Super Foods: Worth the Hype?

If you follow food trends at all, I’m sure you’ve read about what they call “super foods”, that is foods that we must be eating every day in order to live a healthy and well-balanced life. A few years ago it was pomegranates, recently acai berries were all the rage.

Usually these things are expensive and may be hard to find depending on where you are. So what’s the deal? Do you need these foods?

The short answer is no. There is no one magic food that will give you all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need on a daily basis. Not that these things aren’t good for you, they’re just not absolutely necessary.

Most of the super foods are fruits such as the pomegranate or acai, so they do have health benefits, but these industries have spend lots of money on advertising to make us believe that these foods have something that you can’t get anywhere else, and this simply isn’t true. To get everything you need to be healthy, you need a large variety of foods and the more the better.

If you’re looking for research to find out how to eat a balanced diet, you’re also likely to find lists of the “top ten healthiest foods” to eat every day. While these can be helpful when choosing ingredients and meals, research has shown that we should eat as varied a diet as possible. Be realistic; you can’t eat every single healthy food every day. You’d be eating way to many calories. If you want to eat a balanced diet, you just need to remember the basic rules of eating as many plant foods as you can, this includes fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes. Eat high quality meats and dairy, and eat everything as close to it’s natural state as possible. Most of these trendy foods are served in the form of fruit juices, powders and other processed forms, so they don’t even really fit in with this rule.

Eat as wide a variety of foods as you can. If this seems difficult, take a walk through your grocery stores produce department and count the vegetable you eat on a regular basis versus those you never do. You’ll probably be amazed at the number of different things we could be eating.

You don’t have to eat something everyday to reap the benefits and remember, many nutrients can be gained from more than one source, which is great if you happen to hate blueberries.

Bottom line: Super foods aren’t bad for you, in fact, most of them do reap some of the benefits promised. However, nothing is a cure all. If you want to eat a balanced diet, you have to eat a large variety of foods. This way if there’s something you’re missing somewhere, you’ll be sure to pick it up somewhere else.

Do you follow “super food” trends? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Photo by adactio

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