If you’re looking to eat healthier, adding more superfoods to your diet can be a good place to start, but what exactly are superfoods, what are they not, and when can they be deceiving?
There is no governing body or regulation on what makes it to the superfood category. In many ways, the process relies on virality and there is no one silver bullet on how a particular food is catapulted to celebrity status. It’s usually a microcosm of events. This can be a research paper on the benefit of a certain ingredient that makes it to mainstream media, a celebrity endorsement, a meme, or a brand/organization goes on a total media blitz to increase sales. Whether the strategy is heavily planned or happenstance, one thing is for sure: when a food becomes superfood, it’s big business and it can displace other foods in the market. In the UK, for example, the growth in popularity of berries has eaten away sales from apples and bananas.
Did you know that there’s a World Avocado Organization? Its mission is to promote the global consumption of this beloved fruit.
The Good News
The good news is, food that makes it to this status are high in desirable nutrients and have health benefits. The concept of introducing superfoods also makes it easier to diversify our diet and discover new staples. What we label as superfoods have been consumed by developing countries for centuries (think quinoa, jackfruit, açaí). When a food reaches this coveted status, it’s more readily available in stores worldwide. More recipes will incorporate the ingredient, which allows the superfood to see its way through local dishes, which traditionally might not have been done (think pesto-avocado sauce).
Most foods that make it to superfood status are vegan.
The obsession with superfood, however, makes it easier to forget other ingredients that are equally beneficial. Brussels sprouts are healthy, but so is spinach.
Based on market guides, online searches, and sales figures, kale, the once ultimate superfood, is losing its popularity.The Atlantic
Most foods that make it to superfood status do have high nutritional value, but nothing beats a balanced diet. One ingredient doesn’t make or break a healthy lifestyle. Broccoli is good for you, but loading it with butter is a different story. And let’s not forget to keep eating foods that we probably have heard of before and are good for us such as garlic, ginger, green apple…the list goes on. The world is truly bountiful.