This article originally appeared as a guest post by Healthy Way to Cook on Food Wine Thyme. Kathy has a great blog with amazing healthy recipes! Check her out
We’ve all heard of superfoods—natural foods that have tons of incredible benefits like higher energy, lower risk for disease, and better overall health. Blueberries, salmon, spinach, and tea always seem to top the lists of foods we should be eating, but there are other lesser-known superfoods that can give you the same health boost. If you’re looking to expand your healthy eating horizons, try out these new superfoods recommended by Women’s Health Magazine:
This creamy, drinkable cousin of yogurt shares its taste, texture, and immune-enhancing probiotics, but packs more protein and less sugar. It may also protect against colon cancer. Plain kefir tastes a little like buttermilk, but can easily be flavored to suit your tastes. It makes a great substitute for yogurt in sauces, salad dressings and smoothies, like this purple kefir smoothie (via Health Food Lover).
Jicama is a root vegetable that’s rich in vitamin C for a healthy immune system and fighting signs of aging. It contains a belly-flattening fiber called inulin to promote helpful gut bacteria. The crunchy texture makes it a great raw ingredient, while the subtle sweetness complements a wide range of flavors. Spicy applications work really well, like in berry and jicama salsa (via Two Peas and Their Pod).
Between the high fiber, calcium, omega-3’s and iron, there’s just no reason not to eat these nutty seeds. They’re a great topping for cereal and salads, but you can also use chia seeds as a thickener since they become gelatinous when they absorb liquid. Try it in chia seed pudding (via Deliciously Organic).
Plants like broccoli are significantly higher in cancer-fighting antioxidants at a few days old than in their mature state, and are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins B and C, and protein. Sandwiches, salads, pizza, tacos, and baked potatoes all make great delivery devices for this superfood.
Most of us are used to the raw form of this bulb, but fermented garlic develops a matte-black color and sweet flavor. Its antioxidants are concentrated, so you get twice the potential to lower cholesterol and decrease cancer risk. Like its raw form, black garlic is good in savory dishes, but because of its clove-and-caramel flavor profile, you can also use it for baked goods like black garlic brownies (via Munchie Musings).
Who knew seaweed could be so good for you? Kelp promotes bone health with tons of vitamin K and calcium, can block fat with its natural alginate fiber, and may even prevent breast cancer. Use it as a low-calorie wrapper in its whole form, or mix it into everything from meatballs to homemade almond butter in powdered form (via Radiant Life Yoga).
Nutritional yeast has been popping up all over the healthy blogging world, and it’s easy to see why. With 9 grams of protein per serving and a high amount of B vitamins, these cheese-like flakes are an excellent supplement for vegetarians that don’t get these same benefits from meat. Sprinkle it as a topping on pasta, potatoes or eggs, or use it in a spicy “cheese” dip (via Averie Cooks).
You may have only ever encountered barley in soups, but this sweet grain can be a great alternative to pasta, rice, or oatmeal. It has lignans to fight cancer, niacin for healthy skin and hair, and soluble fiber to manage cholesterol levels. To make barley part of your breakfast, try it as a cereal with dried cherries and flax meal (via Martha Stewart).
Images for Kefir, Garlic and Sprouts – FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image for Jicama – Flickr user Gary Soup
Image for Chia – Flickr user little blue hen
Image for Nutritional yeast – Flickr user watashivani
Image for Kelp – Flickr user Mike Baird
Image Barley – Flickr user frostnova
Have you ever tried any of these superfoods? Which is your favorite? Which would you like to try?