Superfoods: How ‘Super’ Are They?

K. Srinivasan

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How many times have you been enticed by advertisements claiming to promote superfoods? Scientifically speaking, there is no such food item that qualifies to be termed as a ‘Superfood’. This term has been coined by the food marketing industry as a strategy to catch the attention of consumers. The food industry bestows the superfood label generally on nutritionally dense foods with a ‘supposed’ capacity to beneficially influence human health. Though a big list of foods is termed as super, it’s important to remember that there is no single superfood that holds the key to perfect health or to protect the human race from chronic diseases.

Food items marketed as superfoods are mostly plant-based but also include some fish and dairy.  Superfoods are so labelled either because they are nutrient-rich, or because of high heart-healthy fats found in them (e.g., salmon, flaxseeds, olive and avocado) or because they are endowed with potent antioxidant phytochemicals (like berries, specific spices, green tea, dark chocolate, and exotic fruits such as pomegranate, kiwi, etc.) and thus contribute to human health and wellness. 

Let’s take a look at some of these foods that are sold in the food market widely with the ‘superfood’ title...read more