The humble potato has been replaced by the sweet potato, kale is in pretty much every smoothie on the planet, and avocado flavoured chocolate is actually a thing! Superfoods have well and truly taken over, and companies have monopolised on our desire for perfect health and well-being. These superheroes supposedly provide fixes for a huge variety of ailments. Such as being able to slow down the ageing process, lift depression, boost our physical ability, and even our intelligence.
The question is, are these health claims entirely accurate? Is the ‘superfood’ a myth or a delicious reality?
WHAT IS A SUPERFOOD?
What does food have to do to be classed as ‘super’? Not a lot it would seem. The answer to what a superfood is, proves to be a difficult one. Currently, there is no official ‘definition’ of a superfood, and although the EU banned any unsupported health claims being put on packages, this doesn’t necessarily mean we can believe everything we read on the label.
So, let’s put some of our favourite ‘superfoods’ to the test and see if they really are worth the hype.
It wouldn’t be a superfood blog post without mentioning the avocado, which has become arguably the most sort after superfood (certainly in my kitchen anyway). Apart from causing ample amounts of stress regarding whether or not it really is ready to eat, the avocado actually does come with a lot of health benefits. Not only is it an excellent source of healthy fats, around 150g of avocado also contains a massive 40% of our daily fibre requirements. There’s also 25% of your vitamin C, 16% of the hard-to-get vitamin E and 39% of vitamin K requirements.
Not just good for your Instagram feed…
The most environmentally friendly of all the superfoods, kale can be grown in your back garden. That’s soil to smoothie in under 5 minutes – pretty impressive. It might not taste all that sparkling but just 100g of Kale (roughly 33 calories) is packed with 200% of your daily vitamin A requirements, 134% of your vitamin C and a huge 700% of your vitamin K.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, it is also packed full of fibre and with anti-inflammatory properties!
Almonds are definitely not a new face in the superfood hall of fame – they’ve been known for their impressive health benefits for a while. Like most nuts, they’re low in calories but are packed with good fats. Not to mention they are also an excellent source of Vitamin E.
Unlike kale, almonds don’t have the best environmental footprint, but from a health point of view, they are pretty super.
Loved by many, said right by few – Quinoa is all the rage right now, and there might be a good reason why. Just 200g of cooked Quinoa provides you with around 222 calories and over 10% of your daily vitamin B needs. However, not all the claims about quinoa have been backed up by science. For example, there is very little to support the fact that quinoa can lower your risk of heart disease. Not to mention, it is one of the worst superfoods when it comes to impacting the environment.
Maybe quinoa isn’t all that super after all.
Yes, chai pudding might resemble frog spawn, but it tastes delicious and can help you get your daily dose of omega-3. As well as this, they’re loaded with antioxidants and fibre. Don’t fancy chucking a hand full of them on your salad? You’re not alone.
Don’t worry, just throw them into a smoothie and blend away.
Last but not least it’s coconut oil. Is there anything coconut oil can’t do? Not only is it going to make your hair silky smooth and your teeth whiter (apparently), coconut oil has also been linked to increased thyroid function and blood-sugar control, reduce cholesterol and weight maintenance. Fancy a lower calorie alternative? Coconut water has a lot of fibre and also contains as much potassium as a potato and more than a banana.
Pretty impressive – right?
For the most part, it seems like superfoods do have the backing of science. Whether they’re worth the hefty price tag often attached to them is a different question. Should you eat them? If you enjoy them, then go for it. They’re good for you (in moderation of course). But don’t blend up your seeds and your veggies and whatever else just to pour it down the sink after the Instagram snap. It’s a waste of money. Eat what you and your body enjoy. Worry less about the superfood, eat what makes a super you.
Which is your favourite superfood?