Superfood is a commonly used term these days. It has been adopted by companies to promote their products, and convey to the consumer that the products provide increased health benefits. It’s a great way to grab the consumers attention and to inform the customer that the product is made with health in mind. And while all this is all mostly true many people are unaware of what a superfood is or what the term superfood means; the definition of a superfood is simply “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”
This definition is very broad and can, realistically, be applied to many foods, which lends itself to being a great marketing tool! If you think about a "Superfood Supplement" which tends to come in powder form - the company may have included an ingredient that is classified as a superfood, such as spirulina*, however there may only be around 2% in the whole product but they can still technically use the term "Superfood Supplements". This can be misleading and can be a bit confusing.
There are two ways, I think, of processing this information. Either all whole foods, and fruits & vegetables are technically "Superfoods" so anything containing these ingredients are "superfood products". Or there are specific ingredients in certain quantifiable volumes that determine whether a product (containing these specific ingredients) is deemed "super" or not. That would make sense to me and I think would clarify to the consumer whether the item they are spending their money on is actually going to provide them with the health benefits stated on the package.
Saying this there are of course food types that are more nutrient dense and provide specific health promoting components than others. An example of these are blueberries; which have arguable the highest antioxidant levels amongst fruits and vegetables, or kale which has four times the amount of vitamin C content than spinach. Undeniably these foods are going to offer health benefits but they do need to be consumed in certain quantities and with certain foods to provide those benefits - it's all relative.
The takeaway from this; if you take one at all, is to read the ingredients on the packaging of "Superfood Products". Reading the nutritional information on packaging can be a bit of a minefield but it's definitly worth learning as you don't want to be paying for something that doesn't work. Know what you are eating and keep an eye out for whether the term “Superfood” has been used as a marketing tool or whether you are consuming wholegrain, nutrient rich produce.
The More You Know.
*Spirulina is a blue/green algae that grows in warm alkaline fresh waters around the world.