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This content is taken from the EIT Food, University of Turin & European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)'s online course, Superfoods: Myths and Truths. Join the course to learn more.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsHello, everybody, and welcome back to our course. Marketing often focuses on a few selected good nutrients, especially when superfoods are very rich in them. Choosing a superfood because of their content in zinc or selenium runs the risk of missing the broader picture of nutrition elements such as personal taste ease and the complete nutrient content of the food itself. To show us some examples in this lesson, we will mention superfoods and cheaper alternatives. In the next steps of this week, we will show how you can find trusted sources for the nutritional compositions of foods. and t herefore, make your own substitutions. Let's begin from chia seeds. They contain a good amount of vitamin B1, B3, and phosphorus.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsHowever, they are also usually expensive and can be easily replaced by other seeds. For instance, flax seeds contain high levels of protein and of omega-3 fats just as chia does. Even the more common poppy seed can be richer in micronutrients than chia. For instance, when considering vitamin B1 or potassium. In any case, seeds are usually used as an addition to salads, bread, and other dishes. The differences in nutrients of a typical serving are not large enough to have a significant impact on a diet. Let's move on to one of the brightest stars of the superfood firmament, kale. Kale is one of the varieties of cabbages belonging to the acephala or headless group. It shares its nutritional properties with their relatives.

Skip to 2 minutes and 3 secondsFor instance, collard greens or broccoli. More in general, green leaf vegetables such as spinach contain large amounts of vitamin K and spinaches also contain more potassium and folate than kale. Another very famous superfood are goji berries. They are marketed for their ability to fight cancer and inflammation, but the evidence supporting their cancer-fighting or brain-boosting abilities is very weak. It would be easy to substitute goji berries with other foods if we want something that matches their micro and macronutrients. Goji berries, however, are quite versatile and substituting them depends on the recipe they are used in. Giving only one or two alternatives might not be enough.

Skip to 3 minutes and 0 secondsAs we said before, in the next activities of the week, we will discuss how to substitute a superfood with a food with similar nutrient content if we wish to do so. The role of culinary traditions and personal tastes is even more evident in the case of cocoa. Both raw cocoa and chocolate have been called superfoods. The beneficial effects of their flavonoids are discussed in detail in other lectures of this course. However, it is hard to find a substitute for them not because of chocolate beneficial effects on health but because of its taste and of its unique role. In this lesson, we showed you worthy alternatives to some very common superfoods. This doesn't mean that superfoods should be avoided.

Skip to 3 minutes and 56 secondsAs I said at the beginning, there is more to food and to superfoods than a list of nutrients.

Superfood alternatives

What are some alternatives to common superfoods?

The first activity of this week is focused on finding foods that are similar to superfoods and can easily substitute them - for instance - in recipes but are more available, cheaper or more familiar to us. Superfoods sometimes share their characteristics with other, similar foods, especially when they belong to the same botanical family. In many cases it is therefore possible to substitute a superfood with another one of similar nutritional content.

In this video we suggest some very easy substitutions, as well as pointing out some cases in which it might be harder to do so.

We are, however, only giving some examples, and in the next steps of this activity we will see how we could discover new superfood alternatives, taking inspiration from recipes we like or from the traditions of our countries.

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This video is from the free online course:

Superfoods: Myths and Truths

EIT Food