What are Superfoods?
Posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 at 5:51 pm
People who enjoy eating healthy have probably heard about superfoods. It has been said that these foods are more powerful than others. Sometimes, they are also more expensive than other fruits and vegetables. What are superfoods? Are they really superior to healthy foods that haven’t been given that label?
LiveScience describes superfoods as foods that are thought to be nutritionally dense and especially good for a person’s health. These foods mostly consist of plants but can also include some fish and dairy. Some foods that have been called superfoods are blueberries, salmon, kale, and acai.
The American Heart Association points out that there is no standard criteria or approved list of superfoods. The foods that have been called superfoods are healthy foods. However, they aren’t super powered or significantly healthier than the other foods that people would count as healthy foods.
The American Heart Association notes that superfoods cannot cure chronic diseases. You can eat all the blueberries you want to, but doing so is not going to magically solve a health problem. Superfoods are not bad for you. They also aren’t miracle workers.
One of the reasons why we are hearing the word superfoods a lot has to do with marketing. For example, in the early 20th century, the United Fruit company advertised the banana as a weight loss promoting superfruit. As a result, people chose to go on a banana and milk diet.
This same pattern has been used to market other foods to consumers. Call something a superfood, and people become more inclined to purchase that food. In 1988, the Oregon blueberry harvest was 17 million pounds. By 2013, blueberry production increased to 90 million pounds. The reason is because blueberries had been marketed as a superfood.
The European Union (EU) banned the use of the word superfoods in 2007. The reason was that nutritionists had pointed out that there are no proven benefits of superfoods as compared to other foods. As such, the EU banned the use of the word superfood unless it is accompanied by a specific authorized health claim that explains to consumers why the product is good for their health.
What should consumers take from all this information? The foods that have been called superfoods are healthy choices. They are definitely not junk food! If you enjoy a food that happens to have been given that label, go ahead and keep eating it. The thing you need to realize is that superfoods aren’t significantly different than other healthy foods.