Nowadays, so many things are being termed a “superfood“. But what’s so super about them? According to nutrition expert Penny Kris-Etherton, a Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pen, there’s no specific standard for what qualifies something to be a superfood.
Within the lengthy list of foods available are blueberries, touted as one of the first superfoods. An article from BBC Good Food talks about the health benefits of blueberries and nutritionist Jo Lewin reveals that it may not be anymore “super” than other foods.
Lewin highlights that blueberries do contain a large amount of phytochemicals which have been studied for their antioxidant properties. But then again, so do all other berries.
A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that blueberries are effective for improving vision as well as preventing peripheral capillary fragility. Another study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also “suggest that higher intake of anthocyanins and flavones are inversely associated with lower arterial stiffness.” Meaning to say, you get healthier and stronger blood vessels.
Apart from these benefits, they’re also high in vitamin C and provide a fair amount of fibre should you eat them regularly as a part of your diet.
Don’t be mistaken though, even though they’re good for you, they won’t necessarily be able to counter a really bad diet.
“No food, including those labelled ‘superfoods’, can compensate for unhealthy eating,” explains Alison Hornby, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association (BDA).
In fact, most of what you hear about superfoods is usually marketing spiel. “A lot of people have unrealistic expectations about these foods, thinking they’ll be protected from chronic diseases and health problems,” Kris-Etherton said. “They may eat one or two of these nutrient-dense foods on top of a poor diet.”
The bottom line is this: blueberries can be called a superfood, sure. But you can’t just rely on them, and there are plenty of other options that are just as good for you at the supermarket.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer