The word ‘superfood’ has become a health industry buzzword used to describe a group of products so good for you they’ve been given a godly status.
Supermarket items like coconut oil and apple cider vinegar have been raised from their lowly place in the cooking aisles to a supernatural level – with claims they can boost fat burning and dramatically reduce heart disease.
Other more obscure foods like goji berries, charcoal and activated nuts promise to rejuvenate your gut – but one Australian dietitian isn’t buying into the hype.
Paula Norris has taken to her Instagram page to dispel some of the issues with superfoods – and the six she doesn’t think are worth purchasing for healing reasons.
People have been using this oil as a hair mask, face cleanser, moisturiser and ‘healthy’ addition to salads in the belief its high saturated fat content is an excellent addition to their diet.
‘Health claims about coconut oil and immunity, boosting metabolism and appetite suppression are NOT supported by evidence,’ Ms Norris said.
‘It also has the highest level of saturated fat of all oils… at around 90 per cent. While the jury is currently out on how detrimental this is – if you choose to use for flavour then use sparingly.’
Apple Cider Vinegar
Taking a shot of this type of vinegar before breakfast is being heralded as the ‘go-to’ way to kick your metabolism into gear. But all is not as it seems.
‘It has been shown to reduce the GI of high GI meals – but so does any vinegar,’ Ms Norris continued.
‘It does contain pectin which is a prebiotic fibre that feeds good bacteria but so do apples and a bunch of other fruits.
‘ACV has been shown to be damaging to teeth when taken like a medication (dentists recommend using a straw).’
(c) Image: Pexels
Charcoal toothpastes have been lauded as a teeth whitener and ingesting it as supposed to ‘clear out your system’.
But Ms Norris said there are ‘a lot of claims and still not a lot of evidence’. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
‘If you find it works for you in some way then great – but don’t waste your money for the sake of it.’
Commonly added to smoothies for a boost of vitamins and minerals they can be bought from all good ‘health’ shops and some speciality supermarkets.
‘While they can be rich in antioxidants they are SUPER expensive and you’ll get the same benefits from eating whole fruits and veg,’ she explained.
‘In fact, there are other compounds in fruit and veg likely to help the action of nutrients that you won’t get from green powders because they’re removed in processing.’
Goji berries contain large amounts of vitamins A and C, which are important for building immunity and preventing illnesses from the common cold to cancer.
‘Yes they contain antioxidants but are no better than what you get from other far cheaper (and many would say far more tasty) berries,’ Ms Norris said.
A similar view can be taken with the Acai berry which has seen a dramatic rise in popularity over the last decade.
To activate a nut the individual must soak them overnight in water and salt so the seed has time to ‘germinate’. The nut will then be easier to process by your digestive system.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
‘There is very little evidence to show that you get any additional benefits from activated nuts compared to standard nuts,’ Ms Norris admitted.
Nuts, in general, have a high dosage of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, which lower our cholesterol.