Where Superfoods Come From

Hint: It’s not the supermarket aisle

It is estimated that blueberries have been growing in North America for more than 13,000 years.

We have probably all heard the term "superfood," and have some idea of what these nutrient-rich foods are. As the quite self-explanatory world implies, these are foods that in one way or another are very good for you. From preventing diabetes or lowering cholesterol to giving your brain a boost of omega-3s, the list of possible health benefits from superfoods is long.

Click here to see the Where Superfoods Come From (Slideshow)

Nutritionist and author Elizabeth Somer explained to WebMD that even people who generally are healthy could benefit from adding a few simple superfoods to their diet. "I'd say that 50 percent to 70 percent of suffering could be eliminated by what people eat and how they move: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension can all be impacted," Somer told WebMD. 

The list of superfoods is long, and new food items with a "super" status keep appearing, as new studies and research prove their health benefits. Dark chocolate, for example, was long seen as just another fatty and sugary chocolate, but recent studies have ranked it among the beneficial foods, as cocoa contain high amounts of the good-for-you antioxidants known as flavonoids. But while the different superfoods and their health benefits are often talked about, it is less known where most of these foods actually come from. The cancer-fighting broccoli might seem like a classic American vegetable (and nightmare of many children), but this green vegetable was actually not cultivated in the U.S. until the 1920s, and has its roots in Italy. And quinoa, the protein-packed super grain, can be traced back as far as 5,000 years, when it was a staple part of the Incan diet in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia.

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Curious to find out where more of our popular superfoods really come from (hint: it’s not the supermarket aisle)? Click through our slideshow and learn all about the origin of eight health-boosting superfoods.