What is a Super Food?
A super food is defined as a nutrient-rich food beneficial for health and well-being. The American Heart Association agrees that super foods are beneficial for the heart and overall health. However, they will not prevent nor cure chronic diseases on their own. They should be eaten to further enhance a healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle. The following super foods are considered “super” for their high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) Value. An ORAC Value means the total antioxidant capacity of a food per 100 grams.
Super Foods With High Antioxidant Contents
- Sumac: This is a relatively unknown super food. This spice is traditionally found in Middle Eastern cuisine and it has the highest ORAC of any other food! Measuring at 312,400 per 100 grams, it has over 3x the antioxidant content as acai and over 60x higher than blueberries. While it is not plausible to eat 100 grams of a spice, sumac is so full of antioxidants that just teaspoon will do the trick. It is loved for its salty-lemon taste and it is a great sodium-free way to season chicken, rice, pasta, etc!
- Chia Seeds: Black chia has an ORAC value of 9,800 and white chia has 7,000. Chia seeds have many other health benefits, too. They contain more omega 3’s than salmon and all 9 essential amino acids. They are also a great source of fiber, calcium, iron, and protein (just 1 ounce contains 5.6 grams of protein). Try adding some to smoothies, oatmeal, or salads.
- Cocoa: The ORAC value of pure, unsweetened cocoa is 55,653 per 100 grams.The best way to consume cocoa is an organic dark chocolate bar. The higher the cocoa percentage the better. Check the label and be sure to choose one with the least amount of added sugar.
- Pecans: Pecans are the highest antioxidant nut. They have an ORAC value of 17,940. The next highest are walnuts at 13,541, and then hazelnuts at 9,645. They make the perfect salad topper, or grab a handful for a quick, healthy snack. Like all nuts, pecans are calorie dense, so be mindful not to eat too many.
- Ground Cinnamon: The ORAC value of cinnamon is 131,420. Even the typical serving of 1 teaspoon will still get you an antioxidant measurement of 3,417. Research shows cinnamon has numerous health benefits including: stabilizing blood sugar, anti-inflammatory properties, and possible immune support. Cinnamon is a delicious addition to smoothies, oatmeal, tea, or coffee!
For more information about super foods and their antioxidant content, click here!