Lifestyle

Are superfoods a myth?

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Superfoods are a myth. ‘Superfoods’ is simply a wonderful marketing term and a misnomer!

But not all is lost when it comes to achieving your goals. A good diet is essential to supporting you in your quest.

Superfoods have been described as a food unlike any other. Superfoods are food available to answer all your dietary requirements and solve all your ailments.

But are superfoods a myth?

Channel 4 (Ireland/UK) produced an interesting documentary some years ago centred around so-called Superfoods.

“The purported health benefits of superfoods seem too good to be true, but are they? Kate Quilton finds out which foods are worth shelling out for, and how much misleading information is out there”. Here is a link to the program which is available to watch online.

Superfoods
The Super Reboot

So are Superfoods a myth?

A majority of foods are good for us however some have almost no nutritional benefits at all.

There are others, which are marketed as superfoods but contain less nutritional value than other ‘normal’ food products.

Can we define Superfoods?

You could describe a superfood, as a food that offers a substantial nutritional or health benefit, over commonly consumed foods, a food that is often high in antioxidants and may offer anti-ageing benefits.

Actually, the term ‘Superfood’ is a marketing term as I’ve noted already. In fact, the term is not widely used by medical or nutritionists. Can the term be damaging?

The European Food Information Council notes that using the term may give the impression that other foods are not as healthy. And foods such as apples, carrots and onions which have many nutrients, are not as good for us as a goji berry (for example).

The Conclusion

A balanced diet. It does seem to be the answer. What does a balanced diet look like? That would be different for everyone. It requires careful consideration and possible consultation with an expert in the field. But, I would like to finish this post with a short list of some of my favourite ‘superfoods’.

When it comes to ensuring a balanced nutrient intake for good health, we need to increase the range of nutritious foods in our diets rather than focusing solely on a handful of foods claimed to be ‘super’. Importantly, this should include a greater quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables.

EUFIC

A list of ‘Superfoods’

Below are Superfoods, which I have found a great benefit to things like general health, good skin, but also tackle other issues like; improving your mood, and supposedly help with depression, among others.

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Olive Oil

Olive oil is an oil that is pressed from olives, the fruits of the olive tree.

A study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care has shown that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 per cent compared to a low-fat diet. 

Olive oil also can help lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise your good HDL levels. Extra virgin olive oil is mostly used as a salad dressing and as an ingredient in salad dressings.

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Quinoa

Quinoa, I have often supplemented for rice. It is high in protein, fibre, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E.

I first heard about it in the United States, where it has exploded in popularity but has been consumed for thousands of years in South America.

Perhaps the most striking health benefit provided by quinoa is its overall nutrient richness. When the nutrient composition of this food is better for you than rice. A cup of quinoa will also provide twice the protein and 5 grams more fibre than the same amount of white rice.

crop person cutting coconut with knife
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Coconut Water

Coconut water is said to hydrate extremely well, particularly after a sports event.

In fact, the study confirmed that coconut water restored hydration after exercise better than water (source).

Coconut water is naturally low in calories, naturally fat- and cholesterol-free, with more potassium than four bananas! If you need a boost before and after a workout and plan on having a red bull or something similar – read the ingredients and then read the one ingredient in coconut water.

On a recent trip to Asia, I was lucky enough to drink this direct from the coconut! What a treat!

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Dark Chocolate

I love dark chocolate, it has a very rich and slightly bitter taste, and goes great with my coffee. Health wise dark chocolate has compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants.

These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins.

Bananas

I have a banana every day. They are nutritious, give me a great energy boost, tasty and filling and contain lots of potassium. Are they a superfood? In my opinion. Yes. 

Humans share 50% of our DNA with a banana. If that’s not a sign we should be eating them, then I don’t know what is. Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants and several nutrients. An average banana contains about 105 calories.

I wanted to clarify that statistic statement on bananas, with the below submission to the New Scientist who noted:

The 50 per cent figure for people and bananas roughly means that half of our genes have counterparts in bananas. For example, both of us have some kind of gene that codes for cell growth, though these aren’t necessarily made up of the same DNA sequences.

Mark Peplow, Science Media Centre, The Royal Institution

Matcha Tea

This is a new one to me, but it looks very exciting, having watched the TV documentary Superfoods on Channel 4 which I noticed above.

I was very impressed by the benefits of Matcha Tea.  My understanding from its benefits all come down to this. Matcha Tea comes from the same plant as green and black tea.

This is very surprising, but apparently, the shading of the plant and its treatment that gives us Matcha Tea. One of the major health benefits of Matcha tea is that it delivers a mega-dose of antioxidants in every sip.

According to the latest innovation in antioxidant research, Matcha is packed with exponentially more antioxidants than any other ‘superfood’.

Almonds

I love almonds, almond butter is almost as good as peanut butter.

The benefits? 

Cholesterol reduction is the most celebrated health benefit of almonds, but there are many other health benefits of almonds. Almonds are also low in saturated fatty acids, rich in unsaturated fatty acids, and contain filling fibre, unique and protective phytosterol antioxidants as well as plant protein.

Sources

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=142http://draxe.com/1almonds-nutrition/


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John Ryan

I write mainly about tips to achieve your goals as well as technology and personal finance. Click here to contribute an article >>

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