Dr. Murray’s Top 7 Superfoods

 

Introduction

In order to provide some framework for discussion, my definition of a superfood is one that provides exceptional health benefits. Obviously, virtually any food, herb, or spice has the potential to be a superfood. But, most often a superfoods list focuses on berries; exotic superfruits like acai, goji, noni, and others; kale and other dark green vegetables; fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines; many legumes (peanuts, lentils, beans) and whole grains. While I agree with these sorts of foods being worthy on any superfood list, my list is different because my general diet recommendations already focus on so many superfoods.

I Love Flavonoids

One of the keys to eating a diet that promotes health and longevity is focusing on flavonoids, a type of plant pigment and a member of the larger polyphenol family. As a class of compounds, flavonoids are often called “nature’s biological response modifiers” because of their anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antiviral, and anticancer properties.

Many superfoods owe their benefits to their flavonoid content. While different flavonoids have different effects in the body, the key factor may not be a high intake of any one particular flavonoid, but rather a high total flavonoid intake that also provides a high variety of flavonoids rather than any one particular flavonoid class. There are over 8,000 different types of flavonoids out there in nature.

Food vs. Supplements

What the research shows is that it does not seem to matter whether the flavonoids come from dietary sources or through supplements containing flavonoid-rich extracts. The caveat is that the dosage must be sufficient, and the total intake must come from a variety of sources. So, with this caveat of the importance of proanthocyanidins in mind, what is an effective dosage of flavonoids?

Based upon my interpretation of all of this data, I believe that the total flavonoid intake for general health should be at least 500 mg from a wide variety of sources. My flavonoid intake is exceptionally high because of my dietary and supplementation strategy. For many years I have consciously sought to achieve a minimum of 2,000 mg daily and usually go well beyond this total on most days. Here is a list of the foods and supplements that I consume daily to reach this goal:

Table 1—Dr. Murray’s Daily Flavonoid Intake

Dietary sources:

Daily dosage

Flavonoid content

Berries

1 cup

205 mg

Raw cacao powder

3 tablespoons

85 mg

Tea (green or herbal)

12 ounces

400 mg

Decaffeinated coffee

12 ounces

400 mg

Nuts

1/2 cup

85 mg

General diet not included above

150 mg

Supplement sources:

   

Micronized diosmin*

600 mg

600 mg

Resveratrol

500 mg

500 mg

Cacao flavanols

375 mg

375 mg

Green Tea Phytosome®

300 mg

100 mg

Grape seed extract

300 mg

300 mg

Quercetin LipoMicel Matrix

500 mg

500 mg

            *from VeinSense (Natural Factors)

 

How to Calculate Your Flavonoid Intake

You can use a table of the approximate flavonoid content of selected foods derived from multiple sources, but primarily the USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods, Release 3.1 (December 2013). Results vary considerably based upon numerous factors, including the water content of the selected source, analytical method, exact species or type of the selected food, and other factors. In general, smaller more dense fruit will provide a higher content of flavonoids than larger, more woody fruit. For example, a smaller, denser blueberry or apple will have a higher content of flavonoids than a larger, higher water content blueberry or apple. The key is to try to hit that 500 mg per day target and remember these foods have numerous other beneficial compounds in them besides flavonoids.

 

Table 2—Approximate Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods in Milligrams (mg) per 3½ oz (100 g) Serving*

Foods Flavanols Anthocyanins

4‑Oxo‑

flavonoids

Total
Fruits        
Apples 30 15 15 60
Apricots 25 15 40
Black berries 15 350 2 367
Blueberries 15 190 5 205
Cherries, sweet 40 75 5 120
Cranberries 20 150 50 275
Currants, black 15 200 150 415
Grapefruit 50 50
Grapes, black 4 125 20 149
Grapes, green 10 4 14
Grapes, red 4 80 3 87
Lemons, without peel 83 83
Oranges, all commercial types 101 101
Peaches 21 7 2 30
Pears 27 4 4 20
Plums, black 140 54 40 234
Raspberries 20 135 10 165
Strawberries 12 75 9 96
         
Vegetables        
Cabbage, red (raw) 210 3 213
Kale, raw 135 135
Onions, red (raw) 53 235 288
Parsley 330 330
Radishes, raw 100 2 102
         
Nuts and Seeds        
Almonds 7 4 10 21
Chia seeds 34 34
Hazelnuts 12 11 23
Pecans 25 25 50
         
Miscellaneous        
Cacao powder 8,500 8,500
Cocoa powder, unsweetened 378 378
Chocolate, dark semisweet 65 65
Tea, black brewed 119 4 123
Tea, green brewed 128 5 133
Wine, red 125 80 3 208

*Flavanols include catechins and proanthocyanins; 4‑Oxo‑flavonoids include flavanones, flavones, and flavonols (including quercetin).

My Top Seven Superfoods

Before getting to my superfoods list, I like to say that when it comes to superfoods, Americans suffer from xenophilia. Let’s examine the meaning of this term. “Xeno” means foreign and “philia” means love. So, what I am referring to is my feeling that we tend to think of exotic, foreign-sounding fruits and vegetables as being much more of a superfood than the wondrous common fruits and vegetables that are very accessible to us. For example, in the past decade or so various “superfruits” have dominated new product introductions in health food stores. However, I am not sure that the health benefits provided by “exotic” superfruits are significantly greater than those provided by familiar fruits.

 

Table 3—Superfruits: Familiar vs. Exotic

Familiar Exotic
Apples Acai
Black currant Baobab
Blueberry Camu Camu
Cranberry Goji
Grape Mangosteen
Strawberry Maqui
Pomegranate Noni

 

There is also little doubt that many common fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, spices, herbs, and other foods are worthy of superfood status. That said, there are seven superfoods that I try to ingest on a daily basis because of their exceptional health properties:

  • Berries
  • Raw Cacao Powder and Dark Chocolate
  • Green tea
  • Bee pollen
  • Ground flaxseeds
  • Whey protein
  • PGX

The last item, PGX, is a revolutionary dietary fiber matrix that is backed by over 15 years of research and development. Detailed clinical studies have shown PGX to exert the following benefits:

  • Reduces appetite and promotes effective weight loss
  • Stabilizes blood sugar control
  • Increases insulin sensitivity
  • Reduces the glycemic index of any food, beverage, or meal by 35–50%
  • Lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides

PGX is available in a variety of different forms, including granules, capsules, and part of drink mixes for satiety or meal replacement.

Final Comments

I am passionate about these seven superfoods and definitely make them a big focus in my daily routine. But they are not the only “superfoods” that I consume. In fact, I think my whole diet is focused on health promoting foods. You can do the same and enjoy better health, higher energy levels, and greater clarity of thought.

 

For More Information

If you have not ordered my latest book, The Longevity Matrix, click on the link. The information above is an example of the type of practical information that you will find in The Longevity Matrix.

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