The term ‘superfood’ not often used by dietitians and nutrition scientists, as many dispute the argument that particular foods have the health benefits often claimed by advocates. So is it all just a fad? The Jon McComb Show investigates…
“The world’s never been more unhealthy. It’s so frightening. This generation is expected to live a shorter life than their parents. It’s really uncomfortable stuff. I Don’t like it. Everyday Superfood is a place where every choice is a good choice.”
That’s celebrity chef Jamie Oliver praising superfoods – and his cookbook – as a way to combat an unhealthy lifestyle.
But what is a superfood?
Nancy Guest is a registered dietitcian, strength and conditioning coach, and explains what a superfood is.
“Well we’re basically talking about any food that has been shown to give us a health benefit. And it is a little bit misleading because most foods do infact give a health benefit, and they’re not necessarily super. There’s a lot of debate and a lot of interest around nutrition, and I think we also get celebrities with shows and super celebrity doctors that put out a certain food or nutrient that becomes very popular and talked about.”
If being a superfood is all about how much a fruit or vegetable is discussed, and if everybody’s bodies digests foods differently – is there any science to back up the health claims of so-called superfoods?
“Scientifically, a lot of these so-called super foods really aren’t that much healtheir than some comparable foods. If we look at spinach vs. kale vs. collard greens for example. Things like blueberries and quinoa, and almonds and avocados and goji berries. These are all foods, some more common than others, and they just sort of get a bit more attention due to their nutrition profile and become classified as a superfood.”
If it comes down to superfoods being nothing more than popular fruits and veggies, is there any reason to consume superfoods over your everyday apples and carrots?
“I like to tell my clients that given any fruit or vegetable or nut or seed or grain, you can always be assured that it’s a nine out of 10 or a 10 out of 10 in nutritional value. So you can’t go wrong, especially with fruits and vegetables – they’re all healthy.”
Nancy says it’s not about the one healthy food in your life, but about a balanced diet day to day.
“And I like to sort of promote a super diet, as opposed to a super food. So have lots of variety, eat a rainbow – even your white food such as pears and radishes and bananas and garlic. Those are packed with nutrients, even though they don’t have those deeper colours that we often find in those foods that are apparently superfoods, such as red peppers or kale.”
So don’t worry if your grocery list doesn’t include goji berries, Thai coconut water, or kelp.
Pick up some oranges, peaches, maybe a cucumber or two – they may not be as sexy and popular, but they’re still healthy. And most likely cheaper.