There are ongoing trends related to the local food movement which include ancient grains, raw and choosing high quality foods (including fats and calories) over fundamental calorie counting. Here are a few of the up and coming popular SUPER FOODS:
Buffaloberry (Silver Buffaloberry)— is a tiny red fruit; loaded with lycopene (a cancer-fighting antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables) and phenolic antioxidants, this tiny new superfruit has been found to reduce cellular aging and prevent all types of cancer. It is highly acidic and originates from the Native Americans. It has a sweet but bitter taste and is found in North America.
Maqui—these berries are a dietary staple of the Long-living Mapuche Indians of Chile. Chock full of anti-aging antioxidants, this superfood is researched and proven to help alleviate arthritis symptoms, high cholesterol, and inflammation as well as colon cancers. Maqui is a deep purple super fruit which is rarely shipped fresh to the United States. The most popular form of maqui supplement is the freeze-dried power, processed to retain all the health-giving properties of its natural form. You can also find maqui infused in your favorite dark chocolate desserts from your health food store.
Teff — This amazing gluten-free grain is the world’s tiniest grain (so small it cannot be processed or refined) and is high in calcium, vitamin C and taste! Did you know that up to 40 percent of the teff grain is considered a “resistant starch,” which is literally starch you can’t digest? Teff can be white or dark in color for about $8 per pound and helps to strengthen bones, helps to manage weight loss, preents IBS and formation of colorectal cancer as well as reduce PMS symptoms. It has many other vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber.
Canary seeds – A part of the gluten-free option, canary seeds are packed with protein and can be made into flour for use in bread and other grain products. Canary seeds are also very good for the heart, helps with high cholesterol, hypertension and are also a great source of Omega-3’s. Other options for gluten free include rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, corn, chick pea, and sweet potato.
Shichimi Togarashi –This Japanese spice is a blend of seven different spices, and may include chili powder, orange or tangerine peel, black and white sesame seeds and seaweed. Shichimi Togarashi is salt free and loaded with antioxidant rich ingredients which will help pump up the immune system and keep high blood pressure and heart disease down!
Za’atar – Za’atar is a mixture of ground sumac seeds, thyme, salt, oregano, marjoram and sesame seeds, used in many Mediterranean dishes, as it is sprinkled on breads, salads, or mixed into a meat marinades. Studies show consumption of za’atar lower the risk of food borne illnesses, due to the link of sumac berries and thyme to decreased incidence of food borne pathogens. In studies with laboratory mice, za’atar benefits prove to travel to the brain easily, releasing serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters.
Also, sumac is full of flavonoids, and thyme and oregano are both packed with thymol, an essential oil, and carvacrol, a phenol. Both thymol and carvacrol have antioxidant, antiseptic and fungicide properties. Thymol has also been shown to help control coughing fits in patients with bronchitis.
Beluga Lentils –legumes should be on everyone’s top 10 list (though many hard core paleo eaters boo boo on the superfood). Legumes are not only full of fiber and protein; they can prevent and help with chronic constipation, colon cancer and other chronic diseases. Beluga lentils, in particular, have a ruck black color that have black anthocyanins, which help to fight inflammation, cancer and heart disease.
Avocados and Avocado oil – Though avocados still have a negative “high fat” stigma, people should feel good eating half to one medium size avocado a day! This is because it is the good fat in the avocados and the avocado oil (monounsaturated fat) that will help raise the good body’s cholesterol levels (HDL) and lubricate the mind for better mental clarity.
Black soybeans – Touted as a new “weight loss” food because of studies back in 2007 that found black soybeans to have an “anti-obesity” effect in rats, these little pods are also filled with protein and fiber. They also have great amounts of antioxidants and fewer carbs than other legumes. They come canned or in bags for about $1 US a serving.
Salsify – Salsify is a white root vegetable which goes by the name “oyster plant”, resembles a parsnip but tastes like artichokes. It is very low in calories, high in fiber and helps keep weight and belly fat down. The entire plant can be used in dishes, from the green blade leaves on top all the way down to the roots which are planted in spring, nurtured in summer and harvested in the late summer or beginning of fall.
Sources: Dr. Oz, NPR.org, Huffington Post, Active.com, altmedicine.net, dailymail.co.uk
photo credit: oikostreecrop.coms, veggiegardeningtips.com, health.com, earthlydelightsblog.com, savoryspiceshop.com,