How Super are “Superfoods”? (with a Bonus Baby Kale Sauté Recipe)


I have wanted to post this recipe kale sauté that I make for some time. As I finally got around to it, it got me thinking about the origin of the term “superfood”, since kale is billed as such, so I did a bit of digging. What I found was that the term started to gain popularity in the 2000s, but from where? Wikipedia doesn’t pinpoint the origin of the word or how it came into popular use to describe the fad that elevates some foods to superstar status for their amazing properties. And there’s no academic research to be found on superfoods prior to the start of the 21st century, though since that time, there have been almost 2,500 publications about superfoods. Maybe it was turn of the century that made people think more about how to boost their health that started this revolution? At any rate, the term took us by force and is here to stay, along with a lot of misinformation about the foods bestowed with the title.

What are Superfoods?
Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods. They are typically associated with being rich in flavonoids like beta carotene and lycopene (which are phytonutrients containing antioxidants that fight cell deterioration), particular vitamins or minerals (like vitamin K, magnesium), and higher concentrations of healthy fats (like omega-3 fatty acids). The great thing about foods accorded with superfood status is that they are real foods, and almost all of them, including flax seed, pomegranates, avocados, quinoa, and kale, are plants.

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Detox Salad Recipe

One morning last spring I was in Whole Foods and happened to see a clam shell with shredded salad. What intrigued me most was that one of the ingredients was Brussels sprouts. If you’ve come across one of the very first recipes I posted, The Amazing Brussels Sprout, you know of my passion for these tiny cabbages. What piqued my interest was that it never occurred to me to eat raw Brussels before I discovered this ‘Detox Salad’, as the label read. What makes it a detoxifier? Beats me, but I bought it.

The time was running a bit late and I knew my spouse, Michael, was having leftovers for lunch, so I thought about what I could quickly throw into this salad mix to round it out as a lunch for me. I ended up liking it so much, and it was so different than the salads I usually eat, that I started making the Detox Salad mix at home. This makes the dogs very happy because they LOVE cabbage hearts, the ends and leaves, that fall off of the Brussels, and carrot ends and peels. (They don’t share my passion for raw beets, but they love them roasted!)

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