Lettuce or peaches are no longer the same as they were before. It’s a topic of conversation around many tables and a reality that has nurtured a new generation of dieters: that of so-called superfoods.
Given the deterioration in the quality of the products we consume today, and sometimes in the face of an unbalanced diet, the arrival of these new products with additional properties is more than welcome: they are rich in antioxidants (such as vitamins A, C). and E)) and phytonutrients (chemicals in plants that provide color and taste, and protection from ultraviolet rays and infection), eliminate toxins, help reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer, and fight aging.
It is common to hear about the excellence of traditional Mediterranean diet products such as olive oil.
Myth or reality
Are these medicines able to treat and protect against potential diseases, or is it a transitory and unfounded trend that is of general interest to nutrition and health in developed countries?
A simple Google search for the term “superfood” shows that every 0.13 seconds someone crawls the term on the internet.
In addition, approximately 700,000 results are returned.
However, despite its ubiquity, there isn’t even an official definition.
Is it a fad or a trend? It isn’t a new concept. Functional foods, such as olive oil, nuts, and oily fish, were once referred to by scientists as “nutrients that preserve health without adding calories.” The term “superfood” was coined because of this, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. They are, in reality, very safe goods.
Nutritionist at the Carlos III Institute’s Biomedical Research Center, Manuel Monino, agrees, “There is no such thing as a superfood. Instead, we’re talking more than just certain products about super guidelines for nutrition: there is insufficient evidence to support their claim Properties In fact, most of the studies have carried out in vitro tests on animals and use very high doses of substances that cannot be achieved with normal ingestion of the food it contains.
Nevertheless, some are rich in bioactive or phytochemical substances that are the focus of research, such as flavonoids, carotenes, phenolic compounds … “.
They are healthy foods, but they do not cure; at best, they preserve health. Irene Breton sends out an alert.
For this expert, the best way to provide the body with everything it needs is a varied diet rich in legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, but without consuming any particular product or other products such as Eggs. or dairy products. What contributes to health or eliminates eating habits and does not eat anything isolated. Some tend to do big business and ask those who market oat bran, exotic juices or goji berries, the latter being viewed by many as a superfood. If not otherwise are from our raisins.
In Spain we spend more than 2,000 million euros on miracle products, which sometimes include seemingly amazing food extracts. According to Nieves Palacios, a specialist in endocrinology and sports medicine, when preparing a menu one must not forget about fruit, nuts and vegetables every day, and vegetables and fish two or three times a week.
In 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study by the Carlos III Institute in Madrid on patients at cardiovascular risk, which showed that diets high in this type of food and low in soft drinks, fatty meat and sweets is, is reduced. up to 30% of the likelihood of heart attacks. The concept of ‘super’ has become popular in the media, not scientists, he adds.
Exotic and traditional
It seems clear that including these foods in a balanced diet is beneficial both physically and emotionally. This creates mental well-being and increases self-esteem because we are aware that we are taking care of our bodies, says Itxasne Tome, a psychologist at the Ravenna Clinic.
But what to buy
Long-celebrated names or extravagant names praised by journalists and bloggers? Paula Rosso, a nutritionist at Lajo Plaza Medical Center, does not accept both options.
Some rituals return as their active ingredients are scientifically discovered: for example, cardiovascular protectors omega-3 acids and chia fibers, or goji berries, an outstanding antioxidant, while some consumer presentations include large concentrations of heavy metals, resulting in lower sales.
Mediterranean foods, in any case, are a source of vitamins and the foundation of our diet, adds the nutritionist. How to do it is just as critical as what to take.
“This type of food should be eaten raw or cooked as little as possible and eaten very fresh so that its properties are preserved and absorption is easier,” says Dr. Rosso. And nothing to feed on and marginalize everyone else.
There is evidence that fruits and vegetables can help prevent cancer, but they don’t have the same effect when used as supplements because their nutrients are isolated from the outside. Bringing in large doses of a new food can sometimes mean putting others through too replace higher nutritional value and thus contribute to the imbalance, says Manuel Monino.