They have long since made the leap from the plates of Berlin’s trendy restaurants to the supermarket around the corner and are now luring you again as a sample at the stands of the International Green Week: Exotic foods such as chia seeds, quinoa and goji berries make a career as a so-called superfood and promise in smoothies, teas, but also as an ingredient in simple Sunday rolls. Beauty and health through a particularly large number of minerals and vitamins.
But the supposed stars in the spotlight of the food industry have their downsides. Food surveillance surveys regularly reveal pesticides that cause illness, heavy metals such as arsenic, mineral oil and harmful bacteria in the foods praised for their health. In addition, long transport routes that consume a lot of energy and cause gases that are harmful to the climate reduce the good feeling when consumed.
You don’t have to reach for food from afar
You don’t even have to take food from afar – because the healthy is so close. Goji berries are usually available in dried form. But they are often contaminated with pesticides and have had a very long journey from China. Local black currants or the fruits of the sea buckthorn bush are not only cheaper, they also contain more vitamin C. Quinoa and chia seeds are often praised as exotic protein suppliers. Millet, oats and linseed are inexpensive domestic alternatives, with flax seeds even containing more protein than chia seeds.
The cultivation of avocados in Central and South America leads to the clearing of ever larger forest areas. Walnuts not only grow in Germany and can be stored for a long time, but have a higher content of polyunsaturated fatty acids than avocados. These have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, for example. You can even prepare and enjoy the coconut chia pudding, which I recently discovered on a menu in a restaurant in Schöneberg, with ground flaxseed.
Just as the term superfood does not correspond to clear legal requirements, the health-promoting effect is not scientifically proven at all. If you want to try superfood, I highly recommend that you consume as unprocessed products as possible. Local fruits and seeds have the advantage that they are cheaper and also protect the environment due to the shorter transport routes.
So don’t let colorful advertising images from southern regions and exotic names cloud your sense of taste, but prefer regional superfood like beetroot. It may not sound so exciting: the eye eats with it, but the name doesn’t.