Health & Wellness

Are These Trendy Superfoods Worth the Hype?

When you’re trying to eat a healthy diet, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the popular food fads currently having their 15 minutes of fame. You know you need nutrient-dense options on your plate, but are these trendy foods healthier than your average groceries?

1. Kale

Spinach seems to be one of kale’s most significant competitors, and overall, these veggies are very similar in the amounts of fiber, calories, and protein they provide. Kale has higher levels of vitamins A, B6, C, and K, as well as more iron. It also has more calcium, copper, and manganese than spinach. However, spinach has higher levels of folate, which is a beneficial nutrient for pregnant women. Bottom line: kale offers more vitamins and minerals. But we recommend incorporating both into your weekly menu to get the benefits of each.

2. Acai

People often compare acai to both pomegranates and blueberries because all three fruits have significant amounts of antioxidants. While blueberries have lower levels of calories, fat, sugar, and carbs, acai has a broader range of nutrients as it contains vitamins B12, B6, and C as well as thiamin and riboflavin. Blueberries offer mostly vitamins E and C. Pomegranates, on the other hand, contain a more extensive variety of antioxidants compared to acai berries. While all three fruits are great to snack on, you don’t have to shell out extra on acai to get the nutrients otherwise found in blueberries and pomegranate seeds.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa is often compared to brown rice, even though quinoa is a seed and not a grain. Quinoa provides more fiber, protein, riboflavin, folate, iron, and zinc than brown rice. Meanwhile, brown rice offers more vitamin B3 and selenium. Overall, they both have a similar calorie count. While brown rice is a better alternative to white rice due to its status as a whole grain, quinoa has more nutrients. But as each food has its strengths, consider adding both to your weekly meal plan.

4. Coconut Oil

Is coconut oil healthier than olive oil? Both have similar amounts of calories and fats, but the main difference is the type of fat in each. The primary fat in coconut oil is saturated, which can raise both bad and good cholesterol levels. Meanwhile, 25 percent of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fat, which can be beneficial for your heart. However, coconut oil contains specific antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure. In the end, olive oil has more evidence-based heart health benefits, less saturated fat, and a higher level of healthy fats. For recipes that call for coconut oil, keep in mind that virgin, or unrefined, coconut oil is a healthier alternative to its refined counterpart.

5. Matcha

Is matcha a better choice compared to green tea alone? While matcha is a variety of green tea, the leaves are ground into a powder and then mixed with water, so it is a more concentrated version of your average cup of steeped green tea. Matcha boasts higher levels of caffeine and three times more antioxidants compared to high-grade green tea. While matcha has more nutritional benefits in one cup, we recommend saving it for when you need a caffeine boost and enjoying decaffeinated green tea when you’re ready to relax.

Looking to live a healthier lifestyle? Supplement a healthy diet with regular visits to a primary care physician at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group to keep your body in tip-top shape.


Sources:
Huffingtonpost | Kale vs Spinach: Which Is Healthier?
LIVESTRONG | Antioxidant Comparison of Acai Vs. Pomegranate
LIVESTRONG | What Is the Nutritional Difference Between Acai & Blueberries?
Brown Rice vs. Quinoa: Which Is Healthier?
LIVESTRONG | Which Is Better, Coconut Oil or Olive Oil?
Everyday Health | Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil for Heart Health
Harvard Health Publishing | Ask the doctor: Coconut oil and health
Healthline | Matcha - Even More Powerful Than Regular Green Tea?

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