Super foods: Too good to be true?

While we all wish there was a magic trick to get the ideal body, we know that is takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to obtain a body that we are happy with.

It seems that every day a new food appears, claiming to be the best – promoting weight-loss, glowing skin and great hair. But are they really that good? Below are five of the most popular foods that are believed to be ‘super’.

Coconut oil

Recent studies suggest that saturated fats help raise cholesterol, both good and bad. Coconut oil is a triglyceride – believed to promote weight-loss, but there is no evidence of this oil being any better for you than olive oil. Others suggest coconut oil can help regulate our blood glucose, prevent strokes and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. These claims however have also not been proven.

While coconut oil and olive oil are healthier alternatives for cooking, use them in moderation. In the end, they are still saturated fats, not a miracle weight-loss cure. Olive oil is said to reduce the hungry feeling, so it is a great ‘before-dinner snack’ when dipping breads.

Manuka honey

Most honeys are rich in hydrogen peroxide, providing the body with natural antibiotics. Manuka honey also has a higher quantity of methylglyoxal – an antibacterial component. Studies suggest manuka honey can help reduce symptoms of infections and viruses. When your mother tells you to have a spoonful of honey if you have a sore throat, it can make you feel better. But it is not yet clear whether the honey is providing us with natural antibiotics, or just the soothing sensation eating sugary-syrups give.

Chia seeds

The food industry claim chia seeds to be packed full of antioxidants. While chia seeds are rich in omega-3, our bodies struggle to absorb the plant based kind, so it is best to get these oils from fish such as salmon or mackerel. For people who don’t eat fish, chia seeds can be a good substitute. Other pulses are linked to providing our bodies with high protein and fibre, which can help reduce hunger – however, chia seeds are yet to be included in the testing. If you want to introduce chia seeds to your diet, add them to a salad.

Spirulina

While this supplement can provide the body with nutrients such as calcium, potassium, iron and essential amino acids, the health claims surrounding spirulina have been rejected by the US National Institutes for Health for lack of evidence. Spirulina was suggested to help control high blood pressure and diabetes, but studies are inconclusive.

To provide your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, it is best to eat whole fruits and vegetables rather than adding supplements. Try having a smoothie a day to increase your intake.

Apple cider vinegar

Studies suggest the benefits of apple cider vinegar can help conditions such as high cholesterol, acne, sore throats, cramps and even preventing cancer. While research is being carried out on animals, these claims have been rejected due to lack of evidence. Apple cider vinegar is a great alternative to high calorie oils or condiments rich in salt if you are adopting a healthy lifestyle, but the benefits are yet to be proven.

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Ellen Hoggard

Written by Ellen Hoggard

Ellen is the Content Manager for Memiah and writer for Nutritionist Resource and Happiful magazine.

Written by Ellen Hoggard

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