Really Super, or Just Marketing?
Superfoods are dominating the headlines because living a more health-conscious life is popular right now. However, just because a food is called a superfood does not mean it is true. There are five foods that are often touted to be phenomenal for health that are really just average.
These berries have been consumed in Asia for decades with the promise that they are a fountain of youth. Goji berries have been said to help with a number of health issues, such as inflammation, vision problems, cancer, and fertility issues. Some animal studies also show great promise. However, the effects have not been replicated in humans. This berry is not rich in any specific nutrient. It does contain carotenoid family antioxidants, but there are foods out there with a much higher content. You are better off with other berries that are easier to find, such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
If you have been to a health club or gym with a smoothie bar, you have surely seen wheatgrass shots on the menu. This sprouted grain is often touted as a superfood because it is exceptionally high in chlorophyll. However, a number of studies done on chlorophyll for human health have come up short on finding any major health benefits or nutritional value. Some say it is able to detox the body, but this claim also comes up empty. In fact, those regularly consuming a lot of wheatgrass have reported experiencing issues, such as nausea, constipation, headaches, and hives. You should instead add other leafy greens to your daily diet, such as chard, collard greens, spinach, kale and chicory. If you want to stick to healthy shots, consider chlorella and the wealth of chlorella benefits.
In Brazil, acai berries are a staple food. In the US, these berries have become popular in the last couple of years because health food companies have labeled them a superfood. You can find a variety of supplements, powders, and other acai-containing products in health food stores throughout the country. This berry has been credited with an array of health benefits, such as curing allergies, improving sleep, boosting energy, and promoting weight loss. However, studies on humans do not show that they are capable of doing any of this. Acai does have a relatively good nutritional profile, so eating these berries will provide you with nutrients, but if you want your berries to pack a significant health punch, stick with blueberries, cranberries, and blackberries.
These seeds are popular in Mexico and they have a nutty flavor, making it easy to mix them with a variety of foods. Chia seeds are often said to be ideal for those trying to lose weight because they are purported to satiate the appetite. Research done on this, however, concluded that they neither reduce hunger nor promote weight loss. They also contain no significant nutrients. Instead of these seeds, consider nuts because they can curb hunger due to their rich content of healthy fat and protein.
If you even mention the word “inflammation” at least one person will recommend that you try turmeric. It does have curcumin in it, but the percentage is not that high. To experience the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin, you would have to consume a very large amount of turmeric. There are other herbs that spices with greater health benefits, such as oregano, ginger, and cinnamon.
With this information, you can make better choices for your diet.
Stick to foods that have a diverse nutrient content to ensure that you are fueling your body with what it needs.
The next time you come across a food that is called a superfood, simply make sure it is as super as it is made out to be.