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Wellness Today's 2014 Superfood Showdown: Sweet Sixteen

March 24, 2014

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It’s hard to believe it’s been over a week since we kicked off our Wellness Today Superfood Showdown! The excitement was high, the contenders incredibly qualified, and the outcome unknown and unpredictable. And now, after eight days of fierce competition and heated face-offs, we’ve cut the field in half from 32 superfoods to just 16 nutritional powerhouses.

Though of course each of the 32 competitors packs a serious nutritional punch, and delivers unique health benefits to your body, we all have certain superfoods about which we feel extra passionate. So in Round 1, we let you share your superfood spirit by casting your vote for the nutrient-packed veggies, fruits, proteins, grains, and spices that rock your world the most. In Round 2, the winners of Round 1 will be matched up as we begin to narrow down the field even further. Beginning tomorrow, remember to check our Facebook page every day at noon and 1 pm EST to cast your vote in each face-off. Round 2 runs from tomorrow until Friday, 3/28.

Without further ado, here’s a recap of who advanced from Round 1, and who will be facing off in Round 2, beginning tomorrow:

FRUITS & VEGGIES:

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Kale vs. Wheatgrass

Round 1 saw the uber-trendy kale beating Popeye’s favorite veggie by over 200 points, with a final score of 377 to 141. In the battle of the grasses, the lesser-known barley grass came to the out with all of its anti-inflammatory and cell-repairing powers only to be trumped 90 to 13 by wheatgrass, which rose above with its detoxifying properties, plus maybe some name recognition. Now it’s vitamin K vs. chlorophyll as kale and wheatgrass go head to head!

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Blueberries vs. Avocado

Though both have disease-fighting properties and antioxidants—and one study showed acai to have 10% more antioxidants than blueberries—the little blue guys trounced acai, with a final score of 152 to 11. In a much more to-the-wire competition, the healthy fats and protein of avocado barely rose above the fiber and vitamin C of pomegranate, making it into Round 2 by just 8 points (the final score was 200 to 192). And though blueberries and avocados go so well together in a salad, they won’t be playing nice when they face off here!

NUTS & SEEDS:

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Walnuts vs. Raw Cacao

Talk about nail-biting! Walnuts eked out a win by just 2 votes—was it Brazil nuts’ 15g of saturated fat per serving that did them in? In the raw cacao vs. coconut match, the mood-boosting theobromine, antioxidants, and magnesium of raw cacao didn’t have to fight too hard to beat out the B-complex vitamins of coconut. But when nuts and chocolate go head to head, there’s no telling who will win!

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Chia Seeds vs. Pumpkin Seeds

Flax seeds might have omega-3’s, fiber, and antioxidants—but chia seeds have more of each, plus tons of calcium, which may be why the little pet-sprouting seeds blew by flax in Round 1, winning 182 to 50. Sunflower seeds got similarly whupped, winning just 27 votes to pumpkin seeds’ 115. With pumpkin seeds’ higher fiber and lower fat content, even the hefty vitamin b-6 dose of sunflower seeds didn’t stand a chance. But when pumpkin and chia face off in Round 2, it’s likely to be a much closer competition.

PROTEINS & GRAINS:

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Salmon vs. Oats

Sardines and salmon went into Round 1 very evenly matched, each packing a major protein punch. But even sardines’ high calcium and iron didn’t stand a chance against the ever-popular salmon, which won 98 to 80. Oats had no trouble calling on its fiber, protein, folate, and thiamin to sail past underdog amaranth, despite the lesser-known grain’s calcium and iron content. It’s anyone’s guess who will win this breakfast vs. dinner face-off in Round 2!

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Quinoa vs. Black Beans

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about teff replacing quinoa as the gluten-free, high-protein go-to grain, but the tried-and-true quinoa had no trouble beating out newcomer teff with a final score of 125 to 11. Controversy has been swirling around soy for some time now, which may be why the once popular, protein-packed legume lost to black beans TK to TK. Or maybe it was the potassium and digestion-friendly properties of black beans. Either way, two old standby’s will be put to the test when quinoa and black beans square off. 

HERBS & SPICES:

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Turmeric vs. Echinacea

With cold season still a fresh memory, it’s no surprise that immunity-boosting Echinacea beat out concentration-enhancing ginseng by 62 to 15. In the clash of the spices, turmeric and ginger both had strong anti-inflammatory properties to call upon, but the orange powerhouse came out on top with its antioxidants and immunity-boosting, wound-healing abilities. In Round 2, it’ll be the battle of the disease-fighting super spices!

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Spirulina vs. Cinnamon

Aloe vera’s digestion- and circulation-supporting properties are nothing to scoff at, but it was spirulina’s ability to boost immunity, promote eye health, and help the body detox internally that rose above in the end. It was no contest for cinnamon vs. cloves, with cinnamon’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and bacteria-fighting abilities easily beating out the digestion-promoting and wound-healing benefits of cloves. When spirulina and cinnamon square off, there’s no telling which superfood will succeed!

Don’t forget to check our Facebook page tomorrow and keep checking back as Round 2 rolls out!

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.