The term “Superfood” has become increasingly popular over the past decade among the health world; With new foods being introduced weekly boasting abilities of anti-aging, increased energy levels and intelligence as well as decreasing the likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack and generally providing an answer to eternal youth… However, how much of this information is routed in fact and how much is just a cunning way to make us consumers part with our hard earned cash?
Superfoods, fact or fad?
The term Superfood is coined to foods that are supposedly proven to have an increased amount of nutrients shown to improve our general health and well-being. Some of the most popular being: cacao, berries, nuts and chia.
Although there are definitely some well known and respected benefits gained through consuming certain superfoods foods such as cacao; which is packed with antioxidants and minerals that promote…… and maca; which was consumed by inca warriors before going into battle to provide energy and increase stamina. However, the truth behind health claims of certain hyped superfoods such as: goji berries and açaí, are questionable when you delve a little deeper and realize lots of the studies conducted are funded by the health-food industry, which directly benefits from the increased popularity of these particular foods.
The majority of studies conducted into the benefits of “superfoods” are done using very concentrated forms of the food in question and not the whole food itself; therefore any results concluded are far more concentrated than the effects you might see from eating say, a handful of blueberries or a head of broccoli. Many dietitians argue that all whole foods can be considered “super” when consumed as a part of a well-rounded diet as they all provide some kind of nutrient value.
Although sadly, there’s probably no such thing as a single food that holds the ability to eradicate depression or cancer or a magic powder that can undo the effects of a lifetime of poor dietary choices. I think it’s safe to say eating more fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds is something which we could all benefit from. Like all things in life, it’s about balance.