Whats the deal with superfoods?

By Hannah Buckland, Healthy Hearts Care Planner

Superfood seems to be the new buzzword in town. Acai berries, coconut oil, green tea, turmeric – all these foods (and many more) have been assigned “superfood” status; their high nutrient densities believed to provide a plethora of health benefits ranging from weight loss, heightened brain function and improved digestion, to curing diseases such as cancer and, most recently, Covid-19. But can superfoods really provide all these benefits? We’ve had a look at the evidence to see if they’re worth the hype.

The answer is, unlikely. Superfoods are, in fact, little more than a clever marketing technique. There is no scientific or regulated definition, and most nutritionists and health professionals tend to reject the term due to its potential to mislead consumers. Indeed, although there may be some logic or reasoning behind superfood claims, many of the health benefits have little or no scientific basis. As such, if a person develops unrealistic expectations about superfoods, it can ultimately be harmful to their health. By playing on a person’s vulnerabilities – “if you drink celery juice, then your skin will clear up”, or “if you drink green tea then you will lose weight” – superfoods can also detract a person away from other, equally nutritious, options and discourage them from pursuing a varied and balanced diet. Ultimately, this can jeopardise that person’s ability to consume the range of vitamins and minerals required for optimum health.

So, if you come across a food being marketed as a superfood, take a step back and think: will this food really do what it claims? Remember, although these foods may (or may not!) be good for you, no single food can offer all the nutrition we need for good health – it’s all about the quality of your overall diet. Chances are, there are more affordable options that would be just as good, if not better, for you. What’s important is to try and include a variety of foods on your plate; choosing more nutritious options when you can. Need a bit more info on what foods to choose? We are open virtually to support you. Join us now on our website or call 020 3434 2500.

Read some other blogs in our Myth Busting Series:

Wk1 Can you trust what you read online?
Wk2 Calories: Should you focus on quantity or quality?
Wk3 Should you be cutting carbs for weight loss?
Wk4 Should you be following a low fat diet?
Wk5 Protein: What sources are there?
Wk6 Whats the deal with Superfoods?
Wk7 Covid 19 – Can you boost your immune system with food? 
Wk8 Is Coconut Oil Good For You?

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