Five Unexpected Super-Foods
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I love the concept called “Super-Foods.” How could anyone possibly argue with this innovative nutritional identifier? Who wouldn’t want to eat such an awesome sounding grocery item? This term was coined relatively recently to bring some respect and superhero sexiness to foods like goji berries, chia seeds, raw cacao,  coconut oil, acai berries, maca, and more. In many ways, the wisdom of honoring an edible as a super food is due to its intense nutrient density, and its potential health giving or health protective effects. It’s also a brilliant nutritional strategy to introduce some relatively new foods into our culture’s food chain. Dietary variety gives us humans a clear and proven evolutionary advantage.

Back in the day, meaning the 1960s and 70s, most of the super foods then were a lot less glamorous – oat bran, lecithin, sea salt, brewers yeast, dolomite (a powdered rock), margarine, and granola. How times and tastes have changed. What fascinates me is how the concept of a super food has evolved, how so many of the super foods of yesteryear were actually a bit dumb, and how the use of super foods takes on a different meaning and flavor with each decade. Will we completely run out of super food choices once we have exhausted the genetic variety of life-forms on planet Earth? And if so, then what? Maybe we’ll be so healthy that we won’t need any more. We’ll all just be eating high anti-oxidant, nutrient dense raw delicious dark chocolate, and smiling our way into immortality.

But I’m not so sure.

Which is why, in the interest of finding an inexhaustible supply of super foods, I have come up with this humble list of 5 unexpected super foods that in my opinion, keep on giving. I believe these super foods are superior, here to stay, proven, and suitable for pretty much every metabolic type, every blood type, and even most taste buds. And in the interest of full disclosure, I do not have a business interest in any of these super foods, so you can be assured of my nutritional and scientific impartiality. Here’s my list.

Super-Food #1 – Oxygen

Vitamin O is arguably the most necessary and kick-ass super food in the solar system. No oxygen, no life. Now that’s a valuable nutrient. In fact, food + oxygen = calorie burning, so not only does oxygen figure into just about every chemical reaction in the human organism, it’s the key nutrient – really – that helps keep you trim and melts away gobs of fat. This super food is here to stay. And honestly, most of us can use more. Many of you have heard of hyperbaric oxygen chambers. Previously, these machines have been used for certain medical emergencies and a handful of disease conditions only. But lately, many researchers and clinicians are using this expensive apparatus to help create optimum health, longevity, brainpower, and more. But you don’t need a machine to up your oxygen game. Key sources that are free include deep breathing, the relaxation response (stimulates deep breathing), exercise (increase oxygen uptake and utilization), nature (we generally find higher oxygen content in non-urban environments), buildings with windows that open, yoga, and prolonged sex, to name just a few. Oxygen is a super food you cannot argue with. Go ahead, try.

Super-Food #2 – Water

Water has made a great comeback as of late, but it’s still vastly underrated. In terms of drinking water, we have yet to scratch the surface of water’s true healing potential. There are technologies out there that increase the oxygen saturation of water, the bond angle of hydrogen and oxygen, the polarity of the H20 molecule, and more. Victor Schauberger a genius on the magnitude of Einstein who is largely overlooked by history, made profound discoveries on the healing properties of water that are still little known, yet epic in possibilities. But there’s more to water than consuming it. Water has profound healing properties when we immerse ourselves in it. I’m talking about a pristine river or lake, an unpolluted ocean, a waterfall, or a hot spring. Science has yet to quantify the literal healing properties of such water, yet civilizations around the globe since ancient times have intuitively understood the power of water in this way. Just ask some of the smartest water experts in the world today– surfer dudes. Water is also a powerful healer when we alternate between immersing ourselves in hot, then very cold water for a number of times. It’s an ancient strategy that is poised for a comeback. Some super foods you eat, and some you can dive into.

Super-Food #3 – Sun

When did the sun become our enemy? How did science and industry convince us to constantly protect ourselves from it, and lather ours skin with strange unnatural chemicals with fancy protection names that are way more caustic and carcinogenic to the body than the sun could ever be? (Yes, it’s true, the synthetic sun blocking agents are toxic.) The sun is the original super food. Without the sun – well, I won’t even go into it. Human beings are essentially biological transformation machines of the sun’s energy. The whole of our physiology is designed to track the sun’s movement and adjust to its’ timetable. We call this feature of the body “circadian rhythms.” You’ve heard about all the compelling, well-documented research on the profound therapeutic and protective effects of Vitamin D. The long list of metabolic and mental diseases that it offsets include cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression, bone health, immunity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many more. Well, forget about the word “Vitamin D” and simply substitute the real super food – the sun. No sun, no vitamin D. There’s only a teeny weeny amount of vitamin D that any human could ever obtain through diet. Vitamin D, which is really a hormone-like chemical, is a direct result of the sun interacting with our epidermal biochemistry. You don’t “need vitamin D”. You need the sun that produces it for you. Science has reduced the sun to a supplement, which is like saying you don’t really need food, you only need a collection of about 50 or so key powdered nutrients to support life. Try living on that mixture and email me what happens. (Actually, don’t waste your time. Government scientists tried this during the space program and it flopped. Astronauts became terribly ill.) The bottom line: enjoy nature’s truest super food. Sun bathe, stop fearing the sun, of course be responsible, soak up some rays, and produce vitamin D for free.

