When I eat, I have three primary factors that influence how I eat: taste, nutrition, and quantity. To keep things simple, I want to eat as much tasty, healthy food as possible anytime I eat.
I mention how I eat because I believe I have a good understanding on how to eat, and I do not fall into buzzword traps. Meanwhile, terms like superfood are overtaking most people’s nutrition lingo.
By the Oxford Dictionary definition, a superfood is, “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”¹ This definition is very loose and vague, as many foods are nutrient-rich, and those that typically are nutrient-rich provide health benefits. With superfood being such a huge buzzword right now, it seems like a smart time to see just how properly termed this is.
More than anything, we should strive to have people eating healthy diets in a sustainable (replicable) manner. So, are superfoods all they are made out to be, and do they help people consume a heathy, sustainable diet? When I mention sustainability, I do so in a manner that applies to each individual uniquely. People need to eat a diet that they can eat, feel happy and comfortable eating daily of whatever food they choose to eat.
The Guardian published a piece looking at multiple studies on superfoods recently. Although they wrongly stated that superfoods have, “no actual benefit to health”² based on the European Food Safety Authority, they do make a point that buzzwords have a strong affect on diet influence as 61% of British bought foods based on the word superfood alone.
Additionally, foods like avocado, and pomegranate are two example foods looked at in this study review. Avocados are talked down by this review because the avocado study they are looking at is paid for by the Hass Avocado Board, and is inconclusive with regards to cardiovascular benefits. However, the study does show positive benefits on lipid profiles, which means avocados are good for people. Again, pomegranates are talked down because they are not guaranteed to reduce artery damage from cholesterol; however, it is overlooked that they add plenty of nutritional value when eaten.
This review clearly diminishes superfoods while ignoring values these foods still have. Although superfoods are not all they are held up to be, they still are of benefit in anyone’s diet.
In the end, as professionals we need to find ways to dictate more of how studies are turned into layman terms and articles. While superfoods are not all they are made out to be, it is on us to make sure information is handled properly. Nutrition is very important, and we need to provide correct information, so people eat healthy, replicable diets.