How to stop being duped by superfoods
Warrigal greens are a native, wild-growing type of ‘sea’ spinach that run rampant along sea shores.
You can forage for the potassium-rich vegetable for free in many coastal areas of Australia (they are particularly abundant along the beaches of Sydney’s Eastern suburbs) or you can find them in the dishes at many fine-dining restaurants; the latest fancy-named, exotic sounding ‘superfood’.
That’s why the word ‘superfood’ instantly makes me suspicious. Often, a perfectly nutritious but freely available (and affordable) food is hijacked, reinvented as a ‘superfood’ and sold at a premium.
Consider that the average price of ‘super’ berries such as goji and acai is tens of times higher than humble raspberries, blackberries or apples.
And people get duped into believing that they need to spend a lot of money or buy really random, obscure ingredients if they are going to be really healthy or reach their athletic potential.
Thank god for our finances, and our health, we really don’t.
I’ve taken to buying a $1 organic cucumber in favour of the $13 cold-pressed, organic green juice and whizzing up some cashews (full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) and hazelnuts (rich in folate and vitamin B) in the blender to have with an apple instead of paying 20-odd bucks for the fancy schmancy, well-marketed nut butter from the health food store.
There are also plenty of other ways to get your ‘superfoods’ without remortgaging your house.
A new study on blueberries has found that, not only does the little fruit reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, most people are unaware it can ‘revert’ ageing by improving vision and memory.
Cauliflower is as good as kale and you can spice it up into something that almost doesn’t taste healthy, sauerkraut is the cheaper cousin of kim chi, millet is a gluten-free grain like quinoa and packed with as much fibre and magnesium while little old affordable turmeric is the superstar of recent nutritional science (and if you DIY your turmeric latte it won’t cost you a bomb).
Besides, even the World’s Healthiest Foods are common “everyday” foods. These include the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean meats, fish, olive oil, herbs and spices that are familiar to most people.
“There’s not really a specific definition for ‘superfoods’, they are really just foods which are good sources of nutrition,” adds dietitan, Melanie McGrice. “I encourage people not to get caught up in the marketing hype of the latest superfood as no one food will meet all of your nutrition requirements, but instead focus on eating a ‘super diet’.”
A super diet means an array of fresh foods to get a mix of nutrients.
So by all means get fancy and experiment to your heart’s desire with exotic foods, but don’t get duped, like 61 per cent or so of people into thinking that ‘superfoods’ ought to cost more or will be any better for your health.
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