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The top 10 super foods to boost your health
Many of you may have seen the television series currently showing on Channel 4, called Super Foods: The Real Story, featuring Kate Quilton who visits Japan to investigate some of the claims made about super foods.
In the series, Kate explores the heart disease benefits of matcha tea and whether it really reduces the risk of heart disease, as well as the cancer-busting properties of the tomato, to mention a few.
Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to Japan to enjoy the health-boosting properties of super foods. With antioxidants becoming all the rage in recent years, many antioxidant-rich foods are available right on your doorstep.
A few years ago a team of nutritionists at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, in which they shortlisted the top 10 Super Foods that had been shown to support optimum health.
The nutritionists examined more than 100 different kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, cereals and other foods. Using an analysis method called the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), they were able to detect the lipid soluble (lipophilic) and water soluble (hydrophilic) antioxidant capacities of the food samples.
Their results weren’t altogether surprising and as expected fruits, vegetables and beans came out tops. So, without further ado here, in reverse order, is the cream of the crop when it comes to every day Super Foods that are guaranteed to help support good all-over health:
7. Artichokes (cooked)
5. Blueberries (cultivated)
4. Pinto beans
3. Red kidney beans
2. Blueberries (wild)
And the number one antioxidant-rich food:
1. Small red beans (dried)
As you might imagine, most antioxidant foods lose some of their antioxidant capacities during processing. (The most notable exception is the tomato; the antioxidant lycopene is enhanced by cooking.)
Ronald L. Prior (one of the study co-authors) told HealthDayNews that ‘fresh’ is the unsurprising best choice over frozen, cooked or otherwise processed.
So while blueberry pie may seem like a somewhat healthy treat, it can’t begin to compare with a bowl of blueberries, picked fresh from the meadow.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 16;52(12):4026-37