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Do superfoods really exist?

Richard Staudner
Richard Staudner

The Optimizer

The promises are big! Performance enhancement, cancer protection and, of course, a long life. This and much more is promised to us by goji berries, chia seeds and various roots from faraway countries. Do we really need that?

The in the USA The buzzword "superfoods" was created to describe foods that have a special effect. Almost superpowers.

But what are superpowers in nutrition? Even if it is disappointing, but goji berries, chia seeds and Co. have no "superpowers", otherwise they would not be food, but medicines or drugs. There would then also be the danger of side effects and one would have to regulate them accordingly more strictly. So the theory that we only need to add a few superfoods to our diet and everything is fine is unfortunately not true.

But before you are disappointed, there are actually many foods that have great advantages over others due to their nutrients. And that can support us in a healthy diet. The berries goji or acai, which come from China resp. Brazil have a particularly high vitamin content, for example, and can pimp the taste of your warm porridge in winter.

Another special group of ingredients in these berries are polyphenols, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants are supposed to protect our body from free radicals. Because these can attack our genetic material or possibly cause cancer.

Increased production of free radicals is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle with a lot of stress or smoking. But the absolute king of antioxidants is the Chaga mushroom from Siberia. Just last year it was confirmed that Chaga provides more antioxidants than green tea and goji berries combined. Chaga is drunk as tea or added to food and is currently conquering the health scene in Austria.

Chia seeds have also become very popular in recent years. Already the Aztecs and Maya swore by their superpowers. Today, they are said to have a high content of fiber and omega 3. Dietary fiber fills you up and helps the intestines do their job. You'll notice this immediately when you bring chia into your everyday life, for example as a homemade pudding. There are countless recipes for this online.

Unfortunately, however, chia as a plant-based source of omega-3 could not fulfill the hoped-for expectations. Chia contain increased alpha-linolenic acid, which must first be converted by enzymes in your body into the important form EPA and DHA. This Process proceeds very inefficiently. In comparison, the form that can be fully utilized by us is already present in fish. Chia seeds can only supplement our high demand for omega 3, but not cover it. However, if you want to eat a vegan diet, algae oil can be a valuable alternative. But as an upgrade of your breakfast, with a great and pleasant consistency, chia seeds are really top! And your intestines will thank you in any case!

But before you incorporate these very old and, to us, new foods into your diet, you should always ask yourself this question: "Can I meet my needs in a less exotic way?"

Local blueberries, for example, which I would also call a superfood, also contain many vitamins and antioxidants. And when you reach for this regional version, your product has not already been transported thousands of kilometers.

You do not like blueberries? There are alternatives!

In a large-scale study, the antioxidant content of various foods was measured. In addition to blueberries and currants, other dark-colored fruits such as plums also contain a lot of these healthy ingredients. But red cabbage and especially spices such as rosemary, sage, marjoram, thyme and cloves are also bursting with antioxidants.

At least in terms of ingredients, flaxseed can suffice instead of chia. Admittedly, this interesting consistency of a chia pudding you get unfortunately not.

There are many other local foods which have wonderful and healthy nutrient compositions. Since they are made from Austria they are more sustainable in terms of cultivation and transport. This protects the environment and also usually affects the quality of the food.

For example, kale, broccoli and cabbage sprouts contain a lot of potassium, calcium and folic acid and a broad spectrum of vitamins. Or sauerkraut, a real local superfood. With large amounts of vitamin C and valuable bacteria that spice up our intestinal environment. In this way you support your digestion and your immune system, both have the same address in your body.

Now it becomes even more special! Nettle has especially many antioxidants and even a notable amount of protein and essential amino acids. In addition, this herb contains a lot of iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

What about nuts? Do they have to come from South and North America?

Walnuts are especially high in phenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and copper and manganese. They not only look like little brains, they are also a great snack for your brain.

The list could go on forever, because our local food ran us decidedly many nutrients. Furthermore, it is also important to pay attention to quality. A local, seasonal and organic food cannot be beaten in its overall profile by any superfood. In the end, one thing is especially important: diversity! Try to eat as many different foods as possible, so you offer your body a wide range of nutrients.

To answer the question: Yes, there are superfoods. And there are many of them! Superfoods are actually all domestic fruits and vegetables (especially the dark red or blue colored), seeds, nuts and spices.

And even if it is often assumed that Austrian products are more expensive, domestic, organic products are not more expensive, certainly not when their benefits are taken into account.

You just have to look around a bit, there are often farm stores and farmers markets in your own neighborhood. If not, you can also have so-called vegetable or organic cisterns delivered directly to your home throughout Austria. Direct from the farmer! It doesn't get any fresher than that.

I wish you a lot of fun with the superfood experiments and we'll read you here again soon!

Your Performance Coach

Richard Staudner

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