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ingredients, superfoods 5 min read

All About “Superfoods”

What Are “Superfoods”?

Chia seeds, açai, kale, maqui berry, chlorella, and walnuts—these foods (and many others) have all been dubbed “superfoods” at one point or another. But what does this label even mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “superfood” as “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person's health.” But the truth is, there’s no scientific definition, criteria, or established list for what constitutes a “superfood.” The term may be used to help market a product, but it’s not actually held to any official scientific standards.

However, certain foods do stand out in terms of their nutrient density and proven benefits compared to others, and calling them “superfoods” can provide a helpful distinction for consumers on the lookout for certain nutritional benefits—as long as it’s made clear what makes these foods so “super.”

 

Our interpretation of “superfood.”

Generally, we believe the term “superfood” should be used to describe whole, or minimally processed, foods that have a naturally high concentration of health-promoting nutrients, such as polyphenol antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They might also contain nutrients that are typically hard to find in other dietary sources. For example, chia seeds are a great source of elusive omega-3 fats. If a food has quality scientific research to support its health benefits, that only adds to its “superfood” status.

Many people wrongly assume that a superfood must be trendy or exotic to be worth their time and money, but that’s simply not the case; while there are certainly ultra-healthy foods from far-flung locales, you can also find loads of superfoods right at your local farmer’s market.
Even relatively basic kitchen staples like broccoli, oranges, and whole grains can be considered “superfoods” because of the fiber, vitamins, or antioxidants they contain.

Because a diverse diet is so important for health, we include a range of nutritious superfoods in Ka’Chava—many of which you’ve heard of, but some that may be totally new to you, too. Here are some of our favorite stand-out superfoods. Click here to learn more about their nutritional profile and potential health benefits:

The Bottom Line

A “superfood” is essentially any food that goes above and beyond to support good health, but no single food provides complete nutrition on its own. According to the American Heart Association, superfoods in and of themselves won’t make you healthier. Including these nutritious foods in a balanced diet, though, may contribute to real health benefits.

You need more than just superfoods for optimal health: eating for optimal health is about establishing consistent, healthy eating patterns and combining good-for-you choices from a variety of food groups that—together—provide all the essential macronutrients and micronutrients you need to physically and mentally thrive.

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