Superfoods tend to come with many super claims. Claims of boosting your immune system, protecting against heart disease and cancer and promoting weight loss, to name a few. Are all of these types of statements true? Or, are we just victims of marketing propaganda and ingesting foods that can actually be bad for us?
What is a superfood?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.
The Origin of the Term
The use of the term “Superfood” has been recorded as far back as the beginning of the 20th century. However, it is only in the last decade, that it became popular in mainstream language. Possibly as a result of a growing public interest in health food.
The First Superfood
Spinach is probably the first vegetable with a claim to this title. Sales peaked in the 1950s as a result of the popularity of Popeye, the cartoon character who gulped down tins of spinach to give him strength.
5 Superfood Myths Busted
1) Goji Berries
The Claim: Goji berries have been a traditional part of Chinese medicine for centuries. Available in dried fruit or juice form, these shriveled, red berries are alleged to boost the immune system and brain activity, protect against heart disease and cancer and improve life expectancy.
The Reality: The British Dietetic Association (BDA) argues that you would need to drink 13 servings of goji berry juice to get as many antioxidants as you’d find in one red apple.
- JUICIEST "SUPER GRADE" GOJIS - Viva Naturals selectively handpicks our super grade gojis that are naturally shade dried to perfection in the Tibetan plateau of the Himalayas. Super grade comprise only a fraction of goji berry harvest, which lend the juiciest mouthfeel and plumpness, exceeding the size of all goji grades.
- PROMOTE LONGEVITY AND GLOWING SKIN - Ordinary goji berries are sun dried upon harvest, whereas our berries are slowly shade dried to preserve powerful carotenoids, uncovering their ability to nourish the skin and promote healthy aging.
- CURB SUGAR CRAVINGS NATURALLY - Known as nature's candies, our goji berries provide the ideal level of sweetness to help cut carb cravings without any added sugars or flavorings!
- SUPPORT HEALTHY VISION - Goji berries possess one of the highest ORAC values among all other berries, providing one of the richest sources of beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. These naturally occurring antioxidants have been clinically shown to support healthy eye development, improving overall vision and cellular health.
- CRAFT HOMEMADE GUILT-FREE SNACKS - Free of preservatives and harmful pesticides, our organic goji berries are certified organic and non-GMO, and pair wonderfully in a variety of recipes. Substitute ordinary mix-ins like chocolate chips and dried cranberries with our succulent goji berries in smoothies, baked goods and salads for a unique flavor in every bite! Great alternative to dried raisins and dried fruit!
- A very high ORAC liquid formula
- It provides antioxidant vitamins
- Beneficial as a dietary supplement
The Claim: The South American supergrain contains up to 18 percent more protein than any other grain, and amino acids to build muscle and body tissue. Naturally gluten-free, it also has a low glycemic index (GI).
The Reality: Despite the protein, quinoa contains potentially gut-irritating saponins and lectins. Some report gas and bloating after eating it, which might be because of its very high fiber content.
- Pre-Washed, Gluten Free. Organic, 100% Whole Grain
- From farms that use best practices and time-bonored tradition.
- Premium Quality Quinoa
3) Coconut Water
The Claim: Coconut water has become one of the fastest-growing soft drinks in Europe. It is said to be high in potassium and magnesium. These minerals are depleted after exercise, so coconut water is often sold as a post-workout drink.
The Reality: While coconut water is relatively low in calories (around 20kcal per 100ml), most of these come from naturally occurring sugar. One 330ml serving contains three teaspoons of sugar, half your recommended daily allowance.
- 100% Natural hydration
- Replenish, refresh, refuel
- Bursting with naturally occurring electrolytes
- More potassium than a banana (don't tell the monkeys) - potassium, helps keep your body properly hydrated
- Big night out? Vita Coco is the perfect pick-me-up
4) Acai Berry
The Claim: With double the antioxidants of blueberries, along with protein, fiber, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals, they are also touted as a weight-loss aid.
The Reality: The supposed weight-loss effect is unproven, and few scientific studies have tested the benefit of acai in promoting weight loss.
- Terrasoul Superfoods Acai Berry powder, 8-ounce Pouch
- 100% Certified Organic, Non-GMO, Raw, Gluten-Free, Vegan
- Acai powder is loaded with antioxidants, an optimal combination of essential amino acids and is packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids
- A good source of vitamin C and contains many other micro-nutrients including ployphenols and flavonoids
- A perfect addition to yogurt, smoothies, shakes and many other recipes
The Claim: Loved by everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Elle Macpherson, this liquidized or powdered grass is an ingredient in juices and smoothies.
The Reality: It doesn’t even enough nutrients to count towards your five-a-day.
- US Grown USDA Organic Wheat Grass Powder. Non-Irradiation and Vegan Friendly.
- Powerfully helps build blood, rid of toxic radicals in your body, slows down aging process, supports digestion, absorption functions and provides enzymes & superoxide dismutase.
- Includes all minerals a person needs and Vitamins A, Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C, E, l and K. It is extremely rich in protein, and contains 17 amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Contains 70% chlorophyll.
- No GMOs, No additives, No preservatives, No artificial colors, No flavors, No Soy, No Fillers and Gluten-Free.
- Scoop included to get the perfect measurement every time. Take it daily with or between meals by adding it to a shake or smoothie, and see for yourself what the most nutrient-dense super food on the planet is all about.
The Real Superfoods as Ranked by the Experts
Researchers at William Paterson University, New Jersey recently produced a list of “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” ranked by the amounts of 17 critical nutrients they contain.
The superfoods are scored by their nutrient density – the content of fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and other nutrients, all considered important to public health. These truly deserve the title “The Real Superfoods.”