Super-Food #4 – Touch

Are you getting enough of this super food? Have there ever been times when you did get regular, extra helpings of touch? How did it feel? Was it as good for you as it was for me? The healing properties of touch are well documented when it comes to various forms of massage, soft tissue work, spinal manipulation (Chiropractic care), laying on of hands, Shiatsu, Hakomi Therapy, Rolfing and so much more. Science has concluded that a lack of touch will measurably limit the nervous system development of infants. Touch literally is food. Healing or pleasurable touch indeed elicits the sensation of pleasure not only in the touch-er, but also in the touch-ee. This pleasure catalyzes a relaxation response, which generates the optimum state of digestion, assimilation, and day-in day-out calorie burning. This means it moves you towards optimum nutritional status and ideal weight. Tell me a supplement or food that does all that, and feels really really good. Many of us get touched, but it’s not the high quality, organic, non-toxic kind. When was the last time you received touch that was non-grabby, non-needy, freely and lovingly given, and just for you? And when was the last time you offered this super food to another in that spirit?

Super-Food #5 – Spirituality

I’ll admit it. This is my favorite super food. I like it so much that I will even do something I find very silly – I’ll quote myself –  “Spirituality is the new Super Food.” I said this yesterday when I was in Whole Foods and wanted to buy chocolate covered goji berries but didn’t because it seemed too expensive. So, I got all spiritual on myself, and it worked. I felt better. Spirituality is the antidote to our sometimes- religious obsession with food and weight. We can be so enamored with nutrition, longevity, and optimum eating that we forget to enjoy life, celebrate what we have, and love what is. We can get so caught up in cleansing, going 100% raw, perfectly vegan, or have fat free abs, that we lose sight of who we really are and what we’re doing on planet earth in the first place. We need a bigger picture. What good is a healthy body if we suck at relationships, if we don’t contribute to humanity, if we avoid maturing emotionally, and if we forget to continuously update our spiritual software? Spirituality is the new Superfood. You can quote me on that.

Ok. I know what you’re thinking – “He should have included super foods like love, and play, and sex, and communication and travel and…” Well, you’re right. But my Internet marketing experts tell me I need to write very short blogs and articles, and this one is considered too long for most attention spans. Maybe “attention span” should be a super food.

Please feel free to let me know your additions to my super food list. And in the mean time, move over goji berries…

My warmest regards,
Marc David
Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2014

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What’s your favorite unexpected superfood? 

What would you add to the unexpected superfoods list? 

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  • LiZa Bliss

    I love this article.
    And yes I will still indulge in a Goji berry now and again and know it is just a treat.
    Thank you so much for this inspiring reminder of the truly important life nutrients.
    oxox,
    LiZa

  • Not just super foods … super article !!! Reminds is that we need to feed our mind, heart and spirit as well as our body. Thank you.

  • This was an absolutely lovely post, thanks!! Jenna*

    • Marc David

      Hi everyone,

      I absolutely loved writing this article and I’m very pleased that it has impacted many people.
      Thank you for your gracious comments!

      May these ‘Super-Foods’ feed you for life!

      Warmly,

      Marc David

  • Another excellent post, Marc. . .superfoods for thought. Thank you!

  • joe Grosso

    Marc,
    You are a nutritional Genius.
    Joe Grosso (Brooklyn) the h2o is still the finest tap drinkinG water on the planet.In 1901 it beat out the Perrier Co. for taste and quality. Still comes from 100 miles away thru the same water tunnels.
    Your Granpa Jack is proof alone.
    I am certain. I worked for the NYC water supply department for 25 years. Now retired in Florida and lovinG your knowledGe and information you continue to send me.
    sincerely

