A superfood is defined in Merriam-Webster as “a food that is rich in compounds considered beneficial to a person’s health.” In the natural products industry, this definition goes a bit further in defining a superfood as a food that is nutrient dense.
These days, superfoods are synonymous with high-quality supplement powders. In fact, I did a Google search and looked at “top superfoods,” and a website with the top 10 superfoods came up and the first on the list was powder blends like Athletic Greens.
But before I buy something that someone else has blended, I like to know which individual foods are superfoods. What is the nutrient density of the various foods that we often call superfoods?
So, I wrote down six foods that I have heard recently called “superfoods”: blueberries, kale, broccoli sprouts, beef liver, avocado, and eggs.
John Gildea, the scientist on our team that stabilized sulforaphane, says often that a farm-raised egg is on the top of his superfood list. My boys raise microgreens and have heard broccoli microgreens called the “king of superfoods.”
The table below shows a breakdown of thirteen nutrient levels of these six foods.
In my interview with James Barry for this week’s podcast, he shared about beef liver being the most nutrient dense food of all, which is why I placed it on this list.
As you can see, beef liver had the highest levels in seven of the thirteen nutrients listed in the table above. Broccoli sprouts were the second-highest superfood with top nutrient levels in four of the thirteen categories. Additionally, broccoli sprouts have 50 times more of the good phytochemical called sulforaphane. Avocado was the only other food that topped the list, having the most potassium of the six foods listed.
Surprisingly to me, beef liver is the most nutrient-dense food on this list. But, let’s face it, beef liver smells bad and typically tastes horrible too. Plus, where do you buy grass-fed beef liver? It’s just not very easy to source. My point is that beef liver will not be most people’s “go-to” superfood. But in the podcast on organ meat, James shares his spice called Pluck, which is a spice with freeze-dried organ meats. So, it has the benefits of high nutrient density without having the bad taste associated with most organ meats, and is a great way to be introduced to the benefits of organ meat. If you want to try it, you can use MARA10 to get 10% off your order.
So why does John Gildea like eggs so much? It’s because eggs came up second place in six of the thirteen nutrients listed. Additionally, eggs are much more easily sourced than beef liver.
This information is very reassuring to me, as one of my favorite breakfast meals has historically been a sunny-side-up egg on a bed of broccoli microgreens with slices of avocado. More recently, I have been sprinkling the Pluck spice on the egg to gain the added taste of the seasoning and micronutrient density of the organ meat.
For another list of other micronutrient dense foods, look at the article Priority Micronutrient Density in Foods.
In such a fast-paced society, and as a parent of two young boys, knowing the nutrient levels helps me to make meal decisions where I balance taste with health.
What are your favorite superfoods and why?