World Health Day aims to promote personal health across the globe and has been celebrated for over 60 years. This year, it is on the 7th of April, and we have decided to mark the occasion by looking at Superfoods. Superfood, as you may well know, is the title given to select foods that are said to have a disproportionately large amount of nutritional benefits based on how much of them you have to eat. But are superfoods scientifically proven to be better for you, or are they just part of another dietary fad?
Examples of Superfoods
There are many examples of superfoods that are readily available on the market. Berries are a very common type, with strawberries, blueberries and cranberries being among the most popular superfoods of all. Oatmeal, spinach, broccoli and watermelon are also classified as superfoods, so a lot of what we might already eat falls into this category. But there are also examples of more obscure produce too, such as chia, quinoa and kale. Even oysters are considered to be a superfood, so unlike many food groups, this one is quite broad and inclusive.
So What is a Superfood?
Superfoods are so-called based on the idea that they give us a lot of what our bodies need. For example, quinoa is one of the most popular superfoods of all, as it is high in protein, low fat, low calorie, and provides a full range of amino acids. Kale is another popular choice, as it is full of fiber, calcium, and iron, and there are a lot of different ways to prepare it. But in terms of defining any actual criteria that qualify or disqualify something as a superfood, there is no real yardstick. There is no checklist or organisation behind the term. It is simply used and reused to refer to any food that could have a case made for it. It is essentially just an adjective, and could be used as a synonym for "very healthy".
So is a Superfood Diet Good?
It's important to realise that superfoods are good foods, but at the same time be aware that they aren't miracle foods. The problem with the ambiguity behind the word superfood is that it is not clearly defined, so going by what other people describe as superfoods is placing all of your trust in someone you don't know using an undefined term. The approach that should be taken is to know what is in your food, how to maintain a balanced diet that gives you everything you need, and to know what it is your body specifically needs. These diets are often left vague so they can appeal to everyone, but the needs of a man in his seventies are not comparable with the needs of a woman in her twenties. So if you're going to make the effort to research your diet, be sure that you understand what it is you're reading. If you do that, you can read about all the superfoods or crazes that you want, and decide for yourself if you think they're up to scratch.