You hear the term “superfood” tossed around all the time these days. It has proven to be a successful marketing term which has led to an oversaturation of products on the market labeled as such. The Paleo/AIP landscape is littered with products that promote their superfood status. So, what makes these foods super? Generally speaking, foods that are higher in vitamins and nutrients, packed with antioxidants, clean proteins, and healthy fats qualify as superfoods.
The question: Are these foods better for you than other foods, or is it all hype?
The answer: Yes! There are foods that are more nutrient dense than others. These are higher in protein or various vitamins and nutrients, and some have nutrients that other foods don’t. But being labeled a superfood doesn’t mean that you should go hog wild eating mass quantities so that you can be super healthy. It simply means that they are good additions to balance out your diet. Let’s take a look at what’s been labeled a superfood:
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Kale – Cabbage – Broccoli – Brussels Sprouts
Bet you didn’t know that both broccoli and brussels sprouts are in the cabbage family! Also included are collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, and spinach. All of these vegetables contain high levels of anti-inflammatory carotenoids which are beneficial to those suffering with an autoimmune condition. We offer our delicious Savory Sauteed Kale and our amazing Spinach Mushroom Beef Lasagna to help you add dark green leafy vegetables to your diet.
Most people love garlic, especially those who enjoy cooking. But did you know that it is also a superfood? It not only adds great flavor to your cooking, it supports immune function as well.
All berries, but specifically blueberries, are included here. Berries have anti-inflammatory properties as well, but are also high in antioxidants and can be effective in helping to treat digestive issues and immune related disorders. If you like sweets, our Peachberry Cobbler is absolutely delicious and it has berries in it!
Olive, Avocado, and Coconut Oils
All three of these oils contain healthy fats, unlike corn based vegetable oils. They are actually beneficial to your body. Look for virgin, extra virgin, cold pressed, or first press options if possible. We only use these oils in our food.
Did you know that there are over 70,000 types of mushrooms but only 250 are edible? The edible ones are considered superfoods because they are nutrient packed and naturally low in sodium. The Maitake Mushroom has been used for a very long time for medicinal purposes and is known to help those with high blood pressure and cholesterol.
So yes superfoods exist, but it’s also a marketing term that has become all the rage. When you hear “superfood” it may seem like some big new secret has been revealed. But in actuality, it is mainly a marketing term. Yes these foods labeled as superfoods are higher in vitamins and minerals, but they have always been there and are a natural part of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). In fact, most natural foods have high vitamins and minerals. Luckily, these high caliber foods are AIP and not restricted!
Be aware that there are other foods that are considered superfoods but aren’t AIP approved. You can rest assured that we incorporate superfoods into our dishes whenever possible. Most nuts and seeds are superfoods, as are legumes and nightshades like tomatoes. Those are probably the most difficult superfoods to omit from the diet, but to truly follow the Autoimmune Protocol you must. Furthermore, you can be sure that as the definition morphs of what a superfood is, new foods will be added to the list. Keep in mind, your diet is really all about you. You know what you like, and what your body can and can’t tolerate. We hope that this will help guide you on your AIP journey!