Are Popular 'Super Foods' Really Beneficial?

A number of recent studies focusing on phytonutrients, chemicals with numerous health benefits found in the pigmentation of fruits and vegetables, show that maybe we aren't getting as many nutrients as we thought.

It turns out that popular super foods available at the grocery store like spinach and apples aren't that rich in phytonutrients. Phytonutrients may aid in preventing and treating cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, four major causes of death in the Western hemisphere.

There are phytonutrient-superior counterparts, but they can't always be easily be bought at your local grocer. For example, though now they are used for landscaping, Siberian crabapple trees used to be eaten frequently by our ancestors. Despite their heightened phytonutrient levels, the reason you won't be able to find them now is because their sour, unpleasant taste keeps most stores from stocking them. On the other hand, spinach's competition can be found in your backyard or local farmers' market — dandelion greens, are becoming much more popular due to their high vitamin and low calorie content.

However, just because we aren't seeing phytonutrient-rich foods labeled in our grocery stores doesn't mean that they aren't there. Scallions' fragrant green stalks, for example, are high in both fiber and antioxidants, being a great source of phytonutrients.

In general, fruits and vegetables still contribute to our overall health, and we should continue to eat them, but instead of getting a Spanish onion at your grocer, maybe opt for the scallions.