You’re a full grown adult. It’s rare you come across a new food you didn’t know existed, right? It would almost be like someone telling you there’s a new colour you have never seen before? It just doesn’t happen…very often, that is.
Today’s the day: I’m about to tell you about some spices and foods that likely aren’t on your radar, and that might be hugely beneficial to your health.
Sumac is a spice, from the Middle East, that has an antioxidant measurement that legitimately raises the bar. Truth: Antioxidants are higher in sumac than any other food!
You know how they say kale is a superfood because it’s ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) is high? In other words, kale is high in antioxidants. Well, sumac puts kale to shame, as it’s 176 times higher than kale.
Beware, though, you only need a little bit of sumac sprinkled on your salad. It’s salty and lemony (a great salt substitute if you’re afraid of too much salt in your diet), and a little bit goes a long way.
That’s right: A new fruit is in town. It’s tangy and a little citrus-y, and it’s called baobab fruit. From a tree grown in Africa, its fruit and seeds and leaves have only come to the western world recently (since about 2008). At least, that’s the year the European Union authorized it as an ingredient.
Like Sumac, Baobab fruit is incredibly high in antioxidants. Acai is another popular fruit known for being high in antioxidants, but Baobab’s ORAC is 40 percent higher than Acai! It also boasts six times amount of vitamin C as oranges and twice the amount of calcium as milk.
Sometimes you can get it at Whole Foods, but other times you need to go to a African grocery store to find it (which can be quite rare depending on where you live). Read more about this fruit here.
You may have heard the word sorghum, as it is becoming more and more common on superfood lists these days, but you likely haven’t thought about what it actually is.
Basically, it’s an ancient grain (also from Africa) and can be prepared like rice, or ground into flour, or even used in beer. What’s great about it, however, is it’s gluten-free and is a good source of protein. And once again, antioxidants are high. Check out more here.
Similarly, teff is a cereal grass (from North Africa) that is high in minerals like iron and zinc. Like sorghum, it’s also gluten-free. It can be cooked into things like polenta of flatbreads, or you can turn it into gluten-free pancakes!
Wakame and Arame
It’s probably not news that seaweed has become more popular and healthy than it appeared to be when you were a child, but did you know certain types of seaweeds are better than others: Enter Wakame and Arame.
What makes wakame, a seaweed, particularly beneficial is its high mineral and vitamin levels—magnesium, iodine, calcium and iron, as well as Vitamin A, B,C, D E and K. Pretty much all the vitamins are found in this seaweed. It’s also high in folate, which helps your body make new cells (and is especially important for pregnant women).
As for Arame, it’s actually a type of kelp that usually gets reconstituted as a liquid and is then added to soups and casseroles. Like Wakame, Arame is high in vitamins and minerals and also super high in antioxidant capacity.
If you’re looking to replace potatoes or sweet potatoes and are tired of yuca root, this South American root vegetable Arracacha might be the right call for you. It’s flavor is a cross between celery root and carrot, and it’s great for purees, mashes and soups. However, unlike potatoes and sweet potatoes, Arracacha is pretty low in calories and it also high in calcium.
A new lettuce has emerged, except it’s actually a weed, like a dandelion, and it’s called purslane. It’s popular in both Greek and Mexican cuisine and is super high in Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as in vitamin C and E, and it’s also a great source of soluble fiber. Basically, though, it’s a lettuce. It’s crunchy, but also offers a bit of a lemony kick. It’s a perfect addition to mix with other lettuces, or spinach, in a salad.
Feel free to add to the list: What foods and spices do you use that have health benefits that others might not know about? Share your secrets!