Super foods - are they really that super?
The idea of super foods has been around since Popeye popped open
his spinach! It seems like every year brings a new food with
a hard to pronounce name and outlandish promises of health
So Healthy U wants to know what makes a food 'super' and
should we be eating more of these foods if we want to be
super healthy? We asked Diabetes Queensland's newest
Dietitian, Kathryn Kirchner for some help.
"Foods described as super foods are generally thought to be very
high in important vitamins and minerals. Sometimes people claim
these foods can also help with things like weight loss or
cancer and heart disease prevention. Super foods certainly tend to
be foods that dietitians recommend as part of a healthy diet such
as berries, grains and salmon. However, it's important to remember
no one single food will make you healthy or unhealthy.
Focusing on your total diet is much more important."
Popular super foods
Quinoa (keen-wah): This gluten free grain is not only low GI and
high in fibre, quinoa is a great choice for vegetarians because it
is packed with essential amino acids that are usually only found in
meat. Best of all it's easy to prepare. Just boil it in water like
Kale: From the cruciferous vegetable family (think broccoli,
cabbage and cauliflower), kale can make a great addition to salads
and can be used like spinach. Kale is a great source of calcium,
vitamin C, A and K and a range of other vitamins and minerals. Just
be aware kale is definitely an acquired taste so don't reverse the
benefits by loading up on the salt and fat to mask the bitter
Chia seeds: Another gluten free grain, chia seeds have risen to
super food status because of their impressive fibre, protein,
omega-3 and calcium content. These tiny black or white seeds
can be sprinkled over almost anything from salad to yoghurt.
Pop them in water and they soften to a jelly-like consistency and
can be used as a dessert or even in cakes as a substitute for
oil or eggs.
It's a great idea to include some of these foods in your
diet to add a bit of variety, but it is more important to
focus on enjoying a wide variety of foods everyday to gain all the
nutrients you need. This is particularly important for fruit and
vegetables. In my opinion, all fruit and vegetables are super foods
and by eating as many different colours of fruit and vegetables as
possible you can be sure you are super-charging your diet.