additionally, comprehensive analysis suggests that its epigallocatechin gallate content leads to twice the thermogenic (calorie burning) as green tea, as well as an increase in energy expenditure by 10%. This tea contains half the caffeine of green tea and twice the polymerized polyphenols (due to its unique fermentation style), which are the compounds that help protect our bodies against cancer development, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurological diseases.
Equally as impressive is the powerful antioxidant found in oolong, that plays a crucial role in fighting free radial damage (the effects of aging and inflammation), quercetin. This is an incredible anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antihistamine, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory agent; and all in the sip of a tea!
Mainstream media and popular television shows (such as Dr. Oz and The Doctors) have brought this super food out of its historical shadow, reminding us of its ability to boost the metabolism and facilitate weight loss, lower cholesterol, aid in digestion, and stabilize blood sugar. Physicians have long recommended oolong due its ability to suppress the production of new fat cells, as well as to improve mental clarity.
Keep this in mind:
When looking for your oolong, avoid tea blends. To ensure the health benefits, aim for pure oolong, with no additives or preservatives. Opt for teas grown at high elevation, preventing the need for heavy pesticide use.
The takeaway message:
Although many of the other super foods listed contain elements of oolong’s impressive health advantages, this tea was given the title of Ultimate Super Food by our panel due to its versatility potential (studies generally suggested participants drink 1-3 cups per day and brewed tea can be used in a myriad of ways), sustainable usage (how many times a week can a person eat a 3 cups of beets twice a day), cost effective health benefits (even the highest quality brands quote about 50 cents per cup of tea), centuries of historical and scientific data, and low toxic loads.
If you’re looking for a mild flavored way to lower your odds of developing skin, breast and prostate cancers, increase immune response, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and possibly stave off the plaque formation of Alzheimer’s disease, you’ve found it.
Not All Super Foods Are Created Equal
When considering the addition of a super food to our daily intake, it’s important to recognize the importance of consuming organic foods. A large body of growing evidence shows the health benefits of organic foods when compared to conventionally grown ingredients. While most people concentrate on the idea that organic foods are more nutritious, studies show that organic foods have a small to moderate increase in some nutrients. More importantly, the toxic and potentially dangerous compounds such as pesticide residue and bacteria, found in conventionally grown produce is significantly higher than their organic counterparts. When coupled with lower nutrient value and the toxic burden that these compounds place on the body, the accumulative effects are overwhelming. Due to their place in the food chain, choosing organic dairy and animal proteins should be prioritized. Also worth mentioning is the medium in which our ingredients are raised in. If the soil (which provides nutrients to our growing ingredients) is laced with potentially harmful chemicals compounds, the yield will at the very least contain traces of those same chemicals, and in some cases (omega 3 fatty acids) will result in diminish the nutrient levels.
Keep the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 in mind next time you are buying produce! Whenever possible, chose organically grown foods from the Dirty Dozen, to avoid harmful chemical exposures. https://www.ewg.org
Dirty Dozen: produce that contain the highest amount of pesticide residues
Peppers: sweet and spicy
Clean 15: produce that contain the lowest amount of pesticide residues
Sweet peas (frozen)
Super Foods List
If you find yourself, hungry and at a loss for which ingredients will pack the heaviest punch, you can’t go wrong with foods, spices and teas found in their natural, whole-food state. The chart below shows specific super foods to incorporate for different health concerns.