Quinoa salads, matcha green tea lattes and goji berries are just some of the healthy foods that have enriched our meals in the last few years after being introduced to European tables for the first time. But 2018 is the year of the superfoods, which are taking over a growing section of the food market, either for their nutritional value or just plain curiosity. Here’s our list of the top 6 products we think you’ll hear more about in 2018
Sorghum, the gluten free grain
Originally from western Africa, it spread through Europe and the Middle East from the 7th to the 13th century. Sorghum is a gluten free product that experts say is lower in fat than quinoa. But what makes it even more alluring for nutritionists is its high protein and fiber content. It’s also been proven to work as an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Not only that but it’s also rich in potassium and phosphorus, 2 vital elements for reducing cholesterol and high blood pressure. These tiny grains have been called an ally in the fight against cancer, cardiovascular problems and obesity thanks to the presence of Anthocyanins. How can you use sorghum in your everyday cooking? Similar to porridge, you can cook it in almond milk with some vanilla for your breakfast, or maybe serving it alongside seasonal fruit.
Tiger nuts, an ancient tuber for lactose free milk
Also known as di babbagigi, which means ‘good seed’ in Arabic, tiger nuts are cultivated in Sicily and Spain. A study from the University of Oxford revealed that our ancestors in eastern Africa over 1.4 million years ago lived on a diet where these played a central role. Remnants of this tuber were even found in vases from ancient Egypt. They’re lactose and gluten free, rich in fiber and a natural source of magnesium. Tiger nuts are mainly used to make a highly digestible milk, but also make for a unique snack.
Moringa, the Food and Agricultural Organization’s superfood of choice
Moringa is making a name for itself as the miracle plant. What makes it so extraordinary is that every part of the plant can be used for a different purpose. The leaves, for example, are the most nutritious part: they contain significant amounts of vitamins A, B, C and K, and are cooked much like you’d cook spinach, or added to soups with other vegetables. Even the roots of this plant are edible, and so are the fruit and flowers. Although moringa comes from tropical regions (such as in Africa and India), today it’s imported into Europe in the form of energy bars or soluble powder.
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Macadamia nuts: ingredient for a long life
They’re so good for you that scientists are studying them. It seems that they can help combat free radicals and high cholesterol. Macadamia nuts are a traditional food of the native Australians, and were ‘discovered’ in 1858 by John McAdam, which is where the name comes from. Monounsaturated fat are what makes these nuts an ingredient for a longer life. They can be eaten plain or toasted, but some of the best combinations are with honey or chocolate. The chef Alessandro Borghese even used them to make a special pesto.
Purple potatoes: the Italian superfood
This tuber is grown in Italy, both in the Val de Ledo in Trentino, and in Sardegna, even though it was originally from South America – particularly Peru and Chile. Here again, the violet color is down to a high concentration of anthocyanins, an important antioxidant that also helps protect against aging of the skin. Among other benefits, purple potatoes are said to help prevent tumors and a buildup of cholesterol, which also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Maca: how Peruvian ginseng is used
Also known as Andean or Peruvian ginseng, maca grows in mountainous areas at altitudes over 3500 meters. Its natural habitat is in fact the Andes mountains. The local populations have known it for centuries, and cultivate it for its roots which have incredible benefits. The roots are dried and ground, and the powder made from this is used as an energy enhancement diluted in water or other hot or cold drinks. This is why it’s especially recommended for an athlete’s diet, because it helps build muscle mass. It’s often compared to ginseng in how it helps fight stress and fatigue.
Nadeesha Dilshani Uyangoda
Editor freelance, blogger, attivista, studentessa. Lettrice ossessiva e scrittrice compulsiva. Italiana per cultura, srilankese per eredità — sempre a metà tra due mondi. Millennial che preferisce la carta, ma si adegua al digitale per paura dell’estinzione.