Are we really benefitting from superfoods? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself lately. The topic actually became relevant after last weeks news from Het Voedingscentrum. This Dutch scientific institute advises us, the inhabitants of the Netherlands, about the so called ‘Schijf van 5‘. Freely translated into: ‘Disc of the 5 essential food choices’.
To eat or not to eat the five essentials
The institute tries to give us an independant advise about what to eat and what better not to eat. The 5 essential food choices would be: Bread, rice, potatoes and pasta (1), vegetables and fruit (2), dairy products, meat, fish and substitutes (3), diet-margarine, margarine and oils (4), water, tea, coffee, milk and fruit juice (5). The five rules are: eat variable, don’t eat too much and exercise, eat a lot of fruit, vegetables and bread (grains), eat deliberately and the last one is: eat less saturated fat.
At first glance it’s a well-thought-out menu, right? But hasn’t it become an outdated menu with the new superfoods knocking on the culinairy door? Maca powder, linseeds, lin oil, oatmeal, wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, raw cacao nibs, hemp seeds, coconut water, chia seeds, turmeric, goji berries, acai berries, sweet potatoes, kale. Good Grieve! Should I continue the endless list?
Het Voedingscentrum thinks superfoods are overrated and can cause an one-sided food pattern. The semi-governmental institute believes that superfoods are just some marketing trick, meant to let us believe that superfoods are super healthy and better for our well-being. They are concerned that the 10 per cent (10! Only 10 yet?) of their inhabitants will neglect bread, pasta and dairy (for example) and merely focus on berries and wheatgrass.
Only because so called marketeers injected us with the fact that superfoods contain more vitamines, more minerals, more anti-oxidants. Are we back in the early 20’s were Orson Wells blew people away with his War of the Worlds and furthermore great example of the hypodermic needle theory?
More nutritional value
What I believe? I think superfoods will actually help you feel more energetic, enhances a regular bowels and keeps you feel saturated during the day. At least, those are the effects I perceive. And yes, there is no scientific evidence yet that superfoods actually work the way patrons claim. But that those foods contain an extensive amount of minerals, vitamines, anti-oxidants and nutrients is just something you can’t neglect.
Jesse van der Velde (health coach and rejuvenation coach) explains that superfoods sometimes contain six to hundred times more nutritional value than other natural nutrition. So more nutrients for the same amount of food. So what’s the harm if you can get more out of your regular diet?
There’s no harm in trying
Really? What’s wrong with enhancing your diet with some high standard nourishments? It’s old-fashioned to think that milk provides your daily dosis of calcium and without it you’ll have a chance of getting osteoporosis when your older. Or not eating bread anymore will cause a lack of complex carbs.
I can relate to the opinion of Het Voedingscentrum for being concerned about the one-sided food pattern. If you merely eat wheatgrass, goji berries or kale, maybe you’d miss out on some vital nutrients. But in my opinion, if you use superfoods besides your regular diet, it won’t harm you. It can have a complementary role. Just don’t exaggerate.
That way you won’t have to spend your entire salary on kale, goji berries, cacao nibs and maca powder. And you won’t risk the chance to skip on some essentials. Last benefit? Wheatgrass positively stimulates my bowel movement, chlorella keeps me from getting ill or catch a cold during winter (next to my regular multi vitamines and vitamine C) and oatmeal, coconut nibs and flax seeds keep me saturated during the day. Which won’t happen if I eat bread during the morning. Not to mention the fact that I won’t have snack attacks during the day. Wow, a win-win situation.
(Because of the length of the article, I won’t translate it into Dutch. The links are most of the time in Dutch though. If some of the English needs to be translated, please let me know. And don’t hesitate to post a comment).