I regularly read news stories about the next superfood that will change my life, but are they really worth splashing out on? Find out how much you could save by swapping pricey superfoods for cheaper alternatives.
Because of my background, most of the time I dismiss ‘superfoods’, but if the story is about a new moisturiser or eye cream I get sucked in. And I regularly speak to friends who want to know if they should now be following a fruit-free diet; or cutting out all carbohydrates; or ‘swilling’ coconut oil. My answer in these cases (and most others) is a resounding ‘no’.
Make savings by swapping superfoods
In this month’s Which? magazine, we looked at a range of foods that many people perceive to be healthy or that provide a supposed shortcut to be healthy. Think probiotics, free-from foods and so-called superfoods.
While ‘superfoods’ contain vitamins and minerals, so do many other foods and often in higher concentrations. The term was dreamt up by marketing execs, not nutrition experts. We worked out that you could save up to a whopping £439 a year by swapping certain ‘superfoods’ for other equally nutritious foods.
For example, swapping a handful of blueberries, at 69p, for a portion of two kiwis, costing half the price at 34p, will give you a weekly saving of £36.40 a year and has a similar amount of vitamins C and K. You could also save £268.32 by buying fresh sardines, costing 42p for 140g, instead of fresh salmon at £3 for 140g which also gives you a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Similarly, foods labelled as ‘light’ or low-fat are not necessarily always healthier than their standard versions. If you remove fat from a food, you need to add something else back to make it palatable – often sugar.
Figures for the number of people buying free-from foods don’t correlate with figures for the number of people who have food allergies. And while free-from foods can offer a real life-line to those suffering from allergies, for many they have become a life-style choice.
These free-from foods aren’t necessarily any healthier – if you remove wheat from bread you need to replace it with several other things to ensure that the texture and taste aren’t compromised. Sometimes this can lead to higher levels of fat, less fibre or more calories. Most of the time free-from foods are also more costly than their standard counterparts.
While there’s no question that following a healthy, balanced diet can prevent illness and this means keeping your sugar, fat and salt intakes in check along with eating lots of fruit and veg, there really is no magic food that makes the difference alone.
Are there foods that you swear by? Or any other tips you have to staying healthy?