Is There Really Such a Thing as a Superfood?

What Makes a Superfood? The Wall Street Journal’s Burning Question column asked this question to Dr. Phil Hagen, a preventive-medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Hagen makes four points:

1. There is no real definition of a superfood and the term is often used to to sell you something so, he cautions, buyer beware.
2. There is no food that contains all of the 30-50 nutrients that we need to consume regularly so eat a wide variety of nutrient rich, fresh food as you can.
3. There are very healthy foods that don’t make most people’s Superfood list that are on Dr. Hagen’s favorite food list, such as legumes which are low in calories and pack fiber and protein.
4. Do not make any one “superfood” a significant portion of your diet.
Dr. Hagen’s approach is a good one to keep in mind for any healthy eating approach. Take some time to look beyond the marketing of a certain food to the real nutritional content. Dr. Hagen adds, in that regard, that there are compounds such as bioflavonoids, polyphenols and other antioxidants that are not even taken into consideration by the NIH in ranking the health factors of foods. Look for a wide variety of healthy foods so that your diet is not only more pleasurable but incorporates the various nutrients that your body needs.

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