The latest superfood trends

Step aside kale and quinoa. Here are the nutrient-dense foods you need to know about

Everybody loves their superfoods; whether it’s in a smoothie or tossed in a salad, we can’t get enough of them. If you want to make more health conscious choices in your daily life then these are the latest superfood trends you need to know about. Here’s what they can do for you and how best to digest them.

Sprouted foods

“Sprouts increase the nutritional content of the food considerably and the very nature of the sprouting process makes them easy to digest, as all enzyme inhibitors have been removed,” says Amanda Brocket from The Raw Food Kitchen; she’s a big fan of sprouting and runs classes in Sydney. Sprouting involves soaking and then drying out nuts and seeds to activate their enzymes, which we need for major bodily functions.

How to use it: It’s easy to do at home: “simply pop seeds in a jar or nut milk bag, soak overnight, and rinse and drain the next day twice a day until the tails form. Think alfalfa, mung bean, radish, broccoli and even gluten-free grains,” says Brocket. Sprouts can be made into dips and crackers or eaten in salads. 

Teff

“Teff is the new super grain on the block,” says dietitian Dr. Joanna McMillan. “It’s high in a special type of fibre called resistant starch. This promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, boosting immune function and promoting good gut health.” Plus, it’s gluten-free and especially high in calcium – a bonus for those dairy free diets.

How to use it: Similar to quinoa, teff needs to be cooked and can then be thrown into salads, made into porridge, used in baking and so on. If you have a high-powered food processor you can grind it into flour, or you can buy ready-made teff flour. 

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a nutrient-dense veg that contains a huge array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fibre, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. It can improve heart health and boasts cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties and digestive benefits. “The reality is that every food that comes from nature, when it is grown in healthy soils, is a superfood,” says Marieke Rodenstein from The Nutrition Practice. “Local, seasonal food is really beneficial. People [should] to focus on dietary diversity – ordinary food that is accessible, that you could even grow in your own backyard.”

How to use it: Eat it raw in salads; break it up then roast or chargrill; chop or whizz it to make a raw rice alternative. 

Lupin

You’re not eating flowers; this is lupin the legume we’re talking about. “What makes lupin different is that it has a very low amount of available carbohydrate and an extremely high amount of fibre,” says Dr. McMillan. In 100g of lupin you get around 40g of protein, only 4g of carbohydrates, 6g of fat and a whopping 37g of fibre. “[It’s] a pretty amazing food to add to a recipe to reduce the glycaemic load,” says Dr. McMillan. Lupin is widely grown in Australia, making it a good local choice.

How to use it: Make dips, protein balls, patties, falafels and even pancakes with it, or add cooked lupin flakes to salads. “The flakes make an excellent crumb for schnitzel or baked fish or chicken,” says Dr. McMillan, while lupin flour is a good substitute for regular flour. 

Black rice

Bet you never expected rice to deliver more antioxidants than blueberries, but it’s true. Black rice, once known as “forbidden rice” in China because only nobles were allowed to eat it, is loaded with anthocyanin and vitamin E antioxidants; these plant-based antioxidants are believed to help clean up harmful free radicals and protect the arteries. “Black rice has a delicious nutty taste and superior health benefits that make it a new alternative to white and brown rice,” says Vladia Cobrdova, About Life’s wellness ambassador.

How to use it: Great in sushi and desserts - this rice can be used as you would any other. 

Ghee

This clarified butter is regarded as heaven-sent by Ayurvedic practitioners, who believe it to be anti-ageing, beneficial for digestion and detoxifying when eaten, as well as externally useful in healing bruises, burns and cuts. “Ghee has been time-tested for around 5000 years in Ayurvedic medicine,” says Rita Sagrani from The Ayurvedic Wellness Centre. It is also good for those with lactose and casein intolerances, and has a high smoke point of up to 252 degrees Celsius (meaning when heated it will not break down into free radicals, which are potentially damaging to your body), so it’s great for cooking. It has medium-chain fatty acids, which are easily burnt as energy by the liver and can increase your metabolism. “Ghee is the perfect power food for any athlete as it has anti-inflammatory properties,” says Cobrdova. “In Ayurvedic it is considered one of the most positive and influential foods that promotes growth and expansion of consciousness.”

How to use it: Try it as a butter or oil substitute when cooking at high temperatures, or add to steamed vegies to increase vitamin absorption.

The next big trend in superfoods

Vladia Cobrdova’s predictions:

Kohlrabi: “The new kale,” says Cobrdova. It’s a rich source of vitamin C and B6, potassium and calcium. 

Kakadu plum: A gift of the dreamtime. High in folate and iron, the Kakadu plum has the highest recorded levels of vitamin C in the world, measuring up to 100 times the vitamin C content found in oranges. 

Mushrooms: The healing power of mushrooms will be at the forefront of everyone’s cooking, with mushroom powder used in teas and smoothies. 

Cactus powder and cactus water: Prickly pears (also known as cactus pear) are a source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, calcium and anti-inflammatory compounds. Very hydrating, with anti-ageing properties. 

Baobab powder: Bursting with antioxidants and vitamin C, baobab has a massive 50 per cent fibre, which is the key to a happy gut. Baobab has more potassium than bananas so your muscles work more effectively and recover faster after exercise.