1. Super Grains
Although many of us have heard of quinoa by now, there is a growing trend of ‘Super Grains’ which has evolved to include the likes of the lesser known teff and amaranth grains. Otherwise simply known as whole grains, super grains are less refined than other fibre sources like white breads and white rice and still have their bran and germ intact, meaning they are much better sources of fibre and other important nutrients.
Some research shows that amaranth is high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. The teff grain is known as a common staple food source in Africa and has a high nutrient and protein content as well as full of other minerals and vitamins. Teff can easily be used in cooking, similar to millet and quinoa, and its small size means it will cook quickly.2.
Herbs have made a comeback in the kitchen this year. Turmeric is a fantastic, bright spice to have in the pantry – packed full of flavour and health benefits, of which, the most widely touted may be its ability to help reduce joint inflammation associated with arthritis. Turmeric can help bring to life the most basic of veggie stir fries or it can be added to a morning elixir to help kick start your day with an antioxidant boost.
Turmeric also features an active ingredient called curcumin and while curcumin has been used for medicinal purposes in India for centuries, modern day scientists are only recently discovering the possible health benefits of this active ingredient, like helping to reduce inflammation(1), aid digestion and other enhanced antioxidant effects. Although ordinary curcumin is not readily absorbed in the body, recent advances in research have enabled the release of a new curcumin formula known as Theracurmin. This can be absorbed into the body at 27 times the normal rate, allowing us to unleash the full potential of this ancient spice.3.
Another healthy herb trending in 2015, Garlic is rich in flavour and is known to support healthy immune function. Garlic is also alkalising in the body and loaded with nutrients such as zinc that help keep your bones healthy. Recent scientific studies have also shown that an advanced form of garlic, Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) has all the beneficial and enhanced antioxidant effects of raw garlic, but without the garlic odour.
AGE is also shown to have great heart health benefits and can help to reduce soft plaque within our arteries and can lower blood pressure(2). Some say that by chopping, crushing or pressing your garlic before eating it, you could receive more of the herb’s health properties. Whether you use it to spice up a guacamole or roast it with veggies for a rich caramel flavour, you’re guaranteed to get the taste buds excited. Aged Garlic Extract can be taken in supplement form and is gentler on the stomach than its raw counterpart.
Fermented foods are officially in fashion and for good reason; they are a food source full of probiotic health benefits which can help to support and strengthen your overall digestive system. Fermentation, from the Latin word fervere, which means “to boil” is a metabolic process whereby a starch or sugar is converted into an alcohol or acid, like the fermentation of milk to yoghurt and grapes to wine.
Fermented cabbage is growing in popularity, as well as fermented drinks like Kombucha, which the ancient Chinese often refer to as an “Immortal Health Elixir” as well as kefir milk and miso soup. The process of fermentation leaves a food’s sugars and starch to create lactic acid, which in turn helps break it down and make it easier to digest as well as last longer. The fermentation process is also believed to help boost certain food’s vitamin content.
5. Ugly Food
The ‘ugly food’ movement has taken off in 2015, with consumers starting to become more aware of how much food and fresh produce is wasted simply because of its shape, colour or size. It’s estimated that $400 billion worth of food is wasted around the world every year(3).
Now, supermarkets have introduced initiatives like the ‘imperfect picks’ range at Harris Farm, with discounted produce on offer for misshapen food or less bright food, which could have otherwise been chucked. While oddly shaped fruits and vegetables can still provide as much nutritional benefit as its ‘perfect’ counterpart and more often than not, they will be chopped, grated, mashed, blended or baked in the cooking and consuming process, it’s a surprise this food trend hasn’t taken off sooner.
6. Advances in CoQ10 with Ubiquinol
CoenzymeQ10 (CoQ10) is found in every cell of our body and helps the body generate energy as well as functioning as a powerful antioxidant. While most women have heard of CoQ10 though, especially in skincare (Miranda Kerr claims to take it according to interviews in 2014), many don’t realise that the antioxidant, Ubiquinol, is the active and most bioavailable form of CoQ10 in the body.
Science has shown us that as we age or put our bodies under a significant amount of stress, our Ubiquinol levels decline often leaving us feeling fatigued and lacking in energy. Ubiquinol is becoming a health trend to watch this year, as an antioxidant that can help to support our overall energy levels as well as our heart health. A recent study also highlights that Ubiquinol is highest in healthy hearts and lower in failing hearts(4). You may want to consult your healthcare professional to check your Ubiquinol levels and see if Ubiquinol is right for you.
7. Going Green
The ‘green’ health trend is continuing to gain momentum in Australia. Whether it’s a kale and avocado smoothie, a green apple and cucumber juice, spirulina powder, seaweed snacks, green tea or even green hommus; there is something green for every health and wellness enthusiast and it seems we are never bored of looking the latest green creations in our Instagram and Facebook feeds. It can be very beneficial to try and incorporate these sorts of green foods and drinks into the diet, as many of them are rich with digestive and antioxidant enzymes and there are so many fresh green foods to choose from!
Always read the label. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner.
(1) Gupta SC, Patchva S, Koh W, et al. Discovery of curcumin, a component of the golden spice, and its miraculous biological activities. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 2012;39(3):283-299.
(2) JACC March 2015 The Effects of Aged Garlic Extract on Coronary Artery Calcification Progression and Blood Pressure