Miracle foods for magical health??!


Monday, April 10th, 2017

Food industries are trying to convince us that eating some foods slow down the ageing process, alleviate depression and boost our intelligence. Many of us want to believe that a single fruit containing certain antioxidants will cure a disease such as cancer. A new so-called “super” ingredient or food item pops up every day, which makes us wonder what “super” means.

There is no official definition of “superfoods”, no a legal recognition by health authorities. It is simply a marketing tool to promote notoriously unpopular, forgotten or expensive food items. Foods that have been labeled as such include those rich in antioxidants (such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, flavonoids) and omega- 3 fatty acids; from exotic natural foods (ex: goji berries, açaí berries) to starfish fruit, nuts, wheatgrass and seaweed in sushi.

The branded so-called “super”…foods can have lots of nutritional value as claimed by the marketing campaign, but it is worth checking how much of the product one would have to consume to obtain the “benefit” claimed. For instance, you would have to eat about 28 cloves a day to obtain the antioxidant dose in garlic alleged to reduce cholesterol. When identifying some trendy foods as “super”, consumers can be misled that their basic foods such as apples and oats, which are less costly and more widely available, are not as nutritious.

While fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals, meat and alternatives are essential for their protein content, whole grains fuel us with energy and dairy products provide calcium. Hence, it is important to remember that not a single food item provides all the body needs, but a well-balanced diet is key to good health!

By Ms. Ayla Coussa

Clinical Dietitian