I’ve spent the last 15+ years hunting superfoods around the world. One of the first questions I get asked when I tell people my job is the question, “What’s a superfood?”
A superfood is a food that has more nutrients (antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals) for your body when compared calorie for calorie with another food.
You can literally be eating food that does more for your body calorie for calorie.
The follow-up question I always get is, “Do I need superfoods? Can’t I just eat really clean?”
Yes, “eating clean” and buying locally, organically, and sustainably grown food (or growing your own) is a brilliant step for your health – but here are five reasons why I think you still need to eat superfoods as well.
- OUR SOIL IS DEPLETED
Most people don’t know this, but our soil isn’t the same as the soil our grandparents and parents got their food from. Our ability to get the micronutrients we need to live through eating the foods grown in our planet’s soil is deeply troubling. The 1992 Earth Summit Report showed that the mineral content of the world’s farm and range land soil has decreased dramatically to critical levels.
PERCENTAGE OF SOIL’S MINERAL DEPLETION THE PAST 100 YEARS:
- North America: 85 %
- South America: 76%
- Asia: 76%
- Africa: 74%
- Europe: 72%
- Australia: 55%
The United States is worse than in any other country in the world because of the massive use of fertilizers and “maximum yield” mass farming methods. Also, the 85% percent is the average. Many farms are depleted much higher, even up to 100 percent. If the plants don’t grow in mineral-rich soil, you don’t get minerals when you eat them. You need minerals in your body to live.
- Poor soil quality = poor food quality = nutritional deficiencies.
You are supposed to get minerals from the food you eat, but the nutritional quality of food isn’t the same. You know how we know? More people have nutritional deficiencies today than ever. We literally are missing vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to keep us healthy! Again, you cannot live without minerals. They support the functioning of your entire body and its many systems. Even small mineral deficiencies cause health problems.
The United States Department of Agriculture states that:
- 9 out of 10 Americans are deficient in potassium.
- 8 out of 10 are deficient in vitamin E.
- 7 out of 10 are deficient in calcium.
- 50% of Americans are deficient in vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium.
That’s the biggest reason why I eat superfoods. Superfoods usually have higher amount of minerals and essential nutrients in them (each superfood will have different minerals in higher amounts. For example, raw cacao and baru nuts are high in zinc, while moringa is high in calcium.) Eating superfoods helps make up for the lower amounts of minerals you are getting from your food. It is extremely difficult to get the full amount of many key nutrients – no matter how clean you are eating – unless you eat superfoods or take supplements.
- Our bodies are under attack from chemicals, toxins, poor air, cell phone radiation, etc.
You’re overdosing on xenobiotics (foreign, man-made, unnatural chemicals) and synthetic flavors, colors, preservatives, pesticides, and herbicides in your food, as well as genetically modified food (GMOs). It takes a lot of effort for your body to clear them out every day. The result is nutritional stress on your body that uses up your minerals and nutrients even faster.
- We are also under stress 24/7! Our bodies need more support.
In addition to all the toxic health drainers mentioned above, moderate levels of stress can be draining on your body. In fact, high levels of stress flat out strip nutrients from your body, especially magnesium. It is also something that is hard to “outeat” with normal food.
You can’t completely eliminate stress, so you need those extra vitamins and minerals that superfoods give you calorie for calorie to keep your body strong.
- Supporting your body with optimal nutrition helps you live your best life – a SuperLife!
I don’t know about you, but I want to be at optimal functioning. I want to feel good. I want my brain to be active. As an athlete, I want to perform my best and fuel my body well. I want my body to always be strong because it has the vitamins and minerals it needs.
Superfoods are not like a potato that is mostly giving your body simple carbohydrates. When you eat superfoods, you eat high amounts of active compounds that are giving beneficial boosts in your body so that you can sleep better, perform better, have the energy to play with your kids or run up a mountain, and have the best life possible – a SuperLife.
So do I think that superfoods are hype? Depends on how you talk about them. Some do companies hype them up and act like they can cure all your health problems immediately. Are superfoods miracles? No. Health is created by habits done over time, not by taking one superfood.
However, if you are constantly taking in superfoods then over time it builds up the strength, vitality, and immunity of your body.
Superfoods provide high mineral and vitamin content along with very high levels of age-defying antioxidants, polyphenols, and polysaccharides that support (not hinder) your body.
Why eat superfoods? Superfoods assist us and our bodies in living the greatest life ever – a SuperLife! Who doesn’t want that?