Superfoods vs. Today's Foods

Words: Hannele Steyn

Health & Fitness

A big hype word nowadays is superfoods, and it's a good hype because we need to look carefully at the benefits and differences between superfoods and today's food groups.


So what is a superfood? Also known as a whole food, it is a natural raw food that has many health benefits. It's full of anti-oxidants, vitamins, essential fats, polysaccharides, enzymes, glyconutrients, and minerals. Furthermore, it is 100 % organic, pesticide free, nature's own and has been used for centuries to boost health. But what makes superfoods so superior is that our bodies are able to recognise and utilise the high levels of nutrients contained, as they should be, in comparison to shop-bought foods or vitamins that our bodies are unable to absorb, and so we get very little benefit from our hard-earned monies spent on these products.


Superfoods vs. Today's Foods

Today's foods

Due to the fast-paced, frenetic lifestyles we lead today, where speed and convenience are essential, most 'shop-bought' foods on the shelves are made to last longer and are quicker to prepare. To make them taste good, a lot of preservatives, trans fats, flavourants, colourants, and chemical processes are added. What you end up with is a pretty unhealthy package.


Ironically, as a nutritionist, when I suggest vitamins or my own homemade muesli to clients, they are wary and want to know what's in it. But when they eat at a restaurant or buy foods from a shop, they don’t question or read the labels to see what it contains. An ingredient like maca, for instance, which is a superfood and natural plant product with many health benefits, scares them more than E413 and E417 flavour enhancers (artificial food additives)! Similarly, a prescription from a doctor doesn’t make them question the product; as long as they get instant relief, they don’t care about the long-term effects. They will also rather believe what some unknown person says in a magazine or ad on TV than someone who is sitting right in front of them J. Just the other day, I had a woman ask me how safe it was to give her seven-year-old daughter a whole vitamin pill that I had recommended. I replied that I would be more scared to give her daughter 2 Minute Noodles, which she told me she loves so much. The fact is, the vitamin has been scientifically proved after six years of research, where the 2 Minute Noodles are full of artificially enhanced flavours.


Healthy tips:

• Remember, when you cook with oil, even good oils like olive and avocado, it gets transformed into a bad fat because of the heating process. So when stir frying or sautéing onions, try to use things like soya sauce mixed with water, or balsamic vinegar, plain yoghurt, and even feta cheese water to help prevent burning, and enhance the flavour.


• Try and incorporate as many superfoods into your diet as you can, because there are no limits.


• There is no quick fix for weight loss, but start to make little changes in your daily diet to eventually get to a lifestyle with more natural, healthy options than the quick cooking, man-made options.


• All superfoods will contribute to better sports performance. Not because they are magic, but purely because the healthier your body is, the better it will perform.



For more information or advice on improving your lifestyle through better food choices, tips on how to prepare food, and how to become healthier by using the correct vitamins and minerals, without dieting or having boring, restrictive diets, visit


Issue 20 Dec '12
Hannele Steyn