Superfoods are known as substantial health food products. They’re popular on debates based on their properties, natural elements, exotic and primeval origins.
They are famous and admired for their nutritional components. And some people are calling them ‘Miracle Foods’ according to the NHS analysis of food studies in media sources.
The eternal search for health promotion and disease prevention changed our worldview of food supplements, nutraceuticals, and other food sources.
Superfoods deepened the exploration of food industry growth.
Western Culture’s View of Superfoods
According to Jessica Loyer’s research on “The Social Lives of Superfoods”, the current explosion of digital and social media affects how superfoods are perceived.
Different ideas linger in the areas of nutritional science development and food processing.
The modern food culture indeed creates a huge impact in western society.
Foods like broccoli, apples and cranberries are known superfoods in cookbooks, health and lifestyle magazines. Even cooking programs seen on TV promote them as such.
Food concepts are now influencing the decision making process of western consumers about their diet.
Food gurus are filled with knowledge, claiming the authenticity of natural and genuine foods.
Health Benefits of Superfoods
Examples of superfoods are:
- Black beans
- Green or black tea
Tomatoes are antioxidants rich in lycopene. Studies say tomatoes lower blood cholesterol levels. They prevent certain types of cancer. And they contain high volume of vitamin C and potassium.
Berry fruits provide health benefits beyond what basic nutrition gives. In the review of literature ‘Berry Leaves: An Alternative Source of Bioactive Natural Products of Nutritional and Medicinal Value’ by Ferlemi and Lamari, berry fruits are rich in vitamins, fibers, and high phenolic compounds contributing to organoleptic properties.
Consumption of berries is beneficial since it targets the mental health and immune system. Berries also reduces risk of obesity and diet-related diseases.
Literature suggests berry fruits have healthy benefits indeed.
Kale contains phytonutrients, reducing risks for breast and ovarian cancer. Scientists say that phytonutrients found in kale, neutralizes cancer-causing substances.
Black beans are rich in antioxidants and iron, boosting energy levels.
Broccoli also contains phytonutrients to reduce cancer risk and suppress tumor growth.
Oats are full of fiber content, rich in magnesium and potassium. They contain ingredients to lower cholesterol, reducing risk of heart diseases. Research suggests that consumption of whole-grain oats lowers risk of type 2 diabetes.
A dietary approach for cancer management is called the ‘Bill Henderson protocol’, which is evidence-based.
A study called ‘Components of an Anticancer Diet: Dietary Recommendations, Restrictions and Supplements of the Bill Henderson Protocol’ stated the Bill Henderson protocol (BHP) has anti-cancer properties.
The protocol consists of raw fruits, vegetables, cottage cheese or flaxseed oil mixture, gluten free whole grains and legumes.
However, the study said claims remain unproven and are simplistic in nature. So further studies are still required.
What Are Some Ideas Related to Superfoods?
Superfoods have different classifications. People believe they provide longevity and health, lower inflammation in the body, and contain cancer fighting properties.
Some ideas come from an ancient well of traditions. Some people think superfoods are better than eating processed foods, and even some would express it’s just a marketing tool.
Massive resources and media writings on superfoods are everywhere. Jessica Loyer said there is no existing scholarly manual specifically for superfoods.
But there are academic studies examining the social, cultural, economic and political facets of these foods.
The debate whether superfoods are really ‘super’ remains vague and ambiguous, especially in the cultural context.
There’s a thin line placing them in categories, whether they’re food or medicine. They are challenging the academic and scientific boundaries.
A multidisciplinary approach is required to draw conclusions about superfoods, improving the field of food studies.
Superfoods are highly desired because they are not modern. Going back to traditional methods, they emphasize indigenous medicinal practice.
Based on several case studies examined by Loyer, there’s no standard superfood, but rather a collection of people, places, culture and practices altogether.
With the ability to blur boundaries in every category between global and local, ethics and economics, science and tradition, food and medicine.
Ferlemi, A., Lamari, F., (2016). Berry Leaves: An Alternative Source of Bioactive Natural Products of Nutritional and Medicinal Value. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute Open Access Journals, 5(17), 1-20. doi:10.3390/antiox5020017
Jessica, L. (2016). The Social Lives of Superfoods (Doctoral of Philosophy, Discipline of History, School of Humanities Thesis, University of Adelaide).
Khurana, S., Venkataraman, K., Hollingsworth, A., Piche, M. & Tai, T.C. (2013). Polyphenols: Benefits to the Cardiovascular System in Health and in Aging. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute Open Access Journals, 5, 3779-3827. doi:10.3390/nu5103779
Mannion, C., Page, S., Bell, L., & Verhoef, M. (2010). Components of an Anticancer Diet: Dietary Recommendations, Restrictions and Supplements of the Bill Henderson Protocol. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute Open Access Journals, 3, 1-26. doi:10.3390/nu3010001
NHS Choices Miracle Foods myths and media: A Behind the Headlines report (2011)
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