Superfoods - Fact or Fad?

Papaya - Superfood of 2019!

We often hear about a new 'superfood' that we simply HAVE to include in our diet. There’s been so many over the years it’s hard to keep track - From wheatgrass and quinoa to coconut oil and chia seeds. So, are these foods actually as ‘super’ as they claim to be?

Firstly, what is a superfood? No concrete definition exists, so various definitions are floating around and include ‘a non-medical term popularized in the media to refer to foods that can have health-promoting properties, such as reducing one's risk of disease or improving any aspect of physical or emotional health’ or ‘a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being’. However, the term is not regulated so any food can label itself as a superfood - Whether it’s high in nutrients or not.

It’s true that some of the superfoods on the market are particularly nutrient dense. Many are particularly popular due to their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are able to fight free radicals in our body caused by environmental stressors such as exercise, pollution, smoking and diet. Therefore, their consumption may be one protective factor against diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological degeneration. Others such as green powders (such as wheatgrass, spirulina and chlorella) are also convenient options to boost your intake of greens especially when travelling.

However, using this name can make people feel compelled to buy them, as if good health is dependent upon their use. They can also carry a pretty hefty price tag! We must also remember that we don’t eat foods or nutrients in isolation - We eat a whole varied diet. The overall healthiness of a diet does not depend upon one food but rather all the foods we consume. If you want to try them and (most importantly) if you enjoy consuming them then work away, but let’s not forget about the foods we consume every day which are also nutrient powerhouses in their own right. Here are some of our faves we feel you shouldn't forget - They might not be trendy, but they're still super!

1. Berries such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are rich in antioxidants, fibre and micronutrients such as vitamins C and K. Berries, particularly blueberries, are especially high in anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol. Blueberries have been shown to exert positive effects on brain function and memory.

2. Oats are rich in a soluble fibre called beta glucan. Beta glucan has the ability to lower total and LDL cholesterol. High cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is a primary risk factor for CVD. The beneficial effect of oat beta glucan consumption has been