Forget kale and Manuka honey: From Bulletproof Coffee to bee pollen, these are the healthy food trends for 2015
Whether you want to aid weight loss, lower stress levels, ward off colds, improve skin tone or sharpen your concentration, here are the superfoods you'll be tucking into this year
Wednesday 07 January 2015
Over the last year, diet has become a key concern – on both ends of the spectrum. Healthy foods, caveman-style eating and kale became part of the zeitgeist, while cronuts, hipster burger joints and salted caramel seemed to be on the lips (and in the bellies) of foodies everywhere.
The obesity crisis grew even as celebrities, chefs and politicians jostled to tell us how they had quit sugar, dairy, gluten or meat, and lost pounds in the process. We wore yoga gear and day-glo trainers – even on the days we had no intention of going to the gym. We smugly carried around our Nutribullet beakers brimming with green juice, ignoring them rattling around our handbags later that evening when ordering a large glass of Merlot.
healthiness is now officially HIP. But, like all things hipster, every craze
quickly loses its clout and there are a whole host of other bandwagons to leap
on before the masses find out about them. So here’s a guide to staying ahead of
the curve (and, erm, curves) with some upcoming health crazes.
Kelp is the new kale
saw the emergence of an unassuming green leaf that was previously barely used
beyond cattle feed. Now, we have kale chips in Pret, kale juices, ‘massaged’
kale salads – it’s even on the menu in fine dining restaurants. Yawn.
Introducing kelp. This seaweed is high in iodine, which is said to improve
thyroid function and control metabolism. It is also thought to have anti-aging
properties for skin and hair. Try it in salads or add to asian-style soups.
Fermenting is the new sprouting
we thought we were ahead of the game by starting to sprout our own seeds and
with sprouted flours creeping on to the market, the health set had to kick it
up a notch. Now it’s all about making your own kombucha (fermented tea),
sauerkraut or kimchi (both kinds of pickled cabbage). Fermented foods are said
to aid digestion thanks to the creation of enzymes and probiotics in the
process. Plus they tend to be high in B-vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids. Think
of it as the new jam-making, and break out those mason jars.
Acai bowls are the new green juice
thought we’d have been ok with adding spinach to our smoothies? Yet even
virtuous green juices started to get something of a bad rep, as the ‘juice
fast’ backlash grew and it turned out that some shop-bought juices contained as
much sugar as a can of fizzy drink. Bring on Acai bowls, the new darlings of
Instagram. Like a gloopier smoothie, these are made with antioxidant-rich acai
berries (they are hard to come by – search for powdered or dried berries or
frozen puree), which are said to aid weight loss. Blend with frozen bananas,
berries and a little nut milk and top with whatever you like – seeds, nuts,
cacao nibs, goji berries. A picture-perfect purple powerhouse for breakfast. See a recipe here.
Matcha is the new green tea
yes, green tea, weightloss, yadda yadda yadda, boosts metabolism, etc etc. For
2015, though, it’s not about just any old green tea – this is matcha green tea.
Made from finely milled high-grade matcha leaves, which are grown in the shade,
matcha boasts 130 times more anti-oxidants than your bog standard green tea and
is supposed to boost energy levels, lower stress, improve your mood and aid
metabolism. It can be consumed as a regular tea, added to steamed milk for a
matcha latte or even used to add a pleasant green shade and flavour to
Whole 30 is the new Paleo diet
you were a culinary champ with your caveman-style eating plan? Well, think
again, paleo is for wimps! Ok, not quite, but while people on the paleo plan
cut out grains, legumes, sugar and processed foods, there is an increasing
trend to paleo-fy your treats, with almond-flour pancakes, banana bread and a
lot of brownies. The Whole 30 plan is a purer, stricter version of Paleo and
really takes you back to basics when it comes to eating natural foods. The
30-day plan bans scales as well as sugar and alcohol, so that you can
concentrate on nourishment rather than weight.
Bee pollen is the new Manuka honey
health hipster has a jar of manuka honey on their shelves – if they can afford
it that is, a jar can cost about £15. But many claim it is worth its weight in
gold, due to its unique antibacterial properties. Traditionally it was used on
wounds, but many also claim that it performs miracles combatting cholesterol,
diabetes, cancer and digestive problems (although the science is limited). Now
bee pollen is the latest ‘superfood’ out there – thought to ward off colds,
limit food cravings, improve skin tone, ward off allergies like hay fever
(although some caution that it may exacerbate them) and, of course, fight
cancer. Again, the science behind these claims is dubious – but it certainly
adds a nice sweetness to your morning porridge.
Tiger nuts are the new almonds
a good year for almonds. Gym-goers and raw foodists alike carried around a
stash for healthy, protein-rich snacking, almond-milk lattes were quaffed, and
almond flour featured in so many paleo and gluten-free treats. Now tiger nuts,
or ‘earth almonds’ (yes, really), are about to vie for snacking superiority.
Tiger nuts are not nuts, but the tubers of the sedge plant. Originally a key
food source for Paleolithic Indians, they have until recently been used as
animal feed or a side dish in South America, Africa and the Middle East, or in
Hispanic companies made into a sweet, milky drink called horchata. But now the
hipsters have got their hands on it, drying, roasting and flavouring with the
likes of sweet chilli for an on-the-go snack. High in healthy fats, protein and
natural sugar, it is rich in energy content, and thought to help prevent heart
disease and improve circulation.
Bone broth is the new Miso soup
back in the day when the word ‘broth’ would conjure up visions of Dickensian
orphanages? Then miso came along, Gwyneth embraced it, and we all followed
suit, lauding how filling and protein rich with little wonder broth was. We’ve
come full circle now, as bone broth is back on the radar. The
glowing-with-health Hemsley sisters seem to use bone broth in most of their
recipes, and rave about its nutritional benefits. “Bone broth is a nourishing
all rounder packed with vitamins, minerals, collagen and keratin which makes it
amazing for skin – including the dreaded cellulite! The healthy fats in the
broth help you to assimilate important vitamins including Vit D.” There you go,
something to stew over…
Banana flour is the new coconut flour
flour was one of the coolest baking ingredients of the year, beloved by Paleo
fans. Its highly absorbent qualities mean you only need a tiny bit for baking,
keeping your creations low carb but resulting in the odd dry-crumbly-mess
baking fail. Banana flour is the next flour to experiment with. Made from green
bananas (and no, not banana-flavoured), it is gluten free and light in texture,
so ideal for baking. High in resistant starch, which is effective against colon
cancer, obesity, and diabetes, it is already being lauded for its nutritional
benefits in Africa and South America, and will surely start to become much more
visible on health-food shop shelves in the near future.
Bulletproof Coffee is the new soy latte
it is possible to walk into almost any cafe and order a soy latte without being
eyeballed as a lunatic by the person behind the counter. But would you have the
guts to request a stick of butter in your morning brew? Well, some coffee shops
are offering exactly that. Bulletproof coffee is a paleo-friendly invention
which involves a black coffee with a dollop of coconut oil or butter. Bleurgh.
But advocates say it gives you more slow-release energy, sharpens your brain
and helps you to focus – and even that it is delicious. Now the theory has been
expanded into a whole ‘Bulletproof’ diet plan, rich in fat. Who wants to bet on
when Starbucks will give it a shot?