Updated: Sep 5, 2018
You’ve probably heard this catchy word before. It’s a perfect term for marketing purposes, sounds so appealing and magical! It even sounds like it’s going to take care of all your problems. I’ve been incorporating some of these ‘superfoods’ into my diet, however, one, two or even ten superfoods are not going to help in any way if you don’t have the foundation of healthy nutrition. Don’t try to run before you can walk! Brian St. Pierre and Krista Scott-Dixon perfectly said it, “Good health is neither created nor destroyed by a single food”.
I want to provide you with some general information on this topic, before sharing my favorite superfoods. First of all, just like in the ‘regular’ food industry, the quality of superfoods is very questionable. The market is not strictly regulated and the guidelines of what you can call ‘a superfood’ are very vague. Even though FDA and USDA provide manufacturers with certain guidelines, it is very rare that they follow up on them and most companies just do the bare minimum, rather than guaranteeing the high quality of their product. Some of them quite literally just take care of their branding and ship massive amounts of a given ‘superfood’ from China, stamp the label on, formulate an attractive claim on the packaging and let it out into the market. You end up paying a lot of cash for a low quality or even dangerous product.
“Good health is neither created nor destroyed by a single food”
If you decide to purchase superfoods, do your research. A label, screaming ‘superfood’ does not say much. As a customer, you choose to either support the companies that spend extra time and resources to ensure the quality of their product, or the ones that use the holes in the system for their advantage to push out half-assed products of a very questionable caliber. General advice – when in doubt, go without. If you’ve done your research and saw that some superfoods could be beneficial in your diet, here are some guidelines when choosing superfoods (Source: http://www.superlife.com/buying-superfoods):
· “Find the companies that have incredible transparency. Do they have their own quality assurance team? Do they go out and see, touch, feel and test their own ingredients?
· Find the companies that have either their formulator or their research and development team or their quality assurance teams available to speak with you and share some information.
· Find the companies that list their good manufacturing practices and the standards that they have. Do they share their steps of procurement and procedures? You can’t expect to be told proprietary information that is theirs , however the general safety and quality standards they live up to can – AND SHOULD – be shared.
· Find the companies that are willing to talk about (and back up!) their relationship to the farmers. Are the company’s sourcing products by working fairly with their suppliers? Are there direct relationships with the farmers? I would avoid anything that is not. There is terrible abuse that goes on in the farming and harvesting of crops, including superfoods, around the world. Fair trade helps ensure a fair wage and safe working conditions for the worker. If you have a happy farmer, you have a healthy product as well.
Superfoods can be a very useful addition to your daily diet if you ensure the quality of the product and already have the basics of a healthy diet! Eating superfoods while ignoring the synergy of other aspects of nutrition and wellness is like trying to put out fire with a water gun.