Superfoods. What are they?

The growing demand for superfoods is opening the way for exciting new products.

Superfoods are becoming increasingly important in our diet, thanks to the multiple health benefits they offer.

In this article we tell you what superfoods are, what they are and the importance of their incorporation into the food industry’s commercial strategy.

What are superfoods?

Superfoods are very complete foods, rich in nutrients, bioactive compounds and beneficial to health. In other words, they are foods with high nutritional value. Blueberries, salmon, cabbage and acai are some of them.

Foods with a large number of health benefits are called superfoods.

In other words, a superfood is defined as a food rich in compounds, such as antioxidants, fibre, fatty acids and phytochemicals, that are beneficial to human health.

Properties of superfoods

Superfoods contain a range of nutrients, including antioxidants, which prevent ageing and cell damage caused by free radicals; healthy fats, which can prevent heart disease; fibre, which prevents digestive problems or diabetes; and phytochemicals – the plant chemicals responsible for colours – which have numerous health benefits.

Each plant food has different phytochemicals, the most important are:

  • Carotenoids: these are orange-coloured phytochemicals found in carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, among others. They are powerful antioxidants that also help eyesight and promote healthy skin.
  • Flavonoids: found in products such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, chickpeas, soya beans, seeds, green and black tea and Ginkgo Biloba berries. Flavonoids protect the body against oxidants and pollution. They are also a powerful antifungal and bactericide.

Leverage superfoods to promote your brand

Superfoods are set to become the foods of the future, as consumers increasingly look for foods with health benefits and the ability to reduce the occurrence of disease.

More and more, health attributes are strongly influencing consumers’ food choices, with consumers even willing to pay a higher price for foods that can prevent health problems and medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, cholesterol or hypertension. This seems to coincide with the popularity of higher-performing superfoods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Brands that focus on superfoods are set to increase their demand.

For this reason, the last decade has seen a steady increase in the supply of superfoods on the market. In this sense, the search for new foods, products and brands that offer such innovative solutions will continue to gain popularity among consumers.

For example, one of the trends in the food industry is the diversification of alternative proteins, such as pea protein, algae and chickpeas, which are experiencing a strong momentum as consumers demand plant-based proteins from superfoods, while retaining a pleasant taste and texture.

List of superfoods: which are the most common?

1. Fermented foods

Fermented foods, such as yoghurt and kimchi, are at the top of the superfoods list because of their benefits to both the immune and digestive systems. Researchers at Stanford Medical School have found that a diet rich in fermented foods increases the diversity of the microbiome and improves immune responses.

2. Red berries

Red berries, such as blueberries and currants, are an excellent source of antioxidants that help protect cells against free radical damage. In addition, antioxidants are important for hair growth, as well as for maintaining strong nails and healthy skin.

3. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are full of antioxidants, minerals, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. These seeds are also a great source of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, which are essential for bone health.

4. Acai

This year has seen the emergence of a new superfood, acai. An ingredient that has become very popular in bowls and healthy smoothies, as it not only prevents brain ageing, but also cholesterol.

5. Avocado

This is one of the most valued superfoods. In addition to its adored taste and being an excellent source of healthy fats, avocados are loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that improve cholesterol, bone density, skin care and eye health.

6. Nuts

Nuts are a great way to add protein, fibre and other key nutrients to the diet, which is why they are considered such great superfoods.

7. Oily fish

Oily fish, such as anchovies, sardines, herring and salmon, are an excellent source of fatty acids and omega-3s, an essential anti-inflammatory, and a rich source of proteins, vitamins and minerals.

8. Ancient grains

This term includes several types of grains that have remained unchanged for thousands of years, considered to be a great source of vitamins and essential amino acids. Examples include quinoa, spelt, bulgur, rye and buckwheat.

9. Seaweed

Seaweed, such as spirulina or kelp, is full of minerals and is one of the best natural sources of iodine, necessary to produce thyroid hormone, magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamin C and potassium.


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