Superfoods: are they really super?

The food industry wants to persuade us that eating some foods can slow down the ageing process, lift depression, boost our physical ability, and even our intelligence. “Superfood” is the marketing term used to describe these foods that promise almost magical healing powers. But are these claims too good to be true? Pushed by our sense of curiosity, we searched via Merfeflow to find out the most recently discussed superfoods.

Moringa

Moringa grows in tropical climates and it is described as the “miracle tree”; that’s because it is extremely high in iron, calcium and protein; more so than other leafy greens. Due to its fast growth, moringa is an appealing tree for impoverished areas. In Malawi, Senegal and India, moringa is the most nutritious food locally available, and it can be harvested year-round. Kuli Kuli was the first company introducing moringa to the US market in the form of nutrition bars and powders. On January 2017 they raised $4.25 million in funding to bring this high-protein plant to more kitchens in the U.S.

 

Teff

Teff is the new “must-have” health food trend that is popular in health food news sites. Teff is a grain based cereal that hails from the Horn of Africa and is packed to the brim with iron, calcium and protein while also being gluten-free. It is considered a superfood because it contains a high amount of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that helps with blood clotting and bone health. Vitamin K is also found in Kale, spring onions, and Brussels sprouts. For example, Julie Lanford, a registered dietitian who teaches nutrition classes to cancer survivors in North Carolina, said she often recommends teff because most Americans consume wheat as their only whole grain.

 

Blueberries

 

Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, wich have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to research by the University of Exeter, drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function, especially in older people. In the case study, healthy adults consumed 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day for 12 weeks. Before and after the 12-week period, participants took a range of cognitive tests while an MRI scanner monitored their brain function. The result showed a significant increase in brain activity and working memory.

Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods on earth, containing almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Before importing about 3.2 milliong kg of the grain to Europe and the US starting 2006, quinoa was a regular crop for the peasants of South America. Since then the price has tripled, making quinoa inaccessible to these populations. In order to address this problem, scientists are trying to find a way to mass produce quinoa and make it as affordable as wheat. For instance, a team of researchers from King Abdullah University in Saudi Arabia is studying possibilities to grow a strain of quinoa that is easier to process and that can grow in different climates.