Superfoods plentiful in Finnish nature

In the wake of current nutritional trends, the popular notion of superfoods has arrived in Finland. While exotic goji berries and raw cocoa are newcomers from abroad, experts say that Finnish forests can also tempt the health-conscious with many a super-product.

Suomalaista super-ruokaa. Image: Yle

Superfoods are so named for the great number of beneficial nutrients they contain. Nutrition expert Marja Ruuti has noticed that the interest in such products has clearly risen in recent years.

“You spot it particularly among the young. Interest in ecology and nature-related issues has awakened in them. I think that through this also interest in superfoods has increased,” she says.

Ruuti acknowledges the beneficial aspects of superfoods imported from abroad, but points out that Finnish nature offers wild vegetables and berries that are no less valuable.

“Our own superfood is still locally produced and clean. We’ve got excellent natural produce in its own right. There have been problems with products imported from abroad, for example as concerns pesticides and heavy metals,” she says.

Blueberry, the local superhero

One of the most renowned domestic superfoods is blueberry, which is now entering its season. It has been extensively studied in recent years and the results have only been positive.

“Blueberries are very rich in beneficial nutrients. Research has linked blueberries particularly with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. There’ve also been claims that the berry could prevent age-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s,” says berry researcher Laura Jaakkola.

The blueberry is not the only beneficial berry to be found in Finnish forests—many others have positive health effects. Jaakkola recommends eating berries daily as part of a regular diet.

“It would be best to consume a variety of different berries, because they are all good and clean. The general recommendation goes that a person should eat two decilitres of berries per day,” she says.

Finnish superfoods are not limited to berries, according to experts: various wild vegetables, herbs and mushrooms also boast very high nutritional value.