I’m getting a little sick of hearing about Superfoods. The term first showed up in the 90’s and describes types of foods that are high in certain nutrients and therefore suggested we should include in our diets.
Lately though, since the term has been used more and more food companies have jumped on the bandwagon and have included it in their labelling and advertising, whether or not they live up to the claim.
I’m not saying these foods aren’t great for you, but there are so many ‘super’ foods. When foods are unprocessed, unrefined, in their natural state they are super for you. Foods bought in their natural state are packed with nutrients and antioxidants and they are just ordinary foods.
What are Nutrients?
Nutrients (put simply) are a substance in food that provides structural or functional components or energy required for the body. The body can produce some itself, however, essential nutrients are those that the body must obtain from the diet, as it cannot produce them itself. Nutrients are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes, and are converted to energy.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are a substance found in food that neutralise free radicals. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that have been linked with causing cancer and heart disease. They include Vitamin A, C and E, beta-carotene, lycopene and minerals such as zinc, copper and selenium.
Some of the popular ‘Superfoods’ you might be including in your diet (thanks to all the hype) are acai, goji berries, kale, fatty fish, wheatgrass, chia seeds, and blueberries. This is just naming a few. There is no specific list of what is or isn’t a superfood, and that may be because not enough research has been given to each of them.
Consuming large amounts of any of these high nutrient sources may have draw backs. I’d encourage you to eat that fatty fish, share those kale chips with the kids and whip up a smoothie with some of those other ingredients, but I don’t believe they are the only super foods we should be eating.
I personally believe an unprocessed, balanced diet (real food), including a large variety of fruit and vegetables, will give you all the same benefits as any food labelled ‘super’. The variety will make sure that you are naturally absorbing a variety of nutrients and antioxidants from natural sources.
Real food is already super!