What are Superfoods?
Superfoods are foods — mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy — thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health. Blueberries, salmon, kale, and acai are just a few examples of foods that have garnered the “superfood” label.
However, there are no set criteria for determining what is and what is not a superfood, according to the American Heart Association.
“Superfoods don’t have their own food group,” said Despina Hyde, a registered dietician with the weight management program at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “As a dietician, I think ‘superfood’ is more of a marketing term for foods that have health benefits.”
Consuming foods that are packed with nutrients (as many so-called superfoods are) is certainly a good idea, Hyde told Live Science. But the key to a healthy diet is to consume a variety of nutritious foods in the right quantities, she added.
“Superfoods have extra-large doses of vitamins and minerals that can help us ward off diseases and live a longer, healthier life,” said Hyde.
Some of the nutrients that certain superfoods contain include antioxidants thought to ward off cancer; healthy fats, thought to prevent heart disease; fiber, thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; or phytochemicals, the chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors and smells, which can have numerous health benefits.