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By Stacie Bearup

What are super foods and are they beneficial?

The term "super foods" is a marketing term that refers to foods that are considered to be very good for your health and that may even assist the body in preventing and fighting off illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Super foods are high in antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial to the immune system. While there are many places that sell mostly organic and/or super foods, such as Whole Foods and Thrive Market, most can be purchased at any grocery store or farmer's market.

There is a lot of debate as to whether the term "super foods" is just a marketing ploy or whether these foods really do pack more of a nutritional punch than others. Many doctors and nutritionists argue that eating a balanced diet and getting adequate exercise may be just as beneficial as a diet composed mostly of super foods. There is, however, evidence that some foods are higher in disease-fighting nutrients than others.

Here are just a few examples of what might be considered super foods.

Purple, red and blue grapes

Grapes contain antioxidants, vitamin c and selenium. The nutrients found in grapes are said to help fight heart disease and are helpful for strengthening the immune system.


Blueberries are high in antioxidants, which lower inflammation and prevent damage to cells. They are also believed to strengthen immune system and protect against cancer and heart disease.

Red berries

Raspberries and strawberries contain antioxidants that may protect the body from disease and from cancer-causing agents in the environment.


Nuts contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and minerals, which are thought to be beneficial to heart health.

Dark green vegetables

Vegetables such as spinach contain vitamins C, E and A, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They are also believed contain antioxidants that fight cancer.

Sweet potatoes and orange vegetables

Orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots are high in vitamins C and B6, potassium and fiber, which may benefit overall health.


Tea is thought to contain antioxidants that fight inflammation. Green tea is said to contain a potent antioxidant.

Whole grains

Whole grains such as wheat and barley are high in fiber, which may lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.


Beans are high in antioxidants, vitamin c, calcium and fiber.


Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and may help prevent inflammatory diseases such as coronary heart disease.

Here is a meal idea using super foods:

Soy-glazed fish with stir-fried spinach


2 cloves minced garlic

2 tbsp minced, uncooked scallions

2 tbsp fresh, minced cilantro

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fresh, minced ginger root

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 pound uncooked cod, washed and dried

1 pound fresh baby spinach


Combine garlic, scallions, cilantro, soy sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Add 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Add fish. Cook approximately 5 minutes. Flip fish. Pour garlic and soy sauce mixture over the fish. Cook 3-5 minutes more if needed. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and add remaining sesame oil and spinach. Cook spinach 3-4 minutes. Spoon spinach on plate and place fish on top.

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