ATLANTA - The call them superfoods. They’re nutritional heavy-hitters like quinoa, kale and chia seeds, promoted as all-in-one heart-healthy, brain-boosting, cancer-preventing, pound-shedding powerhouse foods.
But Wellstar Kennestone registered oncology dietitian Rachel White says superfoods are really just super-marketed.
She says in the dietary world, there is really no such thing as one food that gives us everything we need in terms of nutrition.
And superfoods can be super expensive and harder to find. So, White went out in search of some more affordable options.
"There are very comparable foods throughout the market that would have the same nutritional value,” White says. “But the superfoods are, it's more of media term, it's more of a marketing term."
Take kale, which is definitely having a moment.
"You probably have heard kale a lot of times marketed as a cancer preventative food, one that can decrease your risk of heart disease,” says White.
Kale is packed with nutrients. But so is broccoli, and it's a lot cheaper.
"You could get broccoli, fresh broccoli, for about half the price of fresh kale,” says White.
Instead of quinoa, a whole grain packed with protein and fiber, White says try less expensive brown rice.
"The protein and fiber content of a serving of quinoa would be about the same as a serving of brown rice,” she says.
Chia seeds are another example. Yes, White says, they're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and heart-healthy fats. But so are flax seeds.
"They have a lot of the same antioxidants, the same fiber, protein and benefits that way,” says White. “And the chia seeds are harder to find."
Instead of focusing on superfoods, White says try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, the more colorful, the better.
Rich colors often are a sign a fruit of vegetable packs a lot of nutrients.
If you can, she says, hit your neighborhood farmer's market, buying what's in-season and local.
If you're short on time, or cash, buy your produce frozen.
And, White says, be open to trying new foods. You might be surprised by how super they taste.