"Superfoods": Super healthy or super costly?
Published: June 15, 2018
The term “superfood” has been defined as a “food that is considered to be beneficial to your health and that may even help some medical conditions”.
Superfoods are also often described as nutrient powerhouses.
However, the term "superfood" is considered by many nutritional scientists, dieticians, and nutrition educators to be used by the food industry as a marketing device to increase sales.
The list of “superfoods” grows daily and with it the “superfood products” such as juices and supplements which claim to provide the same health benefits as the original natural unadulterated product.
You can probably name at least half-a-dozen so-called superfoods such as kale, broccoli, blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, tomatoes, chocolate, coconut oil, quinoa, and green tea which have, at some time or another, made media headlines.
Herbs such as ginkgo biloba, ginseng, garlic and stevia have all been identified as super nutrients. What is it that sets these foods apart from other foods?
For the majority of these foods it is their micronutrient content such as minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that seemingly set them above other foods and provide them with the ability to benefit your health in various ways such as:
- preventing chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, diabetes)
- build bones
- improve your eye sight
- improve memory and cognition
- aid weight loss, burn fat, boost metabolism
- expel toxins,and
- regulate-blood glucose levels.
Frequently the promotion of a particular food to “super” is the outcome of research which has identified positive health benefits associated with a vitamin or phytochemical contained in the food in relatively large amounts.
For instance, tomatoes contain an abundant amount of lycopene (an antioxidant) which may protect DNA from oxidative damage and defend against cancer.
Spinach and colourful vegetables contain lutein and... link to the full article to learn more.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
CSPI Nutrition Action health letter 03/2010, 06/2009, 08/2010, 05/2011, 12/2013, 11/2012, 03/2013, 03/2012, 06/2012, 06/2013)