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Day 24: Superfoods- fad or fantastic?

January 24th 2015 / Anna Hunter


Tempted to #StartBetter by adding superfoods to your diet? Get the skinny on them first from nutritionist Jenna Zoe

Superfoods are such a buzzword in the health community these days - but how do we separate the wheat from the chaff and decide which of them are really worth investing in?

The problem with the word 'superfood' is that it doesn't have a black and white definition, and using the term to market a product is not regulated by the government's labelling laws. Essentially, any exotic-sounding food product can claim superfood status. All it has to do is say it contains 'lots of antioxidants' or be a 'rich source of such and such a mineral' - you've heard the spiel before.

Whilst none of this back-up is invalid, it's important not to get lured into thinking that something like baobab is better for you than say, a carrot. The best foods for your body are always whole foods that look exactly like they did when they came out of the ground. So fresh spinach wins over a greens powder, for instance. In the same vein, fresh fruit does you more good than a powdered fruit ever will.

If you judge yourself for not having a superfood-boosted diet, don't. The world's healthiest communities only eat fresh foods that are locally-produced.

Here's my take: you don't need super foods for optimal health, but they can be a great help when tackling or dealine with specific health issues.

I like to recommend superfoods in the way that you would recommend supplements: to perform a certain function. In the same way you wouldn't take an arsenal of medication to fix you, taking 'all the super foods all the time' won't help you much. But if, for example, you're taking maca to help balance your hormones or spirulina to boost your energy - that's when superfoods really shine. If you're curious about how superfoods can help you to feel better or perform at your peak, do your research, introduce them to you diet one at a time, and pay close attention to how they make you feel.

It's also worth mentioning that the capacity of superfoods to make you feel better won't amount to much if they’re not taken alongside the 'base medicine', i.e, a diet made up of 80% fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, good quality animal protein (with a little wiggle room for the 'fun' foods that feed your soul). That's really the best prescription for feeling super-charged that there is.

This feature was written in partnership with Clinique

Are you a superfood fan? If so, what are your favourites and how do you eat them? tell us on Twitter or send us a picture on Instagram using the hashtag #StartBetter

Get Jenna’s view on all things nutrition and wellness at Foods to Love

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