It’s official: Blueberries have dethroned avocados and kale as the most popular superfood, according to a new study. The antioxidant-rich berry topped the list of healthy foods flying off grocery shelves, beating out its greener contemporaries.
Label Insight’s 2017 Shopper Trends Study surveyed more than 1,000 people and found that 85 percent of them were actively looking to purchase superfoods (nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being). Of the 85 percent, a total of 63 percent were looking for blueberries, 60 percent for avocados and just 44 percent sought out kale.
So what makes blueberries so special? Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, FAND, director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition, explains the hype and why a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are not just beneficial, but important as well.
“Berries got a lot of good press many years ago, primarily related to something called its antioxidant capacity,” Bowerman told LIVESTRONG.COM. “Basically, this is a test-tube measurement of the amount of antioxidants that are present in a food, and blueberries scored high. Bowerman added that there was quite a bit of research done on blueberries and their effect on improving cognitive function.
Bowerman urged healthy eaters to choose a variety of fruits and vegetables. “The point is that every plant food is unique in terms of its phytonutrient makeup, and so it seems a shame to focus on one and exclude others,” she said.
Nicolett Miller, NTP, RWP, CGP, Certified Metabolic Balance Coach and Eating Psychology teacher, agrees. “I am a fan of focusing on superfoods or nutrient-dense, whole, organic foods,” Miller told LIVESTRONG.COM.
“Unless someone is looking to heal or address a specific health concern, variety is important and crucial for a balanced diet and optimal health. Having proteins and fats with every meal is important to help balance blood sugar and enhance absorption.
"Some vitamins are fat soluble and need fats so the body can absorb them. Eating seasonal, locally grown, fresh organic foods is key. And adding some superfoods is wonderful, but even the healthiest food can cause problems if we eat too much of it. Balance and moderation are key.”
Bowerman isn’t surprised that shoppers are buying more blueberries than avocados or kale — and the reasons behind this trend aren’t even scientific! She said it comes down to the availability of different foods and their price points.
“For one thing, there has been quite a bit of research on blueberries, a fair amount on avocados, but nothing specific on kale,” she explained. “Also, blueberries are probably more universally liked than the other two, and you can buy them frozen, which makes them reasonably affordable. Avocados are expensive and may not be readily available in all parts of the country, and they’re highly perishable. Kale is one of those foods that people are eating because of its health benefits, and probably less so because they just love the taste.”
What Do YOU Think?
Do you include blueberries as part of your regular, healthy diet? What are your favorite superfoods? Share your thoughts below!