Healthy, good and local: this is the ultimate challenge on our shopping list. Quinoa, avocado, chia seeds, goji berries, etc – the new trends in health enhancing foods often come from faraway countries, but what about the superfoods that can be found right here in our region?
A healthy lifestyle nowadays implies consuming a certain amount of foods that are meant to improve our vitality, our performance, our beauty, and our health in general.
This theory is the result of research based on the alimentation of populations around the world that count the highest percentage of centenarians. The studies brought to evidence the benefits derived from an alimentation that is strictly local, mostly poor in calories and often based on herbs, seeds and roots.
These foods have been studied and listed; they are widely renowned as superfoods and have become part of our daily diet. Unfortunately, some of them come from faraway countries and, as a consequence of the sudden raise in demand, they are often being cultivated with unethical methods and the transportation can affect their nutritional qualities before they reach our tables. Local food is far fresher and with more nutrients than the imported one, and the good news is that the Saanenland offers an amazing variety of superfoods that should be part of your daily diet. Some of this food grows spontaneously, some is cultivated or produced locally, and all of it has significant features and qualities that boost your health.
At the top of the list is the most outstanding local element: the pure, fresh, clean water of the Alps. Even though it is free, we should not take it for granted. It keeps us hydrated and in good health. Plain water can be infused with alpine herbs for extremely healthy, detox herbal teas. Leaves and flowers from cultivated and wild plants, bring all the benefits of nature when tossed in hot water. Local herbs include mint, savory, lemon thyme, sunflower, wild thyme, calendula birch, rosemary, angelica, chamomile, etc, an endless list of scents and benefits.
Alpine herbs infusions can be sweetened with local honey, which is a very powerful food with antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties. Our bees collect the precious nectar in unspoiled surroundings, far away from pesticides, antibiotics, traffic or other sources of pollution. The woods hold more treasures such as mushrooms and berries, which are acknowledged superfoods. Berries deserve a special place on our tables. In particular blueberries, elderberry, and blackcurrant are among the richest in antioxidants.
For those who are not vegan, Saanenland products such as milk, yogurt, butter and cheese from local cows, goats and sheep are a great source of calcium, B vitamin, proteins and lipids. Eggs are not to be missed either. For those who are not vegetarian, grass fed beef, naturally raised turkey, chicken, pork, and lamb from local farmers, and freshwater trout are also part of the local offer. For a final touch, alpine herbs are the perfect complement to spice up any dish.
There is a bittersweet end to our healthy list. Dark chocolate may not be considered strictly local, since cocoa comes from abroad, but the Swiss chocolatiers are renowned all over the world: enjoying a mug of hot chocolate in front of a fireplace, after a day of breathing fresh mountain air, is something not to be missed when in Gstaad. It is not only a matter of antioxidants.
Arianna Proto di Santa Dorotea
is a blogger at www.plusdesign.ch