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Superfoods: Myths and Truths

What is a 'superfood'? What foods are 'superfoods'? What effect do they have on the body and society? Find out with this course.

Superfoods: Myths and Truths
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $59Find out more

Explore the definition and impact of superfoods

Please note this course runs without facilitation

Goji berries, quinoa, amaranth and green tea are all foods that have been labelled ‘superfoods’. But what does this superfood label actually mean?

On this course you will learn about the definition of a ‘superfood’. You will consider the biological, neuroscientific and social aspects of superfoods. Developing your critical abilities, you will also evaluate the impact of the superfood phenomenon on society and the economy.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second [musica] Goji berries, quinoa, green tea Superfoods are everywhere! But what are they? Can they improve our health or is superfood just a marketing term, with little meaning behind it? During the course we will talk about a few selected superfoods And discuss the many myths surrounding them Are they always safe? Do their antioxidant properties matter? Are gluten free superfoods a valid alternative to grains? Discussions and polls Will allow you to share your thoughts and your ideas about superfoods with your fellow students and instructors. So, if you want to learn more about superfoods and their characteristics, join us!


  • Week 1

    From 20 Apr 2020

    Introduction to superfoods

    • Welcome to the course

      In this activity you will get to know the team that created the course, as well as understanding the outlook of the course and our goals.

    • Introduction to superfoods

      In this activity we will describe both what superfoods are and what superfoods are not. In doing so, we will discuss similar terms (such as nutraceuticals) as well as some characteristics associated with superfoods.

    • Characteristics of (super) foods

      Superfoods are characterized by their nutritional content, or by their purposed health benefits. As introduction to the next week, in this activity we will introduce the nutritional properties of foods.

  • Week 2

    From 27 Apr 2020

    Nutrient content of superfoods and their alternatives

    • Superfoods and their alternatives

      In this activity, we will discuss how to determine both our dietary needs and the nutrient content of foods and of superfoods and the weekly discussion will be centered on finding - and sharing - super characteristics of new foods

    • Gluten free diets and alternative grains

      In this activity we will discuss one specific group of superfoods: gluten-free grains. They are often consumed without medical indications - while this has some drawbacks, some alternative grains have excellent properties

  • Week 3

    From 4 May 2020

    A "super" class of molecules: flavonoids

    • Introduction to flavonoids

      In this activity we will describe what flavonoids are, where they can be found and describe some mechanisms through which they might improve our health

    • Flavonoid effects on brain and cognition

      Can our mental abilities be improved through dietary modifications? Flavonoids have been investigated as possible interventions, and in this activity we will discuss the main findings.

  • Week 4

    From 11 May 2020

    Are superfoods always safe?

    • Other kinds of superfoods

      In this activity we will briefly discuss other forms of superfoods, such as herbs and spices or dry fruit powders.

    • Are superfoods always safe?

      In the last activity of this course we will discuss if superfoods are always safe to enjoy for everybody, or if they could also be linked to specific health risks

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain what the "superfood" label means
  • Describe the role of superfoods and their alternatives in a healthy diet
  • Compare nutritional values of “superfoods” and some of their alternatives
  • Reflect on the social aspects of superfoods production
  • Describe some mechanisms through which superfoods can be beneficial for our health

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in diet, psychology, health and ‘superfoods’. You don’t need any previous experience.

The Educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focused around debate and discussion – supporting other learners, sharing your own experience and knowledge, and listening to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way. Don’t forget to comment, reply to other learners and ‘like’ comments.

Who will you learn with?

I'm an Associate Professor at University of Reading, UK. I'm an expert in brain imaging, as well as visual perception, and the effects of diet on the brain and mental function.

I am a food chemist, specialized in antioxidants from plant based foods. I work in Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences.

I am a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Torino, Italy. My research activities include neuroimaging of eating disorders and neurostimulation with therapeutic and rehabilitative goals.

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, with the aim to create a sustainable and future-proof food sector.

University of Turin

The University of Turin is one of the largest and most prestigious Italian universities, with about 70,000 students, 4,000 employees, and 1,800 research fellows, encompassing all academic sectors.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

This activity has received funding from EIT Food, the innovation community on Food of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the EU, under the Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.


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