Is There Actually Such a Thing as a Superfood?

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Kale. Quinoa. Blueberries. Salmon. These have all been called superfoods at one time or another, along with pumpkin seeds, walnuts and other foods from the plain (beans) to the exotic (goji berries). But what is a superfood? Are there any hard and fast rules for what makes a berry or seed a superfood?

Not really, according to a recent article on Mother Nature Network. The term 'superfood' initially came into our vocabulary to describe foods from around the world that supposedly had superior nutritional properties — acai, for example, and quinoa. Wikipedia defines a superfood as "food with high nutrient or phytochemical content that may confer health benefits, with few properties considered to be negative."

The problem is that there are no regulations or guidelines around what can and cannot be labeled a superfood, and so the term has become a bit of a free-for-all. For this reason, dieticians avoid it. Most foods touted as superfoods are indeed great, says Jenni Grover, a registered dietician, but because the word is so nebulous and unregulated, she prefers not to use it — especially because she doesn't want her clients thinking that processed 'superfoods' (yes, they now exist!) are a good thing to eat. Europe has actually banned the use of the term 'superfood' on any food precisely because of the false and misleading claims coming from certain companies.

Read More → What Is a Superfood? at Mother Nature Network

What do you think when you hear the word 'superfood'? Are you swayed by the term? Does it make an otherwise regular food sound more appealing to you? 

(Image: Christian Jung/Shutterstock)

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