Superfoods boost a diet, but so do other foods

Jan. 19, 2012 at 9:54 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A British dietitian says people should not limit their diet to the 14 foods listed in the popular book, "SuperFoods: 14 Foods that Will Change Your Life."

"The term superfood is misleading as there is no clear definition and many of the supposed health claims are vague or not fully substantiated," Christina Merryfield, the lead dietitian at the Cromwell Hospital in London, told The Independent. "Some so-called superfoods can be good for you as part of a balanced diet, but giving them such a heroic-sounding name confuses the public and can cause worse diet choices."

Dr. Steven Pratt's 2004 book was very popular for highlighting the 14 superfoods that include:

-- Beans because they reduce obesity.

-- Blueberries because they lower risk for cardiovascular disease.

-- Broccoli because it lowers the incidence of cataracts and fights birth defects.

-- Oats because they reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

-- Oranges because they prevent strokes.

-- Pumpkin because it lowers the risk of various cancers.

-- Wild salmon because it lowers the risk of heart disease.

-- Soy because it lowers cholesterol.

-- Spinach because it decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease and age-related macular degeneration.

-- Tea because it helps prevent osteoporosis.

-- Tomatoes because they raise the skin's sun protection factor.

-- Turkey because it helps build a strong immune system.

-- Walnuts because they reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

-- Yogurt because it promotes strong bones and a healthy heart.

Sixty-one percent of food consumers have purchased a specific ingredient because of its superfood label even though the latest tests seem to show that, for example, acai berries are no more beneficial than apples.

However, Merryfield pointed out that to make a diet healthier, pay less attention to superfood labels and buy

fish, fruit, vegetables, tea, white meat and beans.

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