It’s almost a cliché to call something super - in our super-sized vocabulary the word is used to make almost anything better. But when it comes to food, is there any teeth to it?
“I don’t think there’s any sort of miracle food but I think eating healthy is important,” says Rachel Thompson.
“Well I didn’t know what superfood was but I buy them. I buy avocados, I buy berries, I buy fruits and vegetables,” says Marilyn Whitley.
What separates a superfood from a food that’s just good for you?
“What really separates these out is there have been studies looking at various health benefits in terms of reduction of cardiovascular disease, reduction of inflammatory diseases like arthritis,” says Dr. Taschner, interventional cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
A superstar of the superfood category is omega 3, found in fatty fish.
“The fish oils are felt to have an anti-inflammatory benefit; they are also felt to have a blood thinning benefit as well as vasodilating properties. So they help to dilate the blood vessels and lower the blood pressure. They also favorably influence the cholesterol profile, which tends to have a beneficial effect in terms of reducing cardiovascular problems. And some even propose these omega 3 fish oils help to stabilize heart rhythm,” says Dr. Taschner.
Superfoods are often grouped by health benefits. Green superfoods have easily digestible nutrients. Fruit and nuts are high in antioxidants. Blueberries are considered anti-inflammatory and soy lowers cholesterol. A lot of claims-and nowadays, there is also a lot of hype.
“Well I think some things become a bit gimmicky and when you start hearing about things too much, I think there’s a financial reason for that,” says Dr. Taschner.
One ingredient that lives up to its super-status is chocolate.
“It’s really important to try and find the more pure source of chocolate and not go and buy your standard candy bar off the shelf because those have other things we don’t want to consume,” says Dr. Taschner.
Next time you visit the supermarket, you can’t go wrong with going natural and nutritious.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.