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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2007, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Susannah's super foods challenge
Breakfast's Susannah Streeter
Susannah Streeter: Super foods should be part of a balanced diet
It has been claimed that a diet of so-called 'super foods' could fill us with energy and vitality.

But what exactly are they, and how do they work?

Breakfast reporter Susannah Streeter has been finding out more this week as she tries living on super foods

  • Read Susannah's introduction and early thoughts about her super foods diet below

  • We'll have another update from Susannah on Tuesday 17 April
  • So-called super foods are rich in nutrients, and it's claimed they can boost energy, improve your IQ, and even prevent cancer.

    Typically, super foods include blueberries, sweet potatoes and wheatgrass - Susannah explains:

    You can't go into a supermarket without seeing products branded as super foods:

    Blueberries, pomegranates, carrots, tomatoes, olive oil, broccoli, wheatgrass and oily fish are among the foods which are apparently packed with nutrients that they are particularly good for our health.

    Some are considered to contain powerful anti-oxidants which may help protect against cancer, others are thought to help boost energy levels.

    But do super foods really offer the health benefits claimed or are we as shoppers falling for a sophisticated marketing ploy?

    Examples of so called super foods:

    Breakfast's Susannah Streeter
    Watercress is a good example of a super food

    Oats, seeds, watercress, red peppers, mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, berries (especially blueberries), eggs, winter squash, beetroot, broccoli, sweet potatoes, red wine, live yoghurt, pomegranate juice, dark chocolate, turkey, tomatoes, brown rice, almonds, green tea, ginger, rhubarb, linseed, avocado, wheatgrass, durian fruit.

    I asked Breakfast's resident GP, Dr Rosemary Leonard about a diet of super foods.

    She says although this is not a scientific study, it will be interesting to see how I feel at the end of the week.

    But it's important that a balanced diet of all food groups is maintained.


    Day One: Tuesday 10 April

    No toast, butter and marmite, my first 'super food' meal consisted of scrambled eggs and tomatoes washed down with a cup of green tea.

    By 1030 I was feeling very hungry, so snacked on some nuts and two squares of dark chocolate.

    Lunch on the go was tricky. I'd just been supermarket shopping so opened a pack of broccoli florets and had a 'super food sandwich' a smoked mackerel filet between two oat cakes.

    The cameraman wasn't too happy as it left quite a pungent odour in his car.

    Dinner: Got home late around 10.00pm. Did not have the energy to cook so knocked together a salad of watercress with the rest of the smoked mackerel, avocado, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, with olive oil dressing with some more oatcakes.

    For pudding I had blueberries and pomegranates with another square of dark chocolate.

    My carbohydrate content today hasn't been great. Must do better tomorrow. But at least I have saved my red wine allocation!

    Day Two: Wednesday 11 April

    Bit of a pounding head... obviously caffeine withdrawal as I had no wine last night!

    Breakfast: Today it was porridge with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds - surprisingly tasty and filling! And a cup of green tea.

    For my 11am snack, I had two oatcakes and a square of dark chocolate

    Lunch: Consisted of a branded super-salad with soyabean and tuna - bought at a motorway service station food outlet which was quite impressive. One cup of black tea as headache getting too much.

    Dinner: homemade watercress soup, sweet potatoes, wild salmon fillet and broccoli stewed rhubarb sweetened with honey all quite delicious but husband was making me jealous by putting crème fraiche in his soup and custard with his rhubarb.

    Snacked on three squares dark chocolate and two glasses of red wine.

    Day Three: Thursday 12 April

    I was up in the night with baby, but felt pretty good and full of energy this morning and I had scrambled eggs and tomatoes goji berry juice.

    My 11.00am snack was two oatcakes and yoghurt coated cranberries.

    For lunch: tuna, broccoli, bean, tomato and marinated herring salad with olive oil dressing.

    Ate all of it except the herring, even slathered in oil to me it tasted disgusting. Dinner: turkey with home made oat crumb with lemon and pepper (pepper is not on a super food list, but have decided need a tiny bit of flavouring!) blueberries and dark chocolate melted on top.

    Then, one glass of red wine...or was it two?

    The weekend

    On Friday I headed up to Cambridge for a wedding.

    I started the day very well with some porridge with honey from my uncle's bees.

    Stopped at the coffee shop and instead of a café latte I ordered a bright green superfood smoothie, with pear, mango, banana and spirulina which is a form of plant plankton.

    A shot of algae doesn't taste as bad as you'd think.

    Eating out over the weekend wasn't easy. In one restaurant there were only two starter dishes I could order from the whole menu: smoked salmon and hot red peppers.

    At the wedding I had to miss out on some lovely canapés, bread rolls, potatoes and even the cheesecake dessert.

    Though I did succumb to a bit of filet steak and was obliged of course to toast the bride and groom with a sip of champagne.

    My husband polished off the rest, so I compensated with too many glasses of red wine!

  • Watch again - you can see Susannah's assessment of the super foods diet from the link to the right of this page
  • As with any diet, anyone considering radically altering what they eat for a fortnight or more should consult their GP

    Super foods: Part 1
    Susannah Streeter tries the super foods diet

    Super foods: Part 2
    Shopping for super foods

    Super foods: Part 3
    Susannah's round-up of her week long diet

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