You’ve probably heard the term used before – but the actual definition of a superfood is harder to find. There is no exact definition for it. Generally, a superfood is a food known to offer specific vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Superfoods are typically known to provide significant health benefits, too.
Some companies will capitalize on this term and label their products as superfoods. For example, it’s not uncommon to see superfood shakes or juices at the grocery store. Since there are no regulations around how this word can be used, lots of companies can use it to their advantage.
So, do true superfoods exist? Or is superfood just a buzzword that will fade away in a few years?
The List of Superfoods
There is an array of foods considered to be a superfood. These foods are mostly fresh produce and some meat, qualified as such for their historical health benefits. There’s no actual definition of a superfood, so deciding what does and doesn’t make the list is very subjective.
Blueberries, kale, ginger, garlic, flaxseeds, acai berries, turmeric, pomegranate, beets, salmon, avocado…. these, are just a few foods commonly referred to as super by nutritionists. They are referred to as superfoods because each has unique nutritional values that make them extra beneficial to eat.
Take turmeric, for example. Often referred to as a superfood, and with good reason. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. It can also increase the body’s ability to absorb antioxidants and has some immune-protecting qualities. Turmeric has been used to remedy common maladies for ages, though more substantive research would be needed to confirm its benefits.
Berries, also commonly considered to be a superfood, have been shown to improve vascular function and decrease the risk of heart disease. Like turmeric, these studies are not conclusive and leave room for speculation.
Despite its murky definition, Turmeric and many others have earned its name as a superfood. Many medical professionals grapple with the definition of a superfood and if it even truly exists.
In short, a superfood is a food that has been shown to have profound health benefits when consumed. There are no agreed-upon standards for what qualifies as a superfood, leaving the use of the word up to the manufacturer’s discretion. As such, the label should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s always best to perform your research on what foods provide the health benefits you seek.