Superfood, n. A food or category of foods that provides greater nutritional or medicinal value than commonly associated with food.

Marketers introduced the term “superfood” to help them sell expensive products, and most often they use it to mean:

  • A rare or expensive food that provides greater nutritional or therapeutic value than normally associated with food.

Foods of this description may benefit their sellers more than they do their consumers. Many people resent this, with good reason, and some therefore assume that there are no superfoods. I prefer to think of a superfood as:

  • An affordable or readily forageable food that provides greater nutritional or medicinal benefit than is commonly associated with food.

Examples of affordable or readily forageable foods that pack an extra nutritional or medicinal punch include nettle, red clover, dandelion, burdock root, garlic, ginger, seaweed (particularly whatever kinds grow near you), mushrooms, kimchi, miso, and sauerkraut.

If you have access to a community garden plot or if you have a yard suitable for growing vegetables, then we may add any vegetable that is easy to grow and has particularly strong nutritional and / or medicinal value to our list. Brussel sprouts, kale, okra, raspberries, and beets come to mind. If you can easily raise free-range poultry on your land, their eggs would also qualify as a superfood. If you are able to raise bees, so would your very own, very local honey. If you can raise goats or sheep, raw, fermented goat or sheep milk products would apply as well, if they agree with with you. If you raise free-range animals for meat and can deal with eating their organs, these, too, would qualify as superfoods.

However beneficial a food may be, if it doesn’t agree with you, it’s not a superfood for you. We may generalize about the nutritional and medicinal perks of our food, but there are always people for whom the food that keeps us growing will be unsafe, as well as others for whom it will be unacceptable. A good diet should include a daily dollop of respect for different needs, understandings, and tastes.