With the seemingly endless touting of ‘super foods’ we may be tempted to think that our current diets are hopelessly inadequate and we need to rush out to a specialist shop or online store and purchase the latest chia/goji/beetroot extract etc.
Well I don’t think so, I believe that by knowing what is in our daily food and by shopping a little more discerningly at our local supermarkets we can get all the vital nutrition that we need to protect and maintain our health.
To give you an example, I received an email with a link to a video and a pamphlet in the post touting a new wonder food that would make me: surge with energy, regulate my bowels, regulate my weight, re-balance my cholesterol, make my joints more youthful and friends would say how much younger I was looking!
One piece of evidence for these amazing claims was that this miracle superfood had 13 times more magnesium than broccoli, now appropriate intake of magnesium from natural sources is vital for our health, however this advertising does not take into account two things:
How much magnesium we require on a daily basis The realistic portion size of the superfood
Broccoli has approximately 22mg of magnesium per 100g and a realistic portion size of broccoli is in fact around 60g. The recommended daily amount for magnesium is between 320 and 420mg per day (depending if you are a man or a woman and how old you are), so a portion of broccoli (once cooked) will give you between 3 and 5% of your recommended daily intake – not so much.
This new superfood has 335mg of magnesium per 100g so if a realistic portion size of this was 100g you would be getting over or close to your recommended daily amount. HOWEVER this so called superfood is in fact ‘chia seeds’ called ‘BenVia Gold’ in the advert. Chia is a very small dry seed that can be sprinkled on breakfast cereal or in soups and a generous realistic portion size is in fact 3g!
So in fact whilst a portion of broccoli will give you 13mg of magnesium, a portion of chia seeds (the superfood) will give you only 10mg of magnesium – a similar amount but not 13 times as much is it!
Gram for gram comparisons are misleading
This type of hyping plays on our lack of knowledge of the amounts of nutrients we require, and tricks us by giving a gram for gram comparison between ingredients, when realistically we would not eat anywhere near gram for gram.
Remember when it comes to super, size is what counts!
Welcome to checkyourfood.com
Matt Wright – founder of checkyourfood.com “Always on the side of information”
Director - Nutrient expert, researcher & data miner
I am responsible for the scientific research and data oversight at the CheckYourFood Group. A great journey of discovery for me as I uncover the myriad of goodness that natural food contains and facilitate others to promote health and wellbeing.