From the emergence of different kinds of diets to the popularity of “superfoods” in recent years, it’s quite safe to say that more people are becoming more invested in their good health. These fads have come and gone over the years, with some practices like preparing bone broth, making a comeback from the olden days. And while there can be no right substitute for proper nutrition (and exercise!), there are some diet and food trends that are worth trying. Here are a few delicious and nutritious foods that are more than just a fad.
We’ve all probably heard enough kale jokes to last a lifetime. However, its nutritional benefits are nothing to laugh at. These leafy greens contain high amounts of vitamin A, B6, C, and K, as well as calcium, folate, iron, and magnesium. It’s also very flexible recipe-wise. You can steam or saute them, make them into chips, blend them with your fruit-and-vegetable smoothies, add them to mixed greens salads, and more.
The most common complaint about kale is its bitter taste. However, this can easily be circumvented by various seasonings and spices like olive oil, lemon juice, nutmeg, paprika, pepper flakes, and even good old salt.
If you’re one of the 35 percent of the population who maintains their capability of producing lactase — the enzyme that helps the human body digest milk sugars — beyond five years old, then congratulations! You can continue enjoying milk and other dairy products without any problems at all. For those who belong to the 65 percent who will have inevitable difficulties in digesting lactose, however, all is not lost. Plant-based milk products made from nuts, seeds, and grains are equally good, sometimes even better options.
Plant-based milk is naturally nutritious since their sources are also packed with nutrients. Almonds and hazelnuts, for example, are rich in vitamin E, and soybeans are rich in protein. Flaxseed is a good source of omega-three fatty acids, while oats contain a lot of dietary fiber and good carbohydrates.
If you are already used to the richness of dairy but would like to switch to healthier alternatives, look for plant milk made by cold-milling since these will have the closest texture to dairy. Remember, though, that some plant milk is not going to be as smooth or creamy simply because of the nature of the ingredient. Rice milk, for example, will always have a thinner texture compared to other plant-based milk.
Hemp seeds won’t get you high, that’s for sure, but they are high in nutrition. Apart from fiber and protein, hemp seeds also contain calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin A. They are also an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6, as well as the anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy gamma linoleic and stearidonic fatty acids.
What’s good about hemp seeds is that they have a very mild flavor, so you can use them in almost any recipe without affecting the taste. They can add a satisfying crunch to salads, sauces, pilafs, cupcakes and cookies, and so much more.
Quinoa is officially a seed, although it belongs to the amaranth family and is also related to the spinach and beetroot. It provides a host of nutrients, including B vitamins, fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium phosphorus, protein, and zinc. It is also gluten-free, so those with celiac disease can consume this healthful food without aggravating their condition.
Quinoa also contains all of the nine essential amino acids. In particular, this pseudocereal includes high amounts of lysine, which helps the body burn fat, absorb calcium, and maintain the health of connective tissues.
Turmeric or yellow ginger is perhaps most famous as the ingredient that gives curry its trademark yellow color. However, aside from being a food colorant and spice, turmeric also contains curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory agent, and a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin has also been linked to improved memory and a reduced risk of brain diseases and other degenerative processes in the central nervous system.
You can use turmeric to spice up essential recipes like scrambled eggs or use it to flavor steamed or roasted vegetables as you would with pepper or salt. You can also add it to rice, sprinkle some over salads, or use it as a soup seasoning. The most common way to include more turmeric in your diet, however, is by drinking turmeric tea. You can find turmeric powder in most grocery stores, or you can simply buy fresh turmeric and boil it in water. Some people prefer to add other ingredients like cinnamon or lemongrass, depending on their flavor preference. Another popular beverage made with turmeric is the so-called “golden milk.” This is caused by boiling turmeric with coconut milk and honey.
From beauty products to home care solutions, green tea seems to be the ingredient of choice for many that are looking for safe and healthy options, and it’s easy to see why. Green tea is one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest, beverages in the world. It is rich in antioxidants like polyphenols and catechins, which protect the cells from damage, and also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Green tea is also linked to improved brain function, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, lower risk of obesity, and even improved dental health. It also has antibacterial properties and has been reported to inhibit the growth of the influenza virus. Green tea also comes with the benefit of being a soothing, calming drink that can help you relax.
Do note that no matter how healthy they are, these foods aren’t the end-all-be-all of good health. The important thing is to eat a variety of nutritious meals every day to ensure that your body is adequately nourished.
Updated: 20 April 2019