Like fashion or gadgets, food trends also come and go, with each new year bringing a host of ingredients that nutritionists consider to be on the rise. Factors such as the inherent nutrients, the ability to tackle dietary issues, the ease of availability, and versatility help diet experts figure out what ingredients are on the up when it comes to health food. On the basis of these, here are some ingredients that experts suggest would make the list for ‘superfoods’ of 2018.
Scientifically known as Moringa Oleifera, the moringa or drumstick tree is found in Central and South America, Africa, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It is currently trending the superfood charts alongside super greens like kale, green tea, and matcha, because of it’s anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Moringa leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, and E; some B vitamins; and minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Historically, moringa leaves have been used to treat anemia, arthritis, asthma, diabetes and infections. Medically it has also been used to treat wounds, bites and warts. It is also thought to promote the production of breast milk in lactating mothers.
Avocado oil is just as good that bowl of guacamole. This oil provides a healthy alternative to regular cooking oil and has the ability to improve heart health and skin quality as it neutralizes free radicals. The buttery oil also supplies lutein, an antioxidant that improves eye health. When added to salads in place of olive oil, it is shown to boost the salad’s potency by improving the absorption of fat-soluble antioxidants such as beta-carotene present in veggies. With a low burn point, it’s ideal for cooking as it keeps the nutrients in foods intact.
Essentially a root, Indian ginseng or ashwagandha eases fatigue and provides a shield against physical stress that comes from a demanding routine. It also helps increase energy levels and is often used in medicines that help your body adapt to and relax in challenging situations. In controlled doses, the root helps build muscle strength and coordination, eventually leading to better running form and speed in athletes. Brew it in tea with a cup of water, 1-2 tsps of the root or leaf and some honey for sweetness and flavor.
The cassava root is native to Brazil and Paraguay and has become the staple food throughout Indonesia, Thailand and parts of Africa. Due to its high calorific value, it is a great source of carbohydrates and has proven to be a go-to alternative for baking flour. Casava is gluten-free and this makes it an ideal source of carbs for people suffering from allergies irritable bowel syndrome. However, cassava should always be consumed either boiled or processed in the form of tapioca, as raw cassava tubers have been proven to be poisonous after decomposition.
Camu Camu Berries
Traditionally used to fight cold and flu in the Amazonian region, these tangy berries are packed with vitamin C. Because of the high vitamin C content, Camu Camu berries also help maintain healthy skin, gums, and eyes and play an important role in strengthening tendons and ligaments. They are a rich source of phytochemicals that enhance the immune system and help to improve skin and mental health.
Peas are not a vegetable but actually belong to the legume family along with chickpeas, beans and lentils. Peas are rich in starch and protein making them a great snack, especially when you are always on the go. In addition, peas are high in lutein a naturally occurring carotenoid that acts as an antioxidant and protects cell damage and macular degeneration by preventing oxidation. Peas are also rich in iron and help you meet 1.2 milligrams of your iron intake with half a cup of peas.
Though mushrooms may lack the deep green and red hues that are sought after in fresh produce, they are actually a powerhouse of nutrition and not just another white food to be avoided. Low in calories and fat, mushrooms contain a good enough amount of fiber and an adequate quantity of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and a number of B vitamins such as folate. They are also high in antioxidants like selenium and GSH which help protect the cells from damage and reduce inflammation and chronic disease.
So there you have it. These are the seven foods that need a special place on your plate this year. Though individually these ingredients may not provide you with whole nutrition, couple them with healthy greens and meats to make the most of their nutritive value. Other notable mentions also include hemp seeds, elderflower extracts and switchel(a blend of vinegar and ginger)