Hammer pants, pet rocks, mullets and maple water. What do all of these things have in common? They’re all fads—trends that come with fervor and go with laughter or even shame. One of the biggest modern fads is the idea of “superfoods”: foods or drinks that supposedly bestow new levels of health and wellness on those who consume them.
Some so-called superfoods often aren’t even really food at all. Take Soylent, for example. The shake-like drink claims to contain all the nutrients a body needs. The powdered mix can only be bought online and is targeted toward people who don’t have time to cook — or even chew — their food.
Superfood claims should be taken with a grain of salt, as they are rarely the magic solutions they claim to be. There is no one food — not banana flour, not kefir, not bone broth and especially not maple water — that can provide for your body the way a healthy diet can.
So what should you be eating now that an apple cider vinegar cleanse is off the table?
“Eating a balanced diet of small frequent meals, with minimal amounts of highly processed foods, helps make you super healthy,” Dr. Dirk says. “Real superfoods are any type of food made by nature. That includes meat—yes, beef, chicken and fish are superfoods. Fruits and vegetables are superfoods too.”
Using these guidelines is a great way to tell if something seems too super to be true. There are truly healthy foods that are also currently trendy, like kale and Brussels sprouts, but they aren’t any more “super” than any other vegetable or fruit. In fact, eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins rather than counting on any one “cure-all” food is really the best way to go.
“If something has to be processed for you to consume it, or if you have to find a store in a different continent, that just doesn’t make sense,” Dr. Dirk says. “Eating healthy and being healthy does not require a trip to the moon.”