We have all heard about superfoods. These are the foods that are so high in their nutrition profile that is close to some miracle.
Yet, the actual facts and fictions of these foods are often blurry. In this segment, we make an honest effort to understand them in a better way
What Do We Mean By Superfoods?
The majority of people at some point in time or the other have felt tempted to buy some food item because of the tag of superfood being associated with it.
Numerous products like fruits, vegetables, spices, greens, and even protein bars carry the designation. But what parameters define food as a superfood, if at all they exist, needs to be addressed.
Presently there is no set standard definition for a superfood. It can be any food item that has some significant nutritional value and offers a host of health benefits.
The term superfood is pervasive these days in the domain of health and wellness. Typing the particular word in the search section of any e-commerce site can take us to a section of food including spreads, coffee, and tea, spices, and powders, most of which are extremely costly.
While the manufacturing companies often make hefty profits out of these labels, the health experts are particularly wary of the term since there is no set definition or regulatory measure that can guarantee the nutritional benefit that these foods claim.
This is because most of the superfood label does not contain any detailed table of the ingredients involved in it and its quantity in the composition.
Some of the popular superfoods;
Ceratin foods have been attributed the designation of superfood because of the perceived health benefits that they might offer.
The majority of these superfoods are plant-based. However, there are a few animal-based varieties of them, for example, salmon.
Although nutritionists acknowledge that there is no particular definition of a parameter to identify a food as a superfood, certain foods are casually referred to by the term. These include berries like blueberries, acai berries, and goji berries.
Greens like spirulina, kale, wheatgrass, cruciferous vegetables, and beets, along with fruits like pomegranate and, avocado.
Seeds like chia seeds and flax seeds, the aromatics like ginger, garlic are enveloped in this term.
Few other foods that have received the designation are turmeric, salmon, green tea, chili peppers, cocoa, maca, and citrus fruits.
However, this list does not limit here and there can be other food items that might be considered a superfood to be included in the list.
Are these foods really super?
Although there are no criteria that make a food eligible for the designation of superfoods, some of the above-mentioned food items possess some health benefits.
For example, the consumption of berries can prove to be beneficial for vascular function and heart health. Vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, popularly known as cruciferous vegetables, are also known to reduce the chances of heart disease and cancer.
Garlic is known to have some anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive properties. Meanwhile, citrus fruits have a rich concentration of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant metabolites like flavonoids, alkaloids, carotenoids, phenolic acid, essential oils, and coumarins.
It’s the entire dietary plan that counts:
Although so much attention has been given to certain food items, the overall health and wellness of an individual solely depend on the dietary plan that is followed.
A diet that is full of processed food, alcohol, and caffeine will not garner any positive impact on the health of the individual, even if a handful of superfoods are included in it.
On the other hand, a diet that largely consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, with a balanced amount of nuts and grains, promotes good health and protection from diseases even if a certain amount of processed food and fast food is included in it.