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AnotherVincent

Superfoods

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List of superfoods (nutrient-dense for a given amount of KiloCalories.) I know about and use on at least a semi-regularly basis and can work well together to compensate for one or more nutrient deficiency in my usual diet (but could likely work in your diet too as far as nutrients are concerned) :

 

Broccoli : staple food, good all-around nutrient profile, couldn't think of any negative point against

Avocado : staple food, high mono-unsaturated fats, decent nutrient profile, couldn't think of any point against

Olive oil : good fats profile, other benefits (although I still can't tell for sure whether what I buy is good quality extra-virgin olive oil).

Oysters  : high zinc, high vitamin B12 (around 10 grams a day is enough for all intent and purposes).

Mussels : high vitamin B12 (around 10 grams a day is enough for all intent and purposes).

RIce bran : high vitamin B3, good magnesium, (but) also good manganese

Potassium Salt : high potassium, no calories

Chia or flax seeds : high omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid - ala).

Liver (usually beef, sometimes calf) : high B12, high copper, high retinol, high choline

Mineral water : good mineral profile (Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and trace elements, zero calories.)

Yeast extract : high B vitamins (such as B1 and B3)

Various dried spices (thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano) : good minerals (for instance iron) and almost no calories, especially given the small amount you'd normally put in your food (like, around one gram a day.)

 

Can everyone add their own, so that we can all get good ideas for our planned diets?

Any other reason why these or other foods are a boon?

Also, any comments as to why some of these could be recommended against?

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Vincent,

Re EVOO:, oleic acid , polyphenols and tocopherols are some of its main benefits, the kind of polyphenols (secoiridoids) apparently exhibiting strong xenohormetic properties. If you search in the forums, there are many dedicated and useful threads.

Good-quality EVOO : there are dedicated threads to its sourcing as well. Lab analyses are necessary to make sure of the quality of the product. Quality decays the longer the time from the crop, the warmer the storing temperature, the more light it receives and so on. Quality is construed usually as total polyphenols content. 

If you cited liver, oysters and mussels, you should also include (canned) sardines:  not farmable (so far), relatively unpolluted if fished in the ocean, lots of omega 3s at a very unexpensive price.

I agree with saul that liver is not necessary (unless very specific cases) and potentially detrimental.

Mussels and oysters exhibit as you say huge amounts of B12, but that vitamin is also readily and conveniently available in unexpensive pills. Mussels may have some (at times strong) contamination problems.Chia seeds, besides being rich in omega3s, are rich in iron, pyridoxine, selenium, some calcium, phylloquinone.

I fully agree on mineral waters, some of'em are very rich in selected minerals and of trace elements

Spices: rather than minerals, their benefits lay in their polyphenol contents, each one has its specific (xenohormetic) compounds.

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Re liver : there's actually very little fat, let alone saturated fat in (beef) liver (cron-o-meter says 10 grams of beef liver has around 0.5g of fat, of which 0.3g is saturated). It's sky high in cholesterol though, maybe that's what you wanted to say?

As for more than half these foods, I wouldn't plan to use more than 5-10 grams a day, which should cut the risks drastically down (I was also wondering how many other bad substances, such as heavy metals, pesticides, etc. could be stored in liver in significant enough amounts for instance) while still providing a decent amount of micro-nutrients (copper and retinol density is pretty high too in liver - although I realize that retinol may not the best way to get vitamin A and copper can be fairly abundant in many plants and seeds sources anyway.) How established is it that liver is bad for the intestinal flora? Keep in mind, it's 5-10 grams, drowned in a sea of broccoli, avocado and other fiber-dense foods.

Also, what makes me lean towards liver as a superfood was also the idea that it's partly a storage organ, and as such even nutrients I am not actually tracking, but still unwittingly need, might be present in it (the good old Walford idea that you should eat from a variety of foods in order to cover deficiencies which you didn't foresee).

Last but not least I could understand someone not eating liver if that person is vegetarian.

 

Re sardines : good idea. I actually have some in the pantry. Two main issues : most of what I can get is canned in oil (sunflower and whatnot) which I cannot as easily account for when I track my nutrients, and could easily stack up fast, and also - shouldn't I be worried about getting too much EPA and DHA (dixit the DHA-Accelerated Aging Hypothesis?)

 

Re : mineral water : it can be hard to find those really high in minerals. As for the liver, my main hope as well as concern is the diversity of trace elements. Some of those would be useful, not well characterized as necessary, and possibly hard to get somewhere else in a restricted diet, but others (like radioactive compounds?) could also be a problem. What's your take on that?

 

In general I'd rather get my nutrients from food rather than pills, only supplementing when it's my last resort. 

 

I forgot to mention another possible con about rice bran, its supposedly high  arsenic content. There again, I'd expect getting only around 5-10 grams of it wouldn't put me at such a risk.

 

One more superfood : matcha tea. cons : pretty expensive (especially if you'd rather get the safer, possibly less polluted Japanese/organic versions). Pro : tastes good if prepared correctly (I can't stand the bitterness, but I can put it in a smoothie). High in iron and B1, as well as carotene. A slew of other health benefits too.

 

Edited by AnotherVincent

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Vincent, obviously the amounts of liver and other foods with possible drawbacks you cite are so small to minimize any hazards. Can't tell much about liver, since I don't eat it, copper tends to be very high if you eat lots of vegetable foods and retinol is good if you happen to be a bad converter of carotenes. 

Another superfood to add to the list: unprocessed lowfat cacao powder. many minerals such as Zn and Mg and above all lots of flavanols above all (-)-epicatechins. Lowfat  makes it easier to control calories.

Mineral waters: I'm just beginning to expolre the possibilities. What I can tell you is that  they can be a powerful addition to a dietary regimen. For example, before I was not sure I reached the Ca advised daily intake, now I must be careful not to reach the upper tolerable level . There are some niche waters which are very rich in Mg as well. Trace elements are not always published. Natural radioactivity is not a problem, unless it goes beyond the safety threshold. Again, I've only scratched the issues.

 

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Hi Another Vincent!

Liver, like other meats, provides a good environment for gut microbes that are bad for you.  Vegetables are of course desirable, and hopefully help make up for the meat that you are consuming.

About the accelerated aging hypotheses:  This is an old pet theory of Michael Rae.  Michael used to (probably still does) believe that instead of consuming long chain omega 3 oils (such as from fatty fish) that rather one should consume short chain omega 3 oils -- such as the oil in flax seeds.  Our bodies and brains need the long chain omega 3 fats.  Michael theorizes that short chain omega 3's can be converted to long chain omega 3's.  This is true -- for some people -- but not others.  

I would ignore Michael's accelerated aging hypothesis.

   --  Saul

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