A critical review of superfoods from a holistic nutritional and environmental approach

Ana Fernández-Ríos, Jara Laso, Daniel Hoehn, Francisco José Amo-Setién, Rebeca Abajas-Bustillo, Carmen Ortego, Pere Fullana-i-Palmer, Alba Bala, Laura Batlle-Bayer, Merce Balcells, Rita Puig, Rubén Aldaco, María Margallo

Producció científica: Article en revista indexadaArticle de revisió (sistemàtica)Avaluat per experts

14 Cites (Scopus)


In a global arena in which the identification of healthier and cleaner nutrient sources is practically mandatory, superfoods, known as foods of high nutritional and biological value with satisfactory bioavailability and bioactivity within the body due to extraordinary concentrations of nutrients and bioactive ingredients, can play a key role. These products are highly connected with sustainability, which is composed of an economic, environmental, and social balance, mainly translated in meeting nutritional needs. Focusing on the two latter aspects, this article is intended to provide a breakthrough in the knowledge by assessing the nutritional characteristics and environmental performance of superfoods. Firstly, a selection is made by revising the nutritional profile of different products. Secondly, a review of life cycle assessment (LCA) studies aims to establish guidelines for future analyses, based on the current state-of-art and possible recommendations, as well as to provide information on the impacts of these novel products. 40 superfoods are identified, of which only 15 have environmental analysis. The LCA revision enable to recognize methodological vulnerabilities based on the lack of definition of the function, allocations, uncertainty and quality assessments, as well as a weak justification on the selection of data sources and impact categories. Other recommendations include the possibility of using nutrient-based functional unit, extending system boundaries up to retailer, applying high quality primary data and standardized databases, and analyzing a wider range of indicators. Finally, this scientific field is still little explored, so the suitability of superfoods from an environmental perspective cannot be concluded, thus encouraging the use of LCA to fill this scientific gap.

Idioma originalAnglès
Número d’article134491
RevistaJournal of Cleaner Production
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 15 de des. 2022
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