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Superfoods – what, why and ones we love!

As a prefix, the term ‘super’ means: over, above or beyond; to an extreme degree greater than its kind.

Adding the prefix super to a food tells us to expect nutrient and health values over, above and far, far greater than other foods.

Superfoods are naturally high in multiple nutrients working together to be easily absorbed and used by the body where they perform multiple health-promoting functions.

Better than a burger. Better than your average banana too.

While most plant foods are healthy, superfoods go above and beyond basic nutrition needs and deliver more health benefits. Here are some of our favourite superfoods and what makes them super…

Manuka Honey

All (raw) honey is super because it contains a broad variety of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, including B-vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Honey also contains active antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral enzymes. This combination of nutrients and enzymes gives honey anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (Patel & Chichello, 2013).

Over and above this, Manuka Honey contains a special bioactive compound, methylglyoxal MGO.

MGO is an extremely potent antibacterial. The more MGO in your manuka, the greater its antibacterial activity so among Manuka Honeys there are levels of super on top of super!

Manuka Honey is commonly used to help relieve sore throats and other oral infections and to assist healing of topical wounds. It has been shown to assist gut health and has been used as treatment for stomach ulcers and other digestive issues too (Patel & Chichello, 2013). .


When it comes to seeds, flaxseeds supercede them all!

Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, get their super power from a nutrient profile including protein, fiber, lignans, vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals (P, Mg, K, Na, Fe, Cu, Mn and Zn).

Its health properties are associated with a high Omega 3 content, phyto-otesrogens, antioxidants and fibre.

Flaxseeds have been studied extensively and are a well recognized functional food with key benefits for heart health. In humans with symptoms of cardiovascular disease, dietary flaxseed has displayed powerfully protective effects. Benefits include reduced blood pressure and improved lipid metabolism, reducing risk of heart disease and stroke (Al-Saeed & Al-Attar 2021, Goyal et., al., 2014, Parikh, 2019).

Studies of dietary flaxseeds have also shown benefits for reducing blood glucose in diabetic patients (Parikh, 2019). For healthy skin and antiaging, dietary flaxseed helped reduced rough and scaling skin and increased skin hydration and smoothness. Studies on flaxseeds activity in the gut report reduced constipation with one study also showing benefits for weight, fasting glucose, and triglyceride balance. (Parikh, 2019)

Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli is a health food favourite due to long-researched chemo-protective and detoxifying qualities. The compounds associated with these benefits are indole 3 carbinole, sulphoraphane and other glucosinolates (Vanduchova P. Anzenbacherova, E. 2019, Yagishita et., al., 2019, Sulforaphane Glucosinolate Monograph, Alternative Medicine Review, 2023).

Broccoli also contains a broad range of vitamins and minerals. It’s very high in fibre, Vitamin C and K and the phytonutrients kaempferol, quercetin. These add digestive and strong antioxidant action to this remarkable fridge and family favourite. This makes broccoli is a verified superfood.

If this isn’t super enough, one of the best things about superfoods is they’re easy to add to your diet without side effects. Now that’s super!

*See reference papers for this article below.


Al-Saeed, F. A., Al-Attar, A, M. (2021). Pharmacological Properties and Health Benefits of Flaxseed: A Review. Current Science International.10(1), pp.8-17 .

Goyal, A., Sharma, V., Upadhyay, N., Gill, S., & Sihag, M. (2014). Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. Journal Of Food Science And Technology, 51(9), 1633-1653.

Murillo, G., & Mehta, R. (2001). Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention. Nutrition And Cancer, 41(1), 17-28.

Patel, S., & Cichello, S. (2013). Manuka honey: an emerging natural food with medicinal use. Natural Products And Bioprospecting, 3(4), 121-128.

Parikh, M., Maddaford, T., Austria, J., Aliani, M., Netticadan, T., & Pierce, G. (2019). Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients, 11(5), 1171.

Samarghandian S, Farkhondeh T, Samini F. Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research. Pharmacognosy Res. 2017 Apr-Jun;9(2):121-127. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.204647. PMID: 28539734; PMCID: PMC5424551.

Vanduchova, A., Anzenbacher, P., & Anzenbacherova, E. (2019). Isothiocyanate from Broccoli, Sulforaphane, and Its Properties. Journal Of Medicinal Food, 22(2), 121-126.

Yagishita, Y., Fahey, J., Dinkova-Kostova, A., & Kensler, T. (2019). Broccoli or Sulforaphane: Is It the Source or Dose That Matters?. Molecules, 24(19), 3593.

2010, Sulforaphane Glucosinolate Monograph, Alternative Medicine Review. Volume 15 (4), pp.352-360

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