Superfoods

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This is one of the more scientifically credible examples you'll see shared on Facebook.
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Deliciously edible!

Food and Diet

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Dubious diets
Food woo

Super food lists are popular Yahoo-type "click here, gotcha" news. These are lists of foods that fall somewhere on the spectrum between "real science" and woo. Since none of them are dangerous (unless 3rd-world globalization has compromised[1] their authenticity or purity,) and since all of them can be tasty, adding them to your diet can't hurt your body. If they turn out more "woo" than "science", no medical harm done. And if they turn out to be really extra-special healthy for you, all the better.

Of course, these have a mysterious tendency toward the exotic, obscure, or highly perishable in comparison to equally nourishing and pleasant foodstuffs of lesser celebrity, which means they're usually only available at great expense and/or from a tiny number of merchants… Who are all too happy to let you pay through the nose for this “privilege,” and when these foodstuffs are a loadbearing pillar in the diets of people in certain low-income regions, the surge in interest can have cataclysmic impacts on their main food supply.

Contents

[edit] List of common "Superfoods"

  • Apples. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so they say.[3] The seeds contain a small amount of laetrile for those who believe in cancer preventative woo (and cyanide for those who don't.) The apples themselves are full of fiber and keep you "regular".
  • Brewers yeast, and its derivatives like Vegemite and Marmite, are a B-complex vitamin cocktail[6]. Good for whatever you heard B vitamins are good for. Brain food and who knows what else.
  • Cinnamon -- by which we mean the common commercial Cinnamomum cassia, not the "true" Cinnamomum verum that food snobs use -- can help reduce blood sugar peaks. Or not.[7] It makes lots of things more yummy, and if it helps to prevent the onset of diet-based diabetes so much the better.
  • Cranberries - Commonly hailed as an effective way to avoid urinary tract infections. According to a recent clinical review however, you'd have to eat about 45,000 calories' worth of cranberries every six months to get a 1 in 12 chance of avoiding an infection.[8] Not exactly practical, unlike the 95% efficacy of taking antibiotics.
  • Chocolate Theobroma - food of the gods. In its raw form Cacao (usually in the form of 'nibs') and processed dark chocolate are excellent anti-oxidants. There is some suggestion that they can act like aspirin to keep plaque forming in the blood, that they might stimulate the brain, and that sucking on dark chocolate can soothe an aching throat, raw from coughing. And it's so close to that wonderful panacea hemp! And come on, it's chocolate. (Dear Americans, milk chocolate however has lots of sugar and very little cacao, so it isn't a wonder food - learn to like the dark stuff!)
  • Curry, turmeric in particular, is supposed to be a preventative for cancer and Alzheimer's.[more detail please]
  • Goji berries or Chinese wolfberries. Supposedly full of nutrients and anti-oxidants.[more detail please]
  • Green tea - It's a ritual designed to make you relax source of the psychoactive amino acid Theanine[wp], and it too can anti-oxidize you[9].
  • Oysters are supposed to increase your sperm count, improve libido, enlarge your weenie, etc.[more detail please]
  • Pomegranate juice. You know it's heart-healthy because they sell it with cute little healthy-heart icons on the bottles.[10]
  • Quinoa. Vegan superfood, demand for which is destroying the ecosystem, and the human population in Bolivia. [11]
  • Walnuts - lots of fiber and protein, and it turns out they might help lower the icky bad cholesterols.[13]

[edit] Some lists with other wooish/scientific-ish super foods

[edit] Other external links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. http://www.naturalnews.com/040266_food_fraud_China_heavy_metals_contamination.html
  2. Oprah is coming after bad Internet marketers
  3. This saying originated during Prohibition. Most of the apples sold prior to Prohibition were used to make hard cider. When this was no longer legal, apple growers had to come up with another reason for consumers to buy their fruit, and latched on to the apple's alleged health benefits.
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueberry#Nutrients.2C_phytochemicals_and_research
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackberry#Nutrients_and_antioxidant_qualities
  6. Brewer's yeast, on the University of Maryland's Complementary and Alternative Medicine web area
  7. "Cinnamon and Blood Sugar," Pennsylvania State University Extension
  8. Cranberry, the alt-med zombie
  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_tea#Growing.2C_harvesting_and_processing
  10. http://www.pomwonderful.com
  11. http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2110890,00.html
  12. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=122&tname=foodspice typical woo site
  13. Could eating WALNUTS be the key to good heart health?, on The Daily Mail
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