The term “superfood” began gaining popularity in the early 2010s when Internet health gurus reached mainstream popularity through blogs and YouTube. Since then, food and supplement companies have made “superfoods” out to be a panacea for nearly all of our health issues. You’ve seen the marketing campaigns time and time again:
Inflamed from head to toe? You need to eat salmon that also happens to be caught in the deep waters of an Alaskan sea.
Have low energy? Eat these exotic Goji berries, which are only found in Asia!
Dealing with depression? Try some probiotic-infused Greek yogurt, which you can only get from our company.
What makes these campaigns so effective is that there is an element of truth to all of them. All foods contain nutrients, which we need to live and be healthy. So it’s not difficult for a salesperson to identify and champion the health-promoting compounds of various foods. But there are several issues with putting your hopes in superfoods, and those issues can ultimately cause you more harm than good.
First and foremost, just because a food contains healthy nutrients doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you to eat. Take chocolate donuts, for example. Chocolate, after all, is made from cocoa beans, which are incredibly high in antioxidants. And the flour used to make donuts is often fortified with B Vitamins, which we need for energy production in the body. But even with these healthy properties, chocolate donuts are terrible for us hanks to their trans fat content and high amounts of sugar.
If you are relying on superfoods to help with your health issues, you will often only be told about the good qualities of the food you’re eating. Even the aforementioned Greek Yogurt contains cholesterol and high amounts of casein protein, which has been shown to be a carcinogen.
Second, the totality of your diet and lifestyle will always outweigh the effects of eating a few select foods that are deemed as “super”. Let’s say a wealthy businessman can afford a daily superfood smoothie that’s packed with all of the expensive, hard-to-find superfoods we often see promoted. If the businessman is eating eggs each day for breakfast and steak each day for lunch, chances are his cholesterol is going to be through the roof, even with the infusion of nutrients he gets from the smoothie. Conversely, a modest-income vegan who eats inexpensive, whole plant-based foods for breakfast and lunch will likely be healthy and have strong cholesterol numbers, superfood smoothie or not.
So Which Superfoods are Best?
Whole plant foods. All of them. A combination of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils, and whole grains is far more powerful than any one superfood. We call it a super diet.
By eating a variety of whole plant-based foods, you will have a much better chance of reaching your health goals than if you solely rely on a few superfoods. At Nature Has Flavor, our mission is to teach you how to cook with these basic plant foods to create mind-blowing, memorable meals that get you excited about eating every day.
Nature Has Flavor: Cooking Your Way to a Healthier Life is a complete plant-based lifestyle guide that contains recipes, nutrition information, and much more to help you on your plant-based journey. If you’re looking to live a super healthy lifestyle in lieu of just eating superfoods, we’re confident this book will help you get there.