Superfoods: Worthy of their cape or unworthy of their hype?

The comic book opens with the masked crusader. Her cape flaps behind her, thanks to the wind she creates with her own forward momentum. She’s focused. Her mission is to protect not just life in general but the quality of one’s life too. No, she’s not someone who endured a fateful bite with a radioactive spider, like Spider-Man, nor is she a Kung Fu master, like Bruce Lee. 

She is a superfood.

What are superfoods?

Medical News Today defines superfoods as “foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.” They’re known to help prevent coronary heart disease and cancer, improve immunity, decrease inflammation, promote healthy nails, hair, and complexion, as well as increase one’s energy.

So what foods are these magical morsels of nutritional perfection that are revered as drops of the fountain of youth, you ask?

Medical News Today lists berries (acai, blueberries, goji berries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries), tea, leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, turnip greens, spinach), salmon, dark chocolate, wine, grapes, spirulina, blue-green algae, garlic, wheatgrass, beets and beet juice, turmeric, Brazil nuts, and barley. Healthline adds to that list eggs, nuts and seeds (almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chai seeds, flax seeds), kefir, olive oil, ginger, avocado, sweet potato, and mushrooms. 

Unmasking the Superfoods

Get ready because this is where the caped crusader is given perspective.

Dr. Nina Shapiro is the author of Hype: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims, and Bad Advice. She’s quoted in a Business Insider article as saying that “the notion of a superfood is that it’s so good for you, it will prevent cancer and even treat cancer or stave off evil illnesses, but food alone cannot do that.”

Dr. Shapiro hit the nail on the head. It’s not enough to pop sunflower seeds and choose sweet potatoes over french fries but then have a diet consisting of heavy doses of Cheetos, Coca-cola, and deep-fried everything with unlimited sides of salty and sugary goodness. 

There is a consequence of claiming something as exceptionally superior, which is that it’s given an enormous amount of power for which it may not deserve. It is absolutely true that the above-mentioned superfoods are clinically proven to aid in the elevation of one’s health. But the key is understanding that the foods deemed superfoods are simply extremely good for you. Superfoods are not a guarantee of an illness-free life and treating them like they are the only needed defense against illness can be dangerous because it helps you excuse and lessen the power of poor diet and lifestyle choices.

Superfoods Alone Aren’t Enough

Even with the inclusion of superfoods in your diet, you still need adequate sleep to function on all cylinders… you still need checkups with your doctor… you still need to consider clinically proven supplements, like EMPowerplus Advanced… you still need to include regular physical activity in your life. Simply, you need to treat superfoods as one of many healthy choices needed in your life to better ensure you live the healthiest, quality-filled life possible.

Superfoods are a super yes but don’t get so caught up in them that you forget to give unhealthy habits a super no.

Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach