The Myths About 10 Super Foods Exposed.

We all want to live a full and healthy life and the best way is to have a balanced diet,  reduce salt, reduce sugar, reduce your read meat intake, eat more green leafy vegetables and fruits.

But we are suckers when it comes to buying super foods because of marketing and what people tell us. So lets bust some myths, and back it up with real evidence.

 

Beetroot
You have heard its good for reducing blood pressure, aids exercise and reduces dementia.

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The details:

YES Beatroot CAN: Blood Pressure.
A well conducted study points to there is evidence that Beatroot reduces blood pressure. (full report: source)

YES Beetroot CAN: aid exercise performance.
A scientific study in 2013 looked at Beatroot juice and the link with increase exercise performance. The study concluded there was “moderate improvements” in exercise performance when drinking Beatroot juice. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Beatroot Juice for Dementia:
A study in 2010 of 16 Adults (Yes, 16) by the Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem in the USA discovered a diet high in Beatroot juice may increase blood flow to certain parts of the brain. However, this was a small and short-term study with several limitations and as such does not provide robust evidence that a diet high in nitrates aids cognitive function. (further reading on study here)

 

 

Goji Berries
You have heard its good for improve immunity, cardiovascular disease and life expectancy, well-being, brain activity, digestion and prevent cancer.

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NO Goji Berries CANNOT: improve immunity, cardiovascular disease and life expectancy?
There is NO reliable evidence to support these alleged health benefits. Any research that has been carried out is too small and unreliable.

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Goji Berries to aid well-being, brain activity and digestion?
One small study of 34 people in 2008 found a daily drink of 120ml of goji berry juice for 14 days improved feelings of wellbeing, brain activity and digestion. However, the study is far to small to be called conclusive and is dismissed.

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Goji Berries prevents cancer?
In 1994 a Chinese study conducted on 74 people found those treated with immunotherapy in combination with goji polysaccharides saw their cancers regress. Unfortunately, information on the design of the study and the goji berry compounds used are lacking. based on this, it can not be sure there is evidence to suggest Goji prevents cancer. More trials are needed.  (full report: source)

 

 

Blueberries
You have heard its good to lower risk of a heart attack, combat high blood pressure, prevent cancer and aid in a better memory.

 

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YES Blueberries CAN: lower the risk of a heart attack and keep the heart healthy.
A study in 2012 of 93,000 women discovered that people who ate three or more portions of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32% lower risk of a heart attack compared with those who ate berries once a month or less. (full report: source)

YES Blueberries CAN: combat high blood pressure.
It is thought that blueberries may relax the walls of the blood vessels, which may help reduce this risk of atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis can increase the risk of a heart attack and stroke. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Blueberries can prevent cancer.
there is very little evidence that blueberries can help protect against cancer. laboratory studies on cells and animals, blueberry extracts (such as anthocyanins) have been shown to decrease free radical damage that can cause cancer. However, it is not clear how well humans absorb these compounds from eating blueberries and whether or not they have a protective effect.

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Blueberries aid in having a better memory.
A number of small studies have found a link between blueberry consumption and improved spatial learning and memory. However, most of these studies relied on small sample groups or animals. There is currently no evidence of a link between eating blueberries and improved memory.

 

Broccoli
You have heard its good to prevent cancer, reduce high blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease and help diabetes suffers

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YES Broccoli CAN: prevent cancer.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, Eating more non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, is associated with a reduced risk of some cancers (including mouth, throat and stomach cancers)

NO Broccoli CANNOT: reduce high blood pressure.
There is no evidence to suggest broccoli can help lower blood pressure. a 2010 study, 40 patients with high blood pressure who ate 10g of dried enriched broccoli sprouts for four weeks saw no improvement to the health of their blood vessels and did not reduce their risk of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries).

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Broccoli can prevent cardiovascular disease?
Its too small a test to suggest Broccoli can prevent cardiovascular disease. The study small study from 2012 of 81 people with diabetes, those in a group that ate 10g a day of enriched broccoli sprouts powder for four weeks saw a reduction in their levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood), both of which can cause cardiovascular disease. 

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Broccoli can help diabetes suffers
in 2008 researchers applied the antioxidant sulforaphane to human blood vessels incubated with sugar. They found that sulforaphane appeared to prevent the damage to small blood vessels caused by high blood sugar. However, it is unclear from this study whether sulforaphane would protect a person with diabetes from damage.

 

Oily fish
You have heard its good for Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are said to help against cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, age-related vision loss, dementia, good for vision, Rheumatoid arthritis, 

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YES Oily Fish CAN: help fight Cardiovascular disease.
Studies have found eating oily fish can lower blood pressure and reduce fat build-up in the arteries.
However, there are maximum recommended amounts for oily fish, crab and some types of white fish. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: eating Oily fish can deduce the risk of developing Prostate cancer.
The evidence for oily fish’s effect on prostate cancer is inconclusive. Some limited research suggests that eating fish may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. However, this is not backed up by other studies, so we can’t be sure of the effect.

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Oily fish can reduce the risk of Dementia.
A 2012 review looked into whether consuming more omega-3, a type of healthy fat found in oily fish, could reduce the risk of dementia. The review looked at studies of healthy 60-year-olds who took omega-3 capsule supplements for six months.
The review concluded that there is no preventative effect of decline in brain function and dementia when healthy older people take omega-3. The review suggested that longer-term studies would offer researchers a better opportunity for identifying the possible benefits of omega-3 in preventing dementia. (full report: source)

YES Oily Fish CAN: help keep a healthy vision in old age.
A well-conducted review in 2010 found there was some evidence that eating oily fish two or more times a week could reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration – a common cause of blindness in older people. (full report: source)

YES Oily Fish CAN: reduce the risk of getting Rheumatoid arthritis
A 2013 study looked at the eating habits of around 32,000 middle-aged and older women to see if oily fish consumption had any influence on them developing rheumatoid arthritis. They did find that women who ate one or more servings of oily fish were 29% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than women who never, or very rarely, ate oily fish. (full report: source)

 

Garlic
You have heard its good for lowering high blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, preventing from common cold and protecting against cancer.

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YES Garlic CAN: lower high blood pressure.
An authoritative review from 2012 of the best available evidence on the use of garlic to treat high blood pressure identified one good-quality study that suggested 200mg of garlic powder three times daily reduced blood pressure. (full report: source)

YES Garlic CAN: reduce cholesterol.
A well-conducted review from 2009 of 29 good-quality studies involving a combined total of 1,794 participants concluded that garlic – mainly garlic powder – produced “modest reductions” in total cholesterol levels. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Garlic can prevent the common cold.
A good-quality review from 2012 of the best available evidence concluded there was insufficient evidence regarding the effects of garlic supplements in treating or preventing colds. Most studies that claimed this were poor quality. The review said one reasonably good study suggested garlic may prevent colds, but more research was needed to back up the finding. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Garlic protects against cancer.
The evidence is mixed. A 2007 World Cancer Research Fund review concluded that garlic “probably protects against” bowel and stomach cancers. A more recent review from 2009 of the best available research on humans concluded there was “no credible evidence” with stomach, breast, lung and womb cancers, but that there was “very limited evidence” that eating garlic may lower the risk of colon, prostate, oral, ovary or renal cell cancers. (full report: source)

Chocolate

You have heard its good for reducing blood pressure, preventing cancer, stopping stress, preventing stroke.

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NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest chocolate can reduce blood pressure.
A well-conducted 2012 review of the best available evidence on the effects of chocolate on blood pressure concluded that cocoa products – including dark chocolate – may help slightly lower blood pressure.
However, most of the studies were of short duration (between two and eight weeks) and there were some weaknesses in the available research.
The authors of the review say longer-term trials are needed to further our understanding of cocoa’s effect on blood pressure and cardiovascular health. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest chocolate prevents cancer
Some limited animal and laboratory research suggests a cocoa-rich diet could offer protection against bowel cancer. But it’s impossible to conclude from research carried out in a laboratory that cocoa can protect people against bowel cancer.

NO chocolate CANNOT: reduce stress.
In a small study from 2009, 30 healthy people who were given 40g of dark chocolate a day for 14 days experienced a reduction in stress hormones. However, the study, which was funded by a major chocolate manufacturer, had several limitations, including its short study period, and does not provide any evidence chocolate has any benefits or effects on stress. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest chocolate can prevent stroke
A recent study carried out in Norfolk in 2015 looked at chocolate consumption and cardiovascular disease. It reported people who ate the equivalent of two chocolate bars a day had a slightly lower risk of stroke than people who never or rarely eat chocolate.
But this study failed to establish a direct cause and effect relationship, as there was evidence the chocolate eaters were healthy in other ways. Similarly, people who never eat chocolate may do so if they were advised to avoid it because of health reasons.

 

Wheatgrass
You have heard its good for boosting red blood cell production, reduces inflammation of the colon, people with blood disorders

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NO Wheatgrass CANNOT: boosts red blood cell production.
Fans of wheatgrass believe that because chlorophyll and haemoglobin (a protein that carries oxygen around your body) are similar in structure, taking Wheatgrass juice enhances haemoglobin production. But as far as evidence goes, there is no scientific proof to support this claim.

