Background: Superfoods: are they that super and if they are, what is super about them?

Superfood

Superfoods seem to be the food hype that is currently going on. A lot of people added these food items to their diet in the last few years. You can buy them everywhere now, even at stores that normally don’t sell groceries, but they are quite expensive. Are they worth their price? Are they really that beneficial to your body or is it all just a marketing trick to make people buy these products. Do you really need to add them to your diet or are the regular healthy food items enough. I did some research on the internet about this and I would like to share my findings with you.

Which foods fall in the ‘superfood’ category?

Foods with a higher nutritional content fall in the category of superfoods, but most of them are not sold that way. For example an orange would be a superfood, because of it’s fibers and vitamin C, but there is not much of a hype on oranges. Most stores sell the following products as ‘superfood’.

  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Wheatgrass
  • Raw cacao
  • Goji berries
  • Bee pollen
  • Coconut oil

So what do these food contain that makes them so ‘super’?

Chia seeds

  • Contains healthy omega 3 fatty acids
  • Contains a lot of fibers
  • Holds a lot of calcium
  • Source of protein
  • Antioxidants

Flax seeds

  • Contain omega 3 fatty acids
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Have a lot of fibre in them
  • Helps with menopausal symptoms

Hemp seeds

  • Source of protein
  • Contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Have a high amount of fibre
  • Contain essential amino acids

Wheatgrass

  • Holds vitamin A,B,C and E
  • Increases red blood-cell count
  • Stimulates your thyroid gland
  • High chlorophyll content

Raw cacao

  • Holds a lot of antioxidants
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
  • Protein
  • Fiber

Goji berries

• Hold a lot of Flavenoids, antioxidants
• Effectively remove toxins from the body
• Strengthen the metabolism
• Rich source of Vitamin E and Vitamin C

Bee pollen

  • Contains vitamins B, C, D and E
  • Calcium, magnesium, selenium, cysteine
  • Protein.

Coconut

• Contains copper and vitamin C,
• Contains essential minerals such as iron, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.
• Coconut water improves digestion
• Lots of fibers

The truth is, that you need a large amount of the superfoods daily to really experience the benefits from them. Most people don’t get such a high quantity of them, plus, some of the superfoods have side effects if you consume too many of them. Many superfoods are a fun change of pace for the taste buds and do provide excellent benefits. But, whole foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains provide many similar benefits and we shouldn’t look to one single food or food group to provide us with optimal health. If you have a specific need or area of deficiency a superfood can help but the old  advice is still true… a healthy, moderate diet combined with exercise is key to a healthy body, mood and longevity. Simply eating on chia pudding and flax seeds won’t do it.

More info in Dutch here: or here

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