Since the beginning of the worldwide craze for superfood, the food industry has been praising the near magical powers of those nutrients that are supposed to benefit your health, act as an anti-ageing agent, and help you lose weight. But, how much of this is actually true? What are superfoods and how super are they?
While there is no official definition of a “superfood”, it can be easily explained as a food, supposedly containing nutrient that will benefit a person’s health.
Facts or fiction?
The problem is, that most of the research that has been done to prove the actual health benefits of those super-foods does not really prove anything. For example, the NHS takes the example of the research around garlic: it has been concluded that garlic could help reduce cholesterol level and blood pressure. However what they forgot to mention is that in order to reach those benefits, you would have to eat up to 28 cloves a day, which would match the concentration level tested in a lab.
Canadian research Wilhelmina Kalt also takes the example of one of the most popular superfoods out there: the blueberry. While it is believed that the antioxidants contained in the fruit boost a person’s ability to fight oxidative stress in the body; Kalt explains that actually our bodies do a great job by itself and that the consumption of blueberry merely has an impact.
The thing is, yes, blueberries have health benefits such as improving the regenerative capacity of our bodies, and especially our brains; however there is nothing super about it. It is a simple side benefit of a healthy and balanced diet!
Indeed, quite a few nutritionists and dietitians raised their voice to express their concern related to the use of this term; Despina Hyde, from New York University’s Langone Medical Centre explained: “As a dietitian, I think ‘superfood’ is more of a marketing term for foods that have health benefits”.
A statement that is supported by the Cancer Research website which wrote: “it is certainly true that a healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of cancer, but it is unlikely that any single food will make a major difference on its own”.
So, what we did, here at WatchFit, was to take a look at the key ‘superfoods’ and only keep the best for you.
This is the list food considered as superfoods:
Avocados are always a big yes! They are so nutritious and contains everything your body might be requiring: fibre, vitamin B, C, E, K, folic acid, magnesium, copper and potassium. Even better, it has been proven that they help control cholesterol and help reduce the risk of diabetes.
Despite being a high-calorie and high-fat food, almonds have been shown to help in losing weight and improving heart health. So if you’re looking for the right nut to add to your diet, the almond is the one to pick.
Kale, which was completely unknown by most people a few years back, is now highly popular, exclusively based on its profile as a superfood. The thing is, kale does have great health benefits, however, like many other foods, eating it a few times a week is enough to benefit from it.
The big question here is what will you actually gain from consuming kale? Well, it’s quite easy you will provide your body with everything it needs, and even more than that: indeed, 100 grams of cooked kale only contains 33 calories, but 200% of daily vitamin A requirements, 134% of vitamin C and 700% of vitamin K.
Shellfish, such as oyster and mussels are often undermined, while all the attention goes towards salmon; however they have equally nutritional benefits. Firstly, oyster contains fewer calories than salmon, while also providing a large dose of zinc (250% of our daily needs), which is essential for testosterone and libido; along with vitamin B12, known to enhance a healthy development of red blood cells. On the other hand, mussels contain almost every nutrient that your body requires, along with impressive amounts of selenium, needed for the good functioning of our cognitive functions.
So, whether or not you want to call your food “super”, the bottom line advice remains the same – a healthy and varied diet is the one that will provide you with the most health benefits.
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