The hottest new foods these days aren’t necessarily new, but they are definitely amassing fame and attention. Read on to learn how these five fads can benefit your diet and how to enjoy them.
Matcha Green Tea
Although matcha green tea has been used for centuries in China and Japan, it has recently taken the health world by storm. Matcha is a finely milled or fine powdered green tea with potent antioxidant properties. In fact, one glass of matcha green tea is equivalent to 10 cups of regular green tea in terms of antioxidant power. That’s because you’re consuming the leaf as a whole instead of just the brewed water where a majority of beneficial compounds remains trapped in the tea leaves, which are thrown out after steeping.
You can certainly make tea using matcha, but it can also be blended into smoothies, juices, and used to flavor milk, ice cream, yogurt, and even cake! Check out my Green Tea Pound Cake and Mango Green Tea Smoothie.
This plant stem, usually found underground, looks like ginger—they’re actually part of the same family. You can slice it and blend into smoothies (like this Turmeric Smoothie) or even juice it. Or, more commonly, it’s dried in hot ovens and ground into a deep-orange-yellow powder commonly used in curries. This powder can be blended into curries, yogurts, hummus or even tuna salad for a nice, earthy flavor.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric that’s also responsible for its yellow hue, functions as both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It may help prevent cancer by interfering with aspects of cellular signaling. And its anti-inflammatory effects can also help with pain, especially from arthritis. Using curry powder to spice up chicken and egg dishes is an easy way to incorporate it into your diet, and it has the added bonus of adding flavor to your meals without adding any calories.
You don’t need crazy amounts to get some benefit, about 1/4 teaspoon daily is all it takes. I recommend starting off with small amounts in curry recipes (it’s commonly found in curry spice blends) and increasing the amount slowly.
This high-quality carbohydrate is a good grain choice if you have heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even celiac disease (it’s gluten-free!). It is very high in magnesium, which helps reduce the risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, migraine headaches and PMS symptoms.
Simply cook it like you would other grains and serve as a side dish or use in place of oatmeal for a hot breakfast cereal. I love it in this Millet with Black Beans, Kale, Red Pepper and Mushrooms dish.
Bone broth (also called stock) is made by using the feet, knuckles, tendons and bones from poultry, beef, pork and fish to make broth. Although home cooks and chefs have been doing this for centuries, its popularity has recently peaked. Broth has always been considered a healing food—think about that chicken noodle soup that makes you feel oh-so-good when you have the sniffles.
Many are touting bone broth as a magic elixir that helps improve everything from joint function to wound healing to immunity, but there are only a few scientific studies investigating these benefits. According to a study published in 2000, chicken broth (in general) may help reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection by loosening up mucus in the nasal pathways and helping to hydrate your body. No one would argue that chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food when you’re under the weather.
Some claim that the collagen in the broth even helps heal bones. But our bodies don’t absorb collagen in its whole form—the digestive system breaks it down into amino acids for the body to use as building blocks wherever it’s needed.
Another use for bone broth that may actually be beneficial is as a sports recovery drink. Kobe Bryant and other L.A. Lakers have been hyping it recently. Bone broth helps to replace electrolytes and fluids, and the amino acids may help with rebuilding muscle after tough workouts.
Keep in mind there is no ONE “magic” ingredient that the body needs. We need a variety of nutrients from different sources to create a nutritionally sound diet. Bone broth can certainly be a part of a well-balanced meal plan, but it is not a “miracle cure” for anything.
There’s not one right way to make bone broth. You can make it with different animal bones, different herbs and spices, different cooking times (some recipes call for 24-plus hours of simmering). Try my version or put your own spin on it, adding your preferred seasonings.
Tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts at all—they are small tubers, which have been used for centuries in Africa. In fact, tiger nuts have been discovered in Egyptian sarcophagi (Egyptians are buried with their most valuable possessions). Because they are high in fiber, they may help reduce cholesterol and keeping you regular. In Ayurvedic medicine, tiger nuts are believed to help with diarrhea, gas, dysentery and indigestion. It has a large amount of vitamin E, which makes it a popular ingredient in anti-aging products.
Tiger nuts have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Because they are hard, they are generally soaked in water to soften before eating. You can enjoy them raw, roasted, dried, baked or as tiger nut milk or oil. In Spain, it is used to make “horchata,” a milky beverage mixed with sugar and water. The flour of roasted tiger nut is sometimes added to baked goods.