Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve probably heard of superfoods. Blueberries, sweet potatoes, nuts, beans, and kale top the list of foods that are — well — super for you!
If you’ve jumped on the superfood bandwagon without so much as a glance back, we’re here to let you in on some of secrets that may slightly alter your course.
Secret #1: Scientists don’t say “superfoods.”
Did you know that the word superfood is not a scientific term? Marketers actually coined the word and now use it as a selling point for various foods.
The main reason scientists haven’t latched onto the “superfood” terminology is because of how they go about testing foods, nutrients and their effects.
When scientists conduct these types of experiments, they are not necessarily testing the nutrients at the same volume those nutrients appear in a particular food. In fact, they’re testing them at a much higher volume. Therefore, it may not be accurate to make statements like, “Because carrots contain vitamin A, eating carrots daily will help you see better,” the scientific study may have been testing particular compounds present in carrots at much higher levels than you would ever receive just by eating them.
Do your research and find out how much of a particular food you’d need to eat in order to experience the claimed benefits. Then decide if that quantity is a realistic amount.
Secret #2: Not all superfoods are super for you.
Before you spend your entire grocery budget on every item labeled “superfood”, do a little digging to figure out if that food has the kinds of benefits you’re looking for.
If you’re trying to lose weight, peanuts may not be the best snack for you since they’re high in calories and fat. But if you’re trying to bulk up or build muscle, they may be exactly what you need.
Seafood, spinach, and beans are high in iron, but do you have an iron deficiency? Or is there another nutrient your body needs more?
Everyone’s body is different. What’s extremely beneficial for one person may have little to no effect on another.
Secret #3: Location affects superfoods’ super-ness.
Someone told you green tea is good for you, so you went to the store, bought the biggest package of green tea you could find and started sipping.
Can’t you just feel your skin clearing up and the weight falling off?
If you can, it’s probably all in your head. (Sorry!)
We hate to break it to you, but unless you got your tea straight from Japan or China, it’s probably been processed to the point that most of those “super” nutrients it once contained are long gone. Or, if you like to add sugar to your tea, you may have cancelled out all of the good with a teaspoon of bad.
Moral of the story: Before you fill up on something you think is good for you, make sure you know the source.
One way to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you’re paying for (with little processing) is to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season for your area. Yes, you can buy tomatoes year-round, but when are your local farmers harvesting them?
Secret #4: Quantity is key.
Just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean you should eat it in endless quantities. Sure, it’s great that blueberries are high in antioxidants, but this fruit also contains a lot of sugar. If you eat too many, you’re probably eating more sugar than you should.
Also, don’t just pick one superfood to consume. Spread the love and take in the various benefits different foods offer.
Once again, we find that the golden rule of fitness is balance. For more health and fitness tips, feel free to contact the team at Balance Fitness. You can contact us online to schedule a consultation. Or, call our San Mateo location at (650) 348-1259 or our Santa Clara location at (408) 244-3010.