Trendy health foods you should try. Here's why.
By Dr. Amber Hayden, DO
We’ve separated the hype from the real for you. Here are the ones we recommend:
1. Sea vegetables and seaweeds
Sea vegetables are low-calorie and packed with calcium, omega-3s, vitamins and protein. Use nori (dried seaweed in paper-like sheets) to wrap up sandwich fillings, or chop and add them to salads. You can even eat them straight out of the package. They’re crunchy and savory as a bowl of popcorn.
2. Almond milk
With a satisfying taste and rich, pleasant texture, almond milk can often be used in place of cow’s milk. It’s great blended in smoothies or coffee drinks, poured over cereal or as a baking ingredient. It’s low in protein, dairy-free and easily digested, so it’s good for vegans and people who are lactose-intolerant or sensitive. Flavored varieties are loaded with added sugar so be sure to buy the unsweetened kind. You can add your own vanilla extract at home.
Super-trendy turmeric, and the curcumin that’s made from it, are such great antioxidants that they often appear in supplements. Though they might seem new to us, both turmeric and curcumin have been basic ingredients in Indian dishes like curries and soups for generations. We’ve even seen curcumin as an ingredient in bright yellow cookie bars from our local gluten-free bakery!
Kefir has a sour, yogurt-y taste because it’s basically fermented milk. With lots of probiotic content, along with protein and minerals, it’s even good for folks who are lactose-intolerant. Just skip the sweetened varieties and either drink it straight or add it to protein smoothies and shakes. In some stores you can find goats’ milk kefir, which is even healthier for those with weak digestion.
Whole green tea leaves are dried and pulverized to make matcha, a potent, bright green powdered ingredient. The caffeine and theanine in matcha might help you concentrate and stay alert. The concentrated phytonutrients in matcha have health benefits, including the ability to boost metabolism. Steep it in hot water to make a tea (cool and enjoy it iced too), or add it to lattés, baked goods, puddings or frozen treats.
6. Chia seeds
These little seeds turn into a jelly when wet and have a lot of fiber, protein, minerals and omega-3s. Use them to thicken drinks and puddings or add them to homemade protein bars, cookies, muffins, pancakes or oatmeal.
So take the plunge and experiment with any of these trendy health foods. For more ideas on how to use them, go online to find a million and one recipes to choose from.