Knowing exactly what “a healthy diet” means can be confusing when it comes to conflicting headlines touting the latest “miracle diet” food trend. That’s why This Week’s post explores the science behind some recent food trends. Read on to learn about the potential benefits of black-colored foods, sprouting, and algae. Yes, algae.
When it comes to superfoods, is black the new green?
Everyone grew up hearing “eat your greens,” but are black-colored foods the new darling of health conscious parents everywhere? Black-colored foods have a host of nutritional benefits. For example, black garlic—which is regular garlic that has been fermented—has more cancer-fighting antioxidants than regular garlic, since the fermentation process increases antioxidant bioactivity. Black rice—aka forbidden rice—rivals blueberries in health-promoting phytonutrients known as anthocyanins. And blackberries provide a nutrient-rich dessert without spiking blood sugar. So next time you’re wanting to try one of the newest health food trends, why not dig into some healthy black-colored superfoods!
Is it better to “cook” foods…by sprouting?
While many of us know that eating beans and whole grains is healthy, many of us opt for processed foods when time is short. But thanks to sprouting, you can have a nutritious and protein-packed vegan meal in a matter of minutes. Sprouting consists of soaking seeds, grains, and legumes in water for 2-3 days until the husk breaks and green sprouts form. By sprouting, you can greatly reduce your cook time since sprouting breaks down the outer husks that take longer to cook. Plus sprouting reduces compounds that interfere with mineral absorption—increasing nutrient bioavailability—as well as increases fiber by 6-13% in certain foods such as brown rice. To reduce risk of bacterial contamination, pre-cook seeds/beans/grains for 5 minutes with a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide + 140°F water, then rinse for 1 minute. Then begin the soaking process, rinsing the seeds/beans/grains twice a day.
Is spirulina the new “it” food?
While kale is certainly still the darling of health conscious food trends, it seems spirulina—and its algae cousins, chlorella and AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae)—are giving kale a run for its money! That’s because algae is packed with cancer-fighting chlorophyll. Algae also has a fair amount of essential vitamins and minerals: 1 tbsp of spirulina has 11-25% DV of iron, and AFA has 100% DV of vitamin B12. Chlorella is linked with boosting immunity and all 3 might aid in promoting heart health. Of course, more research is still needed on algae to confirm preliminary findings, but it seems that trendy spirulina, chlorella, and AFA might soon prove to be a superfood you won’t want to do without! For best flavor, put algae powder in a smoothie with fruit—which can reduce algae’s intense earthiness.
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