We’ve all probably heard the term Superfood with marketers and advertisers speaking in glowing terms about one food being packed with antioxidants, another with vitamins and a third with other nutrients good for health and even weight loss.
What is a superfood?
A super food can be defined in general terms as a food considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being, which is the Oxford dictionary meaning. However the term has come to have more specific connotations of being nutrient dense and low calorie as well. The Acai Berry is frequently referred to as a Superfood, as is the Goji berry. Even blue berries are often called superfoods.
However the fact is that there is no specifying set of parameters that make a food into a Superfood. The term is often used at random and it has no legal definition, though in the European Union, a product has to be supported by medical claims before it can be described as a Superfood.
Are Superfoods really super?
Extracts of exotic berries such as the Goji and the Acai, pineapple extract, pomegranate extract, cranberry juice, or any of these fruit in powdered form are often marketed as superfoods and more often as weight loss products.
However the same nutrients found in the so called superfoods are often found in foods that we consume daily: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, seeds, nuts, apples, citrus fruit, fatty fish, brightly colored veggies, beans, many whole grains and even dark chocolate can all be classified as Superfoods.
Each of these has unique nutritional value and many possible health benefits. For instance the humble carrot has many more health benefits than the exotic Goji berry. Even things like porridge and pea soup could, by that same token, be described as superfoods!
Superfoods – Why you should beware?
The fact that the term Superfood has no actual legal definition and that it is not a controlled term in many areas, manufacturers use it at will. It is a term that is often misleading and in cases even dangerous.
For instance there are certain kinds of seaweeds that are described as superfoods, but which could actually contain natural toxins that could be responsible for liver damage and even cancer.
There is also a problem with consuming imported products that are labeled as superfoods which may have higher levels of pesticides and which could also present problems related to mold.
So the bottom line is that so long as you have a generally healthy diet rich in natural produce, you don’t need any of the exotic sounding superfoods. Your diet already contains a whole lot of them!