  • Enjoyed reading your article Marc! I have worked as an energy practitioner and integrative nutritionist for some years now, and I remember when I was studying Nutrition at the Seven Bowls, all was going great, we were learning much about the elements and Eastern approaches to health and well being, then in our final year, nutraceutical companies started to bring in their products and basically offered yet another approach to attaining wellness – albeit an expensive boring approach to living well. One of my questions at the time to every representative was, how long does one need to be on such and such a supplement? No one could give me a clear answer and pretty much as time went on I realized that I already knew the answer – ‘indefinately’ and for lasting results ‘keep taking it’. I then went on to work at Pharmaca and ended up selling supplements for a few years (among other things), and although I felt there were some great medicines out there, I watched many people come in and spend a lot of money on the best of the best and still they were searching for the ‘magic pill’. I saw that in many there was a sense of ‘lack’ that they came from, perhaps it was these “superfoods” they were lacking in??
    Personally I feel most alive when I move slowly through my day, purposefully slow, eat slow, stop and allow myself to feel the moment – especially when I hit a point when I don’t know what the next task is – rather than trying to fill the void, i like to wait and listen and feel the depth of feeling inside of me and come back to the simplicity of the 5 senses.
    Lindsey Stirling

    • Garima

      “especially when I hit a point when I don’t know what the next task is – rather than trying to fill the void” -beautiful thought, beautifully said. Made me introspect.

    • Karna Nau

      Hi Lindsey,

      Karna here. Thank you for sharing your story with our community!
      I also feel great when I spend my day mindfully.
      Sometimes it is difficult because we live in such a ‘doing’ society.
      But when we get caught up in this mindset, it is very rewarding to sit down, breathe for a few moments, and just ‘be.’

      ‘Being’ makes the ‘doing’ much more vivid and textured. It gives us perspective.

      Thank you,

      Karna Nau

  • Irene

    Mark David – Love it. You are just freakin’ awesome! You are also my Super Food! 🙂

  • Yolanda Battaglia

    I love this article and I love your teachings and outlook on life. You’re the BEST! Thank you Marc.
    Yolanda

  • KarnaN

    Hi everyone,

    We are very glad that so many of you enjoyed this great post.
    Thank you for your comments and we appreciate your feedback!

    Warm regards,

    Karna Nau
    Director of Student Relations
    Institute for the Psychology of Eating

  • Hello Mark and Karna…I am a Holistic Nutritionist and your work is transforming my practice. I so appreciate this article/blog/thoughts, fantastic. “Science has reduced the sun to a supplement”….exactly! Just coming off of a heavy clinical mentorship where supplements reigned supreme. Although the experience was invaluable, this nails it and brings it back to earth! Thank you…Jena Savadsky

    • KarnaN

      Hi Jena,

      What a wonderful reply. I’m sure you are transforming several lives.

      Warm regards,

      Karna Nau

  • Elaine

    Perfectly put! I took in plenty of Super Foods today and I feel great! I ate a bunch of stuff, too 🙂

  • I love this!! It is very wise!! Hope you will discover the gentle power of Rubenfeld Synergy in the Touch Super food category!! Thank you for all the inspiration you provide!

  • mira

    Mark – you are amazing, awesome, intense, clear…this is one of your best pieces ever! thank you for taking the time to articulate life in such a real, helpful, fun way! you are a spiritual rockstar 🙂

  • Great post! I really enjoyed it. So often we’re looking for the next best things rather than going back to basics. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Dan

    Hey Marc,

    These are all part of the seven elements of optimal health and healing.
    My list of more ‘abstract’ superfoods
    Self Love-the only absolute love
    Mind-conscious intellectual mind and subconscious emotional mind
    Fire-Sun
    Air-Breath
    Water-Fluids
    Earth-Nutrition and Movement, Money Management, Career, and Environment
    Rest-Conscious Rest, Active Rest and Unconscious Rest to make it all work
    Do The C.U.R.E. Dan…

    • KarnaN

      Hi Dan,

      I love your abstract superfoods.
      We are what we eat, right?

      Take care,

      Karna Nau
      Director of Student Relations
      Institute for the Psychology of Eating

  • Hi friends,
    Thank you once again for all your kind words and feedback!
    I so appreciate you being part of this conversation.
    Warmly,
    Marc

  • Laurie Thompson

    How true that too many people focus on the vitamins, the vegan foods, the newest fad in foods or food preparation,etc and forget about nourishing the soul! The value of laughter and the boon it is to good health (as well as relieving stress) is nothing short of amazing! Ditto with taking the time to reflect daily and enjoy the everyday things that are easy to take for granted. Nothing would or COULD mean much to me without my spirituality, though, and it IS indeed, the ultimate Super Food!! This is the first article I have read of yours, and I can see I have homework to do hunting down others! My only regret is that your gigs are in New York and I am in Alberta, Canada – looking fwd to future articles, and thank you!

