1. K-State home
  2. »Research and Extension
  3. »Rawlins County
  4. »Health and Nutrition
  5. »Superfoods

Rawlins County


What is a Superfood and do they really prevent certain diseases?

Superfoods, or functional foods, have been in the news lately as a way to prevent everything from cancer to the common cold. While experts don’t always agree on which foods should make the list, research has shown that there are certain foods or Superfoods that offer us an extra benefit when eating them other than flavor, carbohydrates, fat and protein. Many Superfoods are high in a phytochemicals or antioxidants. Some examples of antioxidants are:

  • lutein in pumpkin
  • lycopene in tomatoes
  • polyphenols in green tea
  • anthocyanins in blueberries
  • ferulic acid in oatmeal
  • flavonoids in oranges
  • coenzyme Q10 in spinach

Antioxidants are the scavengers of the body. They capture free radicals in our blood and prevent them from doing damage to our cells which can lead to disease. Our bodies produce antioxidants but it doesn’t appear to be enough without consuming some in our food. Research has also shown that taking supplements with antioxidants is not effective and can even increase your risk of death. This is probably because the interactions between all the chemicals in our foods are not fully understood.