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Introduction to Week 2

In this article we introduce the topics of week 2 and its role in the structure of the course
What is the nutrient content of superfoods? What are their alternatives?

As we anticipated in the first week, despite the lack of an official definition, one of the characteristics of superfoods is to be nutrient dense – that is, rich in essential nutrients and fibre, while relatively low in sugar and saturated fats.

However, they are not the only foods with those characteristics: many foods that are part of traditional cuisines, and that can be easily found in farmer’s markets and supermarkets, share the very same characteristics that make some foods “super”.

In some cases, discovering these characteristics is as easy as reading the nutritional label printed on the package, but that data might not be available when buying fresh produce or when planning the shopping list.

The nutritional data of most food is, however, easily found in databases curated by national agencies, such as the United States Department of Agriculture. We can use this data to discover food that can be just as nutrient dense as more expensive superfoods, and re-discover traditional ingredients grown and used locally.

A very special case of superfoods and superfoods alternatives are gluten-free products. Gluten-free products make up a large market sector and it is growing year by year, but the need to follow such a diet is not always obvious. In the second activity of this week we will discuss some aspects of gluten free grains and gluten free diets, including both positive and negative aspects of them.

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Superfoods: Myths and Truths

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