New Superfoods On The Shopping List… But Do We Really Need Them?

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What is a ‘superfood’?

Although ‘superfood’ has no set definition, it is widely accepted to be any food that delivers high quantities of nutrients that are especially beneficial to health and wellbeing.

Classic superfoods were usually selected on their antioxidant content, so fruits and vegetables high in vitamin A, C and E were pretty much guaranteed to secure superfood status. Bluberries, raspberries, and various other thin skinned fruits were superfood royalty due to their extra high antioxidant content needed to protect them from the sun in nature, much like the fruits very own sunscreen!

 

Superfood non- movers and new entry’s

Quinoa is a protein dense grain, superfood non- mover. Its superfood status stems from its amino acid profile and fibre content, but also for its lack of gluten and animal derivatives making it ideal for vegans (a demographic often deficient in protein).

Expect to see fresh faced varieties of protein dense grains making an appearance such as amarantha, teff, and Kaniwa (mini- quinoa) which actually offer more protein per gram than quinoa.

 

Fashionable superfoods

The paleo diet is one of the most common diets of 2015, and one of the main perks of this ‘hunter gatherer’ way of eating is dark chocolate. The antioxidant and catechin (phytochemical) content supports heart health, reduces risk of diabetes and even supports hair and skin integrity.

Another superfood for the fashion conscious is Moringa. Derived from the Moringa tree, this green superfood is thought to be a powerful anti- ageing food because of its high zeatin content. The leaves also contain complete proteins which make it another useful dietary source for vegans.

 

Not so fashionable superfoods

Fermented foods such as Sauerkraut, pickled garlic, pickled beets and kimchi are already making positive waves in the industry because of their digestive health properties. The fermentation process increases the healthy bacteria content, which in turn supports digestion, reduce inflammation and improve nutrient absorption.

Broccoli will have the superfood label firmly attached from now on. The cruciferous veg may give some people a bit of wind (especially if you eat the stalks), but it’s extremely high vitamin C and phytochemical content, as well as its relatively neutral taste makes the trouble all worthwhile.  

 

The Superfood monopoly

New superfoods don’t have to be quirky or original to warrant the superfood title. The humble broccoli and brussel sprout did wonders for your parents and grandparents, and will continue to do the trick for future generations to come.

 

Tighter restrictions for 2015

The problem that I have with the ‘superfood’ label is its unsubstantiated, indiscriminate allocation on a manufacturer’s food range. Fortunately the EU have set health claim legislation to stop unsubstantiated claims being made willy nilly, with the sole purpose of making money.

 

Are superfoods that important?

Superfoods are great, but believe me when I say that they are not the be all and end all of your diet. Yes they are very useful, but a diet that is balanced i.e. delivers a consistent intake of protein, starchy carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables will do the trick nicely…problem is, you can’t package this and sell it!

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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