Well, “hate” is too strong a word. Let’s just say I find the word distasteful and not helpful when it comes to instilling an understanding of how to eat to promote healthy aging and prevent chronic ills like cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. You see, most lists of superfoods are innocuous. The foods themselves are usually low in saturated fat and glycemic index and high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber—all nutrients that have been associated with better health.
The problem is that the very term superfood reinforces the same mindset that suggests you can simply swallow a pill and make everything bad go away. People who jump at superfood lists glom onto a particular food and eat it everyday: blueberries, walnuts, kale, salmon, acai berries…whatever, thinking that one ingredient will provide the magic bullet to cure all.
Researchers have tried the same approach, and it’s failed every time. They’ve extracted particular nutrients that seem to have preventive powers from foods—folate, vitamin E, vitamin A—and done clinical trials where they give these supplements to see if they reduce incidence of cancer or heart disease. In many instances, trials have had to be stopped because they saw damage occurring along the way. Too much of some single vitamins may be as harmful as too much. Or there may be nutrients we have yet to discover in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Or it may be that it’s the combinations of foods we eat that are so helpful.
A truly healthy diet must include a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains everyday. If you follow my blog, I’ll offer recipes that are creative and delicious, and that make healthy eating a delight. Not a single superfood, but a collection of them that together will put powerful nutrition tools in your hands.