Happy 2016 everyone! If January finds you renewing your gym membership, restocking your refrigerator, and swapping out cookies and candy for quinoa and kale, you’ve come to the right spot. To start the new year off right, we’ve zeroed in on eight trendy health foods that live up to the hype. Incorporate these power picks into your diet and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you this year.
1. Coconut Flour
Why It’s Awesome: The coconut is at it again. As if coconut oil, coconut water, and coconut milk weren’t enough, now you can start utilizing coconut flour, which adds a delicious, subtle coconut flavor to baked goods. This flour packs a fibrous punch with 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons, and it is well suited for those with diabetes, as it can lower the glycemic index of baked goods. Plus, it’s gluten free!
Our Favorite Brand: Bob’s Red Mill
Recipe Pick: Coconut Flour Zucchini Bread with Crumble Topping
Why It’s Awesome: Acai berries are loaded with antioxidants, with more than double the amount found in blueberries and nearly ten times that found in grapes. The specific type of antioxidants found in this berry–anthocyanins— are particularly good for heart health. Acai has also been associated with weight loss, as well as healthy skin and digestion. Finally, the berry is known to be immune-stimulating and energy-boosting. Not bad, eh?
Our Favorite Brand: Navitas Naturals
Recipe Pick: Kale, Berry And Acai Power Smoothie
3. Kelp & Dulse
Why It’s Awesome: Not only is kelp is high in iodine, which can improve thyroid function and control metabolism, but it can also help with healthier skin and hair. All in all, kelp has 46 different minerals, 16 amino acids, and 11 vitamins…wowza. Kelp is most often seen in the form of kelp noodles, but you can also find kelp buds, which make a tasty addition to many savory dishes. Dulse (say it like “pulse”) is another nutrient-packed seaweed variety that can be crisped up like a potato chip, and is also rich in iodine.
Our Favorite Brand: Maine Coast Sea Vegetables
Recipe Pick: Smashed Avocado, Kelp Noodle, and Lemon Bowl
4. Kimchi (or fermented anything, really)
Why It’s Awesome: Kimchi, or spicy fermented cabbage, is most known for its digestive health properties, which stem from the enzymes and probiotics contained within the food. But it doesn’t stop there. This trendy condiment can also aid with cholesterol, obesity, and even cancer. It acts as a natural inflammatory, contains loads of antioxidants, and can help boost the immune system. Lastly, kimchi can help with diabetes by decreasing glucose levels.
Our Favorite Brand: Ozuke
Recipe Pick: Pad Thai With Kale & Collards Kimchi
Why It’s Awesome: Speaking of fermentation, kefir, which is a fermented dairy beverage, is an uber-healthy yogurt alternative that is packed with immunity-boosting probiotics (good for tummy trouble!). One 6-ounce serving contains 6 grams of protein and 20% of your daily calcium, phosphorus, and B2 needs. This health food has been shown to improve bone health and lower the risk of osteoporosis, and it may even be proactive against cancer.
Our Favorite Brand: Trader Joe’s
Recipe Pick: Kefir Potato Salad
Why It’s Awesome: This trendy super-seed, which tastes similar to sunflower seeds, is loaded with phosphorus, magnesium, and fiber, and is extremely versatile: it can be incorporated into baked goods, sprinkled atop yogurt or salads, blended into soups and smoothies, and more.
Our Favorite Brand: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
Recipe Pick: Quinoa Hemp Cereal
7. Bee Pollen
Why It’s Awesome: Bee pollen, the food of small bees, is made up of 40% protein, with about half of that protein in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be absorbed by the body. Bee pollen has been known to increase energy, act as an anti-inflammatory, aid with allergies, sooth the digestive system, boost the immune system, and even improve skin. The best part? It tastes awesome, like crunchy little granules of top-shelf honey. Sprinkle it on cereal or yogurt, enjoy with chocolate or ice cream, blend into smoothies, or just enjoy with a piece of fruit.
Our Favorite Brand: Uncle Harry’s
Recipe Pick: “Honey” Mustard Dressing
Why It’s Awesome: Matcha is a bright-green powder produced by finely grinding matcha green tea leaves. The powder contains 130 times more antioxidants than the average green tea, and is said to boost energy levels, lower stress, improve mood, and aid metabolism. Enjoy it stirred into hot water or milk, blended into smoothies, or even made into ice cream!
Our Favorite Brand: Encha
Recipe Pick: Green Tea Ice Cream
Other healthy food finds that get honorable mentions include green juice (and veggie smoothies), tiger nuts, chia, and rooibos tea. Check them out if you’re interested!
Hope you’ve enjoyed our healthy new year findings! Until next time, folks!
Sources: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/thousands-overdosing-on-caffeine-as-coffee-crisis-sparks-call-for-urgent-action-10491259.html#gallery, http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/10_super_healthy_food_trends_you_haven_t_tried_yet, http://acaiberryeducation.com/, http://www.stylenectar.com/stylenectar/2014/09/how-to-make-kimchi-for-probiotic-health.html, http://janiceameesglutenfree.com/cranberry-chocolate-chip-bread/, http://resources.gale.com/gettingtogreenr/uncategorized/kelp-its-whats-for-dinner/, http://www.bodyenlightenment.me/blog/2011/05/little-known-ways-to-use-hemp-as-a-beauty-elixir/, http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-bee-pollen, http://www.beepollenbylaura.com/Ingredients-Benefits_c_13.html, http://www.karenskitchenstories.com/2014/03/green-tea-ice-cream-scoop-adventures.html, http://authoritynutrition.com/9-health-benefits-of-kefir/