What Are Superfoods?

Filed Under: General Health, Diet
Last Reviewed 06/09/2015

What Are Superfoods?

Whole, unprocessed foods contain hundreds of different vitamins, minerals, co-factors, and enzymes in natural balance. Each substance complements and supports the activity of the whole food so the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Even when a single compound is isolated to make a supplement—no matter how high its dosage—some of the health benefits of the whole food are missing.

“Whole” Doesn’t Equal “Super”

The term “superfood” is reserved for foods that are more nutrient- and enzyme-dense than the everyday foods we eat. Carrots, for example, provide a wide range of carotenes, while superfoods contain carotenes plus high levels of other essential complexes such as flavonoids, tocopherols, amino acids, and enzymes—all of which enhance the effects of the carotenes. And superfoods contain these compounds in a highly concentrated form, so that small amounts confer significant benefits. There are three superfoods I consider very important:


If I could take only one supplement or nutrient daily, spirulina would be my choice. It’s a primitive plant belonging to the group of blue-green algae, and it grows naturally in certain lakes located in northern Africa, Peru, and Mexico. Spirulina was a dietary staple as far back as the Aztec civilization, but it has only been extensively researched in the last 35 years.

Spirulina could be one of the best survival foods we have and warrants inclusion in everyone’s daily diet. For a maintenance dosage take 750–1,000 mg per day. For serious health problems, dosages range from about 20–30 grams per day. Spirulina:

  • Contains all eight essential amino acids. (An “essential” amino acid cannot be manufactured by the body, but can be used by the body to manufacture other aminos.)
  • Is lower in fat and provides more usuable protein (the kind properly digested and assimilated by the body) than virtually all other protein sources, including meats, milk, eggs, and tofu.
  • Contains the highest known levels of vitamin B12 and is particularly beneficial for mental function and alleviating depression.

Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is an incredible nutrient- and hormone-rich substance that modern science has not yet fully analyzed, much less duplicated. What we do know is that it is responsible for turning an ordinary worker bee into a queen bee. 

Queen bees start out genetically the same as worker bees. Once a bee has been designated the queen, a group of nurse bees produce royal jelly and feed it directly to the developing queen.  Soon after beginning this royal diet, the queen is transformed into a larger, superior bee, 40 percent larger and 60 percent heavier than other bees. Worker bees live for seven or eight weeks, but the queen will live five to seven years!

Many of the amazing properties of royal jelly remain a mystery. It’s undisputed, though, that even a small amount can have a positive and powerful effect on the human body. It can:

  • Promote proper blood flow and proper tone of the veins in your legs by changing the lipid/protein consistency in the blood.
  • Re-establish growth patterns in premature infants when other therapies fail.
  • Produce weight gain and improved nutritional status in weakened convalescent adults.
  • Give a noticeable lift to energy, vitality, and even libido.
  • Boost immunity—it’s been shown to increase gamma globulin levels.

For a maintenance dosage, I recommend a minimum of 50 mg of high quality royal jelly.  When you’re shopping for royal jelly, make sure the company you’re dealing with is highly reputable and only uses products that have been refrigerated and freeze-dried within 24 hours.  

Bee Pollen

Throughout history, cultures the world over have touted the benefits of bee pollen. Much like royal jelly, it is one of nature’s marvels that we have yet to fully understand. Pollen is the male seed of flowering plants. Bees collect it, mix it with honey, and carry it back to the hive. 

Bee pollen contains concentrated amounts of all known vitamins (from A to K), all 22 amino acids, including the eight essential ones, 27 minerals, unique and beneficial pigments, and several hormone-like compounds. In addition, bee pollen:

  • Has been shown to support the immune system and keep defenses strong; particularly important when pollen and other potential allergens fill the air.
  • Stimulates the production of hemoglobin in the blood, which increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and improves energy levels, overall stamina, and endurance.
  • Is a rich source of rutin, a bioflavonoid that helps strengthen capillary walls, improve heart function and respiration, and promote healthy blood pressure; it’s excellent for maintaining circulatory health.
  • Can help support a healthy prostate and sexual performance. Researchers at the University of Sarajevo reported that after 30 days of treatment with bee pollen, more than 50 percent of impotent males showed improved sexual performance and enhanced sperm production.
  • Contains powerful antibiotic mixtures that are protective against E. coli, Salmonella, and other strains of bacteria. European doctors routinely administer bee pollen because of its immune-stimulating capabilities.

As with spirulina and royal jelly, you need only a small amount of bee pollen daily as a preventive—100 mg a day is plenty. There are many ways to add bee pollen to your diet. If you like the somewhat flowery taste, sprinkle it on salads, cereals, soups, and drinks, or you can eat it straight.

When taken consistently for years, even small amounts of nutrients can have a dramatic impact on health. Proper nutrition through daily supplementation can mean the difference between lifelong illness and sustained remission. I’ve been taking spirulina, royal jelly, and bee pollen for more than 30 years, and plan to do so for the rest of my life. If your multi-nutrient doesn’t contain these superfoods, I strongly recommend that you add them for their benefits, as well as their abilities to boost the effectiveness of the other nutrients.

DISCLAIMER: The content of DrDavidWilliams.com is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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