The term superfood is used to describe foods supposedly so high in nutrients that consuming them results in health benefits. It is not a term commonly associated with the voices of dietitians or nutritional experts from academia but rather it is used widely in the popular press and in the world of food marketing.
Frog slime and black tea are just two fascinating potential treatments brought to the attention of the diabetes world recently in the national British press. Although it is difficult to understand how this combination will catch on, the current concept of a ‘superfood’ has been brought to our attention. Something exotic, something to generate the reader’s interest, and some scanty background references to scientific data or insulin seem rather frequently to get wildly translated into a potential cure but without any justification.
Blueberries have been referred to as superfoods because of the high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants. Amongst other things they can be stuffed into superfood smoothies and be marketed as power packed blends of super energy. Gogi berries, walnuts, broccoli and many other interesting examples of foods that contain things that are good have also been described as superfoods.
If it is scientific evidence that drives your food choices or interest in this area, the disappointment will be the lack of any well-designed scientific studies, which demonstrate any particular long-term health benefit.
There is no doubt that the promotion of superfoods has been beneficial to certain sectors of society even if it is not health related. Expensive berries and glossy books are profitable. Believing in the magic of the exotic may well have its own particular healing benefits. Unless, however, there is good evidence to substantiate why any food can be considered ‘super’ the tag ‘superfood’ will not be included within EU legislation.