It’s no wonder there is so much confusion surrounding this well-touted marketing term. What are super-foods really?
As I’ve gone further and further into researching the trend, it’s been interesting to see the hype and money used to promote different food groups. I wonder who is actually making the money and who are reaping the nutritional benefits. Whilst there is no official definition of what makes a food a ‘super-food’, there is general consensus that it must contain high levels of nutrients and must be rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants….but what the heck does that mean?
Antioxidants are known for their ability to fight against the harmful oxidative effect of free radicals, hence their name anti-oxidants. Oxidative free radicals are all around us. We have oxidative stress when we walk, talk, eat and drink. These little buggers are what ages us, decreases the collagen in our skin and bodies thereby making us look and feel old, they damage our DNA and contribute to the development of heart disease, cancer and dementia. So if we believe what’s in the literature and advertisements I can whip up a cocktail of super-foods to counter all these things. A piece of broccoli for dinner, a handful of blueberries, two cartwheels in an anti-clockwise direction and douse all greens with as much extra, extra double virgin olive oil as is possible…and can I have extra virgins with that please?
No, this is obviously not going to provide you with the well-rounded ‘super’ diet that you or I need to go about our normal life let alone turn us into a more fabulous version of Mr Incredible or Popeye. Becoming too fixated on any food group is where I believe the problems occur and especially those not grown locally as many foods become alarmingly less ‘super’ when they’re frozen, crushed, mashed and processed, let alone poor storage and handling hygiene.
Here are some foods that are at the top of the list, some I hope will be a pleasant surprise as one doesn’t need to spend a lot or any more to have a full well rounded super diet. The foods have been chosen as you will see on their merit of…….cost, high anti-oxidants, taste, phytochemicals, ease of use, satiating, and some other health benefits. Thing to take note of are that many foods that are otherwise very good for you often have their nutritional value lowered as a result of us mixing in inferior products, poor production, heat, cold, and many other things. Moving foods can decrease their amazingness.