Healthy eating: it’s simple, right? Since feeding ourselves is such a fundamental part of life, one would hope that doing it well would be straightforward. Unfortunately, in today’s world, it's anything but. An ingredient that’s celebrated one day is demonized the next; nutritional advice changes over time, even from the same “expert” sources; and nutritional articles regularly report conflicting information. How are we supposed to know what to believe?
A common question I hear from Navitas field team members as well as our customers is, “Can you tell me more about the benefits that superfoods provide?”
This is, of course, a fair and reasonable question to ask. After all, our organic superfoods are 1) ‘super’ and 2) sold at a premium price compared to some conventional alternatives. Shouldn’t our products list all their outstanding nutritional and health benefits? Don’t we want to inform our customers that these foods have high nutritional value? Let’s revisit an important distinction made in A Guide to Navitas Organics' Updated Nutrition Facts: Part 1: we are proud to offer our superfood products as food rather than supplements. This means that we display a Nutrition Facts label on our packaging, and conform to FDA Nutrient Content and Health Claim Guidelines.
Navitas Organics superfoods have some remarkable properties with regards to nutrient density, nutrient complexity and rare nutrients. They are also associated with an extensive list of impressive health benefits. However, the FDA is very clear on what can and cannot be stated about food.
For instance, nutrients that are not included on a list that the FDA recognizes (declared as Daily Values or DV%) cannot be specified as having a particular function or benefit (i.e. antioxidants including flavanols, resveratrol, ellagic acid and catechins). The only antioxidants that can be identified as such include vitamins A, C and E, and there must be a minimum of 10% recommended DV% reflected on the Nutrition Facts label to include them (more on this later). Still, nothing can be stated about the benefits of these antioxidants – only that they are contained within the food. Supplements, on the other hand, can purport almost any benefit of both nutrients and compounded products. These claims should be substantiated by scientific research but are often not. Again, referring to part one of this blog, supplements are not reviewed by the FDA for safety or effectiveness.
Matcha’s popularity is growing super fast - not just among green tea purists, but also with less fanatical tea drinkers who are becoming more and more aware of its profound health benefits. Considering how costly it can be compared to conventional green tea, however, some may question if it is worth it. For so many reasons, the answer is a resounding yes.
To start, Matcha is made from the Camellia sinensis tea plant, grown exclusively in the mountains of Japan where the soil and climate lend themselves to growing green tea of the highest quality. The plants are shaded before harvest, and only the smaller, top leaves are handpicked for Matcha tea.
After being deveined and de-stemmed, the leaves are dried in the shade or indoors to prevent heat from changing the nutritional properties of the tea. Slow, stone grinding also protects the tea’s potent nutritional benefits. This selective approach to cultivation, harvest and processing contributes to its oftentimes lofty price tag.
Unlike conventional green tea, which you steep in hot water, you actually drink the Matcha tea leaves themselves in the form of a finely ground powder. It provides a lush and earthy flavor, along with a healthy dose of the unique and powerful EGCG antioxidant.
Notice anything different about the nutrition panel on the back of the latest Navitas Organics bag? What’s with the large, bold number of calories per serving? Why have some of the serving sizes changed, and what is the difference between Total Sugars and Added Sugars? If you are asking these questions, you aren’t the only one.