Sunday, April 18, 2010

What is a Superfood?

I don't really know - at least I don't think there is an agreed upon definition for this commonly used term in the media. But how about a super group of foods? Looking at the newly developed food rating score that Whole Foods Market has begun using (called the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index of ANDI), it is apparent that Brassica vegetables are a group that is collectively the top-dog for providing a wide variety of health-producing nutrients and additional molecules like the wide variety of phytochemicals. In fact, 8 of the top 10 foods in this new index are Brassicas:
  1. Kale (whoo - hoo! I do not know what variety was used, but use it as a collective spot for this vegetable on this index!), 
  2. Collards,
  3. Bok choy
  4. Spinach (not a Brassica)
  5. Brussels sprouts
  6. Arugula
  7. Cabbage
  8. Romaine (not a Brassica)
  9. Broccoli
  10. Cauliflower
Please don't use this whole index as a means of completely avoiding any of the whole foods listed on it that have low scores (like olive oil). In fact, I am not sure that the list itself is very useful if you are sticking to whole foods as the main source of foods consumed (and enjoyed) in your diet versus processed foods or food-like substances. For instance, this list does not show you how a box of just-add-water bean burgers will actually stack up to compare with a soft drink. 

I hope the day actually comes when WFM finally removes (or greatly reduces) the abundant junk food available to purchase in their stores. I agree with other bloggers who have commented that even organic junk food is still junk food (and designed to "hook you" so you can't eat just one, whatever it is). And I also agree with Michael Pollan who recommends that (paraphrasing here I am sure) you consume only junk food that you have made yourself. I think the example he used was french fries.

Well, I am veering off topic. :-) Let's use this post to celebrate kale and all other Brassica vegetables. I still intentionally enjoy eat a serving a day of kale or other Brassicas, yes, that would qualify as "365 Days of Kale", I believe!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate, 365 days of the year!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

1 comment:

Mr. H. said...

I like that list a lot, especially since we eat most everything on it all the time.:) I was really surprised to see that Romaine lettuce was included...very interesting.