Superfoods are good for you; thereâs no question about that. They all feature nutrients that can offer big health benefits and do things like lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease, contribute to your weight loss, and help protect you from chronic illness.
But these foods are not magical. In fact, Iâm sometimes weary of using the term âsuperfoodsâ because it can mislead some people. However, labeling good-for-you food as âsuperâ likely tends to grab your attention and possibly get you to eat a little better, so thatâs a definite benefit.
But itâs a common misconception that including a couple of servings of a superfood like blueberries every day in an otherwise unhealthy diet will yield benefits. Superfoods need reinforcements.
Should You Be Weary of âSuperfoods?â
Those selling fad diets and marketing professionals love to tell you how great these foods are, that practically any food categorized as a superfood will save you from aging, help you lose weight, and protect you from disease. But this information is false.
These foods are effective as part of a healthy diet, but are not magical cures for disease all on their own. In fact, youâll rarely hear the term âsuperfoodâ come from the mouth of a nutrition expertâonly when they truly mean it and theyâll offer you more information than just telling you to add a little to your diet and youâre done.
Another reason Iâm sometimes weary of the term âsuperfoodâ is because there is no standard criteria classifying what a superfood is. However, one thing is for certain: they should be healthy, nutritious foods.
Fish containing omega-3 fatty acids; avocados for healthy fats; nuts, legumes, and seeds for vitamins, protein, and healthy fats; berries for antioxidants; and other nutritious foods are all great additions to a healthy diet. In fact, these foods should be included in your healthy diet and can possibly further increase the overall health benefits of eating right. But again, if theyâre just sprinkled over an unhealthy diet, they offer little benefit. So the best way to understand and know what true superfoods are is to think of them as nutritious foods.
You also have to understand that the best way to see all their health benefits is to eat more than one.
Donât Eat Just One Superfood
Adding good, quality nutrition to your diet is never a bad thing, but you have to have realistic expectations. Adding strawberries and blueberries as a topping to two heaping scoops of ice cream and chocolate sauce isnât going to do your body any favors. Sprinkling some blueberries on your whole grain oats in the morning, well, thatâs a much better choice!
Nutrients work together to offer health benefits, and thatâs why eating a balanced diet with lots of nutrition is the best way to stay healthy and fight off disease. Itâs important to look at nutrition holistically, as opposed to thinking, âif I eat some of these, Iâll be fine.â
Paying attention to variety is also important. If youâre always adding the same foods or eating the same thing, even if they are superfoods, you could be ignoring some other areas of nutrition.
Not all foods are created equal; each offers different nutritional benefits. Sticking to berries, for example, might give you plenty of flavonoids, but they donât offer healthy fats or other important nutrients your body needs, like protein. This is a common problem in the American diet, as most people donât get enough potassium, fiber, calcium, or vitamin Dâall nutrients that are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and milk products.
Build a Solid Nutritional Foundation
Instead of focusing on the latest superfood or thinking that it will improve your health on its own, take a look at the bigger picture. Look at your current diet and see where you can make improvements to the foundation of your nutrition. Focus on including more fruits and vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and legumes, and see how that goes.
Once youâve tried swapping out some of the unhealthier options for a better foundation, you can start paying more attention to details. What youâll likely find, though, is that many of those foods dubbed as superfoods will have found their way into your healthy diet already.
In sum, donât focus on superfoods alone; focus on a nutritional diet that incorporates a variety of healthy superfoods.
Source for Todayâs Article:
âYoung heart health linked to better overall health in later years,â American Heart Association web site, November 16, 2014; http://blog.heart.org/young-heart-health-linked-better-overall-health-later-years/.