Exotic and trendy
Superfoods get a lot of hype, but do they fulfil their promises?
THEY promise to help you become a skinnier, fitter and healthier version of yourself – if only you would consume more of this kind of food every day.
Superfoods are certainly a sexy topic, growing in popularity in recent years, with trendy exotic foods like goji berries and pomegranates becoming easier to find on supermarket shelves far from where they’re originally grown.
“They can heal you, prevent diseases and significantly improve our well-being,” promises one book about the 50 best superfoods.
But an exact definition of what qualifies as a superfood doesn’t really exist, says German nutritionist Antje Gahl.
“Generally, superfoods are those that are highly nutritious, especially from the fruits and vegetables category.”
Superfoods are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which could have healthpromoting effects. Gahl lists chia seeds, acai berries and pomegranates as classic superfood examples.
The fact that superfoods often come from far-away countries is no coincidence, according to a consumer centre in the German city of Bremen. The combination of exotic and healthy appeals to many people, says nutritionist Regina Aschmann.
She stresses that you don’t need to eat superfoods to be healthy. “As long as you eat a balanced diet of healthy, locally-grown foods, you don’t need exotic superfoods.”
Promotional ads promising health benefits – for example, that pomegranates help against the symptoms of the menopause and prostate cancer – should be viewed with scepticism. “Such ads promise everything under the sun, but not much of it is proven,” she says.
And while superfoods grown abroad can add variety to your diet, they aren’t any more nutritious than home-grown fruits and vegetables.
As Aschmann points out, superfoods lose some nutritional value during long shipping journeys, which also harm the environment. –dpa
Clockwise (from left): Pomegranate seeds, goji berries and chia seeds.