Superfoods- Real Vs Fake
Are superfoods real or rubbish- You may have heard the term ‘Superfood’ thrown around to describe certain foods – The truth is there is no definition/standard to what makes a ‘Superfood” Super’. A few years ago when people started referring to foods as Super many different companies realised that they could increase their sales by labelling their product as a ‘Superfood’ or as ‘containing Superfoods’. Since then in places like the EU- they have banned food packaging from using this term.
The truth is ‘Superfoods’ are usually healthy food sources that contain certain properties like antioxidants that help promote good health and protect against various disease/illnesses
The advice of most dieticians is to eat a well balanced diet and not to focus on ‘Superfoods’
“No food, including those labelled ‘superfoods’, can compensate for unhealthy eating,” explains Alison Hornby, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association (BDA).
“If people mistakenly believe they can ‘undo’ the damage caused by unhealthy foods by eating a superfood, they may continue making routine choices that are unhealthy and increase their risk of long-term illness.” (1)
Superfoods are only beneficial when used in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet- that being said below is a list of 7 Superfoods and their benefits (although the full extent of the benefits of each of these foods is not known the initial evidence does support the argument making them a great addition to your diet) :
- Dark Choclate– Cocao is a great source of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc- all importnat minerals in the body- Cocao also contains the antioxidants catechins and procyanidins that research has shown to help protect the body from certain cancers (bowel cancer) and help reduce stress. Drinking cocao has been linked to a decrease in blood pressure -which helps prevent against heart diseases and strokes. (Dark choclate although good in small doses is very energy dense and should therefore be avoided in large quantities)
- Green Tea- rich in antioxidants – green tea also contains B Vitamins, folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, caffeine and catechins. Green tea has become popular recently for its alleged weight loss properties along with its ability to help reduce cholesterol, combat cardiovascualr diseases and prevent against Alzheimers. (A miracle elixir it may or may not be but even if it doesnt do all that it has been claimed to do it still provides you with a low calorie way to rehydrate whilst providing you with numerous minerals and vitamins.
- Salmon (Oily Fish)– Rich source of Vitamin D, high in protein, Selenium and omega-3 fatty acids that are good for immune health, brain function are said to help against cardiovascular diseases, prostate cancer and dementia. There is also evidence to suggest that eating oily fish two or three times a week can reduce your risk of age related macular degeneration (common cause of blindness in the elderly).
- Garlic- There have been many uses for garlic over the years, from its supposed benefits as an Aphrodisiac to varying medicinal applications- whilst many of these uses are based on old ideas Garlic is still considered a ‘Superfood’. Garlic is high in Vitamins C, B6, manganese and selenium as well as other antioxidants. Studies done using high levels of Garlic have found an imporvement in blood circulation, healthier cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. (Garlic is a great way of seasoning meals without having to add salt)
- Broccoli- any article about superfoods will inevitably mention this cruciferous vegetable. High in Vitamin C, A, K, magnesium, calcium and potassium all of which help to: boost the immune system, help maintain skin and eye health, prevent osteoporsis and regulate blood pressure. Broccoli is packed full of vitamins and minerals that will help promote good health in the body. (The only thing that isnt super about this vegetable can be the taste- try adding it to stirfrys or salads to help keep your diet exciting and healthy)
- Beetroot- A surprising addition to the list- this purple vegetable has been used medicinally for many years to treat a number of ailments. Beetroot is high in iron and folates. It is also a good source of nitrate, betaine, magnesium and other antioxidants. The nitrates found in beetroots are believed to help lower blood pressure in the body.
- Blueberries- One of the most well documented ‘Superfoods’ blueberries are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other health promoting substances which support eye, heart and urinary tract health in particular. (try adding them to your morning porridge or smoothie)
Superfoods real vs Fake