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Superfoods: the dangers

Superfoods were the health issue of 2013. In 2014, the superfoods will continue to be popular. But there are more and more critical comments about the superfood craze. About the dangers of (too) many superfoods.

Superfoods

In recent years, the term superfood is increasingly on the rise. A 'superfood' is a food that is so full of healthy substances, that it can rightly be called 'super'. When a food is just as healthy enough to be called a superfood, there is no precise definition yet. Scientists and dietitians are therefore not very keen on the term 'superfood'. According to them, it is primarily a marketing term. The most famous superfoods include the goji berry, a├žaibes and the chia seed. Other foods that are classified as superfoods are broccoli, walnuts, coconut products and fatty fish.

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Are superfoods dangerous?

Many superfoods are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are things that your body desperately needs. So what's wrong with eating superfoods? Nothing at all! According to the Nutrition Center, things go wrong when people talk about it. There is a lot of marketing behind the superfoods. There is a danger that this marketing will lead people to believe that they need large quantities of superfoods. Then they run the risk of a deficient and one-sided diet. No matter how super some superfoods may be, a varied diet is still the healthiest for your body.

Superfoods: an overdose of healthy substances?

Apart from the danger of a one-sided diet, the eating of many superfoods still has a danger. Because superfoods are so packed with healthy substances, there is a danger that eating too many superfoods will become unhealthy again. Nutrients are good, but more is not always better. If our body has absorbed sufficient nutrients, it will not become 'extra' healthy with even more nutrients. In the best case, our body does nothing with the extra nutrients, and in the worst case, extra nutrients are unhealthy.

If you eat a few handfuls of Brazil nuts every day, you can exceed the maximum permitted dose of selenium. Selenium is a trace element that our body needs to keep the cells functioning properly. But in large quantities selenium is poisonous. You can also ingest too many anti-oxidants. In 2010, scientists at Kansas State University examined the effects of anti-oxidants on the health of laboratory animals. The animals that received too many anti-oxidants had a reduced muscle function. According to the researchers, more anti-oxidants are not automatically better.

Green Superfood Powder
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Superfoods: unwanted side effects

Some superfoods also have a number of side effects that are unhealthy. Chia seed, for example, has a blood-thinning effect. People who use blood pressure lowering or diuretics are therefore also advised not to eat chia seeds. People may also experience bloating, diarrhea and flatulence. Fatty fish is also known as superfood, because fatty fish contains a lot of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But unfortunately: eating fatty fish also has less favorable side effects. Due to environmental pollution there are sometimes harmful substances in fish. Think of heavy metals (mercury) dioxins and PCBs. Therefore, do not exceed the recommended amount of fatty fish: a serving of 300 grams twice a week (A salty herring weighs about 75 grams). Especially predatory fish, such as mackerel and tuna, contain a lot of harmful substances. If you are pregnant or want to become, you can better avoid these fish species.

Superfoods are part of a balanced diet

In general, superfoods are healthy. Most of these side effects only occur when you eat too many of these superfoods. So try to eat especially varied. Do not exceed the recommended quantities. Only when superfoods are part of a balanced diet are they really 'super'!