Well, the truth is that ‘superfood’ is really just a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits – ‘supposed’ being the operative word.
In context it tends to refer to any one food that is thought to be particularly dense in nutrients, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids – all of which are essential for the human body to maintain healthy functioning systems and a normal metabolism.
The problem is that although we may recognise the importance of keeping our body’s vitamin and mineral levels in check, there is little to no real evidence that supports the power of any single food to significantly reduce various health risks.
Whilst a few studies have showed some positive results, they’ve tended to use such high concentrations of the foods that it would be near impossible to include enough of them in our diets to actually see any benefits.
But this is not to say that ‘superfoods’ don’t exist. Rather, we should just be cautious not to be fooled into thinking that they can serve as a quick fix to an otherwise unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Dieticians and nutritionists continue to champion a balanced diet of fruit and veg, meat, fish and dairy, and plenty of whole-grains – avoiding anything processed and refined, and accompanying it with a lifestyle to match.
Here are some superfoods that really are worth including in your diet…
Said to help with everything from blood pressure to memory, this humble berry is often considered the king of the superfoods.
Though the health claims remain largely unconfirmed, blueberries are low in calories and packed with antioxidants, and most definitely a good thing to include in your diet.
While the jury is still out on the importance of supplementing omega-3 fatty acids, there is much evidence suggesting that fish consumption (particularly oily fish) really can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It has been scientifically proven that eating oily fish can lower blood pressure and reduce fat build-up in the arteries. The UK government recommendation is to eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily.
This Sunday lunch favourite is a good source of vitamin C and folate (naturally occurring folic acid). It also contains vitamins A, K, calcium, fibre, beta-carotene and other antioxidants (notably indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane).
Broccoli advocates like to think that this veg can work wonders in reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes, though little solid evidence is yet to be presented. That said, it’s packed with goodness and is a great addition to any meal, along with any other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage.