Are Superfoods The Way Forward?

2016 was the year of superfoods: foods that supposedly reduce your risk of illness and may even make you more intelligent or attractive. While this was certainly a health craze of the last year, there is still much debate as to whether they actually do anything. So, with some help from the NHS, we’re here to examine the evidence.

Beetroot Juice

As beetroot has historically been used in medicine for a number of ailments, it’s clear to see why so many people think that it’s a superfood. In particular, it has certainly been claimed that it can help to prevent dementia. Well, you’ll be glad to know that’s somewhat true. According to research, beetroot juice is associated with a reduction in blood pressure, though not decisively. Likewise, though studies have suggested that beetroot juice may allow more blood to flow to the brain, in general this does not seem to be a definite result of eating the vegetable.

VERDICT: As beetroot is a good source of iron, and contains a number of nitrates, it is certainly beneficial for your health and may help to reduce blood pressure. However, it is certainly not something to rely on.

Green Tea

Over the last couple of years, there has been a huge craze surrounding green tea, as well as other herbal or fruity alternatives. This has originated from Chinese medicine, in which green tea is used to treat a number of health problems. But, just how well does it actually work? Though is unlikely to prevent cancer or other long-term illnesses such as heart disease, it does have its benefits. Most specifically, it may help to lower cholesterol and even prevent tooth decay.

VERDICT: If you like the taste, it’s certainly worth giving it a go because it may just have some health benefits. However, evidence for its long-term effects is lacking, so if you prefer a normal cuppa then it’s definitely not a necessity to change.

Kale

This ‘superfood’ has received a huge amount of attention over the last few months, and into 2017. Some people claim that it is the perfect health food, whereas others think it’s no better than any other green vegetables. So, what are its benefits? Well, if you choose to eat it raw then you might be on the right track; in this form, it’s filled with a number of great vitamins, as well as calcium and copper. However, when cooked it loses all of its great qualities, losing 89% of its vitamin C.

VERDICT: It’s all a bit of a hype. Yes, Kale can be really healthy for you if you eat it raw, but otherwise it’s just as great as any other green vegetable. So, try some spinach or broccoli instead.

All in all, it seems that so called ‘superfoods’ aren’t all they’re made out to be. Yes, give them a go and see for yourself but don’t rely on them. A healthy, balanced diet is all you need this year.