  • Hey Marc,
    Great article! Especially agree with “Spirituality is the antidote to our sometimes- religious obsession with food and weight.” I’m all down with the latest in nutrition research, but without a deep spiritual practice and connection, the results are usually shallow and short lived.
    Keep up the great work,
    Geoff

  • Mary Beth

    I LOVE this post!!! As much as I like most of the “superfoods” out there, I think it’s mostly a marketing scheme. The truth is we are super-humans already until we compromise our super powers with foods, ideas, and relationships that are poisonous to us. You can eat a pound of goji berries a day, but as long as you’re still eating fast food, talking down to yourself, engaging in toxic relationships, and living a dispassionate sedentary lifestyle… It’s a total waste of money.

    I would have to say art (mainly music for myself) is one of my favorite superfoods. Making it and taking it in feeds my soul in a way I can’t begin to explain. And the color green. Whether I’m eating it, juicing it, painting with it, or letting my eyes bathe in it as I walk through the park – it’s the color of energy, healing, and vitality. We could all use a little more of that, huh?

    XO – MB

  • Kristine.

    Well written & informative, Thank You.

  • Vanessa

    Loved the article. These are the exact types of principles that I am building my business, Whole Health Harmony, around. You can never be fully healthy if you are missing any of the aspects of life, body, mind, and spirit. Thank you so much. I’ll be bookmarking this article. I’d love to talk with you about possibly being a guest speaker at a WHH retreat one day.

  • Marquita Hain

    Best nutritional advice i have ever heard!!! Thank you, Marc!!!!

  • Andrea

    Waw. When I was opening this blog I expected anything but things that you have put there. I expected greens and red fruits and some profoung powders. How easy it is to forger about the basic elements that keep us alive and happy and healthy.
    Thanks so much for this post. It has made my day.

    • Stephanie Abbott

      Awesome Blog today. My favorite Superfood here is Spirituality. It really encompasses all of the super-foods you mention. I’ll be sharing this blog for a lovely Sunday morning reading.

      Much Thanks Marc,

      Steph

  • Paul Gallagher

    Marc,
    I have just completed reading your article above and it kept me riveted with such great intensity that I am still spinning from the whole epiphany of it all , thank you so very much !
    Paul Gallagher.
    P.S. The first law of Thermodynamics states :-

    ENERGY(JOULES) IS NEITHER CREATED NOR DESTROYED

    OUR BRAIN, THE WINDOW OF OUR SPIRIT…..OUR SOUL
    ___ AVERAGES 3 WATTS OF POWER ( JOULES / SECOND )
    ___ AT THE SPLIT SECOND OF DEATH WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE JOULES OF ENERGY
    ___ HMM ? . . .

    • Paul –

      Thanks for the kind feedback.
      I’m pleased that these articles are ringing true with you.
      And thank you for the physics lesson! Very provocative…

      Best wishes,
      Marc David

  • haha I LOVE this post! So clever. I would add SELF-LOVE the the list of super-foods 🙂
    Thanks for a great article.

    • Hello Amanda,

      It’s great to see your spirit and enthusiasm here.
      What a good point – definitely worth adding to the list.

      Warmly,
      Marc David

  • I too love this post, it just makes sense .
    I would definitely add Love and Laughter , they are my top 2 <3 🙂
    Jodee.

    • Jodee –

      I’m so glad.
      You chose well.

      Warmly,
      Marc David

  • M

    Also great: colostrum..
    cows ‘milk’ produced within 24h of giving birth to a calf, which actually is lactose free and filled with anti-oxidantes, it boosts the immune-system,
    Most folks use the dried version.. but there are farmers who sell to help folks who (despreately) are in need of a healthy boost, due to whatever illness..
    Love!

    • M –
      Yes colostrum’s a good one.
      Thanks for adding to the conversation.

      Best,
      Marc David

  • Jaffra Austin

    Marc, I love having your article on Unexpected Super-Foods to add to my perspective on life. I too think laughter and self-love are major super-foods, but I’d also add Inspiration. It is so closely related to oxygen and breathing, but connects with spirituality directly. It happens to be something I NEED to give and receive every day, even more than touch. (If I had to lose all my senses, touch would be the one I’d want to lose LAST.)

    I LOVED watching as much of the event as I could, and my whole life will now be changing in a most-wanted way through the Gabriel Method. I’m SO happy to have learned of his philosophy through your program. Thank you, Marc, my favorite interviewer! Your purpose in life is now feeding my purpose. How great is THAT?

