Superfoods like chia, coconut, kale, and berries are everywhere – in grocery store aisles, on restaurant menus, and in just about every smoothie bar shop or breakfast bowl cafe. There’s a good reason for this: they’re nutritionally dense and give you the most bang for your caloric buck.
While the superfoods we’ve come to know and love aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, there are plenty more that experts expect to rise in popularity this year as people come to understand their benefits.
The Gates Foundation called cassava ‘the next corn.’ It contains three grams of fiber per cup, plus plenty of vitamin C and potassium, and there are so many different ways to consume it. Whole cassava root can be used to replace starchy root vegetables in stews or mashes, but they can also be peeled and roasted or fried (think yuca chips). Cassava flour is free of gluten and nuts and is both paleo and vegan-friendly, and it’s perfect for gluten-free baking. Since cassava contains cyanogenic glycosides, it should not be consumed raw.
Though matcha has been everyone’s go-to, moringa deserves a spot among the ‘new superfoods.’ It’s packed with nutrients and is a significant source of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as potassium, calcium, and protein. It also fights inflammation, supports brain health, and contains antioxidants that prevent free radical damage and degradation to keeping cells healthy and functioning properly. The most common way to consume moringa is in powder form, which you can add to tea, smoothies, stir fries, curries, pesto, and even soups.
Also known as Peruvian ground cherries, this member of the nightshade family is native to South America and can be found at specialty grocery stores and, increasingly, regular supermarkets near the fresh berries. Golden berries are high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A, which is important for the eyes and skin. They also contain the antioxidants carotenoids and polyphenols, which are key players in the body’s fight against harmful free radicals. Try using them in a smoothie, on a salad, or by themselves as a snack
Tigernuts aren’t really nuts at all, but rather a type of starchy tuber. They’re the main ingredient of the popular Spanish horchata and are chock full of fiber, plant-based protein, potassium, and magnesium. They’re also loaded with prebiotics, which act as food for the human microflora and help improve digestion. Tigernuts are pretty versatile and can be eaten raw, though they’re softer and easier to chew once they’ve been re-hydrated or boiled in water. They’re a great snack on their on or as an addition to sweet dishes, and milk made from tigernuts is an excellent dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk.
Despite what most kids are told about eating watermelon seeds, they’re completely safe to consume – and have some great health benefits! The (mostly tasteless) black seeds contain nutrients including vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and are also a good source protein and healthy fats. The best way to consume them is sprouted, shelled, and dried, as simply eating them raw won’t deliver those benefits. Then, they can be snacked on or added to salads.