If you are striving toward better health, you’ve no doubt heard about all the superfoods which will supposedly change your life around with their antioxidant super powers.
Increasingly popular, we are all becoming familiar with exotic names like goji, acai, camu camu, spirulina, chia, cacao and maca; even if we don’t really know what they are. These foreign items often come with a huge price tag to match their elite health status and the long distance they have travelled from plants in faraway lands to the health food store shelf in your town.
Yet, despite the environmental and consumer costs, superfoods have become very trendy. Even though many consumers are reluctant to pay the price of organic meat and produce, their demand for superfoods has made it a $10 billion global industry. With so much money in the industry, everything from blueberries to chocolates are now being labelled as superfoods.
So what is a superfood and which superfoods do we really need?
The term superfood is simply a word created by marketing companies to entice the public to buy certain food products. The loose definition refers to a food that is extremely nutrient dense; providing more antioxidants, minerals and/or vitamins than other foods.
At first, superfoods mainly included the types of foreign plant foods listed above. However, due to the huge profits that are created through such health trends, the term superfood is being thrown around generously. For example, foods like dark chocolate and red wine, which went from villain status to superfood status overnight. Never mind the sugar and alcohol, the antioxidants will heal you! Here we have yet another case of marketing madness overriding commonsense in the health industry.
Indeed, dark chocolate and red wine contain antioxidants, and foods like goji berries and chia seeds are highly nutritious. But that doesn’t mean we can find a health cure-all in these purported superfoods. We are all so used to quick cures, a pill for an ill, that we love the idea of eating a few superfoods daily instead of actually changing our dietary habits for good. And therein lies the problem in trends like these: it draws our money and attention away from the foods we really do need to be eating.
The only superfoods you’ll ever need are organic, local plant and animal foods. Here are my top picks.
My very own superfoods list:
When you are eating an organic whole food diet of nutrient-rich plants and animals, then by all means, try out cacao powder, acai berries and chia seeds. Just beware of sugar, alcohol and additives in some superfood products, and don’t rely solely on these foods for all your health needs. Good health needn’t be too expensive or confusing…after all, most ALL of nature’s foods are super.
What are your favourite superfoods?
The Only Superfoods You’ll Ever Need – February 2014