Lately, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about “superfoods”. A quick Google search of the term will lead you to a range of websites and topics. You can learn about Dr. Perricone’s Superfoods from Oprah.com. You’ll be enticed by advertisements to buy chlorella, a blue-green algae referred to as “Nature’s Perfect Superfood”. You’ll find information on superfoods from reputable and not-so-reputable sources.
Folks such as WebMD and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which are reputable, are tapping into the superfoods craze. They offer information on “‘Superfoods’ Everyone Needs” and “10 Superfoods for Better Health!” On the not-so-reputable side are the multiple (and questionable) potions and elixirs making unrealistic promises. They offer to deliver the benefits of superfoods quickly and easily…without actually having to eat food.
But what is this superfoods craze all about? And what can you take away from all of the superfoods hype?
From Superfoods to Superdiet
The idea of “superfoods” often begins with interest in certain foods that only are found in a few specific cultures or regions of the world. Soy foods are an example of one of the first so-called “superfoods”. Traditional soy foods, such as tofu, tempeh, and miso, originally were consumed in far east Asian countries, such as Japan and Korea. In these areas, soy has been eaten for thousands of years.
These regions and countries also happen to enjoy some of the lowest levels of chronic disease in the world. Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and more are a fraction of what they are in the United States and other western countries.
Soy foods are one obvious dietary difference between Asia and many western countries. This led people to suspect that soy foods were “special” or “super” in their ability to prevent disease. Have you tried ubat kuat lelaki This might seem like a logical conclusion. Many Asian cultures consume soy foods. Many Asian cultures enjoy very low disease rates. Therefore, soy foods must prevent disease.
Traditional Asian soy foods can be part of a healthy diet. It is true that these foods contain an abundance of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) too. And medical research does support the disease-preventive properties of whole soy foods.
However, it is not true that soy and soy alone is responsible for the superior health and longevity found in several Asian countries. There are so many differences, dietary and otherwise, between Asian and western cultures. To chalk up low disease rates to soy alone would be a mistake.
Asians tend to be thinner. They often get more exercise, more sleep, and less fat in the diet than Americans. They may have better social and extended family networks and less stress in their lives. They eat less processed food and more vegetables. They consume plants that are never or rarely eaten in western cultures, such as seaweed. All of these things (and more) likely contribute to the low disease rates seen in many parts of Asia.