When did food become "Superfood"?

I'm pretty sure that all of today's "super foods" were once upon a time called "food"... just like "organic vegetables" were once called "vegetables"

The main thing you might notice about 'superfoods' is that they are all freshly grown produce. I have never seen a processed food described as a 'superfood' with the exception of dark chocolate of course.

Media hype:

You will find info on the latest superfood in any fitness magazine or weekly newspaper, often with an extensive blurb on why you should buy/eat more of it...

Do we really need to be reminded that asparagus is high in vitamin K or that peppers are high in lycopene 'a powerful anti-oxidant' to convince you that we all need to eat more fruit and veg?

Even Restraunts are on to it, a simple salad is now a superfood salad. A fruit smoothie is a superfood smoothie. I appreciate the alliteration as it makes it sound more attractive, clearly the words 'fruit' and 'vegetable' have just lost their edge and don't spark thoughts of health and vitality like the new 'superfood' word does.

The word seems to have grown in popularity in the last decade most likely lead by media hype jumping onto and hyping up scientific research. We all know that fruit and veg is good for us but don't patronise us and tell us that its a 'superfood' ...its like telling your child to eat his veg as it will make them see in the dark, get taller or run faster.

And with the extortionate prices slapped on these products, it would suggest that only the rich could ever dream of being full of health and vitality.

Not so super:

The truth is many of these foods which are being researched have high levels of anti-oxidants, omega 3 fats, nitrates and/or flavonoids. Between them they can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, joint pain and many others.

This sounds great, but the research which found these foods to be super are often performed on animals, and use concentrated measures of the specific nutrient which are usually unattainable from our diet. And in the case of dark chocolate, it would be the cocoa which is being tested...before the sugar, milk and extras were added.

The bottom line:

The research which the media use to back their 'superfood' claims are blown out of proportion and create a fashionable set of elite foods which seem to increase in price and popularity. These foods were once upon a time just foods or more specifically fruit and vegetables which we often neglected for more convenient and hyperpalattable foods.

Although the term malnourished is usually associated with starvation , a diet low in fruit and veg, grains, nuts and seeds can easily become malnourished. Lacking in vital minerals and vitamins. Here is a handy NHS definition of malnourishment. And as the range of foods added to the superfood category grows it is obvious that these aren't super foods, they are our basic foods, our bread and butter (so to speak).

Given that most people in the UK are not eating enough fruit and vegetables to meet dietary recommendations, upping our daily intakes of a variety of fruits and vegetables will go a long way towards generally improving our well-being.

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