Superfoods is a new name for a category of foods that not only has a high nutritional value but that is also 100% organic and contains a large amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. By eating superfoods you would get fitter, get more energy and also lose weight. But is that statement correct or it is just a superfood myth? Which superfoods actually exist and what do the experts say about these foods? Finally, the question can be asked about the advantages and disadvantages of some superfoods and how you can best deal with this new group of food products.
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What does the name ‘superfoods’ mean?
By superfoods is meant foods that have a high content of good nutrients and antioxidants. Because these foods are full of important nutrients, they have a positive effect on health. By eating superfoods you can get more energy, promote fat breakdown, prevent cardiovascular diseases and reduce skin aging. The risk of the name ‘superfoods’, however, is that this term is not legally defined and can therefore be used freely by everyone. It is therefore possible that one product is to a much lesser extent a ‘superfood’ than the other.
Which foods are superfoods?
A number of examples of foods that are described as superfoods are goji berries, chia seeds, wheatgrass juice, raw chocolate and coconut fat. Seaweed and algae extracts are also called superfoods.
Eating these small, red berries, of which there are hundreds of different varieties, would be good not only for libido, liver and kidneys, but also for mood and various skin conditions. Unfortunately, none of this has yet been scientifically proven. It is now clear that the berries contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants and are perhaps the most nutritious fruits on earth. A disadvantage of these berries is that some species exceed the safe atropine standard of 19 ppb (‘parts per billion’) and that not all substances in the goji berry have yet been established.
These seeds contain a lot of fiber and healthy fats, including alpha-linolenic acid, which is a healthy omega-3 fat. Moreover, they are full of minerals such as manganese, calcium and iron. They would promote the waste process, normalize blood sugar levels and improve bowel movements. However, the seeds are so small and light that they must be eaten in large quantities before the above benefits come into effect. It is not recommended to eat these seeds if you are taking medication that can cause blood thinning or that will cause body fluid to drift away, as the seeds have a blood-thinning effect and can also cause diarrhea.
It has been proven that consuming this superfood has demonstrable benefits. For that reason, the FDA has labeled it “healthy”. Raw chocolate is good for the elasticity of the blood vessels because there are many flavonols (antioxidants) in the food. Proof of the beneficial effect of chocolate is especially true for the purer varieties. The purer the chocolate, the better the effect. It is recommended to consume around 10 grams per day. The expectation is that in the future it will turn out that raw chocolate is even better for our body than pure (processed) chocolate, but this has not yet been proven scientifically. A disadvantage is that raw chocolate is very expensive.
The same guidelines actually apply to superfoods as to all other foods: use them in moderation and with sufficient variety. No food contains all the nutrients that the human body needs, so regardless of the positive effects of these foods, it is (still) important to create sufficient variation within your diet.