Super-Silly “Superfoods”

superfoods

Superfoods. What are they? Can you tell me what the superfoods are? Each list is different. There is no definitive list of superfoods. The truth is, the word superfood was created by the media to refer to foods that are particularly beneficial because of their nutrients. So… basically, FOOD. That is, food that is not heavily processed. Are we just now realizing that food can be powerfully beneficial? And we had to create a super-stupid word for it? When looking up the definition of superfoods, many sites clearly state that this is not a medical or technical term but a media term. And it implies that there are miracle foods that are somehow better than others.

The foods that seem popular on lists of superfoods include: blueberries, salmon, walnuts, spinach, eggs, sweet potatoes, etc. Like I said, no list is identical. There seem to be some foods that show up repeatedly. But what does this tell you? There is no clear-cut definition of a superfood. (By the way, my spell-checker is underlining “superfood” in red every time I use it. Because it’s not a word!)

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There are foods that are packed with nutrients, we call this nutrient density. It’s kind of a ratio of nutrients to calories. I like to think of it as “bang for your buck” or in terms of money. Half a fillet of salmon provides 280 calories but also provides 39 g of protein and is  great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as Vitamin B12, niacin and selenium. One Snickers bar is 271 calories and has 29 g of sugar. You can “spend” those ~280 calories either way, but which choice is more beneficial to your body? That is nutrient density.

These foods are not miracle foods. The benefits come from the nutrients they provide. Yes, some nutrients, such as Vitamins C, E, zinc and fiber, have been shown to prevent disease and cancer. But eating a gallon of blueberries will not make you look like Emma Stone and you won’t live forever. It’s about eating an overall diet that is rich in nutrients. And variety is key!! The more variety your diet has, the more likely you are to be meeting your nutrient needs.

So, can we stop using the word “superfood” and just say food? It’s the way should have been eating all along.

 grumpy_cat

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