SuperFoods presents a very simple idea that rests on a cluster of important principles. Understanding these principles will help you shift the focus of your diet and thereby improve your shortand long-term health.
SuperFoods is the ‘Best Diet in the World’
The first question most people have about the SuperFoods diet is: what makes one food more super than another? How were the foods chosen?
As you might imagine, choosing one food over another is not a simple matter. The guiding principle is which _ food, within a given category, is at the top of its class in promoting health. Also, I had to consider which foods had the most desirable nutrient density, in other words, the most known beneficial nutrients and the least negative properties like saturated fat and sodium.
Today’s sophisticated computers have enabled researchers to determine which human populations are the healthiest and live the longest. These epidemiological Studies have also allowed us to discover the particular foods eaten by those healthy populations. Certain foods pop up over and over again when you look at the diets of the healthiest people in the world. For example, the traditional Greek diet prior to 1960, including the traditional diet of Crete, is known to be one of the most healthful diets in the world. This Mediterranean diet is primarily a plant-based diet with a number of protective substances in the most popular foods such as selenium; glutathione; resveratrol; a good balance of essential fatty acids (omega-3s to omega-6s); and high amounts of fibre, folate, antioxidants and vitamins C and E. You’ve probably heard of the Okinawan diet, also recognized as healthy. (Okinawa reportedly has more centenarians people aged 100 and above as a percentage of the population than any region in the world.)
My approach in selecting the SuperFoods was to analyse these diets along with other healthy consumption patterns to discover the critical foods that show up over and over again. Approaching from the other direction, in .an effort to see which foods were the best proven health promoters, I ‘ also studied many highly respected databases and Sets of recommendations, including those of the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and others. These groups have made very specific recommendations based on literally countless studies on what constitutes a healthy diet.
The USDA (US Department of Agriculture) has very useful information. There is something called an ORAC score, in Which foods are ranked according to their Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, or how well they act as antioxidants. Spinach and kale are the two vegetables with the highest ORAC score. That’s important information, but it’s not the whole picture. The ORAC score, for example, doesn’t count fibre, but it does give you a starting point. Multili’1e Charts exist on the relative amounts of nutrients in foods. I have tried to use the most accurate and’up-to-date data in all
cases. I turned to the researchers themselves. I’ve attended many research meetings where I had the opportunity to discuss the latest findings with those who are in the front lines of nutrition research. It’s extremely exciting to hear a paper presented for the first time that outlines a new finding that will affect the way peOple think about food. The fascinating information that has emerged on fats is something that has been getting a great deal of attention lately and is frequently discussed at these meetings. We are in a dual crisis right now: we’re eating too much fat, and much of it is the wrong kind of fat.. Good fat is essential to life.
It would have been impossible to do this work even a few years ago, as much of the information I can now access is brand-new. In one instance, I hired a renOwned scientist to do the analyses for me.“ For example, the polyphenol amounts in Selected, readily available brandname 100 per cent fruit juices and jams have never been published before. You’ll see in the chapter on blueberries how impressive certain juices are (and, conversely, how unimpressive others are!). The SuperFoods guiding goal is to identify the best, buy the best and eat the best!