Are Superfoods For Real?
“SuperFoods: another diet trend or is this for real?
What has become known as “SuperFoods” is very real—as real as blueberries, salmon, garlic, and raw honey. But it’s the term “SuperFoods” that’s become a bit of a trend, after the publication of the blockbuster 2003 book, SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, by Steven Pratt, M.D., and Kathy Matthews.
The book introduced 14 “SuperFoods”— whole foods that are so densely packed with vital nutrients and antioxidants that they help improve our overall health, fight disease, and slow aging. A couple of years later, Pratt and Matthews wrote a second book, SuperFoods Healthstyle, and nine new foods were added.
These 23 SuperFoods include walnuts, oranges, spinach, broccoli, green and black teas, blueberries, pumpkin, oats, turkey, tomatoes, soy, yogurt, wild salmon, beans, avocados, cinnamon, garlic, onions, kiwi, dates, honey, pomegranates, and dark chocolate.
According to an AOL Health & Fitness interview with co-author Dr. Steven Pratt, all SuperFoods had to stand up to the following three requirementsbefore being included in the list:
- Easily available in American supermarkets.
- Part of healthful diets in cuisines around the world.
- Sufficient scientific research to prove they could contribute to preventing diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
These days, you can browse the Web and find articles by nutritionists (like this WebMD article) that expand on the original 23 SuperFoods to include eggs, red meat, dark leafy greens like kale, buckwheat pasta, and goji berries. But there is a common thread: These are foods that have been around for thousands and thousands of years.
A trio of benefits
SuperFoods offer three nutritional benefits: nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Here’s a rundown on each one, and which SuperFoods deliver the most (note that most SuperFoods deliver well across all three).
Nutrients: We’re talking vitamins and minerals. Vitamins help our bodies function; minerals are the body’s building blocks. We don’t work without them. Nutrient-rich SuperFoods include kiwis, yogurt, salmon, broccoli, onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes.
Fiber: It’s not just your grandmother’s prunes. Fiber helps the digestive system, improves the absorption of nutrients, gives that long-lasting full feeling after eating, increases insulin effectiveness, and decreases the overall risk of disease. Your grandmother might have called her SuperFoods “roughage.” Fiber-rich SuperFoods include: vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains.
Antioxidants: These nifty molecules repair the body’s wear-and-tear, which comes from eating processed food, getting too much sun exposure, excessive exercising, and taking in environmental chemicals. All produce free radicals in your body. These free radicals are believed to be connected to cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants can reduce free radicals or eliminate them. For that reason, antioxidants have become a vital part of staying healthy in a modern world. SuperFoods rich in antioxidants include: berries, kiwis, apples, cranberries, chocolate, and beans.”
This is borrowed from our friends from Chef by Request