Are powdered superfoods healthy?
Doesn’t it sound simple, popping some superfood powder in your breakfast smoothie, sprinkling it on your cereal, mixing it into meals? What an easy way to boost your superfood intake! But before you start liberally adding it to every meal, have a think about whether or not superfood powder is really nutritionally beneficial.
Superfoods have been labelled by marketing departments of the food industry as those foods which have exceptional nutrient density, such as an exceptionally high antioxidant or vitamin content. They include dark green leafy vegetables, berries, avocado, nuts, seeds and pulses. There is no scientific proof that they have the health benefits claimed by many, but the term ‘superfood’ seems to be sticking around the food industry, nonetheless.
Powdered superfoods are simply dried or dehydrated versions of whole superfoods that are then ground into fine, easily dissolvable powder. They are often sold as a magic way to fill the gap between the actual foods and diet we eat and a ‘ideal’ diet packed full of nutritionally dense foods. Without doubt they have benefits in much the same way that vitamin supplements do. But it’s wise to exercise caution in thinking powdered superfoods can take the place of actual food. Not only is it difficult to measure the efficacy of powdered superfoods on our bodies and the difference they can make to our diet, but a supplement should never take the place of actual food. Unless there’s a reason why you can’t digest certain food, but that’s for another time.
The process of chewing, eating, digesting is a massive part of how our bodies extract nutrients from food. Whole food in its original state also contains water and fibre, both essential in helping to absorb nutrients as well as being necessary for our bodies to function. And any kind of powdered food is processed which is going to reduce its nutritional potency.
Powdered superfoods do have a place in our lives: as supplements though, not as replacements for the whole food. They are not a miracle substance that will deliver the same nutrients as actual food, but they can boost your intake, increasing that which you already get. As with all supplements, it is advisable to check the ingredients and check the price – just because something is super pricey doesn’t mean it’s super good.