Vocabulary In Context Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

​The best way to learn new vocabulary is by seeing it and understanding it in context. In today’s lesson you will read a short article on superfoods. You will answer interactive comprehension questions on the passage. You will also learn some of the vocabulary in the passage.

You need to frequently use new vocabulary in order to fully learn it so make sure that you make vocabulary cards or enter it in your vocabulary note book.


First let's find out what a 'superfood' is.
SUPERFOOD - a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being
Sounds good right? But many people are unhappy with this idea. Let's take a look.

Criticism of the term “superfood”

Many dietitians say the word "superfood" is just a marketing device. According to Catherine Collins, chief dietitian at St George's Hospital in London, usage of the term can actually be harmful when applied to foods which have drawbacks. The Dutch food safety organization Voedingscentrum, presented some health claims that marketers use in selling many so-called superfoods such as goji berry, hempseed, chia seeds, and wheatgrass and notes that such claims are not scientifically proven. The organisation warns that people who go to extremes in their conviction and consume large quantities of specific superfoods end up with an "impaired, one-sided diet". Historically, food fads come and go; for example, in the early 1900s, bananas may have been named the first superfood, as they were praised to be "sealed by nature in practically germ-proof packages" by the Journal of the American Medical Association and touted as a treatment for celiac disease. Also, concerning possible anti-cancer effects of green tea, a review of research and promotion resulted in a 2013 warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration about false advertising and health claims.

​Now it's time to analyse the text. Choose the correct option below.

Exercise 1

1. The main focus of the article is..
the anti-cancer effects of superfoods.
the history of the term “superfood”.
how superfoods are documented and researched.
how the term “superfood” is used to sell food products.
2. Dieticians..
all agree that the term superfood is used to sell food products.
don’t all agree that the term superfood is used to sell food products.
use the term superfood to market food products.
use devices to help them market superfoods.
3. Fashions in health foods...
are constantly changing.
are stable.
haven’t changed much since the 1900’s.
are most popular in America.

Exercise 2

Here is the text again. Match the words in the text to their definitions by clicking/touching a word in the text and then clicking/touching on the gap next to its definition.
Click or touch a word above
1. A strategy (noun)
2. The action of using something (noun)
3. Something which could potentially hurt people (adjective)
4. A disadvantage (noun)
5. A statement that something is true or a fact (noun)
6. A strong belief (noun)
7. A fashion that doesn’t last for long (noun)
8. Bacteria cannot enter (adjective)

​Remember to write any new words down and practice them often. One good idea is to record yourself using them. Record yourself answering the questions below (you can use a phone recorder to do this. Listen to the recordings for errors and hesitations and then re-record yourself answering the questions in order to improve your accuracy.
  1. What devices do you use to help you memorise new words?
  2. Are there any harmful animals which can be found in your local area?
  3. What are the drawbacks of public transport in your hometown?
  4. Do you know of any recent health fads?
Also check out our first Vocabulary in Context lesson.

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