Superfoods: For Your Every Need

SuperfoodGuideFeatured Reader Question:

What is the latest “superfood”? What is a superfood anyway?” – Marilyn, Florida

Let me answer your second question first. What is a superfood?
Superfood = marketing term
Technically, there is no standard definition. But, many health professionals would agree that a superfood is any whole food packed with nutrition.

But based on your question, I’m sure you’ve noticed there’s a new “superfood” that comes out what seems like daily. And many of these foods are foods we may already be eating.

Some examples of the latest “superfoods” include blueberries, acai, pomegranate, red wine, dark chocolate, chia seeds, coconut everything… among many others (depending on who you ask!). Superfoods are promoted as a means to

  • boost immunity
  • fight or prevent serious illness including cancer
  • reduce inflammation
  • slow down or even reverse aging
  • speed up weight loss
  • reduce the risk of “x” disease
  • and so on and so on…

These are pretty bold claims for a single food. Is it really possible for one food to have such a large impact on a health outcome?

The simple answer unfortunately… no.

This is NOT to say these so-called “superfoods” are not in fact “super”. These are wonderful nutrient packed foods that very well can (and should!) be part of your diet. But don’t kid yourself that it contains magical powers either. It isn’t one food, no matter how super, that is going to impact your health. It’s your diet as a whole.

Eating a bunch of these foods in the context of a healthy diet is the best way to go.
Eating a superfood on its own will not cancel out poor diet habits.

A few tips to keep in mind when adding a superfood to your diet:

    • Be cautious in believing what the claims say. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
    • Consider your whole diet. Just because you add a superfood to your daily routine, don’t get into the mindset that you now have the liberty to eat any and everything you want. A single superfood can’t compensate for a poor diet.
    • Choose superfoods that are whole foods more often (or always) over the supplement form.
    • Evaluate superfoods in the context of traditional dietary advice and portion control… more is not always better… even with superfoods! Examples:
      *Red wine: stick to 1 glass/day for women or 2 glass/day for men (maximum)
      *Dark Chocolate: still a dessert with fat and sugar so be mindful of portion
      *Almonds (and other nuts): high in fat and calories; a serving is a small handful

What I LOVE about the marketing of these superfoods is that it highlights nutritious foods and gets people excited about them. It increases awareness of foods someone may not have heard of unless it had the superfood stamp (think: chia, acai, goji, etc.). So go out there and eat up those superfoods!

But, don’t forget the rest of your diet 🙂

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