The word is everywhere. From boxes, to bags to bottles, the word Superfood is plastered across seemingly every shelf in the American store. Have you wondered what, exactly, that means?
Superfoods are just as they sound: foods, mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy thought to be nutritionally dense and good for your health. The term has no set scientific meaning and any list of "top" superfoods is purely subjective. The term has been around since the 1980’s, when Whole Foods market used it to describe the nutritional values of foods such as quinoa, chia seeds and acai. (Ironically, all of these foods come up as unrecognized and misspelled on this post). When I read the word superfood, I link it to words like ‘magical,’ ‘must have’ and something that is so nutrient dense to not have it in my diet would be akin to deprivation. While no one group of individuals or company is credited with creating the word, most attribute the verbiage to yoga practitioners, overzealous health conscious consumers and nutritionists. And while these health experts generally agree that most of the foods labeled with the term are nutrient dense and good for you, some say it’s more about marketing than nutrition.
Bottom line: real food is healthy food. Broccoli, blueberries and Brazil nuts, none of which have “Superfood” front and center on their packaging, are good for you and packed with solid nutrition. They also come with a price tag much lower than those with the bold descriptor. Eating a balanced diet of whole foods will have a more positive effect on your health than simply sprinkling chia and hemp seeds (both labeled as “Superfoods”) on your yogurt in the morning.