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Every year, there’s a new list of ‘superfoods’ that hit our supermarket and health food store shelves. More recently, marketers have been taking advantage of the current health crisis, promising all sorts of superfoods that “boost immunity”. SO what makes some of these foods “super”? Let’s take a look at 10 of the most popular to come out of 2020 so far, and determine whether their health claims stack up.
Bone broth as a product saw huge growth in 2019, and it appears this will continue in 2020. It’s made by boiling animal bones and connective tissue in water, usually with vegetables and seasoning. Before you start guzzling this ‘magic elixir’, know that evidence for its many claimed health benefits is far from solid. Not to mention you can get all of its nutrients from ‘normal’ every day, nutrient-dense foods (for a fraction of the price).
Miso is right on trend this year. It’s a paste made from fermenting soybeans and adds a salty flavour to Japanese dishes. As it is fermented, it contains a whole heap of gut-friendly bacteria and since the link between gut health and overall health is becoming clearer, this is a great one to add to your shopping list. Here’s a recipe you may like!
Tempeh is another fermented superfood to try this year. A common meat alternative for vegans and vegetarians, tempeh can be made from fermenting chickpeas, lentils or soybeans and is a great addition to sandwiches, stir-fries and salads. In terms of its superfood status? Tempeh is a fantastic source of protein, prebiotics and calcium for vegans in particular. For the rest of us, its nutrients can be found in more readily available meats and meat products.
High in mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, these little gems are awesome for your heart health. Sprinkle them on just about anything or use tahini (ground sesame seeds) as a dressing on salads, vegetables and sandwiches or wraps. They’re not quite super, but they’re so easy to include in your meals for a nutritional boost!
Hemp seeds are popping up everywhere and are quite nutritious – 3 tablespoons of these mighty seeds provides around 10g of protein, 2g of fibre, 7g of omega 6 fatty acids and 3g of omega 3 fatty acids. With a bit of a crunch, hemp seeds are an amazing addition to your muesli, toast, sandwiches, muffins, roast dinners and salads! This one, I have to say, lives up to the hype.
Plant-based meats have exploded into the market over the last 12 months. They can be super delicious, but to make them ‘meat-like’ they are highly processed and often contain a lot of synthetic chemicals and additives, as well as being high in salt. Some brands are better than others, so it pays to do your research. I recommend them as an occasional ‘treat’ for plant-based eaters, whilst sticking to legumes, nuts, seeds and tofu as your staple vegetarian/vegan sources of protein.
Oat milk is becoming more popular as a cow’s milk alternative. It’s an okay option however, it’s low on the list when it comes to nutrition – most often oat milk contains just 5-10% oats. If you love it, be sure to select a variety that is calcium-fortified.
Any vegetable is a superfood in our eyes – they truly are the best thing for your health and garlic is no different! Chopped, minced, baked, fried or eaten raw. It’s a winner!
Kefir is a fermented milk drink, like a thinner version of yoghurt. It’s a fantastic source of probiotics to keep healthy bacteria thriving in your digestive system. Give it a go!
Yep, watermelon seeds. These need to be sprouted and shelled before eating but apparently they are packed with protein, B vitamins and healthy fats. Superfood? Maybe, but I’d say it’s not quite worth the effort!
For more nutritional guidance, healthy recipes and expert advice, visit our nutrition homepage here!