Super foods and Supplements are like the stock market – you want to invest over the long term and diversify for best results. With all the attention given to the ‘newest’, ‘greatest’ and ‘exotic’ super foods with mega antioxidants like acai, goji berries, pomegranate and blueberries, you may get sucked into the marketing hype and lose sight of the actual benefit. It’s like greenwashing for healthy foods.
At prices double or triple what you would expect to pay for other healthy fruits and vegetables, it makes you wonder- is this really worth it? The answer is, only if you like the way it tastes, because that is going to be the biggest difference you are going to notice.
While these may be high in a few beneficial antioxidants, you aren’t going to turn into superman consuming them, in fact you may lose out in other important vitamins and minerals by ignoring the less flashy fruits and vegetables.
New and Hot:
Açaí – A berry from the Açaí Palm, found mostly in Central America, has been a staple food of many of the Brazilian jungle dwellers for generations. Far from the antioxidant powerhouse it is marketed as- while it contains more than oranges and apples, it has less antioxidants than the more common blueberry, and black cherry, concord grape or even red wine.
It is a great addition to your existing food selection, but at $5.00 a bottle it’s probably just as healthy as a $1.25 bottle of grape juice.
Goji Berries (Wolfberry) – A berry originating from China has been associated with healing powers and high vitamin C content. Also greatly misrepresented, the dried berry loses a great deal of its potency and are comparable to the levels you would find in a citrus fruit such as an orange or lemon. While tasty, these berries don’t deliver on their lofty health benefits.
Omega 3 and Fish Oil – Omega 3 fatty acids are very beneficial mainly due to a compound called DHA and EPA, however, depending on the source, you may be getting very little. DHA and EPA are made by microalgae that live in seawater and is not easily converted by plant sources (such as flax seeds). Unless it comes from fish oil, you may be getting very little. In buying fish oil, you must be wary of mercury content, so be sure to buy oils sourced from small fish such as sardines and that are molecularly distilled.
Tried and True:
Pomegranate – One of those fruits that really make you work to enjoy them, but in the end, its all worth it. A great Fall fruit when many other fruits are no longer available locally, the Pomegranate is a powerhouse. Vitamin B, C, antioxidants, potassium all contribute to its potency.[ad name=”Go-JP Rectangle”]
Spinach – Having a very high nutritional value and extremely rich in antioxidants, try and keep this one fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled to preserve the healthy benefits. A a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, this vegetable is a true super food.
Oranges – High in vitamin C, fiber and delicious, these readily available fruits are great for you tasty, I mean, who doesn’t like oranges?
Tomatoes – Actually a berry, the tomato contains one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, lycopene. Used in almost every ethnic cuisine from around the world, the taste and nutritional benefits are well known.
Broccoli – A wonder vegetable high in vitamins C, K, and A, as well as dietary fiber, Broccoli also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as selenium and diindolylmethane. Learn to love it cause it loves you!
In this age of marketing, be aware of the exaggerated statements, false science and mysterious origins from Cure-all’s and superfoods. Just like Shark Cartilage doesn’t cure cancer (sharks actually can and do get cancer) and Tiger penis doesn’t make you a wildcat with the ladies, if the claim seems exaggerated, it probably is.