Can super foods let you live longer?
Thursday January 17, 2013 | By:Debbie Manzella | Editorial
Whether itís because itís a new year, or because itís a new trend, it seems that everywhere I look, there are hundreds of articles featuring the power of super foods. Or should I sayÖ ďSuperfoods!Ē
Of the three magazines I have lying around my house, each of them are touting very specific lists of foods that will overhaul my marginal health, cure my hot flashes, make me look younger, get rid of my belly fat (how did they know?), and help me live to a hundred and twenty.
Iíve always considered myself knowledgeable about nutrients, and eating right for health. As a nurse, Iíve done my share of diabetes management teaching, and coronary artery disease prevention. Iíve always known that potato chips are bad for me, and that fresh fruits and vegetables are good.
I embraced a quasi-Mediterranean-Asian-Flexitarian lifestyle long ago. I follow it for the most part, when Iím not eating potato chips.
So, because of the way I approach a healthy diet, I read each and every ďSuperfood!Ē list that comes out. I want to live to a hundred and twenty while looking not a day over ninety, just like anyone else. I donít want to be able to grab handfuls of my own belly fat, and I certainly can do without the hot flashes.
One menís magazine, which Iím sure Iíve never subscribed to, but which shows up in my mailbox every month anyway, recently unveiled the ďTop 10 Superfoods!Ē that stimulate virility. My goodness. Thereís a list for everything.
But since I do read all these articles and lists, there is one thing that Iíve noticed over time. The same super foods are on every list. Without even looking at my magazines, I can recite some of the amazing, wonderful foods that star repeatedly on everybodyís lists, regardless of whether we want more stamina, healthier skin, or dramatic weight loss; garlic, ginger, blueberries, cherries, pomegranates, walnuts, almonds, fish, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, olive oil, and red wine.
These are all good things and very good for us. Do we need a thousand incredibly specific lists and rationales to make some changes to our diets and embrace these foods? Canít we just say that eating them, and foods like them, would go a long way towards improving health and vitality, whether we are men, women, kids, young, old, or in between?
Thereís been a lot of research on the typical American diet. Depending on how much convenience food we eat, our diet can be almost devoid of fiber, fresh produce, and so many nutrients that we need in order to stay healthy. We will never find a superfood in a cardboard box or a cellophane bag, and we certainly will never be able to order one out of a clownís mouth at a drive-thru window.
My grandmother, who lived to be 102, (and didnít look a day over 80), ate many of these superfoods on a daily basis. But back then, they werenít called superfoods. They werenít sought after as the cure-all for every malady under the sun. They were just considered the food that she planted, cooked and put on the table.
Itís hard to pick a fight with the term ďSuperfoodĒ because compared to a bottle of soda or a bag of cheese puffs, the superfoods really are superior. But, what happened since my grandmotherís day? When did our food become so out of touch with nourishment?
I guess, no matter which list the superfoods are on, itís a good idea to welcome them back in to todayís modern diet. Maybe theyíll become the norm, rather than a miracle cure.