Super-foods Revealed - Six of the Best

Super-foods or Super-myths; Separating Food Fact from Food Fiction
While prices continue to escalate for so-called super-fruits and vegetables, is it all just media hype? Where should consumers spend and save for their daily 5-a-day?


Full of folic acid, folate and antioxidants which fight cancer, beetroot can also help maintain a low blood pressure and reduce the risk of dementia. It is a good source of protein, essential vitamins and minerals with its soluble fibre content also helping to reduce cholesterol.

Just three baby beetroots counts as one portion towards your five-a-day fruit and vegetable intake. However, only the green beetroot leaves are rich in iron.


Often expensive, blueberries can be frozen for an all year round healthy treat. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants which protect the body (against cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, cancer, heart disease) and the mind (Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.)

Blueberries also contain kaempferol which has been proven to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Other super ingredients, such as soluble fibre and tannins, help the digestive system and protect the body against constipation, diarrhoea and urinary tract infections.

If blueberries are on the expensive side, the bioflavonoids in citrus fruits also contain anti-cancer properties and UK grown berries are also full of goodness.


Containing much more vitamin C than the orange, this leafy and low cost vegetable has a number of other healing properties. Other than helping cure ulcers and skin disorders, such as eczema and scurvy, it also acts as a detoxifier which helps protect the body against colds, flu, depression and illnesses related to the nervous system. Alzheimer’s disease is just one of these. Vitamins A, C and E also help improve night vision and protect long term sight.

The fibrous content in cabbages helps protect the body against constipation and headaches whilst the sulphur fights infections. The benefits don’t end there. The iodine helps the brain function and the vitamin E content keeps the skin, eyes and hair healthy.

Broccoli and cauliflower are other healthy cruciferous vegetables.


Bursting with antioxidants and flavour, the pomegranate contains vitamin C and vitamin B5.

Research has proven this fruit to protect against high blood pressure. However, the beneficial properties of fibre can only be found in the seeds.


Loaded with nutrients, the pumpkin also happens to be available all year around. Its anti-oxidants, or carotenoids, help keep heart disease, cancer and blindness at bay. Full of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, pumpkins also contain high doses of beta-carotene which can help reduce the risk of lung and colon cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Additional goodness is found in the vitamin A which works to promote growth.

Even its mineral-rich seeds have healing properties which improve mood and memory, making pumpkins a super cheap super, super food.


The high levels of lycopene found in tomatoes are a powerful antioxidant which helps protect the body against cancer, particularly prostate cancer. In fact, studies have shown that cooked tomatoes are even more powerful in reducing the risk of cancer than uncooked ones. Lycopene can also combat the onset of heart disease.

Available all year, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre (which lowers cholesterol) potassium (to lower blood pressure), vitamin B6 and folate (which help ward off heart disease).

A highly versatile ingredient, tomatoes are one of the fruit and vegetables where it pays to buy organic; organic tomato ketchup contains three times as much lycopene as the non-organic alternatives.

Other research proves that this nutrient rich fruit can also provide protection against cardiovascular disease, maintain bone health (tomatoes contains vitamin K) whilst the riboflavin can help prevent migraines.

By eating the above, health-conscious foodies can reap the benefits of super-vitamins without breaking the bank.

Essentially, super-food is a term simply created to define foods with essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that can benefit health. There is no scientific definition but brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, high in antioxidants and, in some cases, with a high price tag, fall into this category. However, in this respect, the term is deceptive. There are plenty of other health benefits to be had by eating other less expensive, home-grown fruit and vegetables which have not benefitted from this misleading label.

Scientists are agreed that there is no single super-food. To be truly healthy, consumers should enjoy a varied 5-a-day to really reap the benefits. And, it doesn't have to be expensive to be healthy.


Positive Nation, 'Superfoods Myths and Truths'

Food Standards Agency, 'Putting the Super into Superfoods'

NHS Choices, 'Exercise Longer with Beetroot'

BBC Recipes,'Superfoods'

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