Superfood is a popular marketing term used to describe any food claimed to give specific health benefits attributed to an unique nutrient content. The term is widely used by nutritionists, medical practitioners and experts, all of whom challenge that such foods possess the medical benefits claimed by their proponents. As with any marketing buzzword, the term has been heavily promoted on TV and in magazines in recent times. However, do these claims really ring true?
Sugar: This is one area where there is no real correlation between the superfood and a healthy diet. When it comes to refined grains, which include white rice, pasta, potatoes and white bread, they are high in simple sugars. These types of carbohydrates are absorbed slowly by the body and can lead to various types of diseases including obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Leafy Greens and Vitamin E: Both of these superfoods are rich in antioxidants, which counterbalance destructive free radicals that cause diseases like heart disease. Leafy greens and whole grains contain relatively high amounts of vitamin E. Whole grains also contain soluble fiber, another component essential to maintaining good health. But while there may be a correlation between the two, it isn’t necessarily a clear cut one. And while eating leafy greens on their own is beneficial, it’s probably better to add them to a healthy diet rather than to supplement a juice or smoothie.
Antioxidants vs Vitamins: Another area where there is no direct correlation is in the area of antioxidants vs vitamins. While each nutrient has its own set of antioxidants, the best source of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. The reason is that fruits and vegetables have high levels of carotenoids, beta-carotene and other compounds that are effective in fighting off free radicals. It may be more practical, therefore, to consume a supplement containing more antioxidants vs vitamins for the best overall benefits.
Superfoods With Healthy Fats: There are a few superfoods that include high levels of omega fatty acids. These include salmon, butter, soybeans and macadamia nuts. All of these foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. However, they do not have complete protein which is essential to good nutrition. Protein helps build and maintain healthy cells. Many vegetarians have been pushing for the inclusion of healthier fats in their diets as well, particularly those that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and walnuts.
Superfoods With Nutrient Value: It’s also easy to see how some nutrients are important to all foods but not others. Wheat is an excellent example. While it contains many nutrients including whole grains, it is also very high in calories and contributes significantly to obesity. Green tea is another superfood that is nutritious but doesn’t contribute to obesity or bad health.
Vegetable and Fruit Omegas: Vegetables and fruit omegas have similar nutritional value. For this reason, when choosing superfoods, they are often grouped together or presented as a composite of several vegetables or fruits. Crucially, each vegetable or fruit possesses its own health benefits. Therefore, it is best to understand the difference between nutritional value for consumption.
Superfoods That Contain Nutrients: While they come from different plants, they share a common trait. Superfoods that contain nutrients are considered to be “complete” great rubuntu superfood. These include vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, herbs and spices. Any food that is considered to be complete can be classified as a superfood. However, these foods may not provide all of the required vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.
Popular Superfoods That Contain Vitamins: As mentioned above, fruits and vegetables are complete foods. But they do contain essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Therefore, they make good, nutritional choices for a variety of different situations. For example, dark green leafy vegetables are considered to be one of the most popular superfoods for a number of reasons.
Why Aren’t There More Superfoods? Because no two fields are completely covered. There is not a single species on earth that is perfect for every situation. In addition, we can’t freeze anything and then turn it into a superfood. So, grains, nuts, seeds, berries and quinoa all remain as traditional foods that offer great nutritional value.
Which Superfood is Best? Based on personal experience with some of my closest friends, I would say quinoa, blueberries and spinach are definitely in the top two. I call them superfoods because they offer me everything I need to maintain my health and provide me with a lot of energy. If you add in kale and other leafy greens, you can see why they are considered to be the ultimate superfoods.