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Posts Tagged ‘are superfoods really’

Are Superfoods Really Super?

Why Superfoods

Lately, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about “superfoods“. A Google search of the term will lead to a large collection of websites on this topic. You’ll be overwhelmed by advertisements to buy Goji Berries from the Himalaya and Chlorella, a blue-green algae referred to as “Nature’s Perfect Superfood” from the sea. You will read about raw cacao, and how beneficial it is for your health and about many other health products.

Organizations like the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which is very reputable, are tapping into the superfoods craze today. The CSPI offers information about all the superfoods that everyone needs and “10 Superfoods for Better Health!” Some other not-so-reputable sources of information are talking about multiple (and questionable) potions and elixirs making unrealistic promises. Most of these companies offer to deliver the benefits of superfoods quickly and easily, without actually having to eat any of the food. That doesn’t sound right to me.

So, now what is this superfoods hype all about? And what is in it for your health?

From Superfoods to Superdiet

The idea of taking superfoods mostly begins with an interest in certain foods that only are found in a few specific and sometimes remote regions of the world. It’s exotic! Soy foods, for example, areone of the first foods to be called super food. Traditional soy foods, like Tofu, Miso, and Tempeh, are consumed a lot in far east Asian countries, such as Thailand, Japan and Korea. In these areas, soy beans have been consumed for generations.

The above mentioned countries also happen to enjoy some of the worldwide lowest levels of chronic diseases. Rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and strokes represent only a fraction of what they are in Europe and in the United States

Soy Bean Foods are one obvious dietary difference between Asia and many western countries. This led people to suspect that soy foods were special or super in their ability to heal or to at least prevent diseases. This might seem like a logical conclusion to you. Most Asian cultures consume soy foods, so most Asian cultures enjoy very low disease rates and therefore, soy foods must prevent disease.

Although traditional Asian soy foods can be part of a healthy diet an it is true that these foods contain an abundance of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) and medical research does support the disease preventive properties of whole soy bean foods, it is not true that soy and soy alone is responsible for the superior health and longevity found in these Asian countries. There are far more differences in what people eat in Asian and in Western cultures, to simply credit the low disease rates to soy beans alone.

Asian people tend to be leaner. They often get more exercise, more sleep, and less fat in the diet than the rest of the civilized world. Asians may have better social and extended family lives and far less stress in their daily lives. Asians eat less processed foods and a lot more vegetables and rice. They consume plants that are never or rarely eaten in western cultures, such as seaweed. All of these factors are likely to contribute to the low disease rates seen in Asia.

Important Superfoods in Colors

Eat green, yellow, red, purple, blue, and orange foods: Eat kale, chard, and kiwi (green); pineapples, bananas, and corn (yellow); apples, strawberries, raspberries, red beans, beets, and tomatoes (red); plums, blackberries, blueberries, raisins, and eggplant (purple); and carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes, and melon (orange). These are just a few of the dozens of brightly colored foods that you’ll need if you want to eat a super diet.