So what is a superfood? In order to talk about superfoods, we first need to define what a superfood is exactly. The word superfood is a term that has basically been coined by the media, and is one that I believe to be over-used. It seems that a new superfood is being discovered every week, making it difficult to know what is and what isn’t a true superfood, and whether this is something that we should rush out to buy.
What I consider to be a superfood is something that is nutrient dense and can contribute to our overall health and well-being. In my opinion, the true superfoods are foods such as bananas, blueberries, sprouts, broccoli, nuts and seeds and fermented foods such as sauerkraut. In other words, relatively normal foods that are easy to find but that have a lot of nutritional benefit. These are foods that we can all be eating as part of our daily diets in order to be healthy and strong.
When we consider the foods that the media call “super”, they are foods that are not essential to include in our diet, but are more of a dietary supplement that people may want to take to add to their overall well-being, or to fill a gap in ones usual food consumption.
Are exotic superfoods better for us?
The expensive and more exotic superfoods, which are on the market, probably do bring many nutritional benefits, but I don’t consider these to be essential foods either. They may be nice to supplement our diet with, but we’re not going to cause ourselves harm or contract health problems through not consuming them. It is also difficult to assess just how beneficial some superfoods really are. I do think that some of the so-called superfoods, sold by clever marketers and which just cost a lot of money, are more gimmicky than they are beneficial. Superfoods do have wonderful nutritional properties, however so do fresh fruits and vegetables. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you shouldn’t worry about missing out.
That said, there are some exotic superfoods that I choose to consume regularly. These are Spirulina, Maca, Chlorella, and Goji berries. I add the Spirulina to my green smoothies for an extra bit of protein (as I am an athletic vegan), the Chlorella I add to my water to aid in removing toxins from my system (I live in a very polluted city), the Maca I like to sprinkle on fruit salad or add to nut milkshakes (I find it really helps to balance my hormones and PMS symptoms), and the Goji berries are readily and cheaply available to me in Indonesia, and I think they taste great! I have dabbled in other new superfoods, but haven’t noticed too much difference in the way I feel by consuming them, so I don’t go out of my way to make them a part of my regular diet.
Superfoods – my final verdict
One could go crazy and broke trying to include every new superfood that is sold in their diet. However, eating a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables, adding sprouts and fermented foods and eating a small amount of nuts and seeds every day, will ensure a balanced diet that will lead to good overall well-being. Most superfoods are just a nice extra addition, to deal with a particular health concern if one can afford to, or for someone who has a particular gap to fill in their diet. Enjoy your food and have fun playing with new ingredients, be they labeled as “superfoods” or not, keep your focus on fresh, whole and organic!
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