If you’re a little bored of relying on quinoa, kale and blueberries to keep your body healthy and full of nutrients, there is a brand-new crop of superfoods making their way to supermarkets and health stores, about to expand your palette and make planning your meals exciting again.
These foods recommended by experts, from veggies and extracts to seeds and oils, are the exciting superfoods you’ll be seeing all over shelves, recipes and, yes, social media in 2019. They are all packed with good-for-you nutrients that help with everything from disease prevention to reduced inflammation.
Seaweed is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, and zinc, and it’s also high in iodine, which you need for healthy thyroid function and regulates energy levels, mood, and weight. Christy Brissette, RD, a registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago, recommends ordering seaweed salad at Japanese restaurants or adding dried seaweed to popcorn, trail mix, soup, roasted veggies, and grain bowls.
Not only are hemp hearts and seeds a great source of plant-based protein, they also have an optimal ratio of 3:1 omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, making them a great way to fight inflammation throughout the body while building strong muscles and bones.
Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian and owner of BZ Nutrition in New York City, recommends keeping a bag of hemp hearts in your refrigerator, because the seeds stay fresh for longer there than when kept in a cabinet. From there, you can add the seeds to salads, avocado toast, oatmeal, stir-fry, and more.
Moringa is increasing in popularity, and for good reason. In addition to being chock-full of protein, iron, and calcium, some research suggests it might support milk production in new mothers — always consult a doctor before consuming supplements or new foods while lactating.
“Moringa is a great source of vitamin C that will promote a healthy immune system,” Zeitlin told POPSUGAR. “It is also a good source of antioxidants that will help prevent free radicals from causing damage to your cells.”
Tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts, but rather a type of tuber that is high in insoluble fiber, which aids in digestive health. “Tiger nuts also contain enzymes, such as amylases and lipases, that could help with digestion,” Brissette said. “They’re also rich in monounsaturated fats, the same heart-healthy type found in olive oil and avocados. And because they are rich in the amino acid arginine, they could also improve insulin sensitivity and help control blood sugar.”
Chaga mushrooms have grown increasingly popular, particularly blended into coffee, like in Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Mix ($12), tea, and other beverage mixes. “These fiber-rich mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants like selenium, and have anti-inflammatory effects, too,” Zeitlin said. “They have also been linked with lowering cholesterol, boosting heart health, and managing chronic illnesses.”
The resistant starch found in cassava and cassava flour is a type of fiber that feeds your healthy gut bacteria and helps boost your digestive health while also lowering inflammation, Brissette said. It may also help control blood sugar and help you feel more full after eating, which could help with weight loss.
“This gluten-free flour is gaining popularity Whole30 friendly,” Brissette said. “It’s also nut-free, which is great for people with allergies. Cassava flour has a fine, light texture and neutral flavor so it works well in all kinds of recipes, including muffins and pancakes.”
Maqui berries help lower inflammation thanks to antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and flavonoids. “There’s some evidence that maqui berries can help with dry eyes and diabetes, and a small research study in people with prediabetes found that macqui berry extract could help lower fasting insulin and glucose levels,” Brissette said. “In another small study, taking maqui berry extract [like Biofinest Maqui Berry Juice Powder ($14)] over 3 months lowered hemoglobin A1C (plasma glucose concentration) and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) while raising good LDL cholesterol.”
Like kefir, sauerkraut is rich in probiotics, a type of good bacteria that can improve your immune health, boost your metabolism, and promote digestive health. “Sauerkraut could also be helpful in preventing sickness, thanks to its antibacterial properties,” Brissette said. “Because it’s made from cabbage, sauerkraut is also packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports your immune system, vitamin K for bone health, and fiber, which can help keep you regular and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”
Trout is high in omega-3s,which may help promote heart health by supporting healthy blood pressure and triglyceride levels, Brissette said. “The oily fish is also high in protein and an excellent source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which you need for a healthy heart, brain, and eyes,” she added.
Kefir, like Maple Hill Creamery Organic Kefir, Plain ($7), is an excellent source of vitamin B and probiotics, which are bacteria that boost your body’s immune response, production of vitamins and absorption of minerals. “Probiotics also support healthy digestion and can help prevent disease, as well as depression and anxiety,” Brissette said.
Dietitians universally agree that pistachio nuts are a great snack choice, as they are full of nutrients such as B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. They also can ultimately help you lose weight, manage blood sugar levels, and boost your (good) HDL cholesterol. “These nuts are one of the highest in protein and fiber, and they hit the superfood trifecta because they are also a great source of healthy unsaturated fats,” Zeitlin added.
Experts often agree that avocado oil is a healthier to cook with than coconut oil, as it has lower levels of saturated fatty acids. “Avocados are a great source of antioxidants that help fight free radicals from causing damage in your body,” Zeitlin said. “They are also loaded in heart-healthy fats that can keep down your cholesterol and combat inflammation throughout your body.”
Turmeric has been heralded by medical experts as a “wonder spice” for its anti-inflammatory benefits in aiding gastrointestinal issues. “Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin, which aids in inflammation and heart health, and supports immunity,” Kellilyn Fierras, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian in Boston told POPSUGAR. “It also contains fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help promote optimal health.”
In addition to aiding in digestion and helping to heal gut inflammation, bone broth is known for being high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and collagen, a protein that gives skin its elasticity to look smooth and plump, as well as keeping your joints healthy to prevent arthritis, Zeitlin said.
Nut oils are a great way to switch up your cooking flavors and still get loads of nutrition, Zeitlin said. “Whether you’re using peanut oil, walnut oil, or macadamia nut oil, all of these are a great source of the antioxidant vitamin E and high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that also work to lower inflammation”