What do you think of when it comes to ‘superfoods’?
Perhaps it implies that they give you ‘super’ power? ‘Superfoods’ seem to have made many media headlines in recent years. They simply refer to certain foods that promise plenty of health benefits, sometimes referred to as a ‘health halo’. A quick search for ‘superfoods’ in the internet yields over 300 million results listing mostly plant items of green leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. However, there is no consensus as to what it means by ‘superfoods’.
What super-food means?
In fact, health experts disagree that ‘superfoods’ exist, as there is little scientific evidence showing how consuming these foods alone can prevent or cure illnesses. This term has mostly been used to market and endorse food products, usually supplements and additives, with certain health claims to mark themselves as a premium to others. The misleading message that certain foods are better than others have also been associated with the surge of ‘fad diets’ comprised of quick fixes that are usually very restrictive and unhealthy in the long run.
Are superfood really good for health?
Further, the ‘health halo’ promised by any ‘superfoods’ lacks the context in which these foods are eaten. Many of these ‘superfoods’ have long been consumed in cultures around the world. For example, goji berries are commonly used for their therapeutic properties in Chinese dietary culture to cook soup broths and dishes, but are sold at far higher prices when repackaged as a ‘superfood’ snack. Many would also think they don’t taste great when eaten on its own.
Are superfood better for environment?
There is also an environmental concern when thinking about eating these ‘superfoods’. Foods such as avocados, which are marketed as rich in the ‘good’ monounsaturated fats, are usually grown miles away from where they are consumed. The increase in demand for avocadoes also mean that countries like Mexico which produce them have intensified their cultivation which can be harmful to the environment.
No particular foods would give you super powers without considering the context of your overall diet. When it comes to healthy eating, it is the balance and variety which matters. If you are looking for tips to eating well, check out our article "8 tips to eat well with you family"
I am in charge of establishing the nutrition guidelines and validating every menu for The New Luncher. I publish here regularly my best tips regarding nutrition and education, as The New Luncher's nutritionist and as a busy mom of 2!