With more emphasis on eating healthy and boosting our immune system. Superfoods are constantly in the media. Each month it seems that we discover a new superfood. Recent Food Trends for Goji berries, avocadoes and kale.
This superfood list takes a look at some of the most popular ones right now.
What are Superfoods?
It seems that almost anything can be a superfood. The definition of a Superfood according to Merriam Webster is: a food that is rich in compounds such as antioxidants and is considered healthy.
As with anything in life balance is key. If you just ate a certain superfood regularly it doesn´t mean that you are going to be healthy. You need to incorporate superfoods into your routine as well as other foods to have a balanced diet.
It is also important to consider that Superfoods impact the environment. Particularly when demand peaks. Certain foods suddenly become very popular in a short space of time. Demand increases greatly, superfoods are mass produced and distribution channels alter. Huge amounts of fruit and vegetables are shipped overseas. Sometimes taking many days to arrive. Nutritional properties can be less effective due to the time and conditions in transit.
This Superfood list covers some of the most popular choices in the UK at the moment:
Strawberries, blueberries and blackcurrants have been popular superfoods for several years now. This trend will continue as they are so easy to incorporate into your diet. Using them in breakfast dishes like porridge or smoothies is a simple way to enjoy them everyday. Berries make a good afternoon snack or you can make delicious bakes with them too. Although its best to choose wholemeal flour options to keep the health food approach.
Hemp & CBD
Hemp although not a new product, the formats have become more widely available. Find hemp flour, hemp oil, superfood powder or hemp seeds. Hemp is packed with amino acids and protein. Hemp flowers also contain cannabinoid, commonly known as CBD. A naturally present chemical in cannabis plants.
CBD seems to be everywhere right now. It is being offered as oil in many cosmetic and wellness products. It´s also incorporated into foods like smoothies, lattes and even chocolate. Thought to help conditions such as eczema or psoriasis CBD use is growing rapidly in food and wellnesses products. It has vitamins A D and K and is anti ageing properties too.
CBD for Sleep
It´s believed that CBD can help to reduce anxiety. Some people use CBD for sleep as it may help to regulate sleep patterns. Basically there are two forms of CBD in powder form or as CBD oil . You can take CBD oil in drops under the tongue or choose CBD capsules instead. This naturally occuring compound from the hemp plant is believed to help with insomnia. Although CBD comes from hemp flowers and leaves, it should not be confused with Hemp oil which is a different product.
With the recent Nose to Tail trend, which aims to use all parts of the animal in cooking. Recipes and dishes such as this one pictured below made with bone marrow have returned to restaurant menus. Something that we used to eat many years ago, bone marrow is a great food to protect red blood cells, platelets and boost the immune system. I recently ate this combined with langoustine and kombu seaweed. The buttery consistency of the bone marrow makes it a good addition to sauces and soups. Adding nutrients and a creamy consistency.
The main spice used in curry has appeared in lots of superfood products. Such as tea, vitamin supplements and lattes. Claims of anti inflammatory and anti bacterial properties have varying degrees of reliability. However cucumurin has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine. A typical drink in India is haldi ka doodh, known as golden milk. It´s warm milk served with turmeric powder dissolved into the drink. The benefits of Turmeric include relief for arthritis sufferers as it is thought to reduce swelling. It also adds a golden colour and peppy flavour to many different foods. A comforting spice to use in your cooking particularly in winter months.
Photo by Amber Faust on Unsplash
Cauliflower is a great source of fibre, but its most interesting quality is used as an alternative to carbs. One of the recent UK trends is to substitute, pasta, rice and even pizza bases for cauliflower. Its a low calorie vegetable, its thought to promote collagen production and boost HDL cholesterol. It´s also got plenty of Vitamin C and K. So unsurprisingly demand for cauliflower has been higher than ever. If you can manage to source locally grown cauliflower or organically produced then even better.
Kefir, Kombucha, Kimchi and Tempeh are all goods for gut health. It´s believed that taking care of your gut health can impact general wellbeing. It may even help mental health. Sauerkraut and Miso are other examples of food trending due to their fermented qualities. Rather than a miracle solution, you need to incorporate these foods into your diet and eating them regularly to enjoy the benefits. My personl favourite is Kefir, I skip yoghurt and add Kefir to my breakfast and snacks every single day.
I find that seeds make a good snack, especially as an alternative to crisps or other salty treats. Flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are all good sources of protein. They are packed with iron, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Add them to yoghurt or to top off your salads if you prefer them as part of a meal. Seeds are not a new addition to the superfood list. For many years now vegans and vegetarians use seeds as a main source of nutrients in meat free diets.
Health food stores have been stocking up their shelves with bags of superfood powders. Ground chia, acai and other green varities are popular. The green superfood powders can contain spirulina chlorella matcha or broccoli. This powdered version of superfood is a simple way of adding these foods into your diet without having to have the fresh versions in the fridge.
As you can use the exact amount you need for your smoothie or to top your cereal bowl. It is a handy way to source this protein packed foods and have become very popular this year.
Maca is a tuber plant from South America. It´s latin name is Lepidium meyenii. Its been used in Peru for centuries and has a nickname ´Peruvian ginseng´. This root has properties that help to fight stress. Its available in different formats such as Superfood powders, capsules or in its original root form.
You may already know that sweet potato is a higher fibre version that white potatoes. They are also dense with beta carotene and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are in season right now and are really versatile. Use them diced in salads and to fry or bake instead of normal fries. Some burger bars now offer Sweet Potato Fries as healthier alternatives to french fries.
Native to central america, they are sometimes called Yams. They also have a unique protein in their tasty flesh, thought to have cancer fighting properties. The best way to eat Sweet Potato is actually by boiling them as this method conserves the maximum amount of properties.
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash