Just how ‘super’ are superfoods?

Superfood. This is a phrase that makes me roll my eyes.

What exactly do we mean when we  call a food a superfood? While there isn’t an agreed upon definition, generally the term refers to any food that has a high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants (however, it’s important to note that word ‘superfood’ has absolutely NO scientific or FDA meaning). Latelyit seems like this term is used for any sort of ‘health’ food that a company wants to promote. It seems like you can barely make it out of a grocery store without seeing “SUPERFOOD” plastered all over the place. And let’s not even mention the diets, books, and supplements that are sold under the guise of “superfoods.”

Here’s the thing. All plant foods have antioxidants. Antioxidants are produced by plant cells during photosynthesis. Sure, some plant foods have more antioxdants than others, but does it matter? We’re not sure yet. Human studies have yet to find conclusive evidence that there are health benefits to ingesting antioxidants. It appears that most antioxidants we ingest are destroyed during digestion and never actually enter the bloodstream. Furthermore, despite what various health gurus claim, there is no empirical link between human consumption of antioxidants and a lower incidence of cancer.

Basically it boils down to this: eat a diet that contains a lot of varied plant foods. Don’t eat a lot of ‘junk foods’ such as refined sugar and flour. And don’t buy in to marketing hype.


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