Superfoods are an unofficial category of foods that are thought to be nutritionally dense and superior to other foods. Blueberries, salmon, kale and açai are four of the most popular foods to gain the honour of being considered a superfood.
Due to the unofficial status, there are no specific criteria that a food must check to be considered a superfood. The popular opinion amongst scientists is that superfoods are nothing more than a marketing tool. However, the four foods mentioned above and the numerous other foods that have gained the superfood title, are indeed, usually healthier or have multiple health benefits.
There is no doubt blueberries are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals. But these same nutrients can also be found in other berries such as strawberries and cranberries. A 2013 study found that a high intake of phytochemicals may reduce certain heart conditions in young women. The core reason blueberries have gained the spotlight over its other berry friends is simply that it’s been studied more deeply.
Salmon, anchovies, sardines or any of the oily, fatty fish rich in omega-3 could be considered a superfood. This is because omega-3 is said to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Again, similar to blueberries, Salmon is the big brother of all these fish which is why it is more commonly seen on superfoods lists.
Most dark, leafy veggies are loaded with vitamins A, C and K; as well as finer, calcium and other minerals. In this sense, kale lives up to the hype – but so does broccoli, spinach and cabbage. Kale seems to be the new kid on the block though and has made its way into smoothie recipes, juice cleanses and detoxes alike; giving it a premium status on the superfoods list.
Native to the Amazon region of Brazil and also in the berry family, açai berries have surpassed their ‘exotic fruit of the year’ title and become a staple breakfast for some, with the emergence of the extremely popular ‘açai bowl’. These fruits might be healthful, but scientific studies don’t show that they are more healthful than other, less exotic fruits, such as blueberries. Some of these fruits may be particularly dense in certain kinds of nutrients. Pomegranate, for example, contains ellagic acid, which may contain anti-cancer properties but so does your humble raspberry.
-Camu Camu berries