Home GRUB Defining and using ‘superfoods’ for health

Defining and using ‘superfoods’ for health

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Stephanie Shomin
The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

TRAVERSE CITY — “Superfood” was first used in 1915, according to Merriam- Webster.

Since then, many people recognize the word but may not know exactly what it means.

Oryana Community Cooperative Outreach and Marketing Specialist Luise Bolleber said nutritionists do not usually use the word “superfood.”

“It’s not a scientific, technical term,” she explained. “It’s a marketing term.”

Berries, kale and leafy greens, she said, are common examples, but this broad category also includes things like avocados, fermented foods, nuts and sweet potatoes. Bolleber said avocados are high in healthy fats and fiber, while probiotics like sauerkraut are good for gut health.

“It’s generally a whole food, not processed, high in vitamins and minerals and, in some cases, fiber and antioxidants,” Bolleber said. “It’s a good way to call attention to a food that’s really beneficial.”

Another superfood, Bolleber said, is turmeric — a spice known for its medicinal properties. People can easily add small amounts to their recipes.

People often do not eat enough of these healthy ingredients, she said.

“We can reduce or reverse diseases by changing our diet, like adding superfoods,” she said. “It might seem intimidating to put together a healthy meal. Try one thing and incorporate it into what you already make. There are ways to make things if it’s not your favorite.”

Ali Lopez works as a private chef and produce employee at Oryana. She said “superfood” is not a bad term, but it needs clarification.

“These are foods that are nutrient dense,” Lopez said. “They’re all plants — whether berries, nuts or greens. The goal is to eat more plants.”

People do not have to switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet though, Lopez said. She challenges others to see how many plants and how many varieties they can include on their plate for each meal.

“It doesn’t alienate people who choose to eat things besides plants,” she said. “Add plants to your normal meal. You’re not removing anything really.”

Lopez leads Oryana’s “Delicious Superfoods” class at 6 p.m. May 6 via the Zoom application. She said she aims to teach attendees about superfoods and how to get the most for their money. She will show examples and take questions throughout the one-hour session.

“My classes teach people more about the technique of how to cook something rather than use a recipe,” Lopez said. “I try to narrow the focus but also give people a lot of options for learning.”

Admission is $10. Register at Eventbrite.com.

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