General, Nutrition
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How super are “Superfoods”?

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In recent years the promotion of the “Superfood” has been evident not only in health circles but in wider spheres, reaching the general population.

“Superfoods” are essentially foods which are deemed highly nutrient dense and they have recently become much more widely available.  The spotlight has turned suddenly to them and they’ve been paraded out in all their glory  to trample on the mere, less ‘superior’, everyday foods in a multi coloured display of anti-oxidants, vitamins, omega-3s and other bioactive compounds.  One might think they’d been hiding out together in an underground “super food” convention waiting to reveal themselves to the world.  Also of note is that most of them came emerged from some far off country which makes them even more “super”.  However, what wasn’t thought through before they emerged from this underground meeting was what really any of that means and why have they just become so prevalent?!

There’s been a lot of controversy over said food group with many people stating that it is simply a marketing tool.  The effects of these foods are not necessarily disputed but they also acknowledge what the more commonly known foods give to us by way of nutrition.  Among the acclaimed “superfoods” are blueberries (providing antioxidants, phytonutrients, Vitamin K and C, manganese), goji berries (fibre, vitamin c, anti-oxidants, beta-carotenes), kale (vitamin C, K, A, anti-oxidants), spinach (potassium, iron, magnesium), hemp seeds (essential fats, protein, vitamin E), cacao bean (raw chocolate) (essential fats, protein, fibre, minerals such as magnesium), spirulina (calcium, niacin, essential amino acids, protein), wheatgrass (complete protein, enzymes, anti-oxidants, phytonutrients), bee pollen (approximately 40% protein, amino acids, vitamin B complex, folks acid).  Some folk, like nutrition and health expert David Wolfe, claim that these foods could be “a missing link to the nutritional puzzle”.  Whereas former elite endurance athlete and founder of The Primal Blueprint Mark Sisson believes them to be good but not the key necessity in our nutrition.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a “super food” as much as the next health crazed, smoothie downing, hole in the pocket burning person (don’t understand that phrase?), but I also like, in fact love, my everyday macro and micronutrient dense food which I’ve been eating for years.  By all means, add these little gems in as and when you can, create some “super food” smoothie or snack, or even meal.  But don’t get hung up on it! After all, there’s no point pouring money into something which then causes you to eat at your choice of fast food saver menu because you can’t afford anything else.  Health, in every area, is all about optimum balance and harmony.  Going from one extreme to the other doesn’t help anything or anyone!

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