– Chia seeds, avocados and goji berries are considered healthy superfoods. But: they’ve come a long way when they land on our plates. It’s a good thing there are more climate-friendly alternatives.
The term “superfoods” refers to foods that contain a large number of valuable ingredients, such as vitamins or minerals. Yes, many of these superfoods are exotic and must first be shipped or flown to Germany or Europe. This applies, for example, to chia seeds, avocados or goji berries. Your carbon footprint is everything else “super”.
But there are regional alternatives among superfoods, and not just for sustainability reasons. “By exporting these exotic superfoods, they often become more expensive locally and are not available to the population,” says Sonja Pannenbecker, Food and Nutrition Advisor at the Bremen Consumer Center.
Flax seeds in breakfast pudding
“The classic thing is to replace chia seeds with flax seeds,” says Pannenbecker. According to the nutrition expert, they even contain slightly more omega-3 fatty acids than chia seeds. Protein content is also higher in flaxseed at 29 grams per 100 grams. Chia seeds contain 22 grams of protein.
Both seeds can be used in a similar way in cooking, for example as an ingredient for bread or crushed into muesli or yoghurt. A healthy breakfast pudding can be made not only from chia seeds, but also from flax seeds: grind the seeds, mix them with milk and soak them in the fridge overnight, done.
However, by no means all flaxseeds on the market come from German or at least European cultivation. According to Pannenbecker, determining the origin is not that easy. Because it does not have to be indicated on the flaxseed packaging. After all: If you buy an organic product, you can find out on the packaging whether the flaxseed comes from the EU or not.
Better fresh than dried berries
Another popular superfood is goji berries. “Meanwhile, there are even smaller cultivation areas in Europe and also in Germany,” says Sonja Pannenbecker. And you can also grow the red berries in your own garden. However, the goji berries that you can buy dried in stores are usually imported products.
Regional berries like blackcurrants or sea buckthorn are better for the environment. For the sake of health, it is better to eat them fresh than dried or processed. So the content of vitamin C is also significantly higher.
It should also be noted that dried fruits contain a comparatively large amount of sugar. While there are 22 grams of sugar in 100 grams of dried goji berries, the same amount of fresh black currants only has 6 grams.
Appreciate exotic superfoods
But not all superfoods can be replaced so easily. An example of this is avocado, which many like to mash into their bread. The walnut, which is also grown in Germany, offers valuable polyunsaturated fatty acids like avocado, but should not be spread on the sandwich.
So here’s the solution: shop sparingly. If you don’t put the avocado in the basket every week you go shopping, you may appreciate and enjoy it more.