(WFSB) - We hear about so-called superfoods all the time, everything from avocados to blueberries.
But are superfoods really all they’re cracked up to be?
Channel 3 spoke to a doctor to get to the bottom of what should be on the top of your grocery list.
When you google “superfoods”, you’ll find list after list touting the most nutritionally dense foods to add to your diet.
Many of the choices overlap.
Often, you’ll see foods like dark leafy greens, berries, eggs, legumes, nuts and salmon.
“Right here, this is my number one area. The fruits and the vegetables, probably about 70 percent of my shopping that I’ll do and then I’ll get some protein,” said Marsha Arpin of Rocky Hill.
But the term “superfood” could be misleading.
“I think there is no specific criteria that sets apart a super food from a regular food item,” said Dr. Devika Umashanker.
In fact, the term itself is unregulated and can be gimmicky as it is not used by scientists.
With that said, Dr. Devika Umashanker, an obesity medicine specialist with Hartford Healthcare says foods that make these lists are typically packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and that’s a good thing.
“I think super foods is a nice category to have because it causes people to read about it and educates you in different ways you may not have been educated before. I think if super foods really allows you to focus on certain vitamins, perfect,” said Umashanker.
Umashanker says when looking at superfoods, take note of how they’re processed.
While whole grain oats are great, instant oatmeal with added sugar causes the food to lose some of its value.
And just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want of it.
“Even super foods can be caloric in intake for example nuts and things like that, so you always have to watch what you’re eating as well in that super food category,” Umashanker said.
Experts say the bottom line is there is no single miracle food and common sense prevails.
A poor diet is a poor diet no matter how much kale you eat.
Doctors say a well-balanced plan that incorporates some super foods is still the best way to go, everything in moderation, even some sweets.
“I try to eat as healthy as I can. Not as much red meat, things like that just because it’s better for you, you feel better,” said Jim Elston of Cromwell.
Needless to say, every person is different.
So, in terms of figuring out which foods are best for you, it’s always important to talk to your doctor.