Superfoods, successes and limitations

Over the past ten years, superfoods have been gaining in popularity. The term superfood is literally translated from the term "superfood" in the United States, where this trend originated in the 1990s. Superfoods are products that are particularly rich in nutrients with health benefits. They represent a new field of investigation and research in nutrition through studies on the nutrients and substances involved. Their place and interest in human nutrition have yet to be established. However, through superfoods and their natural composition, it is above all the importance of food as the basis of our health that deserves to be highlighted...

Background and reasons for success

The links between nutrition and health are increasingly well known, and the risk of developing many of the chronic diseases common in the 21st century (cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes) can be reduced by following a healthy, varied and balanced diet. It is in this context, where nutrition has become a major public health issue, that the superfoods market comes into play. Superfoods have a real nutritional advantage, as their nutrient content is higher than that of more conventional foods.

Their success is due to several factors. First, it reflects the desire of many people to improve their diet by turning to 100% naturally derived products with high nutritional value, which is very good news in itself. In addition, incorporating superfoods into one's diet it's very simple, it's good,it's also an opportunity to try out new recipes and it especially allows you toreplace certain higher-calorie foods. Finally, it is a great way to prevent or improve certain deficiencies or diet slumps; find solutions through diet before coming to supplementation.

Limitations on the subject of superfoods

One of the limitations attributed to superfoods is precisely that this notion does not really have limits. According to its definition, all foods rich in nutrients can fall into this category, whether almonds, pomegranates but also lentils or green tea.

Another limitation that can be attributed to the subject of superfoods more than to superfoods themselves, their success precisely. Press, blogs, social networks, everyone is monopolizing the subject. As a result, many pieces of information are passed on and marketed without being completely accurate. Information relating to traditional observations or even scientific studies are sometimes taken up, modified, amplified by retaining only the "shock" information. This can lead to the loss of consumer confidence in superfoods and, above all, the loss of important information on the real benefits of these products.

The cost of some superfoods can also be a blocking point. These generally come from new markets, which is one of the reasons for this cost.

The environmental and social conditions in which superfoods are produced can also be highlighted. Some products generally come from other continents and are drawn from local production. It is therefore important to ensure that the products respect certain environmental, social or even cultural criteria depending on how they are grown, imported, marketed for example.

One of the limitations often put forward is the lack of scientific information on the subject. On this subject, many studies have emerged in recent years, they sometimes remain very theoretical and deserve to be pushed to the scale of clinical studies. This is already the case for Chia seeds, for example, for which a 2017 clinical study proves the impact of consuming 30 g of seeds per day on weight loss in overweight subjects.

In summary, limitations exist and it is important to be aware of them. Note, however, that they are mostly related to marketing and the burgeoning success of the concept rather than the superfoods themselves. Hence the importance of keeping a certain suspicion and a critical mind about the choice of its superfoods and the brand that promotes them.

The company of the senses' vision

Through superfoods, we especially wanted to emphasize the importance of food as the basis of our health. Superfoods are good to include in a diet as long as it is already balanced, varied and the lifestyle is healthy. On the other hand, in view of current knowledge, they should never be proclaimed as "miracle" products.

Superfoods have a real nutritional value and as a bonus they are good on their own or integrated in recipes. They can therefore offer an alternative to other everyday foods. Their nutritional interests deserve to be studied in depth, but they already seem to be involved in many significant benefits for our health.

However, do not forget that a whole bunch of foods also have nutritional value (fruits, vegetables, legumes, vegetable oils, nuts, etc.). But also and above all, others are clearly to be avoided according to the National Nutrition and Health Program (PNNS): sugary products and drinks, alcohol, red meat and cold cuts.

In summary, to live well eat better and enjoy your choice of foods and superfoods.