Foods and products labeled superfoods are not the answer to healthy aging.
In this article, I explain why.
We’ve all heard the buzzword “superfoods”. And you may already realize that the food industry uses this term to influence your buying habits.
Furthermore, if you’re on social media or use the internet in any way, you’ve probably seen the posts and ads that promote superfoods for healthy aging.
In case you’re unfamiliar with this overused term, superfoods are defined as certain foods having exceptional health benefits.
Supposedly, these foods are rich in certain nutrients that promote healthy aging.
But is it true? Are superfoods a better source of nutrition than other whole foods?
Do they promote healthy aging? Let’s find out.
Are superfoods a myth?
Do superfoods pack a better nutritional punch than other whole foods?
After digging a little deeper than page one of Google, I’ve concluded that there is absolutely no evidence that so-called “superfoods” are better for you than any other nutrient-dense whole food.
In fact, when comparing superfoods to other nutritious fruits and vegetables, they are not extraordinary and are not any more instrumental in slowing down the aging process.
Take blueberries for example.
This is one superfruit intensively advertised as a powerhouse for its exceptional health benefits.
Don’t get me wrong. Blueberries are indeed good for you. And the fresh ones are better than packaged ones.
However, after further investigation, I’ve concluded that their claim to fame is overrated and their health benefits exaggerated.
That’s because strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries all offer similar nutritional benefits such as vitamin C and phytochemicals that reduce inflammation (something that aging boomers with joint issues will appreciate).
The moderate nutrient density of blueberries simply does not compare to many other vegetables and fruits.
The promotion of blueberries as a superfood for healthy aging is simply hype!
Let’s dig a little deeper into the superfood industry.
Where did the term superfoods originate?
The term superfood started in the late 1940s.
To my surprise, a Canadian newspaper used it to refer to the supposed nutritional qualities of a muffin, over 70 years ago. Yes! A muffin.
However, it wasn’t until the late 20th and early 21st centuries that the term “superfood” became a popular sales pitch for selling specific foods items.
Dietary supplements, foods with selected food additives, and self-help diet books use the term promising enhancement and longevity to health.
Think green tea, dried blueberries, and sweet potato chips labeled Superfoods.
The pitch works. Boomers consistently purchase food items labeled “superfoods” even though there is no evidence that they are better for your health.
The superfood industry is highly profitable with revenue from global market sales of over $130 billion dollars in 2014!
And baby boomers help fuel a large percentage of that market.
Are superfoods worth the hype?
Is it worth paying extra for products labeled superfoods? I don’t think so.
Like many active baby boomers, I hike, bike, work out, practice yoga, cross-country ski, etc.
Plus, I want to remain healthy and stay in shape as the years go by.
However, as a rebel retiree, I am mindful of what is waste and what holds value.
Read: This is What Retirement Could Look like if You’re Ready
Paying more for a product at a “special market” or for foods classified as “Superfoods” doesn’t make sense to me.
A list of commonly promoted “superfoods” that support healthy aging.
- Nuts and Seeds
- Berries – predominately blueberries
- Olive oil
- Green Tea
- Sweet Potatoes
All of the foods on the list are nutritionally sound.
They offer excellent sources of much-needed vitamins and minerals.
And, I keep them in my arsenal for healthful eating.
However, I am mindful that they provide no additional benefit to healthy aging than other nutrient-rich whole foods such as carrots, bell peppers, or apples.
“Superfoods” is a trendy marketing buzzword that shouldn’t influence your buying habits.
If you’re a retired health-conscious baby boomer, especially one on a budget, take your pick from just about any fruit and vegetable in the produce department.
You’ll get the same anti-aging benefits as you would with products labeled “superfoods”.
Here’s to your health!
Last Updated: 09/01/22
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