The Superfoods of the Masses
HEALTH + FITNESS
While we’ve been Googling the exotic headliners, these four foods have been hiding in plain sight, over-delivering.
By Todd Soura
A new, so-called superfood emerges every day. And each time, the air seeps out a little more from the over-hyped term. That’s not to say that such foods don’t exist. They do. It’s just that a lot of them are either exaggerated or too obscure or expensive or both to realistically incorporate them into our diets on any kind of regular basis.
A true superfood not only punches above its weight, it’s also within easy reach. While we’ve been Googling spirulina and maca, these have been hiding in plain sight all along.
Kimchi You’ll find it in the refrigerated produce section at most grocery stores. It’s a traditional Korean side comprised of fermented cabbage and some variety of shredded veggies, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes—it can have a kick. Fermented foods, and this one in particular, are loaded with good bacteria, which feed the existing flora in your gut, a critical component of our immune system. It’s even been shown to have a hand in balancing our moods. And new studies are indicating that those of us with the most diverse and greatest amounts of gut flora are also the leanest.
Broccoli sprouts (Pictured, top) They’re three- and four-day-old broccoli plants that taste a lot like radish. There are a lot of reasons to love broccoli, but glucoraphanin may be foremost among them. It’s used to make sulforaphane, which, studies are showing, helps shield cells from potential carcinogens. Promising as that sounds, it gets even better: Broccoli sprouts contain 30 times the concentration of glucoraphanin found in broccoli. The sprouts are gaining in popularity, but they can still be a little difficult to find. If your grocery store carries them, you’ll find them in a plastic container in the refrigerated produce section. They go bad pretty quickly—three to five days if you refrigerate them. I freeze mine and add a handful to my smoothies.
Parsley It’s packed with cancer-fighting oils and antioxidants. And all this time you thought it was just a garnish. Those oils activate an enzyme that attaches to and neutralizes potential carcinogens. One of them in particular, myristicin, has been found to inhibit tumor formation. Grow it in your garden and toss it in your smoothies and salads by the handful.
Rosemary (Pictured, above) Yes, that rosemary. It’s chockfull of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. It also facilitates digestion. Recent studies are indicating that it even boosts blood-flow to the brain, which aids concentration. Opt for the fresh variety found in the refrigerated produce section over the dried kind—the flavor’s more pronounced—then keep it in the refrigerator and pull it out often. Rosemary goes just as well with an omelet as it does with a roasted chicken.
Todd Soura is the owner of the Doylestown-based Action Personal Training.