There’s so much advice out there about what to eat and what not to eat from doctors, food companies, the government, and more. It’s difficult to know what to do. When health food shops and pharmacies, and even local grocery stores, start labeling some foods as “superfoods,” it’s easy to just take their word for it and assume these are the best foods to eat. It’s true that most so-called superfoods are probably quite healthy to eat, but they’re not magic potions to solve all your health problems. Here are the five big myths about superfoods.
Superfood is a Scientific Term
Nobody knows what the definition of superfood is. It’s not a scientific or technical term. It is purely a marketing term to get you to buy a product that you think will do wondrous things for your health.
Antioxidants Are Good For You
One of the main ingredients that the superfood packaging usually focuses on is antioxidants. But what exactly are they? They can be a number of ingredients that act to kill what are called “free radicals” that do damage to the body’s cells. The thing is, damage to our cells isn’t always a bad thing. Most of our cells die off and are replaced quite regularly, and that’s a good thing! When cells that are supposed to die don’t, it’s cancer.
Superfoods Will Cure Illnesses
This myth comes from the idea of herbal medicine, that there are compounds in plants (as superfoods are usually all derived from plants) that work in synergy with the rest of the plant to fight or prevent illnesses. While it is true that there are very helpful chemicals to be found in plants, (aspirin originally came from the bark of the willow tree), they need to be isolated and tested before being used as medicines. You can’t regulate the dosage or control what other substances in the plant might react badly.
You Only Need to Eat Superfoods
This is a very dangerous myth. The type of food labeled “superfood” is usually plant-based. They are often berries and leafy vegetables. While it is true that these are healthy to eat, it must be as part of a balanced diet. There are hardly any calories or fat in leafy vegetables and berries, and believe it or not, our bodies need calories and fat, even though we’re often avoiding them. The brain, in particular, needs a lot of calories to keep it going, and fat is needed to make sure cells function properly. Don’t cut fat and calories out completely!
Eating Superfoods Offsets an Unhealthy Diet
Conversely, eating superfoods are not going to offset the effects of an otherwise poor diet. By eating a pot of fresh blueberries, it’s not going to take away the calories from the deep pan pizzas you’ve been eating every other night this week. It’s not going to dissolve the fat and help expel it from the body. It’s not going to zap away the cellulite. Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.
Jennifer Hawkins is a dedicated mother and professional chef who specializes in recipes with nuts. She loves to write and blog about food and everything that encompasses.
Photo Credit: ♥ Esther ♥