You’ve likely heard a lot about superfoods: specific foods, such as certain fruits or vegetables, that have superior properties and can help boost your health.
But how super are superfoods really? Are they actually as effective as the media would like you to believe, or are they just a gimmick?
Are These Foods Really “Super?”
There are many claims that superfoods are good for you, but they don’t necessarily have the power that you might think they have.
Like a lot of people, you might think that you can eat just a little bit of a superfood and it will help eliminate a certain health problem that you are dealing with. But you have to keep in mind that, when studies are conducted, they often involve testing high concentrations of extracts from the foods. When you eat superfoods in their natural state, you aren’t getting the same high concentrations of those compounds or nutrients, so the health claims can be a bit misleading.
For example, when garlic was shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, people weren’t told that they would have to eat about 28 cloves every day in order to match doses that were studied in the lab.
Some Examples of Superfoods
Over the last few years, a lot of foods have been touted as superfoods. Some of them are promoted with exaggerated claims, but a few are highly recommended.
Berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, are good for you because they have high amounts of flavonoids. You can potentially decrease your risk for a heart attack if you consume nine servings of berries, other fruits, and vegetables daily.
Seeds, legumes, and nuts are a great source of healthy fats, as well as protein, and it’s recommended that you consume about four servings per week, according to the American Heart Association.
Kale is considered a superfood because it has a host of nutrients, including potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and phytochemicals. Incorporate it into your diet with other fruits and vegetables.
You Should Eat Superfoods as Part of a Healthy Diet
If you’re consuming a generally poor diet on a day-to-day basis, you won’t reap many benefits from the superfoods you choose to include every now and then. Sure, you can have some dark chocolate because it has bioactive compounds that may provide health benefits, but check the ingredients list for things like fat and sugar, which you don’t want to increase, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
The key to your health would instead lie in consuming a healthy diet that contains a variety of whole foods that are packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium, to name a few. This means you should eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains, as these all contain phytochemicals that are found in plants and may be able to protect against disease.
It isn’t realistic to think that you can just add certain superfoods to your diet to greatly enhance your health. Instead, experts recommend eating a balanced diet that gives your body the nutrients it needs. This is a better way to go about attaining and maintaining health than by focusing all of your attention on just a few superfoods.