You may have seen the term “superfood” listed on a food label or in the latest wellness article that gets sent to your inbox daily, but what does it really mean? And are these foods actually that powerful?
According to the dictionary, the term “superfood” means that it is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for one’s health and wellbeing. From a health and wellness perspective, these are the foods we should be aiming to get more of in our diet.
But not so fast…
Many health and wellness experts warn that the term “superfoods” has no scientific meaning. The term is commonly used as a marketing tactic to persuade consumers to purchase foods that have health benefits.
In this article published by the American Heart Association, dietitians warn against the stigma around superfoods. They point out that the term can create false expectations for consumers, and that eating one or two of these foods on top of a poor diet isn’t necessarily going to protect someone from future diseases and ailments.
So what’s the lesson here?
Superfoods can be an incredible asset to a healthy lifestyle, but just eating superfoods on top of junk isn’t going to be your saving grace.
The goal is to work towards a diet that consists of real, whole foods that are loaded with nutrients. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish. And yes, even red wine has its fair share of antioxidants, if consumed in moderation!
Looking to take your superfood status up a notch?
Many of these “super” foods were once unheard of, but are now becoming more mainstream and available in your local grocery store (usually found in the pharmacy/vitamin area). Below are some of my favorite foods that give you a BIG nutritional bang for your buck.
- Chia seeds: In 1 oz., you are getting 11 grams of dietary fiber, 4.5 grams of protein, healthy fats and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They soak up to eight times their weight in liquid, creating a tapioca-like texture. Try making your own chia pudding at home!
- Matcha green tea: Not only is it incredibly powerful (it is 10x more potent than regular green tea!), it is high in vitamin A and antioxidants. I enjoy it in my smoothies and homemade lattes.
- Cacao powder: An excellent source of antioxidants, fiber and magnesium, and is cold-pressed to preserve more of the fruit’s nutrients (in comparison to its cousin, cocoa powder). Try making these chocolate peanut butter truffle bites to satisfy your sweet tooth!
- Goji berries: Did you know that one serving of these ruby red berries provide nearly 10 percent of the suggested amount of dietary protein? They are also a great source of vitamin C, fiber, iron and vitamin A. Mix them in homemade trail mix or use as a yogurt topping!
I would encourage you to first, aim for a diet that is rich in whole foods, and then try incorporating one or two of these “super” foods into your day for even more nutritious benefits!