The Truth About Superfoods

The truth about Superfoods

SUPERFOODS - THE SNOB AMONG FOODS

The Truth About Superfoods

Superfoods or SuperMarketing? For those of you seeking to improve your health, the notion of a superfood is very appealing. The term “superfoods” was originally invented as a marketing buzz-term to suggest that any food under the label would provide significant advantages in achieving optimal health. However, superfoods are simply foods packed with nutrients with high antioxidant value that produce health benefits. While the term superfood has been used in marketing as far back as the 20th century, it’s only become popular in mainstream advertising language within the last 10 years. Here are some recent headlines suggesting as much:

“Shed pounds with this superfood and get your body back in 1 week!”

“The key to perfect skin is superfoods!”

“This superfood is what you need to be the strongest you.” 

Marketing tactics seem to suggest that if you consume these superfoods alone, you can reach your peak health potential. Foods that fall under the superfoods-umbrella do not possess extraordinary abilities of healing diseases, as popular culture’s advertising proposes.  

Superfoods = Supersales. Foods you often see marketed this way are exotic, expensive, and only available at exclusive retail markets. Some examples of popular superfoods include goji berries, chia seeds, spirulina, chlorella, maca, dandelion root, acai, and moringa. While the benefits of consuming superfoods are indeed super, they should not be considered superior to other foods that can supply your body with vital nutrients. Here is a quick compare-contrast of some popular superfoods and more common, cheaper, and practical foods.

Goji Berries vs Blueberries – Both goji and blueberries derive health benefits from the high amounts of antioxidants they contain. Goji berries contain about 2-4 times the amount of antioxidants of blueberries, however, blueberries also contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and have digestive aiding nutrients that help heal your gut.

Maca vs Brazil Nuts – The root vegetable maca is known for its hormone balancing effects. Maca regulates stress levels, gives a boost in energy/mental clarity, and increases sex hormone production. Not only do Brazil nuts improve sexual performance similarly to maca, but they can protect against cancer, and boost the metabolism. Brazil nuts contain the powerhouse selenium, which is an antioxidant with many functions. Selenium in Brazil nuts boosts testosterone and delivers a dose of omega-3’s and manganese.

Spirulina vs Spinach – Spirulina has a well-balanced nutritional profile, and contains high amounts of protein and fiber. Spinach is an excellent source of fiber, including calcium, iron, vitamin C, and magnesium. Spinach can also help reduce your risk of chronic illnesses and contains high levels of carotenoids that profoundly reduce inflammation.

Chia Seeds vs Oats – Both chia seeds and oats are high in fiber, calcium, and are a great source of protein. Chia seeds get the title superfood because of the omega 3’s the seeds contain, which reduce inflammation and aid heart health. Oats contain high amounts of magnesium, prevent hypertension, and regulate your hormones to keep you full and satisfied longer. Oats also contain a unique fiber called beta-gluten, which is an anti-fungal and helps eliminate harmful bacteria.

The truth is, many foods you see every day at your local grocery store contain the same amount of nutrients. It’s a common misconception to expect that consuming superfoods alone will significantly improve our well-being and overall physical health, due to enticing marketing strategies. There are extensive varieties of unlabeled whole foods that are super, and available year-round. Furthermore, variety in our diet is important not only to absorb broad amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, but to deter one from eating too much (or too little) of a particular nutrient. Focus on having a Super Plate, full of various foods that bring diverse flavors and nutrients to the table. This month we’re testing some popular superfood powders like turmeric, to find out what brands are the safest options for consumers to choose. Stay tuned!