Superfoods are the ultimate marketing term for any kind of straight from-the-earth beneficial and nutrient-rich fare. But what happens when these so-called “magical” aliments fail to deliver what media and marketing companies promise they can? Take a look at this list to learn about 5 superfoods that are anything but super.
1. Goji Berries
Exotic fruits like goji berries are advertised as high in antioxidants that can help prevent and treat aging, disease and other ailments. However, goji berries contain the same antioxidants as any other fruits, including the less-expensive ones.
Not to mention that most of the studies conducted on the berry, claiming it can treat cancer and heart disease, were tiny, poorly run and results were generally based on the subjects who ingested large doses of goji EXTRACT, which couldn’t possibly be compared to when eaten normally. This organic grocery store staple is a prime example of an overhyped and overpriced health food that has been touted many times over as a magical cure-all.
2. Chia Seeds
Over one hundred grams of chia seeds may very well contain about 17 grams of omega-3s, but unfortunately do not benefit our overall health in any way. The omega-3s found in chia seeds are ALA’s, different from the beneficial omega-3s found in oily fish like salmon, sardines or tuna, called DHA’s.
ALA’s do not have the same benefits as DHA’s and our bodies cannot convert ALA into DHA. Chia seeds are also quite high in calories with the aforementioned 100 grams equalling about 486 calories.
This pricey and trendy fruit is marketed for its high content of “good” monounsaturated fat, which is said to help protect the cardiovascular system and can be found in more affordable options like nuts, oily fish, uncooked olive oil and sunflower oil. However, there is currently no good quality unbiased systematic reviews on the effects of avocados on our health.
Additionally, purchasing this aliment is one of the worst things you can do for the environment. Since the demand has grown so much over the years, deforestation in Mexico has become a serious problem as a result. Furthermore, because the avocado trees need a large amount of water to thrive (as much as 272 Litres for every half-kilo of fruit) it poses a serious problem for farming areas that suffer long-term water shortages like California.
4. Mare’s Milk
This European/Eurasian superfood claims to benefit digestion, intestinal flora and skin conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis. It also claims to be better for our overall health compared to cow’s milk.
Even though it does contain a very high amount of lactose and whey protein, a good amount of vitamin C, polyunsaturated fatty acids and very little fat, there are simply no scientific studies that prove any of these so-called benefits. Also, it is quite an expensive product to produce and not environmentally friendly.
Kale is the most recognized superfood in the western world. Many experts believe it does not deserve all the media hype it has gotten since it doesn’t contain any more antioxidants and nutrients than nearly all the other vegetables available in the grocery store.
Either way, most green or brassica vegetables like spinach, green beans, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, can also help prevent diseases like cancer if you integrate them into your diet. Always remember that no “magical” food is powerful enough to replace a balanced and varied diet full of fruits and veggies.