Who wouldn’t want to believe in the concept of “superfoods”? The idea that the vast expanse of nature has secret nutritional resources that can easily help us with a number of ailments if only they can be discovered and harvested, is definitely enticing.
It certainly seems like we’ve just been blind to treasure troves of exotic berries, nuts, and grains when these popular superfoods were unknown to the West until now. Açaí berries, for example, only gained fame outside of Brazil within the last decade.
It’s often their otherness that makes these foods so appealing. Quinoa, particularly popular among vegetarians and vegans, does indeed provide a decent protein source – but then again, so do many common beans and nut varieties.
Açaí berries and goji berries are packed with phytochemicals, a plant compound which does seem to have a positive effect on a person’s chances of heart disease and brain deterioration. That sounds fancy, except regular old blueberries and strawberries have lots of phytochemicals too.
Other claims about these foods, such as aphrodisiac abilities, protection against premature aging or metabolism boosters, have been falsely advertised to millions of consumers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reprimanded superfood product manufacturers for making unsubstantiated health claims in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Consider this informative infographic created by EVOKE.ie on superfoods and maybe think twice about buying that goji berry powder.
Featured photo credit: goji berries/hpitlick via flic.kr