6 Superfoods Trending at the Moment
As we all know, superfood trends tend to come and go. Here are the top superfoods people are talking about at the moment and why.
1) Bee Pollen
What: The pollen collected by bees from flowers. It is rich in proteins, amino acids, folic acid and contains all of the B vitamins, including vitamin B12 which can be hard to find in vegetarian sources.
Potential Benefits: Boosts energy levels, soothes skin conditions, curbs cravings and acts as an aphrodisiac.
Use: Sprinkle bee pollen (check price on Amazon) on salads and smoothies.
- Certified Organic
What: A root with a rich supply of nutrients, including minerals, vitamins (particularly B vitamins), fatty acids, amino acids, and sterols.
Potential Benefits: Increases energy levels, reduces stress and improves libido and general immune function.
Use: Maca powder (check price on Amazon) can be added to smoothies, juices, yogurts and fruit salads.
- Powerful superfood: Healthworks Organic Maca Root Powder has been used for thousands of years as a powerful addition to a healthy diet.
- Easy to use: A versatile addition to many snacks and meals! Maca can be added to smoothies and juices as well as soups, energy bars, oatmeal, baked goods and even cereal!
- Beneficial nutrients: Healthworks Maca Root Powder is high in Protein, Fiber, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Fatty Acids.
- Healthworks partners with small farmers right from the source to ensure a product that meets our sustainable standards.
- Healthworks 100% Satisfaction Promise: Get a full refund or replacement within 30 days if you are not completely satisfied
3) Brussel Kale
What: A combination of kale and Brussel sprouts that is produced ‘naturally’ through cross-pollination
Potential Benefits: A 100 grams of Brussel Kale is said to have double the vitamin B6 and twice the amount of vitamin C compared to its father (the brussel sprout).
Use: As part of a meal, similar to as you would with other types of vegetables from the cabbage family.
4) Sasha Inchi Seeds
What: The seeds of a plant grown in Peru.
Potential Benefits: Contains tons of healthy omega acids including 3, 6, and 9. Promotes the reduction of high cholesterol levels and excess weight gain.
- SUPER SEED - Sacha Inchi is the ultimate on-the-go snack for a supercharged lifestyle. This amazing seed is packed with complete protein and healthy Omega 3 oils, making it is the perfect fuel for hikes and workouts.
- PROTEIN AND OMEGAS - With more than 20x the Omega 3 content of wild pink salmon, Sacha Inchi is an amazing source of vegan essential fatty acids. Each handful contains an incredible 8.5g of complete protein for satisfying hunger and muscle recovery.
- EASY TO EAT - Enjoy this toasted, lightly-salted seed by the handful, in salads, smoothies and trail mix.
- ETHICALLY ORGANIC - Imlak'esh Sacha Inchi is ethically sourced from small family farms in pristine rainforest regions. Certified Organic, Ethically Sourced, Fair Trade, Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Kosher.
- GLASS PACKAGING - Our jars keep foods fresh, are super reusable, easily recycled, and better for the environment.
- ORGANIC, RAW, 100% COLD PRESSED, EXTRA VIRGIN OIL, FLOWN IN DIRECTLY FROM PERU. This 3000 year Amazon superfood is high in protein, iodine, essential amino acids, omega oils 3,6, & 9, calcium, antioxidants vitamin A and vitamin E. (Harvest the seeds for oil extraction.)
- A GREAT WAY TO INCORPORATE HEALTHY FATS INTO YOUR DIET! This oil has a slightly nuttier and lighter flavor than olive oil and because of its low smoke point, is great raw. It is the perfect oil to use for salad dressings, smoothies, spreads or dips. Because of the great balance of omega 3, 6 and 9, this oil it is an ideal to use if you are looking for a vegan or vegetarian source. You can get the high levels of omega 3's without the risk of other contaminates
- GROWN SUSTAINABLY. The growing and harvesting is directed by the PERUVIAN OMEGA PROJECT, a nonprofit organization that supports fair trade practices and the reforestation of the Amazon.
- BALANCE YOUR SKIN. Because of the lipid profile and high antioxidant properties, Sacha Inchi oil is a great moisturizer for everyday use. Using this oil can be soothing for dry irritated skin, while it strengthens and rebuilds natural skin barriers and stimulates pore detoxification. It is a superior oil for blocking free radical damage and helps fight against other aging enhancers. Because it reduces inflammation in the body, it also can reduce fine lines and uv damage and improve skin
- FOR THE OMEGA 3 LOVERS! Anti Inflammatory properties of this oil can affect cholesterol levels, increase well being and weight loss. It increases brain health and heart health. It also may lower ldl cholesterol and increase tryptophan lowers inflammation in the brain This is great to protect against memory loss linked to aging. It can lower depression and increase mental skills. lower triglyceride levels, curb stiffness and joint pain.
What: A white root vegetable which goes by the name “oyster plant.”
Potential Benefits: Low in calories, high in fiber and helps keep weight and belly fat down.
Use: The root can be used like a potato – try mash, roast or bake. While the shoots and flower buds can be added to salads.
What: A seaweed which is rich in minerals – iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
Potential Benefits: Regulates metabolism, promotes healthy skin and hair and helps the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Use: In salads and stir-fry dishes or add kelp powder (check price on Amazon) to smoothies.
- Latin/Botanical Name: Ascophyllum nodosum
- Origin: Canada
- Certified Organic by QAI - In accordance with the USDA National Organic Program Guidelines
- Kosher Certified by Kosher Certification Services
- cGMP Compliant (current Good Manufacturing Practices)
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Looking for the secrets to living a long and healthy life could be as simple as following the same lifestyle as your parents and grandparents. They grew up at a time when food fads weren’t as prevalent as they are today yet they were healthy enough to raise a family. Please share the truth about superfoods with your friends and family.