Superfoods: Fact or Fiction?
What are Superfoods?
In the past several years, there has been a growing trend of the concept of “Superfoods.” Superfoods are any one type of food that contains a significant amount of nutrients and is considered extremely beneficial for health. Often, we see claims that eating a Superfood will make you look 10 years younger, help you lose weight quickly, or other outrageous results to expect from eating one food. Although these claims are hardly based in fact, it is important to recognize the importance of the Superfood hype in order to understand the habits of people purchasing natural products. Furthermore, even though these superfoods may not create miracles, many of them do have significant health benefits and should be incorporated into a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
List of common superfoods:
- Chia Seeds
- …and many more
Case Study: Avocados
Avocados are one of the most popular Superfoods because of their extensive health benefits and their versatility. Avocados contain vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin b5 and b6, and vitamin A. They are also high in healthy carbohydrates and fiber, and low in saturated fats (Healthline 2017). Avocados can be eaten in many different forms including in smoothies, salads, and my personal favorite, avocado toast. They are very easy to integrate into any diet and have thus become extremely popular and trendy around the world. However, avocados are high in calories and should not be eaten in excess. The website below provides a clear example of how avocados are viewed as a Superfruit that will provide you with all the nutrients you need, can be used as a beauty treatment, and can even cure cancer. Although some of the information might be true, articles like this can make people believe they should eat large amounts of avocados and can thus neglect other parts of their health because they are eating avocados.
It is very important to analyze why many Americans are obsessed with the idea of Superfoods. In the natural products industry, discussing Superfoods can often be used as a marketing technique. If one type of food starts trending, it is beneficial to the company to make products that contain this food or advertise more strongly for the presence of the food or its main nutrients in a product. The idea of superfoods is very psychological and sociological. They offer a “quick” fix to problems that are very complicated and that require a lot of work. Of course, this is very appealing. The problem with Superfoods is that they imply you can simply become healthy by adding gogi berries or chia seeds to your diet without making any other changes.
Most of the studies performed about Superfoods make large claims about the food curing cancer, or helping you lose weight quickly, etc. but the findings are not thoroughly researched and are not always from reliable sources. Not only is the research that backs up the existence of Superfoods unfounded, but there are problems that come with eating large amounts of one type of food. When you eat too much of a Superfood you will eventually have an extremely high intake of one nutrient. This could possibly lead to the body not being able to absorb the nutrients correctly and can lead to more health problems (The Guardian 2016).
Ultimately, “Superfoods” do not exist, even though there are some foods that have a significant nutritional value. There is no miracle food you can have that will solve your health problems. The fact that Superfoods are so popular implies that people want to have healthier lifestyles, but maybe do not know exactly how to achieve that. It is often difficult to get accurate information in this age of technology, so people are more likely to fall for something that promises quick results. However, we know that the only way to live a healthy life is to eat a well-balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. As members of the natural products industry, it is important to follow the trends to better analyze what products the population wants to buy, as well as to see where the general public lacks information and education.