It takes a lot of effort to eat a healthy diet these days, especially with all the fast food restaurants, salty snacks, and sugary treats out there. No matter how good they sound, shortcuts to nutrient-filled meals often lead to dead ends. But what about super foods? The idea certainly sounds enticing—a type of food absolutely packed with nutrients. But is this another case of sounding too good to be true, or are super foods, in fact, super good for you?
It’s important to note just what a superfood actually is. As this article from Nu Skin explains, super foods are foods packed with nutrients that are “beneficial for health and well-being.” It’s a pretty broad definition that can encompass any number of foods, but a few specific ones have come to the forefront of the super foods craze.
Some super foods are fairly common items that you can easily find in any grocery store—foods like eggs, low-fat yogurt, nuts, broccoli, and berries. There are other, less-common food items that are also touted by advocates of super foods—quinoa, kale, goji berries, acai, and chia seeds. All of these foods have a lot of nutrients packed into them, providing for a potentially healthy meal.
So the question becomes, can eating these super foods improve your health and prevent disease? The answer, while not entirely satisfying, is yes and no. Yes, eating the foods usually listed as super foods should have a positive effect on your health. Whenever we’re taking in important nutrients like Vitamins A and C, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, and iron, we’re bound to start feeling healthier and more energetic. However, evidence supporting the idea that super foods by themselves can stave off disease is spotty.
There are a lot of factors that go into determining your health; diet is only one of them. No one food or food group can act as a cure to everything that ails you, nor can it completely prevent a disease. Super foods provide nutritional value, but they’re only a part of a diet. Physical activity, environment, and even stress levels can all play a role in your health. Relying on only one thing can lead to downplaying other important elements.
The interesting thing about super foods is that they shouldn’t come as any surprise to those serious about a nutritious diet. They largely consist of fruits, vegetables, lean meats like fish, and whole grains. As any nutritionist or doctor will tell you, eating a balanced diet filled with a variety of these foods will go a long way toward good health. Combine that diet with regular exercises and you’ll definitely feel like a healthier you.
Ultimately, “super foods” is just a phrase used to market food that’s filled with nutrients. Don’t feel like you should overspend for some of the more exotic varieties, especially when there are plenty of more local options ready for purchase at the supermarket. If it helps to focus on super foods as a way to balance out a nutritious diet, then by all means do so; it’s certainly a helpful strategy that will prove beneficial in the long run.
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