How Super are Super Foods?
By: Annette Baker & Marianne Lacko, Co-Owners of Nature’s Plate, provider of fresh, plant-based, grab and go meals, snacks and bakery items.
We’re back to address another trendy nutrition topic… super foods! You may have heard about chia seeds, acai berries, hemp hearts, or many of the other “super foods” creating a lot of buzz on social media and elsewhere. So trendy and SO expensive! So, is it worth it to spend the money on these items? Are they as good as they sound?
Well, there’s no doubt that these foods are rich in nutrients and that they are health-promoting… no doubt at all. But there are two caveats that we would like to discuss:
- Eating super foods (or any particular food) will not make up for a diet that is otherwise lacking in nutrients. So no, it probably does not make sense to add kale, cacao, maca, chia seeds, and spirulina to a smoothie in the morning and then eat fast food or primarily “beige” foods lacking in nutrients for the rest of the day. Is it better than just eating fast food? Sure, but your body deserves better than that anyway.
- There are plenty of easily accessible foods that pack large amounts of nutrients and promote health in a big way. For example, broccoli, asparagus, and all green vegetables are good sources of calcium, Vitamin A, folate, fiber and many other phytonutrients. Even potatoes (which have a bad reputation) provide potassium, Vitamin C and fiber.
Kale has gotten a lot of attention lately, and there’s no doubt that kale is a wonderful food and one of the most nutrient dense foods around. But this doesn’t mean we should ignore all of the other wonderful greens out there… chard, spinach, collard greens, and even green leaf lettuce. If you don’t like kale, move on – you’ll get the same benefits from eating other greens, especially if you eat more since you actually like what you’re eating!
All plant foods — the more colorful the better — are rich in nutrients, promote health, and fight disease. This applies to fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts/seeds.
And there are so many ways to combine these elements to make an inexpensive, healthy, and delicious meal: burritos made with beans, veggies, and whole wheat tortillas; a stir fry with lots of vegetables, tofu, and brown rice; or just hummus paired with lots of veggies and whole grain pita bread.
Yes, superfoods are a wonderful addition – eat all you want, but your regular grocery store or farmers market has plenty of nutrient-dense, familiar options, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money or keep up with the latest trend.
Healthy eating will ALWAYS come down to centering your diet around a wide variety of whole, plant foods while minimizing (preferably avoiding) processed foods.
For more information on Nature’s Plate’s plant based meals go to naturesplate.biz or visit them at 10233 Northwest Highway #432, Dallas (Lake Highlands), TX 75238.