Each new year brings new health and lifestyle trends and with those new trends come new superfoods. As the health-conscious lifestyle trend progresses, these superfoods tend to get more and more “out-there” or obscure for many of us subscribed to the typical Western acculturations. The coming year will be no exception. It’s predicted that 2018 will be one of the best years for the discovery and application of superfoods yet.
Compiled below are 11 of the best superfoods and superfood trends in 2018.
1. Watermelon Seeds
Similar to chia or pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds are the latest superfood to gain popularity. Just one cup of watermelon seeds contains a whopping 31 grams of protein, as well as magnesium, vitamin B and both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You can use watermelon seeds similarly to how you would use chia or pumpkin seeds, but to reap the maximum benefits, sprout and shell the seeds before consuming them.
→ To read more about the numerous health benefits of watermelon, click here.
Moringa oleifera is an incredibly nutritious plant that is becoming increasingly popular as the next “supergreen” alongside other supergreen staples such as kale, green tea, and matcha. Moringa offers numerous health benefits including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are great for reducing unwanted signs of aging, balancing cell health and alleviating inflammation and pain in the body.
Plus, Moringa contains all nine essential amino acids. Moringa also contains significant amounts of protein, calcium, vitamin C, and iron.
→ For seven more health benefits of moringa, click here.
3. Tiger nuts
A relatively unknown nut and an ancient protein source (since at least the 5th millennium B.C.), tiger nuts are slowly making their way onto every health conscious individual’s radar. Even though the nuts are relatively small, they pack a major nutritious punch. Tiger nuts are very high in fiber, protein, potassium, and magnesium, among other essential nutrients. In addition, tiger nuts contain prebiotics which can help balance the digestive system.
Tiger nuts can be ground into flour, or used to make a dairy-free milk alternative.
→ To read more about tiger nuts making their way to the superfood stage, click here.
While not necessarily a whole food by definition, a “super-powder” typically consists of many superfoods made into a powder. These powders can easily be incorporated into smoothies, soups and even desserts such as cakes, mousses and ice creams. Common “super-powders” include blends with matcha, cacao, maca, spirulina, kale, and curcuma.
While it did gain some traction in 2017, kelp is expected to really take off in 2018 as the next popular superfood. Many vitamins and supplements already contain kelp as an ingredient, but it’s predicted kelp will be a staple in many recipes such as soups, stews, burgers and more. Move over sushi, kelp is ready to stand alone.
→ For more information on kelp plus a link to a tasty kelp-noodle based recipe, click here.
While the health benefits of peas are already to be expected as with most veggies, peas are just now really taking off as an alternative source of protein and another superfood to watch out for in 2018. Perhaps the biggest advantage for peas is that they can be eaten in so many ways. Peas can be steamed, mashed, dried, raw and virtually any other way you can imagine. In addition, peas are also considered generally hypoallergenic which means they are usually safe for people with food allergies.
7. Chaga mushrooms
Those they don’t look particularly appetizing, Chaga mushrooms are an incredibly healthy addition to any health-conscious individual’s diet. These mushrooms are incredibly high in fiber, which is great for helping to regulate the digestive system. Plus, studies have shown Chaga mushrooms contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well. This means Chaga mushrooms can be supportive in the relief of inflammation as well as help enhance the immune system.
8. Nut oils
Nut butters were the talk of 2016 and 2017, but 2018 will be the year of nut oils. Many people are turning to more health-conscious oils for use in their everyday recipes. Commonly used oils such as canola, corn and soy oils are typically highly processed and provide no real nutritional value. On the other hand, oils derived from nuts are full of essential nutrients and provide many health benefits including cardiovascular-protecting properties.
Consider trying a nut oil such as cold-pressed almond, walnut, cashew or hazelnut next time you get a craving for hearty goodness.
*Note: If you’re allergic to nuts, consider trying avocado or coconut oil as these are much healthier alternatives to the run-of-the-mill as well.*
9. Maqui berries
Goji and acai berries have had their time to shine, and now it’s time for maqui berries to steal the spotlight. Maqui berries are significantly less bitter and add a milder flavor to any recipe they’re incorporated in. Not only are these tasty berries high in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are also incredibly high in antioxidants, meaning they likely have anti-aging, anti-cancer and immune boosting properties as well. Plus, they can help aid in the digestive process by reducing inflammation, helping to regulate blood sugar and boosting the metabolism.
→ For more information about maqui berries, click here.
Not only is elderflower incredibly tasty, it also has strong antiviral properties. In fact, both the flower and berry of the elderflower plant have been used for centuries to fight off sinus infections, sore throats and even viruses such as the common cold and flu. Elderflower is often made into a sort of syrup, while the fruit is often baked into desserts, jams, and jellies.
→ To read more about edible flowers, click here.
Ashwagandha is a common Indian herb that has been used since ancient times in a popular form of alternative healing called Ayurveda. This super-herb is said to have many healing effects on the body including regulating the immune system and fighting against anxiety, insomnia, stress and even liver problems. Typically, Ashwagandha is found in powder or capsule form.
→ For more information about this ancient herb, click here.
As you can see, many new foods will soon be incorporated into every popular dish, plant-based or otherwise. From ancient herbs to new heart-healthy oils, you won’t want to waste any more time without these incredible superfoods in your diet.