Are you also consuming avocado, ashwagandha, goji berry, chia seeds, green tea, or quinoa? The list of these “super healthy foods” is endless.
Why do we think that these foods from thousands of kilometres away from us are healthier or in any way better than the ones we can find at our local farmer’s market? How can it be possible that we Europeans need to import these foods from other parts of the world in order to stay healthy?
People like to believe that adding a few miraculous ingredients to their morning cereal will make them in some way more vital and energetic. True, it is much easier to do so than to change habits and skip the morning cereal for good. People like comfort and changing eating habits that are linked to traditions and emotions is very difficult.
To name a food item “super healthy” is an excellent marketing strategy. We want great health and a long life, so many of us are ready to invest lots of money and energy into buying and consuming these “healthy” products, believing that they will improve our condition.
I have to admit that I went through this stage as well. I used to eat many of these “superfoods” while being convinced that I did a favour to my body and health. After experiencing some adverse effects, I started to study them more in detail. The more I looked into the subject, the more I realised that I needed to be extremely cautious with consuming these foods. So I gradually changed my view and my recommendations.
What are the main concerns with these “superfoods” in general? First, there is no real definition of this word, so anybody can name a food item or ingredient so. Second, many of them are expensive and even hard to get. Third, they are not regulated in any way so it is extremely difficult to know their origin, giving us no information about possible contaminations.
The most important benefits that are attributed to many of them are their health-boosting properties. They are said to reduce heart disease, cancer or the risk of other chronic diseases, help us live longer, reduce pain and anxiety, and the list is endless.
They are claimed to be great sources of anti-oxidants, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. And they lower cholesterol, our biggest enemy of the last decades, right? How about their impact on the environment? Let’s examine these claims a bit closer.