Everything from granola bars to fruit juices boasts ingredients that can improve health and looks. Awesome? No doubt. Accurate? Not always. We bring the claims back down to earth.
super foods


The super claim
 Fresh produce is packed with nutrients that can protect your memory, vision and immune system.
 The real deal
 Fruits and vegetables in a range of dark hues are some of the best foods you can eat. But watch out for the old stuff: Spinach loses half of its vitamin C within two days of being picked. So if you tend to "forget" about your greens, buy them frozen. Freezing helps preserve the antioxidants.   

2. OMEGA-3s 

The super claim
 Move over, fish! Get your omega-3s from packaged foods like orange juice, pasta or bagels that are enriched with these heart-healthy fatty acids.
 The real deal You'd have to drink about thirty(!) 8-ounce glasses to match the omega-3 benefits of one 3-ounce piece of salmon. "Use packaged foods to help fill in gaps," says David Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life."But they shouldn't be your main source."   


The super claim
 Chocolate! Wine! Coffee! OMG! They're superfoods!
 The real deal
 All of those exclamation points deserve a few asterisks. Go with dark instead of milk chocolate (darker and less processed equals more antioxidants); red wine instead of white (red is made with antioxidant-rich grape skins); and whole coffee beans instead of ground (and keep them away from light and air, which weaken antioxidants).   


The super claim
 Fortified snacks like fruit cups and crackers pack the same amount of nutrients as fresh produce.
 The real deal You can get superfoods on the go, but scan the label first. "At least 10 percent of the recommended daily value of at least one nutrient is a must," says David Wolfe, author of Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. And if fruits and veggies aren't in the top three of the ingredients list, the snack's not worth your while.      


The super claim
 Go ahead, drink your way to better health.
 The real deal
 Juices and smoothies made with antioxidant-rich fruits like pomegranate or açai can help fight cancer-causing free radicals and reduce inflammation, but they're only as good as the containers that hold them. Look for opaque bottles or paper cartons that shield vitamin-destroying UV rays.    


The super claim
 Probiotic-boosted yogurt will keep your digestive system healthy.
 The real deal Probiotics can help you stay regular, but don't stick to one yogurt brand. Mixing up bacterial strains (look for them in the ingredients list) can up your body's resistance to colds and infections. Probiotic cheese and granola bars are now available; fermented foods like soy sauce naturally contain the "good" bacteria.