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What Makes a Food a Superfood?

These days our supermarkets shelves are literally awash with an almost infinite variety of food products that are marketed as superfoods. But what exactly are superfoods and what makes a food a superfood? Time to find out!

What Makes a Food a Superfood?

Superfoods are pure, ancient foods, created by the force of nature. They are found in some of the finest, most remote and untouched corners of our planet, where they have been harnessed by indigenous cultures for thousands of years. Superfoods are by definition low in calories and rich in beneficial nutrients, making them an excellent choice for those wishing to pursue a healthy lifestyle. There is however, no legal definition of superfoods, which can lead to significant confusion. To help you identify superfoods the next time you go shopping, we’ve compiled a list of typical characteristics that most superfoods have in common and for why a food is recognised as a superfood.

A high density of nutrients

Superfoods contain a higher density of valuable nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) than standard food.

A greater diversity of nutrients

Superfoods also tend to contain a greater diversity of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients than regular foods. Take organic Incan berries for example - this super berry from Peru contains a huge array of vitamins (including vitamin’s A, C, B1, B2, B6 and B12), minerals (such as phosphorous), nearly twice as much fibre as dates and significantly more than blueberries, raisins or apricots, as well as an impressive 16% vegetable protein.

A rich source of phytonutrients

Superfoods are often excellent sources of phytonutrients - natural chemicals that are found in plants such as:

  • Carotenoids
  • Ellagic acid
  • Flavonoids
  • Resveratrol
  • Glucosinolates
  • Phytoestrogens

Free from harmful toxins

As a rule, superfoods should be clean, hormone, chemical and pesticide free foods that contain absolutely no artificial additives.

As superfoods are so packed with natural nutrients and free from damaging additives, they not only boast a more intense flavour, they’re also an incredibly useful addition to a vegetarian, vegan or rawfood diet.

Superfoods are often broken down into the following key categories:

Raw cacao products

Such as versatile raw organic cacao powder, raw organic cacao beans, raw organic cacao nibs, raw organic cacao butter and raw organic cacao liquor.

Sea algae and vegetables

This powerful category of superfood includes potent supergreens such as organic spirulina powder and organic chlorella powder.

Dried Roots, Grasses and Vegetables

For example, organic wheatgrass powder and organic maca powder.

Dried Berries and Fruit

Such as vibrant organic goji berries and sweet, organic mulberries.

Vegetable Fats

Includes exotic superfoods like aromatic coconut oil and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

Nuts and Seeds

Incorporates crunchy nuts such as organic almonds and organic cashew nuts as well as nutritious seeds such as organic shelled hemp seeds and organic chia seeds

Bee Products

Such as bee pollen, raw honey and bee propolis

Medicinal Mushrooms & Super Herbs

This special category of superfoods includes mushroom extracts such as organic chaga, reishi and maitake mushroom extract and herbs such as Brazilian ginseng powder and organic guarana powder

Superfood supplements

This incorporates a selection of vitamins, minerals and unique supplements such as omega-3, protein powders and probiotics

Superfood snacks

These days there is also a wholesome range of superfood snacks available at most good superfood stores. These tempting snacks, such as raw chocolate and kale chips, are made from organic superfood (and often rawfood) ingredients and are simply ideal for on the go.