How good are superfoods for us?
Certain foods – called superfoods – are enjoying fashionable support at the moment. Have they made us any healthier? Is this the way forward to ensure that we live to be 100? Or are ‘Superfoods’ just a marketing ploy to make us spend our money?
What are the claims?
Superfoods are those loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibres, antioxidants and/or phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients allow our bodies to function effectively. They are not the same as minerals, vitamins, fats carbohydrates or proteins and cannot be replaced by pills. Phytonutrients encourage the cells in our bodies to communicate effectively with one another. When this happens the proper sequence of enzyme reactions takes place.
This effective communication results in healthy tissue, healthy organs and a strong immune system.
The top ten superfoods for gorgeous skin and hair, for example, are supposed to be:
Blueberries; tomatoes; yogurt; wild salmon; walnuts; sweet potatoes; spinach; and kiwis.
What are the views of scientists?
Tim Spector, author of ‘The Diet Myth’ and a professor at King’s College London, worries that while some people are not concerned enough about what they eat, other people follow the prescriptions too religiously. He says that we should eat a wide range of foods in order to keep the trillions of microbes in our gut in a healthy state. The greater variety of foods, the better. He believes that some diets, for example, the Paleo Diet, is lacking in some important foods. Scientists would rather encourage us to eat brown rice and lentils than cut these out of our diets.
The only diet that has been approved by scientists is the Mediterranean Diet. This is based around olive oil, fresh seasonal vegetables, oily fish, yogurt and eggs. Professor Spector believes that chocolate, red wine, coffee and unpasteurized cheese are also excellent in moderation, The only foods they believe we should eliminate are processed foods and low-fat products.