There are lots of so called superfoods in all our shops now, packed with nutrients and claims for health. The term Superfood isn’t actually a scientific term, so there is no definition.
Superfood is a marketing term
It is used to show a food is rich in certain nutrients. It promotes the idea that certain nutrients are more important than others.
This doesn’t really make sense, because in a balanced diet we need all kinds of nutrients.
For example, kale is often promoted as a superfood because it’s high in fibre, and minerals like calcium and magnesium.
We also need fats like omega 3 from oily fish like mackerel.
We can’t be healthy without all these nutrients, so to promote one food over another is problematic because it starts to introduce a sense of a hierarchy. We know that for better gut health, to feed our gut microbes, we need to aim for 30 different foods a week, and variety is key.
The cost of superfoods
Most of the superfoods are marketed to be sold to us. This means someone is making money out of them.
Then there are the airmiles or high price tag of certain superfoods. Some of these foods are great additions to a balanced diet, but often humble vegetables and fruit grown closer to home are just as effective.
For example, the amount of vitamin C in goji berries is less than blackcurrants, which are grown in the uk. And carrots could be considered a superfood packed with antioxidants, but we don’t hear much marketing promoting the benefits of carrots.
Related post – The benefits of berries
Simplistic and easy
We are all looking for something convenient that helps us be healthy, with the minimum of effort. Many of us don’t want to make major changes to our diet, because it’s hard to change our habits.
Often we hold deep cultural, family or social beliefs about food and meals which are hard to change.
So the idea of wanting to make changes, but staying in that safe place with your old diet, just adding a superfood is tempting!
This is where the marketing gets us.
Super food or super marketing?
Marketing of superfoods make it sound so easy to eat pomegranate, or wheatgrass and think you’re moving towards your health goals. It would be nice to believe that eating a certain fruit or including a powder in a smoothie is going to resolve your health issues.
But what matters most is our overall diet.
The basis for most of your food day in day out is important, and one food won’t correct a poor diet. A healthy mix of nutrients in a rounded balanced diet is what we all need.
Whole person, whole diet
As a nutritional therapist, I work with you looking at the interactions between nutrients and how certain foods are impacting others. I consider your gut health and how nutrients are being absorbed as well as what is going in.
Related post – Nutrition myth – I need superfoods to be healthy
Contact me to book an appointment where we take a holistic look at your diet, and find a food plan that works for you.
Hi I'm Anna Mapson, registered Nutritionist (mBANT, CNHC). I help people with IBS, gut health and digestive issues.
I can help you to:
- understand your digestion better, so you recognise your triggers
- eat a well balanced diet, with tasty meals that are simple to prepare
- develop healthy, sustainable habits for life
“Anna is amazing! I feel totally transformed"
To find more about 1:1 nutrition consultations or my group membership see my IBS Diet support page