Updated: Jan 14, 2020
I recently got asked some questions from a journalism student at Sheffield's Hillsborough College. Holly Askew's final project is based around health and fitness (great choice!); her questions revolved specifically around "Superfoods" and a healthy diet. With Holly's permission, I thought I would share the Q&A as there's some little gems of info you may find beneficial.
Do you believe superfoods improve quality of life and long term health ? By superfood I assume you're referring to a something which is high in micronutrients and has good nutritional value i.e kale, avocado etc. If so, yes they will help the body function more effectively, resulting in a physically and mentally stronger individual. The micronutrients within 'superfoods' are essential to the longevity of health and life. Do you consciously try and consume superfoods and if so how often ? I try and make sure every meal has these types of food. They massively help with digestion ensuring all the macronutrients I require are absorbed and delivered to the relevant cells effectively. I recommend everybody do the same, if not every meal, at least every day. On the endless list of SF which do you think are the most health beneficial ? I wouldn't particularly say there is a best one. It's circumstantial to the individual. Each superfood contains unique quantities of micronutrients and one may be more beneficial to an individual if he/she if deficient in a certain essential nutrient. Generally I would suggest incorporating a wide range of superfoods into your diet as apposed to one specifically. Which SF would you say you consume the most of ? Personally, it's Kale and broccoli sprouts. They're both rich in a pre-cursor to sulphoraphane which amongst other things has been proven to reduced aging and cancerous tumours. I'd have to point you in the direction of Dr Rhonda Patrick and some of the great work she's been doing in this area. Do you think SF work the same for everyone ? Not always. The big factor when ingesting anything is gut health. For example someone who has poor gut health, drinks quite a lot, eats mainly processed food, will not be able to uptake all the required micronutrients compared to someone who doesn't drink and eats mainly nutrient dense foods. So there's a spectrum of how effective a superfood will be depending on an individuals overall diet. In nutrition advice you offer clients do you recommend and tell them about SF ? Absolutely, I don't use the term superfood because as I mentioned above something that's 'super' for one person may not be for another. But l'll definitely educate them on the importance of including micronutrients alongside macronutrients for better results and performance. What do you think is the key lead a long and healthy life ? Exercise frequently. Eat mainly nutritious food. Easier said than done, but it should be everyone's mission to find a training and nutrition plan that is balanced and sustainable for them. What kind of diet (things people should eat) should people follow to be nourished and healthy ? Generally a diet should be composed of 4 vital things. Protein; to rebuild damaged tissue and assist in any physiological growth. Fat's; to promote a healthily functioning endocrine system and sustain energy levels throughout the day. Limited carbohydrates; to assist with energy levels and aid in the digestion process. Micronutrient rich food; these tend to be from our vegetables where we also take our essential nutrients from. They also help us effectively uptake the 3 macronutrients above. In terms of what types of food we should be choosing; my rule is the fresher the better. Opting for foods that have a shelf life of no longer than a week will provide more nutritional value than something that's had preservatives added to make it last any longer. They also won't challenge our digestive system the way processed food does and will allow our body to function correctly, allowing us to live healthier and longer.