The Top 10 Super Foods

Following is an article by Dr. Bill Misner from National Bodybuilding and Fitness Magazine

Calorie-empty, processed, packaged, or long shelf-life foods have taken the place of eating whole, raw, micronutrient-rich foods over the last 50 years. Precious loss of vitamins, minerals, natural enzymes and fiber from both soil depletion and man-made packaging or processing have lowered both the quality of nutrients as well as the benefits to health.

The National Cancer Institute recommends a minimum of 5 servings of a combination of vegetables and fruits per day in order to decrease the rate of all forms of cancer in the U.S.A. (Block1991). Dietary data from 8181 subjects in the USDA's 1989-1991 Continuing Surveys of Food Intakes showed that only 32% of American adults meet the mean intake of 4.3 servings fruit and vegetables per day. (Krebs-Smith SM et al., 1995) These results suggest a need for individuals to overcome whatever barriers hinder them from eating at least 5.0 servings per day minimum (Patterson et al., 1990).

Scientists became interested in what foods, especially foods rich in phyton and antioxidant "neutriceuticals," contributed to health, energy, and recovery from the modern stresses of living. As scientists studied what caused "health", I.E. lack of disease, they noticed a remarkable correlation between people who regularly ate fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in certain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fiber. Some scientists have hypothesized that food-absorbed antioxidants, for example, occur at a higher rate than supplemental antioxidants by themselves. Chelated vitamins are absorbed at 60% of their base values, while only 10-15% of non-chelated are absorbed.

Adding a total of 5 servings of either fresh vegetables or fruits to supplement intake may raise absorption rates and overall effective in the Public Interest (CSPI) has a good ranking system for foods, as did Sharon Yntema in her book, Vegetarian Baby. Both publications rated the better foods higher based on their natural content of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The rating system below is based on the author's viewpoint (Natural Fiber is given higher value as are several other factors). However these "Top Ten" are similar to CSPI's rating lists, and those reported by Yntema (1991). The rating is based on total vitamin, mineral, and fiber content.


  1. Sweet Potato
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale and Collard Greens
  4. Carrots
  5. Broccoli
  6. Brussel Sprouts
  7. Potato
  8. Peas
  9. Tomato
  10. Artichoke


  1. Papaya
  2. Strawberries
  3. Canteloupe
  4. Tangerines
  5. Mango
  6. Apricots
  7. Persimmons
  8. Peaches
  9. Watermelons
  10. Pineapple

Dr. James Balch (1990) stated it best, "Although most people are used to eating almost all cooked foods, fruits and vegetables should be eaten raw as much as possible. Vitamins and enzymes are extremely sensitive to heat and are destroyed in the cooking process."

Dietary Fiber scours the intestinal walls of pollutants, waste products, cholesterol, and enhances weight control by improving mean fecal transit time. Fiber was weighted emphatically in the above food ratings. It is the opinion of this author that daily values (dv) of 25 grams fiber per day is not enough. The suggested dietary intake for optimal recovery, health, and quality of life is 0.5 grams to 1.0 grams per kilogram body weight. The stomach contents of our healthy Paleolithic ancestors, as measured by Eaton and Konner (1985), showed nearly double the fiber as compared to averages of the modern American today.

The notion that our depleted "natural" foods have, in tact, the biochemistry to potentiate the absorption and application of supplemental vitamins and minerals is gaining popularity amidst a sea of research studies. To prove this hypothesis would mean to measure thousands of people over at least ten years time, assuming they were eating all the necessary natural nutrients (fiber, vitamins, and minerals), in addition to their complimentary supplemental vitamins and minerals.

Until this happens, perhaps the best way to create "deep-tissue micronutrient permeation" is to take post-workout supplements with a "Top Ten" Natural Vegetable or Fruit!

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