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Superfoods you need to know in 2018
Tried chia pudding, tested turmeric and added goji, acai and cacao powder to your daily smoothie? Now that these health-boosting superfoods have - for many of us - become mere pantry staples, what are the next nutrient-dense ingredients you should be experimenting with?
We prepared a round-up of 10 of the hottest superfoods for 2018.
Never heard of them? You're not alone. A bulb of an African grass-like plant, tigernuts are actually a root vegetable, not a nut and are one of the world's oldest sources of nutrition. They're gluten and dairy-free and are full of fibre, resistant starch and digestive enzymes to aid digestive health and stabilize blood sugar levels. Also fueled with vitamin C and E, prebiotics, protein, potassium, zinc and magnesium, they can be eaten as is or as tigernut flour or tigernut milk.
Time to step aside goji and acai berries! Native to Chile and pronounced 'mah-KEY', maqui berries are milder in flavour than goji or acai and low in sugar. They’re a great source of fibre and contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals which can help improve digestion and boost metabolism. To get the benefit, add maqui berry powder to smoothies, porridge, yoghurt or water.
A variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, hemp seeds were finally approved for sale in AUS and NZ in November 2017 as a low-THC food source (NB: THC is the hallucinogenic component of marijuana). Rather expensive but for good reason, raw hypoallergenic hemp seeds are high in bioavailable protein, are a great source of fibre and have a 1:3 balance of omega 3 and 6. Their complete amino acid profile helps to improve energy, boost metabolism and heal and repair body tissue. With a rich, nutty flavour, add them as is to smoothies or yoghurt or use hemp protein meal in baking or as a substitute for whey protein powder.
A little uglier than your standard superfood, mushrooms (particularly the chaga, reishi and shiitake varieties) contain powerful antioxidants and many micro-nutrients. 90 percent water, they’re low in carbohydrates, high in fibre and can help boost the immune system due to their high vitamin B and copper content. Expect to see more of them appearing in coffee, tea and other health drinks.
A natural leaf powder, moringa has been elevated to "superfood" status of late for many reasons. The green powder contains all 9 essential amino acids, is rich in free radical fighting antioxidants, is a great source of vitamin E and C and has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties to fight infections. Its high concentration of polyphenol also protects against liver damage. Try as a powder for smoothies or as a tea.
Best known for its hormone balancing and antioxidant properties, maca is a heart-shaped, radish-like root vegetable from Peru. Maca is high in B vitamins, improves stamina and as an 'adaptogen,' it can help create homeostasis in the body. It is also a male aphrodisiac and has even been referred to as 'nature's Viagra'! With a nutty, vanilla or butterscotch-like flavour, it can be added as a powder to smoothies or purchased in capsule form.
A major food source for bees and insects, bee pollen is a fine powder which helps a plant to reproduce. Bees gather the pollen from flowers and effectively granulate it - making humans a naturally nourishing superfood which is high in amino acids and B vitamins. It also has anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and supports immunity. Add it to smoothies, sprinkle over granola or eat right from the jar. Start with a half teaspoon and avoid if you have a bee allergy.
Now for a fruit... Camu camu, comes from Brazil like acai and bears a light-orange, lemon-size fruit. It is said to contain 60 times more vitamin C per serving than an orange and is high in flavonoids and other acids with antioxidant properties. Applauded for its anti-viral properties, it contains numerous essential amino acids to aid digestive health, muscle growth and repair. Like maca, it can be taken in powder or capsule form.
Soon enough and perhaps already, avocado oil is rivaling its coconut and olive counterparts. Unrefined avocado oil contains chlorophyll to banish free radicals, carotenoids to prevent age-related macular degeneration and has a beneficial fatty acid profile. It has a creamy buttery taste, less fat than olive oil and is highly versatile due to a high smoke point. Use it like you would butter, in stir fries or salad dressings or apply topically as a moisturiser!
Yet to emerge on our product list, cricket flour or powder is being taunted as the next superfood. Crickets are said to contain 2 to 3 times more complete protein that chicken or beef, 1.6 times more calcium than milk and 2 times more iron than spinach. They’re also one of the world's most sustainable protein sources. Not fond of becoming entomophagous (aka a human insect eater) just yet? Truth is humans apparently already eat, by accident, 500g of insects each year.