If there’s one thing both the American consumer and the market have come to love, it’s the so-called superfoods. These magical remedies tout big powers, like curing heart problems or enhancing weight loss. So is it true? Are superfoods really super?
Well, these superfoods—kale, açai berries, goji berries, quinoa, almonds, etc.—they’re good for you. No one is questioning that. The real question is how and why these foods got to have alleged superpowers while carrots, broccoli, apricots and other natural, healthy foods did not. In truth, these foods, like most other natural fruits, vegetables and grains, offer just as much nutrients as many of the alleged superfoods.
The superfoods fairytale wouldn’t be possible without a little supporting character named fad diets. Perhaps one of the biggest flaws in the common American diet is the constant hunt for one single, final solution to health issues and obesity. Eating well is actually very simple—eat more natural foods, less preservatives, listen to your body’s needs, avoid too much of any one thing. But, so many people want a different answer, a guarantee. As a result, things like low-carb, no-salt, or juice diets take turns in the spotlight as the next big solution.
But are Superfoods Really Super?
Now, the notion of superfoods isn’t as extreme or one-sided as say a low-carb diet. After all, superfoods are nutritious and good for you. You should eat superfoods. But, the trendy notion of superfoods did start in the same way a fad might. A famous someone (wave ‘hi,’ Dr. Oz) gave us his word that goji berries, açai berries and a handful of others are the superfoods that will change our lives if we eat them. And if Dr. Oz says so, well … Add to that the fact that almost any big company is going to hop on board the superfood train for a chance to make a buck and you’ve got some out-of-nowhere hype.
The goji berry is wondering, “How did I get here?”
Even while most the question continues regarding are superfoods really super, these common superfoods are actually pretty supe! There are a few problems with the superfood concept though. The first is that people have unreasonable expectations. They hear about salmon helping with a healthy heart and think that eating one serving of salmon amongst a sea of burgers, enchiladas or sesame chicken is going to do the trick. Or that having coconut water to drink in the morning with your bacon, egg and cheese bagel will balance things out.
Come on, they’re not that super.
Adding in a few “superfoods” alone isn’t going to guarantee anything. Instead, these foods should be part of an altogether wholesome diet. Which leads to another problem—with the superfoods in the spotlight, other nutritional, natural foods don’t get the attention they deserve. Almonds, kale, quinoa and avocado are all amazingly good for you. But so are carrots, bananas, blueberries, and shellfish. Lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lowfat dairy, whether they make Dr. Oz’s cut or not, all provide us with vitamins, potassium, fiber, calcium and other nutrients necessary for our good health. So-called superfoods are pretty cool, but there’s plenty of super-good stuff out there that can give you the same nutritional benefits. Some Fitness Industry Pros Suck…and I don’t mean lollipops!