It seems that there’s a new superfood claim every week, from acai to coconut oil to butter coffee, but which of these are just fads and which are actually good for us? And, are there any little-known everyday foods that can work wonders too? Here, we run through some of the so-called superfoods that you might have read about and see if there’s any truth in the claims…
Seaweed has long been associated with cancer prevention and as an aid to weight loss. It’s very low in fat and is packed full of important nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamin A, C and E, calcium and iron, making it a very nutrient dense food, so it’s a great addition to your diet in order to get the vitamins you could be lacking. As for the weight loss claims, studies claim that the complex carbohydrates found naturally in seaweed can slow the action of certain enzymes involved in fat digestion. However, studies looking into this effect have only seen results in lab settings, and no results have been observed in humans.
2. Coconut Oil
The latest craze for coconut oil has a lot of us stir-frying with it and spooning it into green tea and coffee (see number 5) to lose weight and fend off diseases. But what’s the truth? While coconut oil contains a lot of lauric acid – a saturated fat which has been found to increase the good cholesterol in our blood and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease – in terms of hailing it a superfood and consuming it in vast quantities, there simply isn’t enough evidence to the support health claims or weight loss properties associated with coconut oil. You’re much better off getting your daily fat intake from a variety of sources with a mixture of coconut and olive oil, as well as avocado, fatty fish or fish oil, seeds and nuts.
This little berry is said to be a miracle immune-booster full of goodness, so it’s often found in super smoothies designed to give you an antioxidant hit. Acai is also being touted as a superfood in terms of helping to boost weight loss, but the claims for this are unfounded. And, while acai like many berries does contain antioxidants, an independent study has found that you’d have to have about 13 servings of acai juice to get the antioxidant benefits of a red apple. Plus, apples keep you feeling full with their content of leptin, so they can help you to lose weight by stopping you from snacking. As they say, an apple a day…is a lot cheaper than all that acai!
4. Chamomile Tea
Although chamomile tea is yet to be as widely recognized for its superfood qualities as some others on the list, it is absolutely full of benefits and super cheap too! This humble little tea bag doesn’t only aid sleep and de-stress us, it’s great for digestion, too – meaning less bloating come bikini season. It’ll even get rid of your dark circles; simply apply a cooled tea bag to the eyes for five minutes at night as a gentle and effective compress. And, a cooled chamomile tea can be applied to the skin to help soothe rashes and burns including sunburns.
5. Bulletproof Coffee
This new craze is coffee blended with butter and coconut oil; fans will often drink it instead of eating breakfast, and say that it improves alertness and makes it easier to burn fat. Although coffee is a stimulant and would therefore improve alertness anyway, the addition of butter isn’t advisable as it’s high in saturated fat. Until researchers can investigate more about these claims in support of buttery coffee, we’d advise that you stick to a normal coffee and a healthy filling meal, rather than skip breakfast for an unsupported craze which might do more harm than good. And, if you are looking for a way to boost alertness and burn extra fat, then look no further than Phen Caps, our non-prescription weight loss supplement. Phen Caps contain caffeine and theobromine to boost energy levels and keep you motivated, and the ingredients raspberry ketones, Synephrine, and Methylsynephrine help to burn more fat.
6. Goji Berries
Another little so-called miracle berry, these are full of antioxidants, but you might be better off buying a variety of fresh berries instead. Although goji berries do contain more antioxidants than blueberries, they are also really expensive. Plus, when you take a closer look at the scientific reports on goji berries, studies use concentrated extracts of the berry, so this isn’t really comparable to the limited amount of antioxidants you’d get from a handful of dried berries in your porridge or in a smoothie. Goji berries also aren’t suitable for everyone; they should be avoided if you’re on blood thinners and they can interfere with diabetes and blood pressure medications.
You probably have milk every day, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. Milk is a great source of high quality protein, and in fact, eggs and milk have two of the highest biological values from all protein foods. This means they provide all nine essential amino acids, which we cannot make ourselves and therefore must get from our diet. Milk has also been found to be a great post exercise recovery drink - even better than specially designed sports drinks, as it has been found to provide better rehydration. As well as this, the protein in the milk is great for aiding our muscles recovery post work out and the calcium helps to boost fat burn and keep our bones strong.
What foods do YOU think are super? Let us know by commenting below!