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Are Superfoods Really That Super?
Nutrition + Diet

What’s So Super About Superfoods?


September 15, 2015

Written by Erika Peterson for Charlotte’s Book: an online resource dedicated to aesthetic health + wellness.

Superfoods are everywhere in the health and wellness arena. Whether it’s a superfood blend, powder, or a packaged food enhanced with superfoods, these items are popping up all over the place. So what is a superfood, and what’s so super about superfoods? Does it pay to spend the extra cash on snacks and formulas enhanced with “superfoods?” Hopefully by the end of this, you’ll think twice before you feel the need to go superfood crazy.

Defining “Superfood”

For starters, there isn’t a certain standard that defines “superfood.” Some popular superfoods you may have heard of are acai, maca root, chlorella, camu, green coffee, pomegranate powder, cacao, and mesquite.  According to Google, a superfood is “a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits.” Superfood powders can range anywhere from $12 all the way up to $40 or more! So what’s the deal? Are these superfoods really necessary?

If Your Regular Diet Isn’t Already Super, Superfoods Won’t Help

There are a few things to know when considering superfoods.  If you’re not eating a diet high in nutrient-dense foods, such as leafy greens, colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, etc., then purchasing a superfood blend to make up for the lack of good food in your diet is a waste of money. A clean diet is the foundation of good health, and even though many of us wish there were some magic formula to replace diet and lifestyle, there is not. Now, if you have a clean diet, supplementing with a few superfoods can totally be worth it! For me, I love maca root powder for hormonal support. However, if the diet is lacking, maca root is going to have little positive effect on hormones.

It is no question that these foods have nutritional benefits. They’re incredibly rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. That being said, your green leafy vegetables, berries, omega-3-rich seeds, herbs, and spices are all “superfoods.”

Before You Load Up On Superfoods, Do These Things

1. Switch to a whole-food-based diet, free of pre-packaged, heavily processed foods
2. Incorporate an abundance of dark leafy greens into your diet
3. Start cooking with color-rich herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, etc.
4. Aim to consume 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables (primarily vegetables) a day
5. Take a quality multivitamin/multimineral

My 7 Top “Non-Superfood Superfoods”

1. Leafy greens
2. Cruciferous vegetables
3. Sea vegetables
4. Berries
5. Turmeric
6. Cinnamon
7. Fermented foods

When it comes down to it, the so-called superfoods are certainly loaded with essential nutrients: by this definition, whole foods could all be considered “superfoods.” Instead of honing in on a few elite superfoods, you should focus on a diet packed with a variety of colorful plant foods—you’ll receive even greater benefits. Then, if you want to incorporate a few additional superfoods, such as maca root for hormones, or chlorella for detoxification, go for it! But don’t get caught up with the term “superfood.”

Read This Next:

How (And Why) To Include Matcha In Your Anti-Aging Regimen

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Learn More about Erika

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