Eating healthy may be a trend, but above all else—it’s a necessity. It may not seem like it to some, but there are plenty of healthy food trends out there. Many of which are delicious choices. Here are 10 superfoods you should consider incorporating in your diet.
Chia seeds are gaining a lot of serious attention from those who strive to be healthier eaters, and for good reason. Chia seeds deliver as much protein as some nuts in addition to heart-healthy ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, which is the plant-based omega-3 fat. Chia delivers 2 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 1.75 grams ALA per tablespoon. While they’re notorious for being a new superfood fad, they have actually been around for centuries being prized at one point by the Aztecs.
Chia seeds are suitable as an individual snack, but because they absorb liquid easily, they can make a creamy addition to oats and pancakes. Plus, chia seeds are even easy on sensitive stomachs as per David C. Nieman, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., of Appalachian State University, “Some other seeds, like flax, are harder to digest because they have more lignan, a tough fiber.”
Coconut water and coconut oil are certainly the most popular among the fruit’s—yes, we know it can be considered a drupe—flavor options, but coconut flour is just as healthy, which is also great ingredient for baked goods.
Speaking of being healthy, coconut flour’s benefits including packing a significant 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons (with just 2 grams of total and saturated fat) and it’s gluten-free. Coconut flour is also beneficial for diabetics, and adding it to baked goods lowers the glycemic index, which is a measure of how food increases blood sugar. So, if you’re looking for coconut flour at your local supermarket, have a look near other gluten-free flours.
With renewed interest in juicing, smoothies are mainstream on the health scene. This is especially the case for green smoothies – made from spinach and kale. Beets and sweet potato are jumping on the menu of popular smoothie options, although I wouldn’t recommend having the two together.
The traditional yogurt of Iceland, Skyr can be compared to Greek yogurt in terms of texture and nutrition. However, Skyr, which delivers just as much protein, holds a slight advantage as it has less calories due to being made from skim milk.
An example of growing infatuation with eating seaweed is dulse, which is a great source of potassium and iron. In addition, dulse boasts a ton of iodine, which, usually found only in seafood and iodized salt, is necessary in the regulation of the thyroid gland. You can enjoy dulse in many forms including crumbling it over soups and salads.
Chia may be gaining a lot of popularity, but that isn’t the only seed doing so. Hemp is making its own name for itself. While hemp plants are illegal to grow in the U.S., eating hemp seeds is popular. Between 2008 and 2010, hemp-seed sales grew 156 percent. Hemp seeds have quite a few similarities with sunflower seeds. In addition to taste and versatility, hemp seeds can be eaten raw and toasted in addition to being sprinkled on yogurts or salads or even grounded into seed butter. Hemp seeds also boast 16 percent of your daily value for phosphorus and magnesium, 1 gram of ALA and just under 1 gram of fiber per tablespoon.
A fermented dairy beverage, kefir is laden with beneficial probiotics that help give your immune system an edge. Kefir is the ideal choice for adding to smoothies in place of yogurt or as an on-the-go breakfast as it represents up to 29 percent of your daily value of calcium per 8-ounce serving. When looking for kefir in your local market, though, be sure to choose plain if you prefer less added sugars. If you do wish to add extra flavor, though, do so with fresh fruit or fruit puree for natural sweetness.
When it comes to tea, green has appeared to be the only super-healthy option. However, while green tea is an excellent choice, it doesn’t stand alone in the health column. Rooibos tea, which is a red-colored herbal tea made from the leaves of the rooibos bush, is perhaps one of the best remedies for your heart. Whether it’s from high cholesterol, blood pressure or body mass index, those at risk of developing heart disease considerably lowered their triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol and raised their “good” HDL cholesterol by drinking 6 cups of tea over six weeks. This is according research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
There are many milk choices to choose from at the grocery store, but if you’re looking for something in the alternative milk category, then go for almond milk. Like cow’s milk, it is high in calcium and Vitamin D. It also has fewer calories than cow’s milk per cup (60 to 80). In addition, one cup of almond milk also has 2.5 to 4.5g of fat, 0 to 0.5 saturated fat, 5 to 11g of carbohydrates, 0 to 4g of fiber, 20 to 30 percent of your daily recommendations for calcium and up to 25 percent of your daily needs for Vitamin D. Plus, if you love the taste of cow’s milk, almond milk tastes very similar in addition to an obvious almond aftertaste.
While quinoa has gained a plethora of popularity on the healthy food echelon, the same should be said with amaranth which, while not quite as common, is another whole grain and is great for vegetarians. Especially as it is high in iron and zinc, which are nutrients that can be difficult getting into a vegetarian diet. Amaranth, in addition to being gluten-free, is rich in calcium and magnesium. Amaranth also has a thick, porridge-like texture when cooked, making it great in soups, stews, puddings and breakfast porridge.