Superfood or supermyth?

Superfood is supposed to be some better food that improves our health but is also super expensive. It would not make sense that super food, which gives you super health, is super cheap.

What would be superfood at all? The Oxford Dictionary says it is “foods rich in nutrients that are considered to be particularly beneficial to health”. Dictionary Merriem-Webster has a bit more extensive definition: super foods (such as salmon, broccoli or blueberries) are rich in ingredients (such as antioxidants, fibers or fatty acids) that are considered to be beneficial to human health. “

Unclear definitions, unclear effects

In other sources of information, there are similar unclear definitions that do not mean much. These definitions do not tell us what we will achieve if we eat some great food at a certain amount over a period of time. To prove some specific health claims of the type “if you eat 100 grams of blueberry a day, you will prevent the cold” it is necessary to carry out appropriate clinical research on a large number of people and still compare the blueberries with something else to prove such claims. However, there is no such evidence. Superfood is just a marketing trick, a promotional expression that advertises certain overrated foods.

According to super food definitions, almost any food of plant origin could be considered super-food. Numerous plants have antioxidants, fibers, vitamins and minerals. If some of them call it super food, it is not only inaccurate but also very misleading. Of course, it is not bad at all if marketing can convince people to eat broccoli instead of fried potatoes, but the message to consumers is important as well. Healthy food is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but that does not mean that eating broccoli or some other supposed super foods can cure diseases.

Superfood as an excuse for an unhealthy life

Healthy eating and healthy life include far more than occasional consumption of something called superfood. However, people tend to have compensatory health beliefs, or believe that occasional eating healthy foods will compensate their unhealthy behavior. According to these beliefs, a little healthy food will justify eating unhealthy food, smoking, lack of physical activity, etc. These compensatory health beliefs can have a number of health consequences. Why change your habits, when you can correct them by adding goji berries? Why settle for boring old good health, when chia seeds on your cereal can make you superhealthy? But the truth are a berries or chia seeds will not erase all other unhealthy behaviors or risks.

Passing mode – Inefficiency verification

In addition to the ineffectiveness of the superfood for solving health problems, there is also a great variation of such food in marketing messages. Every bit in the trend is some other super food. We have already forgotten the cranberries; they were once everywhere, even in chocolate. Also chia seeds. Healthy bread with chia seeds, Yogurt with chia seeds, Pudding from chia seeds, Goji berries, Acai Berry. All these berries are advertised with countless alleged health impacts that go far beyond the standard advice on healthy eating and the importance of eating fruit and vegetables. It would be very nice if we could cure some terrible diseases with a little berry. But unfortunately this is not the case. However, people do not give up; they often believe that some food or combination of foods will cure all their problems, so they will switch to raw food or to a very limited diet to eradicate serious illness. When they stop buying foods that have not achieved what they expected, then it is time for marketing to release some of the new superfoods with which we are moving into new health expectations.

That’s why new superfoods from exotic locations are constantly emerging. Ten years ago, most people did not know about acai berries from Amazonia, and now they all want “powerful Brazilian berries” that are claimed to be the strongest antioxidants in the world.

Too much “healthy” can increase mortality

The very fact that in some food there is something like antioxidants does not mean that it will help you treat some disease or live longer. And not only do not reduce mortality, but research has shown that some antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly more vitamin A doses, can even increase mortality and scientists say antioxidants should be considered as medicinal products and properly tested before they begin to advertise their alleged beneficial effects on health.

Also the body actually uses free radicals to kill bacteria. Does that mean a surfeit of antioxidants might weaken your immune system?

So eat fruit and vegetables, but do not spend large amounts of money on something just because it’s called super food. And do not expect that these super foods cure your illnesses and also do not expect that your chia seeds or various berries will wipe out the effects of all other unhealthy habits.

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