We’ve all heard of the nutritional benefits superfoods have to offer. But really, what is a “superfood” and are they actually deserving of the title? When it comes to nutrition, it seems like superfoods have been an everlasting trend. Quinoa, cocoa and avocados are just a few of the foods that run the long list. While most superfoods are usually plant-based, they also include the occasional fish or dairy.
Why are these foods so special? It’s usually attributed to their low calories yet high number of benefits including an ample amount of minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Superfoods also help combat some serious health problems such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and more.
Common types of superfoods
In 2013, a study found that a high intake of anthocyanin – which is found in blueberries, cranberries, red raspberries and blackberries – reduces the risk of heart conditions in young to middle-aged women.
Cruciferous vegetables – which include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes and turnips – contain sources of fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals which may aid in preventing certain types of cancer.
Greek yogurt is the ultimate superfood. It has 20 grams of protein in a cup as opposed to regular yogurt which only has 8.5 grams. It also has half the sodium of the regular yogurt. According to Medical News Today, it also aids in lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of type two diabetes, and improving both bone and gut health.
This oil, which is rich in healthy fats, is also a perfect substitute for butter or other oils in everyday cooking. Olive oil is loaded with vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids, which help fight the risk of heart diseases.
Are they really “super?”
The term “superfood” carries no meaning in the scientific world. It is not often used by experts, but rather as a trendy marketing term. According to The American Council on Science and Health, calling something a superfood (a term that was created by marketers) can easily influence those who do not understand the science behind nutrition.
While superfoods like berries and Greek yogurt can provide a long and very impressive list of health benefits, they can also be an expensive routine purchase. They are certainly foods that are rich in nutrients such as antioxidants and minerals, but essentially any fruit or regular yogurt will provide you with similar advantages. The more important factor is eating nutritious foods which provide our bodies with vitamins, fiber and proteins – whether they come from superfoods or not.
Many experts have agreed that no one food – not even a superfood – can give your body all the nutrition it requires. Therefore, rather than fixating on the superfood trend, it is always best to keep a balanced diet where all types of foods are consumed to give our bodies all the nourishment it needs. So, the next time you head to the supermarket, instead of fixating on the superfood trend, just focus on getting a variety of fresh, healthy foods.
Have a tip or story? Get in touch with our reporters at [email protected]