Are Superfoods Really That Super?

Are Superfoods Really That Super?

Superfoods have become increasingly popular over recent years – but what are superfoods? Should you be including them in your diet? And are there any downsides to our demand for them?

 

WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS?

 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a superfood as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”. However, the first thing to note is that the term ‘superfood’ actually has no scientifically agreed meaning.

 

To quote my friend and fellow nutritionist Ian Marber “a superfood is any food with a marketing department or publicist”. The superfood label is most commonly used to sell food products, and it’s easy to be drawn in by the various health benefits associated with them.

 

THE ACAI EXAMPLE

 

Take for example the well known superfood acai – a berry native to the rainforests of South America and star of the Instagram favourite, acai bowls. Claims have been made that they are helpful for a wide variety of health concerns, including arthritis, weight loss, high cholesterol, skin appearance, detoxification and even erectile dysfunction! Whilst they are a good source of beneficial antioxidants and fibre, research on acai berries is limited and many claims about their health benefits are still to be proven.

 

The health benefits of acai are mostly associated with their high concentration of antioxidants. However, our home grown, organic berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries also provide good levels of antioxidant nutrients, as do many other fruits and vegetables.

 

EXOTIC APPEAL

 

Many well know superfoods are from exotic countries: acai berries are native to South America whilst goji berries are native to Asia and pomegranates are cultivated in the Middle East. Their exotic origins might make them sound more special – but sadly there are often consequences to this. Not only does importing foods from thousands of miles away have environmental implications, our demand for these foods has been known to drive the cost up for locals who depend on them.

 

The exotic origin might add to these food’s appeal, but in most cases it doesn’t make them any more nutritious than our home grown ‘superfoods’ which don’t have the same negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts.

 

BRITISH SUPERFOODS

 

There are plenty of amazing, British grown superfoods that don’t get so much attention. Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and cabbage contain high levels of beneficial nutrients. As do fruits such as the wide variety of British berries and our home grown apples.

 

If you’re looking to include more nutrient dense foods in your diet then take a look at the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). This is a great tool that helps you determine which foods provide the most nutrients for your calories. And guess what? Brussel sprouts have more than double the ANDI score of acai berries!! (However, I can’t promise that a bowl of blended brussels has quite the Insta-appeal of an acai bowl!)

 

Superfoods are fun and novel and including them in your diet here and there can help to boost your nutrient intake. However, I believe that we should all be aiming to base our meals on local, organic, plant based produce as much as we can. I’ve yet to find a foreign superfood that doesn’t have a pretty good homegrown equivalent!

 



AILSA HICHENS

 

Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.

 

Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.

 

Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.

 

To enquire about working with Ailsa, please contact us.

Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

NIKKI ANDRIANI

 

Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.

 

Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.

 

A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

STÉPHANIE ACHAR

Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.

 

Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.

 

To enquire about working with Stéphanie, please contact us.

INNA WEARN

Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.

 

Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.

 

Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!

 

To enquire about working with Inna, please contact us.

ANIA MASON

 

Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.

 

After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.

 

Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 

 

To enquire about working with Ania, please contact us.