Over the past few years you've probably read many media stories about yet another superfood coming your way. There now seems to be an ever expanding list of superfoods which allows any food with a bright colour to it to qualify!
But really... are superfoods a real thing? or just a gimmick to inspire us to buy more
of a certain food over another? The Oxford English Dictionary describes a superfood as: A nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being; now let's face it... that description applies to a lot of foods...
Nutrients - Not only should a Superfood contain an excellent source of a particular nutrient, but also a diverse array of other nutrients and phytochemicals which improve our health.
More Good, Less Bad - Certain foods may contain plenty of healthy elements, but can also contain other not so healthy elements, such as empty calories (sugars), fats, cholesterol etc. Superfoods should contain none or virtually none of these 'unhealthy' elements and be absent of any toxins, dyes, hormones, chemicals and pesticides.
Disease Prevention & Immune Improvement - Superfoods should ideally offer other significant benefits such as lowering the risk of developing certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, or help to relieve symptoms of other illnesses. (This can sometimes be a bold claim - but there are ongoing studies supporting some of these statements).
A Superfood can essentially be classed as any food that contains a dense concentration of vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals, as well as beneficial fats and any other nourishing properties.
Alas the term 'SUPERFOOD' is in real terms a marketing tool and not an official stamp. There is no one true panacea or food above all others to cure all our ills. However, when something is described as a superfood it will most likely be very healthy, and next week there will be another news story claiming the next fantastic Superfood!
More next time.... or see the blog on: www.understandingnutrition.co.uk