Superfoods'...Are they just another fad?
We hear an awful lot about superfoods these days. We know they're good and think we should be eating more. But should we? They have incredible claims and promises but do they actually deliver? Most superfoods’ have been around for a really, really long time but they just haven't been tapped by the diet industry as the latest must have for your health.
So, what is a superfood?
Well there is no official definition of what a superfood is and different sources will define it slightly differently. It's used in the food industry to describe a food that is nutrient dense and that is particularly good for our overall health and wellbeing. You get the impression that without superfoods’, your diet is lacking in something, anything. I personally use the term superfood to describe pretty much all wholefoods and some processed things as well (raw cacao anyone). One day when talking about red cabbage I dropped the superfood bomb and was promptly told that red cabbage wasn't a superfood, it was just a food. Of course I promptly intervened with my response.
“It's high in antioxidants, packed with anti-inflammatory properties, and rich in glucosinolates. Being a cruciferous veggie it's amazing for gut health and acts as a prebiotic to feed all the good bacteria in your tummy. It has a low GI rating and high water and fibre content. So, I must disagree, this is in fact superfood!”
I'm all for getting the biggest bang for your nutritional buck and encourage you to focus on getting the healthy stuff in rather than keeping the not so healthy stuff out. Many of these powerhouse foods come with significant claims. Have you heard that Goji Berries can cure cancer, have anti-aging properties or increase fertility? In this case, as is the norm, there is actually very little scientific evidence backing these big claims. Goji berries are good sources of vitamins A & Riboflavin and have equally good sources of the minerals selenium & copper. Nothing to get your knickers in a knot over though.
Do I think food can prevent and fight diseases? Hells yes I do.
Do I think the majority of illnesses that plague our country and world are caused by food? Without a doubt.
Heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, can all be linked back to unmet nutritional needs. Just please don't develop a false sense of hope that a couple of serves of Goji berries will save you.
Should I not eat these superfoods then?
No, you should eat them!! They are full of goodness that your body needs. Just don't get sucked into the marketing vortex that superfoods are the be all and end all for health and wellness. You need to eat beautiful fresh seasonal wholefoods consistently for optimal health. Having a ciggy and coffee for breakfast and a superfood smoothie for lunch is not the point of them. A few extra nutrients don't outweigh consistently unhealthy food choices. Be aware of marketing claims that draw you towards a food product. Groups of people are paid lots and lots of money to come up with ways to make you buy their product. This doesn't necessarily mean the products are no good. It just means that a play on words or strategic claims may not be completely transparent. Like everything, I believe there is a place for all foods, claimed to be super or otherwise.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, when asked what should I eat for health, vitality and fat loss it's quite simple……
Just Eat Real Food!