What does a green kale and Greek yogurt smoothie loaded with chia and flax seeds with just a dash of bee pollen powder sound like to you? Before the 1990s, you’d have turned up your nose and said this was probably part of some weird food trend. But now in 2017, this would be up for grabs at some of the city’s most elite restaurants and cafes.
Why? Because superfoods.
There has been a drastic shift in the food habits of people around the world, with a majority of us millennials becoming more conscious of what we put on our plates. And as we hustle to get our daily dose of nutrition-rich fodder, an increasing number of healthful food trends continues to take the center stage. With so many options to choose from, it can get pretty confusing to decide which trends to try this year, especially for superfood newbies. So here’s a list to start you off.
5 Superfoods To Include In Your Diet
1. Ancient Grains
It is most ironic how with every passing year, we tend to turn to ancient wisdom for advice – be it beauty tips, or fitness (think yoga!). It’s the same with food. With the amount of attention ancient grains are getting, it looks like it’s going to be a big year ahead for amaranth, buckwheat, barley, bulgur, kamut, teff, spelt, millet, and quinoa.
Modern farming focuses on the substantive hybridization of grains with the good intentions of boosting production and profitability and the final aim of making things cheaper for the consumer. Over time, however, this has led to a change in the protein structures and a buildup of toxins in conventional grains that repel even pests.
This is why the world is now stocking up on ancient grains that continue to be planted and harvested as they used to be thousands of years ago. These grains are sold intact as opposed to being extensively modified, crossbred, and processed. As a result, you get more wholesome meals with a higher dose of the naturally existing fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals that modern refined grains would’ve otherwise denied you. They’re also far more pleasing to the palate and can be used to bake bread, add volume to salads or as a healthy substitute for your regular box of breakfast cereal.
If your seaweed consumption is limited to sushi nights, allow us to introduce you to dulse. It’s basically red algae made available to you from the northern seas in the form of ribbons or dried flakes. There are a number of reasons why we love this ocean vegetable. One, it’s low-calorie, loaded with iron, potassium, vitamin B6, and iodine. Two, you won’t have any reservations eating it because it literally tastes just like bacon. Ribbons of this salty, chewy superfood can be tossed into salads and pastas. If you feel like a snack, just sprinkle some dried dulse flakes over your popcorn or toast and you’re good to go!
3. Inca Berries
After all those years of hype for gojis, cranberries, acai, noni, and mangosteen, you’d think we’re done discovering berries. Wrong.
Meet inca berries, aka golden berries. Sweet and sticky, and incredibly exotic, this superfood trend from South America is quickly making its way to your supermarket aisle. An excellent source of vitamin A, B (B1, B2, B6, and B12), and C – this fruit also comes with fairly high levels of melatonin, bioflavonoids, and pectin. It is naturally low in sodium, but high in potassium. Therefore, this fruit is very helpful in maintaining the sodium-potassium balance in our body. Additionally, it offers a good combination of healthy fats (from the seeds) and carbohydrates (from the fruit).
This fruit is also ideal for weight-watchers because it provides the body with an impressive dose of fiber. This will keep your tummy busy and prevent it from tormenting you with the need to eat empty calorie snacks. Also, by giving you approximately 1220 kilojoules of energy, a handful of these will work wonders to bust that mid-afternoon slump and see you through the rest of your day.
4. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are highly touted for being packed with disease-fighting nutrition while being a treat to the taste buds. These light peppery flavored leaf tops gathered from the mustard plant give you more antioxidants, carotenes, and plant-based compounds that most of the fruits and vegetables you’d normally eat. Eating these leafy greens will, therefore, safeguard your body from free radicals, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
Additionally, mustard greens are also rich in minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus and serve a generous helping of vitamins like A, C, E, and K. Cooking may destroy most of these nutrients, so it’s best to eat this superfood raw.
5. Dragon Fruit Powder
Last year, it was all about matcha. But like all other trends whether they’re related to food, fashion or beauty — there’s always new competition lurking directly behind waiting to take their place. This is where dragon fruit comes in.
While this fuchsia-colored fruit is not a stranger to superfood lovers, scooping the pulp out and eating it doesn’t seem to be enough. So there is now a brand new, exotic way to eat it – which is in freeze-dried powder form. This makes it easier to get the best out of dragon fruit.
The fruit itself is loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients, vitamins B and C, carotene, protein, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This means finding various ways to incorporate dragon fruit powder into your diet will protect you from cancer, boost your metabolism, keep your heart healthy, and your immunity strong. Whether you use it to make raw desserts, pre-workout smoothies, or simply as a substitute for an espresso in your lattes, the possibilities with this versatile pink powder are pretty much endless!