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Wellness Today’s 2014 Superfood Showdown: Selection Saturday

March 15, 2014

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The temperatures are rising, flower buds are beginning to peek their heads out of the thawing soil, and you might finally be able to retire your snow boots for the season. That’s right, it’s spring, and that can only mean one thing: March Madness.

Yup, it’s time to fill out your brackets, place your bets, and wear the colors of your team proudly as the best of the best go head to head in single elimination rounds, ultimately narrowing down to the Elite Eight, the Final Four, the championship, and then: THE VICTOR.

That’s right, it’s time for Wellness Today’s First Annual Superfood Showdown!

What, you thought we were talking about basketball? Don’t worry, this is just as fun (not to mention way healthier).

In the Superfood Showdown, the world’s 32 most qualified nutritional powerhouses face off in single-elimination rounds, with the winner of each advancing to the next stage of the tournament. The winners will be selected based on your votes, so be sure to weigh in on our Facebook page when voting for the first matchup starts tomorrow at 1pm EST.  

With your votes, we’ll whittle down the contenders over the next 3 weeks, with the Ultimate Superfood Champion crowned in the first week of April. Today is Selection Saturday, when the 32 competitors are revealed, coming from 4 different groups: Fruits & Vegetables; Herbs & Spices; Nuts & Seeds; and Proteins & Grains.

Read on to meet our 32 superfoods. Don’t forget to go to our Facebook page to cast your vote at each round, and check back here for updates as the field narrows!

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Kale vs. Spinach

The two leafy green superstars square off in this round 1 battle. Kale is bringing some serious vitamin C game to the table, but we’ve all seen what spinach can do for Popeye.

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Wheatgrass vs. Barley Grass

Your @$$ is grass! Which of these earthy superfoods will emerge victorious in this heated faceoff? Both play a serious role in the health of your blood…we just hope no blood is spilled in this matchup!

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Açaí Berries vs. Blueberries

Battle of the berries! Blueberries are armed with the antioxidant anthocyans, while açaí berries are packing a serious punch of monounsaturated oleic acid. I’m berry curious who will win!

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Avocado vs. Pomegranate

Creamy and savory meets refreshing and sweet in this seemingly odd couple. But with both bringing some serious antioxidants to the ring, they’re evenly matched in the nutritional realm. All bets are off on this one.

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Brazil Nuts vs. Walnuts

The selenium in Brazil nuts has been shown to lower cancer risk, but walnuts have been associated with significantly increasing longevity. Which lifesaving nut are you rooting for?

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Raw Cacao vs. Coconut

Cacao and coconut sounds like a delicious dessert, but this fierce competition will be anything but sweet! When the antioxidants in raw cacao match up against the high protein and low sugar of coconuts, there’s no telling who will rise to the top.

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Chia Seeds vs. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds may boast some serious fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and cancer-fighting lignans, but chia seeds give them a run for their money when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids and several essential minerals, from calcium to zinc.

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Pumpkin Seeds vs. Sunflower Seeds

There’s no saying who’s the top seed here! Pumpkin seeds are strong out of the gate with zinc as well as diabetes- and cancer-fighting properties, but sunflower seeds are nothing to sniff at with their anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits.

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Sardines vs. Salmon

There’s nothing fishy about these serious superfood contenders. Salmon is rich in essential vitamins and can reduce the risk of coronary disease, while sardines’ low mercury levels make them a serious star.

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Oats vs. Amaranth

Forget “eat your Wheaties”—if you want to be a champ, oats or amaranth are both primo choices. Oats lower bad cholesterol, while amaranth stands out for being the only grain that contains vitamin C. It’s anyone’s guess who will end up at the top of the (grain) barrel!

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Quinoa vs. Teff

Neither of these grains mess around when it comes to protein, but the real question is whether quinoa’s anti-aging benefits will trump teff’s stress-fighting thiamine.

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Black Beans vs. Soybeans

Soybeans have been generating controversy lately, but only time will tell whether their infamy will be an asset or a weakness in this matchup with the more low-key black bean. It’s anyone’s guess which protein-rich legume will emerge victorious.

Turmeric vs. Ginger

This is one spicy faceoff! Ginger aids digestion and can improve the absorption of nutrients, while bright orange turmeric boosts immunity and can help whiten teeth!

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Echinacea vs. Ginseng

Ginseng may promote cell health and memory function and battle fatigue, but the flowering Echinacea is no shrinking violet, boasting serious immune-boosting properties. Who are you betting on?

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Spirulina vs. Aloe Vera

These are two lean, mean, superfood machines! Aloe vera can aid in weight loss and digestion, while spirulina contains just about every nutrient you could ask for. This is one match to watch!

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Cinnamon vs. Cloves

It’s sugar and spice and everything NOT nice in this fierce faceoff. While cinnamon can control blood sugar and aid in weight control, cloves may have an edge with their ability to treat toothaches and reduce inflammation. Only time will tell!

Who do you think should win each faceoff? Be sure to check our Facebook page beginning tomorrow to cast your vote in the first matchups, and keep checking back to weigh in as we narrow down to one ultimate winner!

About the author

Kate Willsky is the Editorial Manager for Wellness Today. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and loves experimenting with new vegetarian recipes, scoping out farmers' markets, and making never-ending lists of restaurants to try out. As a certified yoga instructor, she enjoys taking classes from other yogis and exploring different styles and philosophies whenever possible.