What is a superfood?
There is no agreed definition for superfoods, however, for argument’s sake, we can say that “superfoods” are foods that are nutrient dense. In fact, we should all be a little suspicious of the term as it is largely the creation of marketing agencies—and here at Nutrition Kitchen, we hate fads. The issue is, we often overlook lots of everyday foods in favour of exotic imports.
That being said, if you remember to eat a varied diet of whole foods, remembering to incorporate a wide spectrum of colours, then you’ll be eating a very nutrient-dense diet.
We can divide these into higher and lower energy superfoods.
Don’t forget, a “superfood” might be full of nutrients, however if it is also full of calories it might not be appropriate for someone with a weight loss goal.
Higher Energy Superfoods
Avocado– a great source of monounsaturated fat (think Mediterranean diet and heart health), high levels of potassium and fibre.
Egg Yolks– a source of choline which is used for creating acetylcholine- brain fuel, cell membranes, DNA synthesis, contain zeaxanthin and lutein powerful antioxidants.
Potatoes– potatoes are often overlooked in favour of sweet potatoes which is very unfair-regular potatoes contain more resistant starch than sweet potatoes (especially if they are allowed to cool prior to eating), this is a significant source of fuel for beneficial gut bacteria. They are also higher in magnesium, potassium, folate and phosphorus. So you should eat both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes.
Low Energy Superfoods
Leafy Greens(kale, rocket, chard, spinach) These are all high in folate, magnesium and potassium.
Cruciferous Vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts)- these are fantastic foods- high in a compound called sulfurophane which exerts a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body. They are also high in fibre and taste delicious roasted.
Berries (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) these are all high in fibre and antioxidants, and they’re delicious.
OK, I’m convinced, now what do I do?There are no extra points for eating superfoods. You shouldn’t prioritise them at the expense of the fundamental principles. For example, still keep in mind:
- Make sure that you are eating the right amount of food for your goals and activity level(calorie intake)
- Make sure you are eating sufficient protein to support lean body mass
- Eat a serving of vegetables with each meal
Are there any downside eating them?
There are a few downsides to superfoods. Many people think that regular superfood consumption will protect them from the laws of thermodynamics. Put simply, if weight loss is your goal, then you need to pay attention to calorie intake. Certain superfoods are very high in calories and we should avoid them.
For example, Acai bowls are useful as an occasional treat, but they shouldn’t become a dietary staple. Some Acai bowls contain as much as 80 grams of sugar per serving.
Avocados are also considered a nutritional powerhouse, however, they are high in fat, which means they are high in calories and shouldn’t be gorged on.