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: TO SUGGEST Wheatgrass can reduce inflammation of the colon.
A small study from 2002 found patients with ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the colon) saw their symptoms improve after they were given 100ml of wheatgrass juice daily for a month. However, the study involved only 21 people and the positive results could have been simply down to chance. As such, the evidence is inconclusive. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Wheatgrass helps people with blood disorders.
A small study from 2004 of 32 patients with a blood disorder called thalassaemia found half of the patients required fewer blood transfusions when 100ml (3.5oz) of wheatgrass juice was taken daily for three years. While interesting, the research has many weaknesses and further research is needed before these findings can be properly validated. (full report: source)

 

Pomegranate
You have heard its good for strengthening the bones,  to slow down prostate cancer, prevents heart disease

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NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Pomegranate can strengthen bones.
In 2013 a study found evidence that pomegranate strengthened bones and helped prevent osteoporosis. The catch was the study involved mice, not humans.
While the biology of mice and humans are surprisingly similar, we can never be sure that these results will be applicable to us. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Pomegranate juice slow prostate cancer progress.
One small study from 2006 found that drinking a daily 227ml (8oz) glass of pomegranate juice significantly slowed the progress of prostate cancer in men with recurring prostate cancer. This was a well-conducted study, but more are needed to support these findings.
A more recent study from 2013 looked at whether giving men pomegranate extract tablets prior to surgery to remove cancerous tissue from the prostate would reduce the amount of tissue that needed to be removed. The results were not statistically significant, meaning they could have been down to chance. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest heart disease prevented by Pomegranates.
A well-conducted trial from 2005 on 45 patients with coronary heart disease demonstrated that a daily 238ml (8.4oz) glass of pomegranate juice administered over three months resulted in improved blood flow to the heart and a lower risk of heart attack. The study did not say what the results mean for conditions such as heart attacks, and with such a small trial the positive results reported could be down to chance. (full report: source)

 

Green Tea
You have heard its good for protecting you from cancer, aiding weight loss, cuts cholesterol, helps prevent or delay Alzheimer’s, lowers blood pressure and prevents tooth decay.

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NO Green Tea CANNOT: protect you from cancer.
There is no evidence drinking green tea protects against different types of cancer. A review from 2009 involving 51 studies, with more than 1.6 million participants, looked for an association between drinking green tea and cancers of the bowel, prostate, breast, mouth and lungs. The authors of the review concluded evidence of a link between green tea and cancer was weak and “highly contradictory”.
A more recent 2015 study looked at the cancer-fighting effects of a compound found in green tea when combined with a drug called Herceptin, which is used in the treatment of stomach and breast cancer. Initial results in the laboratory were promising and human trials are now being planned. (full report: source)

NO Green Tea CANNOT:  aid weight loss.
It’s thought the antioxidants catechin and caffeine found in green tea may have a role in helping the body burn more calories – sometimes referred to as speeding up the metabolism – which can help weight loss.
Green tea preparations used for losing weight are extracts of green tea that contain a higher concentration of catechins and caffeine than the typical green tea beverage prepared from a tea bag and boiling water.
A well-conducted review from 2012 of 18 studies involving 1,945 people found no significant effect of weight loss from drinking green tea. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Green Tea reduces cholesterol.
A good-quality review from 2013 of 11 studies involving 821 people found daily consumption of green and black tea (as a drink or a capsule) could help lower cholesterol and blood pressure thanks to tea and its catechins. The authors of the review caution that most of the trials were short term and more good quality long-term trials are needed to back up their findings.
Another good-quality review from 2011 found drinking green tea enriched with catechins led to a small reduction in cholesterol, a main cause of heart disease and stroke. However, it’s still not clear from the evidence how much green tea we’d need to drink to see a positive effect on our health, or what the long-term effects of drinking green tea are on our overall health. (full report: source)

No Green Tea CANNOT: help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease.
Evidence of a positive link between drinking green tea and Alzheimer’s disease is weak. A 2010 laboratory study using animal cells found a green tea preparation rich in antioxidants protected against the nerve cell death associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Whether these lab results can be reproduced in human trials remains to be seen. As such, the findings do not conclusively show green tea combats Alzheimer’s disease. (full report: source)

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE: to suggest Green tea can lower blood pressure.
In a 2014 survey of data from previously published studies examined the evidence of whether drinking green tea could lower blood pressure. There was evidence of a modest reduction in people with high blood pressure who consumed green tea. But whether this reduction would lead to clinically significant results, such as preventing the onset of heart disease or stroke, is unclear. (full report: source)

NO Green Tea CANNOT: prevent tooth decay.
A small study in 2014 looked into how effective a green tea mouthwash was in preventing tooth decay versus a commonly used antibacterial mouthwash chlorhexidine. The results suggested they were equally effective. (full report: source)

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