    Jaffra

    • Hi Jaffra,
      Thanks for your kind words.
      I’m also so glad to hear you enjoyed the Conference. It was so much fun to do!
      Thank you as well for voting me your favorite.
      I love how we’re all in it together.

      Best,
      Marc

  • Excellent post, Marc.

    Good choices. I would add rhythm. I didn’t really grasp the importance of rhythm until I started experiencing menopausal symptoms. I was a little surprised as I had not had a period in over 10 years due to a hysterectomy (retained ovaries).

    It took me some time to realize that one of the reasons I felt so “off” was the loss of a hormonal rhythm that had been part of my life for so many years. Plus the disruption of sleep rhythms due to the hormonal imbalances.

    Making time for self-reflection and mediation (part of Superfood Spirituality) has been very helpful.

    Looking forward to reading more from you,
    Janet

    • Hi Janet,

      I’m a big fan of rhythm. Good addition.
      So glad that you’ve found some important ways to reconnect with your own inner sense of rhythm. Meditation is a key spiritual superfood.

      Warmly,
      Marc

  • Deborah Penner

    I so love your fresh outlook on food and eating and what is important in the grand scheme .

    • Hi Deborah,

      Thanks for your kind words.
      Glad to have you as part of our tribe.

      Warmly,
      Marc

  • Cecilia Christensen

    I could not agree with you more. When I think about my healing journey as a cancer survivor; my mind immediately reassesses all the lessons learned, that were pretty much intuitively acquired along the way. Your recommended (5) are it. This is the bodies synergistic way of of composing health in it purest form. I think of my husbands loving hands constantly messaging my nerve damaged feet after chemo-the message therapist at the lifetime spa. The women’s group at the local church-the biking trip after finishing my last chemo treatment-the list goes on and on. It’s wonderful to hear and read inspiring articles like this. It’s such good medicine! Such good info.,
    Thank you.

    • Marc David

      Hi Cecilia,

      Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story.
      So glad to hear you’re on the mend and that the work we’re doing here at the Institute is hitting that level of inspiration and support that everyone needs a little bit more of these days. I’m glad to know that you had such a good, caring team by your side.

      Warmly,
      Marc

  • Harcharan Singh

    Thank you so much-Marc.From now on I will always consider you as my SUPER hero for elaborating in such beautiful language on the topic of five SUPERFOODS.I truly believe you are a nutritional. EINSTEIN. I am a newcomer to your Institute and feel so lucky to be part of it. Keep up the good work for humanity’s sake. From Harcharan Singh.

    • Marc David

      Hi Harcharan,
      Wow! Such praise – thanks for the encouragement and faith you’ve placed in me and the work we’re doing here at the Institute.

      Glad to have you on the path with us.

      Best,
      Marc

  • Michelle Dwyer

    I loved this post and shared it with my community. As a holisitic health coach and nutrition consultant, I think these “super-foods” are the foundation of true health and well-being. Liek your post says towards the bottom, I would add love, joy, play and gratitude as well. Thank you for bringing your message to so many people.

    • Thanks for connecting, Michelle! It is great to know that others out there in the health/nutrition world are jiving with us! Warmly, Marc

  • Jess

    Thank you for posting this on Facebook. I’m your fan. How about Dance-challenge entwined with expression, and Dirt-pure connection?

  • GabriellaLengyel

    Hi, I enjoyed your article very much. It’s style is a kind of another superfood, humourous-friendly -teasing-humanism (if I’ve right interpret it). The superfood list is superb, and it could be added an endless of other earthy (human)superfoods, for each of us just looke around the world and we can find plenty of it on our earth. Do you think so? I’m seriously appreciate your article and your work. I’ve listened to a couple of your interviews a couple of month ago and they were very nice and gentle.
    I’m a new subscriber. Thank you

  • Hi Gabriella, so glad you enjoyed the article 🙂 I agree that we could find plenty more 🙂 Feel free to share what you come up with with us! We are happy you are part of our community! Warmly Marc

  • Jamie Vaughan

    i love that sun is a super food! i’m so tired of people harping on me about sunscreen and my fair skin…..i don’t like being sun burnt either but i love sunshine!!!! so glad its a super food 🙂

    • So glad that you enjoyed this article, Jamie! It’s so great to hear that you appreciate the sun. Thanks for sharing. Warmly, Marc David

About The Author
Marc David
Founder

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. His work has been featured on CNN, NBC and numerous media outlets. His books have been translated into over 10 languages, and his approach appeals to a wide audience of eaters who are looking for fresh, inspiring and innovative messages about food, body and soul. He lectures internationally, and has held senior consulting positions at Canyon Ranch Resorts, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and the Disney Company. Marc is also the co-founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.