Superfoods: myth or magic?

A morning bowl of muesli or midday smoothie without chia seeds? For some of us, this would be a thoroughly alien concept! These Aztec healing seeds are rich in protein, minerals and roughage; not to mention the fact that they also aid digestion, stabilise blood pressure, ease joint pain, and prevent heartburn… according to advertising! But is this fact or fiction?

There is plenty of research to support these claims, so it is understandable that we will happily pay extra for them at wholefood stores. However, there are cheaper alternatives. ‘Our locally grown flaxseeds are in no way inferior… they cost a fraction of the price of chia seeds, and haven’t travelled half way around the world before landing on our plate’, explains Markus Sorg, Head Chef at the Parkhotel Igls.


Angela Clausen from the North Rhine-Westphalian Consumer Advice Centre in Germany believes superfoods are part of a marketing ploy used in the food industry: ‘In the storyline, there is always a primitive tribe in some far-distant land that thanks to superfoods is breast cancer free, has no incidences of obesity, and only the rare occurrence of a heart attack.’ If you think the answer can’t be that simple, you may be surprised to learn that 61% of shoppers questioned by the British Diabetic Association have bought foods just because the term ‘superfood’ was on the packaging!

Markus Sorg believes locally grown superfoods can be just as effective. ‘As far as I’m concerned, exotic superfoods are first and foremost a short-term fad. If grown in controlled conditions, they can definitely make a healthy and welcome addition to our diet. We shouldn’t however forget that there are some equally powerful and versatile alternatives growing in our own gardens, meadows and forests.’

Read our latest issue of ParkZeit for Head Chef Markus Sorg’s top locally grown superfoods plus his favourite superfood recipes.