We’ve all heard of apparent superfoods, that are so good for us we should be wolfing them down due to how beneficial they can be for us in certain areas but it seems these days, anything can be considered ‘super’. Of course, the problem with this term is that it is actually a marketing one rather than a scientific one and so there is no method to defining what can and can not be called a superfood.Here we look at 8 of the more well-known superfoods and tell you why you’re being lied to.
1. Coconut Water
Often sold as a natural sports drink with a hefty price tag to boot, there is no evidence to suggest that this is any more rejuvenating than regular water. Just run it from the tap and save yourself some money next time, unless of course, you really, really like coconut water. Its natural sugars are better than processed ones but you are still drinking sugar at the end of the day.
2. Chia Seeds
Often lauded for their concentration of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids have been linked to a healthier heart and a decrease in the chances of heart disease or depression which is all well and good and it is true that chia seeds contain them. However , the oil in chia seeds actually needs to be processed before it unlocks its beneficial potential for the heart and so it is practically redundant in the seed. As such, fish oils or a nice bit of salmon are considerably more advantageous than a helping of these seeds.
The hipster of superfoods making the rounds at the moment is that green leaf known as kale. Lauded for being a nice, green vegetable, with its unique, tangy taste one of the big ways it is sold to us is for its apparent density of glucosinolates which help prevent the risk of cancer. They do have them in and they do fight the risk of cancer but they’re actually not that high in them. A regular serving of Brussel Sprouts actually has more in them so keep wolfing those down and don’t just save them for Christmas.
4. Goji Berries
These berries are championed for their containment of zeaxanthin, a carotenoid alcohol that helps with eyesight and helps prevent dramatic deterioration with old age. However, zeaxanthin is present in so many plants found in the leaves of most green plants and an awful lot of vegetables. Yellow peppers, spinach and cabbage are all high in zeaxanthin and it is the pigment that gives paprika, corn, saffron and wolfberries their characteristic colors. In fact, little research has been done into the beneficial properties of goji berries and a lot of their hype comes from the fact they are grown in the East and used in Chinese medicine.
Ah, the grain that spawned a thousand pronunciations (it’s keen-wah people) and has its cholesterol lowering properties trumpeted all over the land. Problem is, as with a lot of these so called ‘superfoods’, the minute you wash or prepare them they lose most of their goodness and is especially the case with quinoa that quite often just has these washed and boiled away.
The last reserve of the chocoholic who was desperate to shoe-horn in the sweet treat to their healthy diet. Alas, the positive effects it has on one’s blood pressure are, more often than not, outweighed by the negatives of the sugar and fat involved too. Sorry, this one may be hard to swallow.
This one has some pros and cons so bear with us whilst we explain it but beetroot is certainly good for lowering your blood pressure and improving your metabolism because of its nitrates. However, science now suggests that excessive consumption could increase the likelihood of gastric cancer so just stick to this one in moderation.
The original superfood, the one that started all of this nonsense off is the delicious and (not so) nutritious blueberry. We were told it was good for our heart, we were told to put them on everything but oh, how we have been betrayed. The chemicals in blueberries that aid the heart actually have a real tough time entering the blood stream ad you’d have to eat a ridiculous amount to make it truly worth your while. That being said, we’d still recommend you eat all of your fruits and veg and none of these superfoods are horrifically bad for you (except maybe chocolate) so just try and be logical about your diet decisions.