The word “Superfood” has become very popular and has been more frequently used since the 90’s. But what exactly makes a food “super”? Why is it not just called good or grandiose? Why is it better than anything else? Is it just a pretentious kind of food or is there a better reason to name it a superfood?
As the nutrition and supplement industry continues to evolve and grow, they have made certain terms more mainstream. As they market certain nutrients or foods, they want to make you believe their product will solve all your problems. It will heal you or prevent you from getting a certain disease. Even though food can be medicine and has these properties (we all know by now that your diet can either heal or harm you), the term “superfoods” is quite overused. After all, the term has no official legal or medical definition so manufacturers can be quite loose with their definition and use.
The best way to describe a superfood is: a nutrient dense food which contains antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals as well as other nutrients which is considered to be beneficial for your health and well being. Are superfoods good for you? It depends on the type of food, some companies may mislabel their products and blatantly lie. Other foods genuinely deserve the title. Every wholesome food which contains antioxidants and other healthy properties (think fiber, unsaturated fats etcetera) and is unprocessed deserves a closer look and is probably worth a spot into you eating habits. Of course, not if it’s poisonous or you have an allergy to it (please always check with a professional to discuss your personal nutritional needs).
Does this mean you should eat it all the time? Not necessarily. Even though some super foods are genuinely quite amazing, too much of one thing is rarely good. Balance is key. Sure, include it on your shopping list but don’t ditch other healthy options so you can binge on this one thing.
To give you some ideas of wholesome, nutrient rich “superfoods”, here are 5 of our favorites:
- Kale: Kale is an easy to grow, nutritious green leafy vegetable. It is rich in vitamin A, C and K, along with plenty of other nutrients which are shown to have anti-cancer properties. Also remember, the key to a gorilla’s strength and slimness is a raw diet heavy in greens. If that doesn’t make you think about eating kale, what will?
- Tomatoes: they contain lycopene. This is an antioxidant rarely found in other foods and protects our skin as well as lowers our chances of a heart attack.
- Blueberries: They taste amazing and contain antioxidants which protect us against free radicals. Therefore, they help protect us against aging, cell damage and cancers.
- Broccoli: Broccoli has tons of vitamin C, folic acid and phytonutrients which suppresses tumor growth and reduces cancer risk.
- Brussel Sprouts: Sure, they may have a bad rep but we think they’re delicious! They contain glucosinolates, which are compounds that detoxify our bodies and combat cancer.
There are many more “superfoods” out there so go explore them. Try them out, add them to your dishes. After all, if you’re looking for health and performance it’s definitely worth a shot.
By Sander Vanacker for FitGuana
Sander Vanacker is a personal trainer, CEO of Bring Back Nature, Inc. and founder of FitGuana. He believes in improving health and wellness by incorporating more nature into our lives, being active and spending more time outdoors.