If you think spinach is going to give you bulging muscles like popeye,
think again. This reputation probably stems from a mistake in early
research, which erroneously reported the iron content as being ten
times higher than it actually is. Nevertheless, there is still a good
amount of iron in spinach as well as many other nutrients and
Spinach contains very high levels of potassium and
folate. It also contains the antioxidants CoQ10 and glutathione and
contains significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. It has been
reported to lower homocysteine levels (related to coronary heart
disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.), reduce the risk of
degenerative eye disease and many, if not all, types of cancer.
It should be eaten both raw and cooked, as cooking
it makes some of the nutrients more bioavailable, but degrades others
at the same time.
What better way to get your Omega-3 fatty acids than from the fish
itself, instead of relying on salmon oil capsules to get your quota?
Fish is also a great source of high quality protein.
There has been quite a bit of negative press over
farmed fish recently. Studies have shown that farmed salmon contain 10
times more PCB’s (toxic industrial compounds) than wild salmon. Also,
the farm raised fish are fed a diet that is based on corn and grain so
the fatty acid profiles of the fish aren’t that much different from
other animal meat sources. Basically, they are lacking in the Omega-3
fatty acid that guarantee their entry into this list in the first
place! For these reason, I recommend that you choose wild salmon
If you want to read all about the benefits of Omega 3’s derived from salmon, you can brush up by reading What Everybody Ought to Know About Salmon Oil
As tasty as they are, this is not an excuse to eat blueberry muffins,
even if you can actually find more than a couple of berries in your
Blueberries are great because of the high levels
of anti-oxidants they contain. Anti-oxidants are free radical
scavengers and free-radicals are known to be a cause of cancer. Also,
blueberries contain a lot of fibre and are low on the glycemic index,
making them ideal to eat at any time.
Try buying frozen blueberries as they have don’t
loose their mojo when frozen and you don’t have to worry about them
going bad. Some brands have added sugar, so watch out and read your
labels. I add them to my yoghurt and to my oatmeal to spice things up a
Ground Flax Seeds
Also called Linseed, these little gems are the best source of plant
based Omega 3’s. Why do I keep banging on about Omega 3’s? Well, the
modern western diet has a serious deficiency of Omega 3 fatty acid, so
we need to include as many sources as possible to balance out our fatty
They also contain a large dose of fibre,
considerable amounts of protein, are high in magnesium and also contain
high levels of phyto-estrogens. For you guys out there worried about
consuming estrogens from flax, don’t be. A small amount of these
phyto-estrogens is actually very good for you and won’t lead to
prostate cancer or the dreaded man boobs that many people claim.
You can usually find them in supermarkets
pre-ground. If you want a cheaper option, you can buy the seeds and
grind them yourself in a food blender of better yet, a coffee grinder.
Once ground, they need to be kept refrigerated. You can add them to
shakes, sprinkle on salads or add them to your oatmeal.
The Mediterranean’s have long been aware of the power of olive oil in a
healthy diet. Over seventy percent of the fats from olive oil come from
monounsaturated fats, another type of fat that the average person is
deficient in on a western diet. Including olive oil in the diet will
again help to balance out your fatty acid profile.
Olive oil also includes polyphenols, a potent
anti-oxidant. It provides protection against heart disease by lowering
LDL cholesterol levels (the bad) and raising HDL cholesterol levels
(the good). There is also evidence that olive oil helps in the fight
against colon cancer.
Despite all the benefits, olive oil also tastes
great and can be drizzled on almost anything. Just remember not to
overdo it – Olive oil is still a fat and very caloric dense. Even
though it’s a good fat, it still contains 9 calories per gram and this
can add up quickly, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Tomorrow, I follow up this post with the remaining
5 super foods. Until then, try to eat at least a couple of foods from
I know, we all hated eating broccoli when we were kids, but your mother
was right when she insisted that you eat the stuff. A study led by
scientists at Johns Hopkins University found that broccoli can prevent
60 percent of cancer related tumours and reduced the size of existing
ones by 75 percent. A high intake of broccoli has been shown to be very
effective at reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Broccoli is the king
of nutrients and packs more than any other vegetable. These include as
much vitamin C as an orange, almost as much calcium as a glass of milk,
a healthy dose of fibre and is also one of the richest sources of
Broccoli also contains a large dose of indoles,
which are naturally occurring oestrogen blockers. This is especially
important for you guys out there as we are exposed to too many
environmental estrogens from things like plastics.
Lean, Grass fed Beef
I believe that meat has got a bad rap of late. I’m a vegetarian myself
and by not consuming meat I really feel like I’m missing out
nutritionally. Unlike most vegans and vegetarians who whinge on about
how bad meat is for you just to justify there own life choices, I
actually believe it’s good for you.
I’m sure you all know that beef contains lots of
muscle building protein, but you might not know that this animal
protein is called Casein. Apart from being a high quality protein,
there is also research to suggest that Casein is predominantly
anti-catabolic as opposed to anabolic. This means that it prevents
Let’s get onto the ‘grass fed’ bit. Most beef
these days is corn fed beef. The problem with corn fed beef is in the
fatty acid profile. Corn fed beef has a ratio of up to 20:1 Omega 6’s
to Omega 3’s. Contrast this to grass fed beef where that ratio is 3 or
4 to 1, which is pretty close to the ratio that we want to stay
healthy. Grass fed beef also has a lot less saturated fat than its corn
fed friends, plus a grass fed cow is a happy cow. The bottom line: Grass fed beef is good for you.
Plain Yogurt contains live active cultures that are essential for
proper gut health. These cultures promote the growth of good bacteria
in the gut and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. Fixing your
gastro-intestinal health will ensure that the nutrients you consume
from these super foods are being put to use. It can also help with
irritable bowl syndrome, ulcers, and diarrhoea.
Try to get the low fat variety. You can throw in
some blueberries or chopped strawberries and a spoonful of honey and
you will have a snack that is far more healthy and a lot tastier than
the sugar laden junk that passes for flavoured yoghurt.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a recently rediscovered grain-like food
is native to South America and was cultivated by the Incas over 5000
years ago. It is commonly referred to as a grain, but is actually a
seed related to the spinach family. Quinoa is packed full of
antioxidants and phytonutrients. It is one of the only complete plant
protein sources. It also has loads of magnesium, manganese, copper and
Quinoa has a subtle, nutty taste and can be used
as a great substitute for rice or any other grains. If you can’t find
it in supermarkets, try a health food store.
I hate to keep banging on about it, but Omega 3’s are really important.
Not surprisingly then, walnuts contain the most Omega 3 fatty acids in
the nut family. Add to this the fact that they contain lots of
cholesterol reducing plant sterols and is the nut with the highest
anti-oxidant levels and you begin to see why they’re included on the
Nuts are a quick, easy snack when you’re on the go
and in addition to all the healthy fats they provide, they also have a
fair amount of fibre, protein and low glycemic carbs to make them an
Don’t be a total organic freak!
Try to buy organic produce where possible as they contain far more
nutrients that chemically grown crops, but don’t panic if you can’t
always find what you want. I know somebody who won’t eat anything that
isn’t organic. To me, this is just silly as all you end up doing is
narrowing your dietary options. Eating regular produce isn’t going to
kill you and is still doing you good, even if it’s not as good as
The same can be said for your grass fed beef and
wild salmon. If you can’t always get it, the regular old corn fed stuff
You don’t need to be consuming all of these super
foods all of the time, but try to include as many of them in your diet
as often as possible. This definitely shouldn’t be seen as an
exhaustive list. It probably could have been a top 100 list, so you can
probably look forward to a Super Foods part III in the not to distant