“Eat less from a box and more from the earth”. Anon.
ASE posted an article on 2018 Superfoods and as research is ongoing, foods are continually being re-evaluated. A reader asked us for an update and in fact, much has changed in one year. Superfoods differ from other nutrient-rich foods in that they help our bodies prevent various diseases and ailments. While kale does not make the top ten list of superfoods for 2019, the nutrition industry feels that plant-based diets are no longer a trend, but in fact have become mainstream. An annual survey of 1,300 dieticians by Today’s Dietician and Pollack Communications came up with many of the following ‘superfoods’ for 2019.
Fermented foods help with gut health which in turn reduces inflammation and rids your body of toxins. Examples are fermented sauerkraut (refrigerated versions, not the ones on the shelf) which has lactic acid bacteria that help with digestion. Yogurt is another great fermented food. Kefir has lactic acid bacteria to help with digestion and fight off harmful bacteria.
Avocados have almost 20 vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamins E, C and B as well as folic acid. In addition to being mashed up and put on toast or made into guacamole, avocados can be used in smoothies, ice cream, sauces and baked goods.
Beets have been shown to help the body defend against many chronic diseases. Beets have vitamin B, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese. They help circulation and can possibly lower blood pressure. A daily serving of beets is thought to prevent and reduce fat in the liver because they contain betaine, an amino acid also found in spinach and quinoa.
In addition to all berries, add some Exotic Berries like acai and goji that are great sources of fiber, fatty acids and anti-oxidants and can be anti-inflammatory. Use them in smoothies, salad dressings, grain bowls, fruit salads or with desserts as garnish. Acai berries have healthy fats, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Acai powder is widely available and can be mixed into food. Goji berries have up to 12 times the antioxidant levels of blueberries. They have been a staple in Chinese medicine for centuries.
Seeds like flax, chia and hemp contain huge nutritional benefits. They have dietary fiber, protein, plant-based healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Other important seeds to add to your diet are sesame, sunflower and pumpkin.
Nuts have been elevated into every beneficial diet. They are one of the healthiest snacks and have many benefits. They have had a bad rap for being high in calories and fat, but more research has shown that their benefits are worth it when eaten in small amounts. Nuts have high levels of unsaturated fats (the good kinds) and omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts also have vitamin E, folic acid, copper, niacin, potassium and magnesium. They also contain isoflavones and flavonoids which are thought to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. Recommended nuts are hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans and pistachio.
In our earlier article we included Quinoa but this year the grain category is defined as Ancient grains. Archeologists from the University of Calgary have discovered evidence that humans have grown grains for over 100,000 years. The USDA recommends six 1 oz. serving of grains daily, three of the servings being whole grains. A whole grain has three parts of the seed – the bran, germ and endosperm. Whole grains are gluten-free. Grains regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They can decrease the risk for heart disease. They contain antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting. The best whole grains for us are Bulgar, Rice, Corn, Oats, Faro, Teff, Sorghum, Quinoa and Buckwheat.
Coconut and coconut oil made several lists this year. They are high in triglycerides that support gut health. Coconut oil is considered a good weight-loss food, is great for hair health and might prevent bone loss. Use extra virgin coconut oil, not refined.
Non-Dairy Milks like Almond (may be the healthiest of all the plant-based milks), Oat (Oat milk had such a surge in popularity there was a shortage of it), Pecan and Macadamia. Read Cooking Light’s Comprehensive Guide to Dairy-Free Milks to learn more.
Cinnamon is high in anti-oxidants and is thought to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. It can also help reduce nausea and decrease inflammation.
Spirulina is a blueish algae that is considered one of the most nutritious superfoods there is. It is higher in protein than red meat and contains all of the essential fatty acids our bodies need. In addition it has antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Moringa is the newest superfood and comes from the leaves of the moringa oleifera plant. The leaves are packed with nutrients and healing properties. A cup of moringa tea is said to help increase energy, balance sugar levels and improve memory and mental sharpness. Ayurvedic medicine has used the leaves for healing for over 300 years. It has been available as a supplement but is now being marketed in teas and powders. $14.99 for a 1 lb. bag.