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Five Hottest Health Superfoods of 2017

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Gone are the days of kale smoothies and goji berry acai bowls. 2017 is presenting us with a whole new range of health superfoods.

A ‘superfood’ is defined as any food that contains a dense concentration of vital nutrients, vitamins and/or minerals, antioxidants, good fats, healthy enzymes or other healthy properties that can help to treat or prevent specific illnesses.

Here are five of the top super foods of 2017:

Raw cacao nibs

What is it?

Cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks and broken into smaller pieces. Cacao nibs have a chocolatey taste, but they’re not quite as sweet as chocolate, which can make them more versatile. Cacao has all of the health benefits of dark chocolate, with less processing.

Why is it good for you?

Cacao is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium – a mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, which helps with muscle and nerve functioning and heart health. Cacao is even higher in antioxidants than its sister, dark chocolate – and contains fibre, which keeps the gut healthy. Cacao is high in iron and even works as a mood improver; it stimulates the brain to release particular neurotransmitters that can trigger emotions – including euphoria. No wonder some people say chocolate is better than sex…

Get some raw cacao nibs into your life!

Toss it into your trail mix or muesli, add it to your morning smoothie or mix cacao nibs in with your favourite yoghurt. Or you could take it to the next level and make these candied cacao nibs which can be eaten on their own or used to top brownies, cakes or cupcakes.

 

Turmeric

What is it? Turmeric is a bright orange spice that has been used for centuries in Eastern cultures and Ayurvedic medicine and is now being recognised as one of the most therapeutic foods in existence. Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder and can also be used as a colouring agent due to its deep, golden-orange colour.

Why is it good for you?

Nutritionally, Turmeric is packed with health benefits, due to the yellow pigment called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to regulate inflammation, slowing down inflammatory pathways in the body. In fact tumeric’s anti-inflammatory properties have been compared to those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Clinical trials have shown turmeric to be more effective than a placebo in reducing pain and swelling in people with arthritis.

Turmeric is also rich in antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals (unstable molecules that damage cells and contribute to ageing and disease). Turmeric blocks free radicals directly, while also stimulating the body’s own antioxidant production. Take that, ageing and disease!

This magical spics has also shown promise in the fight against cancer. Turmeric’s curcumin “interferers with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread,” according to the American Cancer Society, even killing cancer cells in the lab setting, shrinking tumours and boosting the effects of chemotherapy in animals.

Get some turmeric into your life!

Turmeric is as versatile as it is colourful. Add it to scrambled eggs and frittatas, sprinkle it over oven-roasted vegetables, add it to rice or sprinkle it onto a bowl of stir-fried greens. Turmeric is an easy addition to vegetable and chicken soups and can be added to smoothies or brewed into a simple and healthy tea when simmered with milk and honey. Yum!

 

Kakadu Plum

What is it?

Australia’s very own native super food, Kakadu Plum (also known as gubinge, billygoat plum or murunga) is an Australian native bush fruit that grows in northern Australia and the Kimberley Region. Kakadu Plum has been an important food and medicine in northern Australia for thousands of years. The fruit has a sour flavour and smells of stewed apples and citrus. It can be eaten fresh or added to jams, preserves and sauces, or consumed in powder form.

Why is it good for you?

Kakadu Plum has one of the highest—if not the highest—vitamin C content of any fruit, with up to 100 times the vitamin C content found in an orange. It has 5.2 times more antioxidants than blueberries, leading many to believe that kakadu plum could provide the most powerful Alzheimer’s treatment to date. The tiny fruit is also celebrated for its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Kakadu plum is high in iron and vitamin E and contains the same amount of folate as broccoli.

Get some Kakadu plum into your life!

Kakadu plum fruit is harvested in abundance at the start of the dry season in May each year, but it might be hard to get your hands on the fresh fruit unless you’re in the NT. Powdered forms of the superfood can be added to smoothies and muffins or added to curries or apple pie.

 

Avocado Oil

What is it?

Pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit, avocado oil is one of the few edible oils that is not derived from seed. Using avocado oil in cooking and smoothies can help you achieve all of the health benefits of avocado without having to take a gamble on your supermarket produce section.. let’s face it, there’s nothing more disappointing / infuriating than slicing open a brown or unripened avo!

Why is it good for you?

Avocado oil has a number of health benefits. It has been shown to lower lower blood pressure, due to its high level of monounsaturated fats. Avocado oil has been shown to improve arthritis symptoms – and in fact is used as a key ingredient in prescription arthritis medications in France. Avocado oil improves heart health and lowers cholesterol due to its high levels of monounsaturated oleic acid. Studies have also shown that avocado oil also boosts the body’s absorption of carotenoids (health-promoting antioxidants) in food.

Get some avocado oil into your life!

The great thing about avocado oil is that it is extremely nutrient-dense and can be used both in uncooked dishes such as salads and dips as well as cooked foods. When cooking with healthy oils, it is important to consider an oil’s ‘smoke point’; even the healthiest olive oil becomes unhealthy when it reaches smoke point. Avocado oil has a very high smoke point, which means you can use it for all types of cooking and retain its many health benefits. When buying avocado oil, look for organic, extra virgin, unrefined and cold-pressed oil. You can use it in place of any other kitchen oil – for cooking, in smoothies, and even as a potent treatment for hair and skin.

 

Buckwheat noodles

What is it?

Otherwise known as soba noodles, buckwheat noodles have long been used in Japanese cuisine. The noodle is now being recognised as a healthy alternative to regular pasta due to its superfood properties. Buckwheat noodles look and taste similar to spaghetti. They are gluten free, easy to prepare, versatile and packed with healthy nutrients.

Why is it good for you?

Buckwheat noodles are a good source of manganese, which is important for bone health, glucose metabolism and wound healing and supports the central nervous system. Healthy amounts of manganese may prevent osteoporosis, diabetes and epilepsy. Buckwheat noodles are a good source of thiamin, also known as vitamin B-1, which is used in energy production and cell growth. The noodles are high in protein, which helps to grow, maintain and repair cells in the body, and contain high amounts of soluble fibre which can help to banish belly fat. Buckwheat noodles have been shown to lower cholesterol and help control blood sugar and they even contain prebiotics (good bacteria which help protect your gut against harmful bacteria).

Get some buckwheat noodles into your life!

Cook your buckwheat noodles in boiling water or broth for five minutes before making any noodle-dish you so desire. You could try this green tea chicken and buckwheat noodle soup, cook up these easy cold sesame buckwheat noodles or throw them into your favourite stir-fry; your tastebuds and your body will be stoked on this healthy superfood.

 

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