It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… SUPER FOODS!

We’ve heard all about them, but how much do we really know about them?

If this is your first time hearing about super foods, have no fear. I’ll let you know what they are. The American Dietetic Association defines super foods to be “Modifiable whole foods that are rich in physiological components that promote health and may decrease risk of disease”.

Below is a list of super foods and the super power(s) related to them:

  1. Pumpkin: linked to reduced risk of breast, lung and colon cancerslices_of_kiwi-550411
  2. Tomatoes: lowers risk of prostate cancer (due to the lycopene)
  3. Blueberries: highest in antioxidants, prevents cancer, Alzheimer’s and CVD
  4. Kiwi: contains more vitamin C than oranges! WHO KNEW?!
  5. Pomegranates: decreases growth of prostate cancer, decrease risk of heart disease
  6. Broccolini: great source of vitamin C, K and Calcium
  7. Spinach (compared to iceberg lettuce): 4x more potassium, 7x more folate, 8x more vitamins E and C, 19 more times vitamin A and K, 44 more times lutein and xeaxanthin
  8. Apples: Red delicious have the highest anti-oxidant power, the skin contains 5x more nutrients so make sure you eat the skin too!
  9. Beans: decreases risk of diabetes, certain cancers, 22% reduced risk of heart disease, linked to longevity
  10. Soy: evidence for lowering LDL, provides protection against cancer
  11. Cinnamon: lowers fasting blood sugar, improves insulin sensitive
  12. Garlic: modest cholesterol and blood pressure lowering effect

The Superhero and the Villain: Whole Wheat vs. White Flour

Why whole wheat wins:

  • Contains whole grain (including bran, & germ, where 80% of health protective benefits are found) and contains 2x more calcium and selenium, 3x more copper & phosphorous, 4x more potassium, zinc & fibre, 6x more magnesium, 14x more vitamin E
  • Compared with non-smokers, an intake of 2.7 servings of whole grains/day was associated with a:
    • 50% reduced risk stroke
    • 30% reduced risk of CHD
    • Refined grains have a positive association for risk of diabetes

Tip: look for whole grain not whole wheat on food labels

The Superhero and the Villain: Milk & Yogourt vs. Cheese

  • Milk contains more vitamin D, yogourt sometimes contains more vitamin D, cheese does not contain vitamin D
  • Milk & yogourt contain more potassium than cheese
  • Cheese is higher in less healthy saturated fats than milk or yogourt
  • Some yogourt and kefir offer probiotics

An Ultimate Superpower: Antioxidants!

  1. BlueberriesSuperFoods1
  2. Cranberries
  3. Artichokes
  4. Blackberries
  5. Prunes
  6. Raspberries
  7. Strawberries
  8. Red delicious Apples

Nutrient-Rich Antioxidants

  1. Sweet Potatoes
  2. Mangoes
  3. Cantaloupe
  4. Asparagus
  5. Broccoli

TIP: Go for the darkest colour!


American Dietetic Association, Functional foods, JADA, 2004: 104: 814-826
Tomatoes: Roberson, L, RD (2010)
Blueberries: Roberson, L, RD, 2010
Kiwi: CNF, accessed 2012
Broccolini: (Peason, L, RD, 2010)
Beans: Bazzano, 2001
Soy: Nutr & Cancer, 2003
All information: Springle, Nicole (2013). Topic 14 [Powerpint Slides]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online



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