Phillip Minton M.D.

What is a Superfood?

In chocolate on June 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I know, I know, “superfood” is not really a word. “Super” is a word, and “food” is a word, but superfood? We in the health industry are adopting this newly coined word because we are so excited about certain foods that have fantastic health propensities. Superfoods are those thought to have very special health-promoting qualities. Probably the most famous is broccoli. A close second and gaining fast is chocolate.

In my opinion, chocolate is the ultimate superfood, not only because it offers powerful health benefits from multiple angles (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrient antioxidants and natural drug-like substances), but also it TASTES GOOD!

What do others think? Dr. Perricone, whose primary interest seems to be in the brain-beauty connection, places acai at the top of his list. Certainly acai is rich in powerful antioxidants, but it does not match cacao in overall superfood might. He also lists onions and garlic (yum!), barley, buckwheat, beans and lentils (yum!yum!) and hot peppers (yeow!). Waiter, I’d rather have chocolate, please.

What do superfoods offer us? They often contain powerful anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, plus heart disease and cancer fighters. In my opinion, to be a superfood, the foodstuff in question must itself deliver either a wide array of such health benefits, or one or two particularly beneficial substances.

Superfoods allow us to take our medicine as a food, rather than as a pharmaceutical. They help prevent disease, and they often lengthen healthy lifespan. Why then not call them “superfoods”?

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