Do I need to include superfoods in my diet?

The term ‘superfood’ has become quite trendy in recent years. Superfoods are foods that are marketed as having superior nutritional value to other foods. But superfoods are just that, foods with a marketing spin on them! Yes, some foods are more nutritious than others but there are really no ‘must-include superfoods’.

If we consider that only 7% of Australians are eating the recommended 5 servings of vegetables each day and only 25% of the Thai population are meeting their recommended 3 servings of vegetables, superfoods should be the last thing on our minds.

Commonly touted superfoods include:

  • blueberries
  • avocado
  • kale
  • green tea
  • turmeric
  • pomegranate
  • quinoa

These foods are all great things to include in the diet but rather than focusing on superfoods, we should all be focusing on including a good variety of whole foods in our diets. In fact, there is some research to show that we should all be aiming to eat 30+ different plant foods each week. This can benefit our gut health, which is then linked with improved mood, cognition, and potentially even improved weight control.

With both exercise and nutrition, we want to focus on getting the basics right first. Start with trying to include at least one fruit or vegetable at each meal. Step two, look at your protein intake- are you including meat/chicken/fish/eggs/dairy/legumes/tofu at every meal? Once you have ticked this off, consider what carbohydrates you are choosing in your diet- most of the time you want to opt for high fibre carbohydrate choices- think brown rice, sweet potato, potato, quinoa, wholemeal bread/pasta. When your meals are ticking these boxes- then consider the same things when it comes to snacks. If some of these foods you include are superfoods- great! If not, no worries! Eating a balanced diet with good quality protein, vegetables, and wholefood carbohydrates beats a not so balanced diet with a few superfoods thrown in!

References

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/24438848_Fruit_and_vegetable_consumption_and_its_recommended_intake_associated_with_sociodemographic_factors_Thailand_National_Health_Examination_Survey_III

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/indicators-of-australias-health/fruit-and-vegetable-intake

https://anesthesiology.duke.edu/?p=846744

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/05/meet-psychobiome-gut-bacteria-may-alter-how-you-think-feel-and-act