The 6 Categories of Superfoods

by Steve Moren September 28, 2015

Teriyaki salmon dinner with green onions and sesame seeds

Animal Products

Animal products are not an option for vegetarians and vegans, but they are valuable sources of nutrients for those on more omnivorous diets. While many animal products can do more harm than good, there are some superfoods that cannot be overlooked.  Eggs, for instance, deliver 6 grams of protein, despite being only 72 calories.  Since there are 4 calories per gram of protein, this means one third of an egg’s caloric contribution comes from protein.  If you only eat the egg whites, that protein jumps up to 85% of the egg’s calories!

Eggs In a Basket

3 Oz. of turkey breast pack 20 grams of protein into just 90 calories, for 89% of its caloric contribution, and 3 Oz. of salmon will provide all of the omega-3 fatty acids you need for the day. If you dress your fish or poultry with some greek yogurt, you’ll take your entrée’s nutritional value to a whole other level.  Perhaps some of the most nutrient rich food sources available are liver and kidneys.  As a society, we’ve moved away from the days when livers and kidneys were common staples of the dinner table, and that’s a shame.  A diet consisting of only liver or kidneys with a green such as spinach on the side would deliver all of the micronutrients and macronutrients your body needs to survive.

Dairy is also important, as it provides one of the most crucial micronutrients, calcium.  While some people love the taste of milk, there are many who dislike it, or can’t process it.  If you’re just not a fan, then try to include more cheeses or greek yogurt into your diet.  Cheeses with stronger flavors are often better for you.  American cheese is rather bland because it’s made with low fat milk, sugars and chemicals, whereas sharp cheddar, gouda, goat cheeses, brie and others rely more on whole milk, healthy bacteria and minerals to provide flavor.

For those who can’t or don’t want to consume animal products, supplementing with B-complex vitamins, especially B-12, and iron may be necessary.  For those who can’t process milk, this next gategory is also a great source of calcium.

Greens

Enough can’t be said about all of the benefits of ensuring a diet rich in green vegetables… although we did say quite a bit in our last Brief.  Some of the superfoods we didn’t cover last week include spitulina, blu-green algae and wheat or barley grass.  True nutrient power houses, each and every one of them.

Seaweed clinging to rocks along the shore

Seaweed

The greens of the sea, seaweed gets it own category for very good reasons.  The environment below the ocean’s surface is obviously very different than the environment above, but did you know that sea water is actually very close in composition to our own blood plasma?  This environment leads to vegetation that is rich in minerals, omega-3’s, alkalizing agents that lower our bodies’ acidity and much, much more.

Seaweeds such as kelp, nori, wakame and others tend to be ‘acquired tastes’.  But they are tastes that are well worth acquiring, since they are all extremely beneficial as detoxifiers, anti-oxidants, purifiers and nutrient sources.  When choosing seaweed products from a store, be sure to pay attention to where the products were sourced from.  Seaweeeds take on the properties of the waters they grew in, so products sourced from polluted waters can do more harm than good.  Certified organic products can be more expensive than their countrparts, but this is an instance when it’s well worth it to pay that extra cost.

Botanicals

aloe vera plant

Many herbs and other botanicals are not considered ‘greens’ or vegetables because they don’t carry enough macro-nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins, sodium and potassium), but that doesn’t mean they can’t be superfoods.  Basil, cilantro and parsley are packed with flavor, and micronutrients as well.  Most edible botanicals carry valuable cancer fighting phytonutrients, and many have additional medicinal properties.  Don’t exclude botanicals when you think of superfoods.  Many, such as aloe vera, ginseng, echinacea and nettle are valuable enough to be worth adding to your morning smoothy, or even supplementing with products like ImmuneX or Breathe EZ.

Nuts & Fruits

These are our fan favorite superfoods.  Many people have allergies that prevent them from taking advantage of the proteins and healthy fats provided by nuts.  Fortunately, though, most fruits are extremely low in allergens.  While oranges with their high Vitamin C content, and coconuts with their fantastic electrolyte balance are both well known, there are some other fruits you should take note of.

Coconut & Nuts

Acai, noni, maca, goji berries and raw cacao (aka chocolate!) are all gaining popularity in health food stores and nutrition blogs throughout the world.  This is neither a fluke nor a fad.  These superfoods pack a huge punch into small, delicious packages.  The minerals, enzymes, anti-oxidants and phytochemicals in these foods make them some of the most healthy snack foods you can get your hands on.

Bee Products

Honey dripping from honey dipperThe last category might come as a surprise, but we hope it’s a pleasant one.  The close relationship between bees and the flowers they pollinate are why their products are loaded with so many nutrients.  They are basically nature’s supplement manufacturers.  The long shelf life of honey can be attributed to its natural preservatives, which fight off bacteria and other microorganisms.  Bees produce much more than just honey, though.  Bee propolis and bee pollen are common nutritional supplements, but royal jelly is where the bee’s supplement manufacturing really shines.  Royal jelly is brimming all the nutrients required for life.  This includes a hefty dose of B-complex vitamins, with royal jelly being the highest concentrated source of Vitamin B5, a nutrient that prevents fatigue and the effects of stress.  This is why we used it as the finishing touch for our ATP: Super-Cell Food!

Bee pollinating echinacea flower.

Bringing It All Together

You don’t often hear the words “superfood” and “delicious” used in the same sentence.  But when you look at the six major categories of superfoods, a healthier and tastier diet starts to come into view.  The best diets are those that incorporate a lot of variety.  Eating your kale salad twice a day can be more than a little tedious, and it’s tough to stick with a diet like that.  Look into all six categories of superfoods, and you’ll find a diet that’s easy to stick to.  Pick and choose your superfood.  Mix it up from meal meal, day to day.  Satisfy your hunger with your favorite snacks from these categories.  Supplement your diet with the nutrients you’re missing.  Do these things, and you’ll have the energy you want, without being restricted to the depressing and often unhealthy fad diets that have flooded the market.



Steve Moren
Steve Moren

Author

Chief Compliance Officer
Quality Control Department

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