Wellbeing

A Bluffer’s Guide To 5 Trendy Health Foods

Relax, we are all in the same boat; a new food trend seems to pop up every week and our palates and pockets can’t always keep up. Let nutritionist Rosie Mansfield demystify the weird from the wonderful, with a look at five major trending health foods.

Matcha

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a bunch of our regular weekly eats, like coffee and muffins, turning an intense forest green? That potent green powder is called Matcha, bursting with antioxidants and created from the same plant as good old green tea. The difference is found in how it is made.

The green tea leaves (specifically dark green Tencha leaves) are stone ground. The almost luminescent bright green powder can be used in baking, to dye food the colour of The Hulk or to simply make a comforting brew.

Should you bother?

The benefits of green tea are well publicised, and given that Matcha is a more concentrated form, I can’t fault this medicinal tea.

Wellness Mamma says, “One study found that Matcha has 137 times the polyphenols (notably, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)) than regular green tea. In fact, this type of green tea contains over 60x the antioxidants of spinach and 7x the antioxidants of high quality dark chocolate.” Considering antioxidants help slow down ageing by fighting free radicals, consuming the whole leaf means you’re consuming all the exceptionally beneficial antioxidants that you wouldn’t normally get by brewing standard green tea and throwing away the leaves.

Green tea is also a known booster of thermogenesis, the body’s rate of burning calories, which helps you to burn fat at a higher rate. It can improve cardiovascular health and matcha tea is unique because the process of growing it in shade before harvest increases the content of L-Theanine, an amino acid that helps balance the caffeine. So even though matcha may contain the same caffeine as other types of tea, the L-Theanine creates calmness without drowsiness – also improving concentration and focus.

Tasting a little like spinach, it’s not for everyone, but clearly well worth a red hot go.


Turmeric

No longer just for curries, when you spot a soup as bright as sunshine or someone’s fingertips stained golden, you know they have been having a ball in the kitchen with this ancient spice.

Should you bother?

A medicinal spice, curcumin is the active ingredient, which may help prevent dementia and cancer. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and champion antioxidant, and studies have shown it to reduce the severity of the common cold by boosting immunity. Turmeric also increases your metabolic rate and feelings of satiety (feeling full), meaning you use up more energy and want to eat less. You can eat it fresh by easily grating it into dishes, just like ginger, juice it, make a curry or gobble a high quality capsuled supplement. So that’s a yes, you should definitely bother.


Sea Vegetables

Strange I know, but people are even making lattes out of algae in trendy urban cafes nowadays. Sea vegetables (or seaweed) has been consumed by the Japanese as a staple in their daily diet for centuries and we all know how they like to live long healthy lives.

china-1177660_960_720

Should you bother?

Sea veggies are a wonderful source of bioavailable iron for energy and rich with iodine for thyroid health. A great addition to your daily diet. Fancy giving them a whirl? Just pop into your local health food store and you should find a variety of sea vegetables to experiment with in the kitchen. They come in many different colours, all tasting a little different. The most common sea vegetables that you may come across are Nori, Hijiki, Wakame, Arame, Kombu and Dulse. A very easy way to start using them is to start seasoning meals (think salads and soups), with dried sea vegetable flakes instead of sea salt.


Bulletproof Coffee

The Paleo community brought this breakfast ritual into the limelight, but now you can catch early morning Tradies swigging the concoction to improve energy – it raises ketones (a substance made when the body breaks down fat for energy) levels in the blood that the brain can use. You may also catch the weight loss warriors having a guzzle hoping to stay full till lunchtime, as the added fat should help with suppressing one’s appetite.

So what is it what exactly? Broken down, it is a cup of black coffee mixed with grass-fed unsalted butter and MCT oil. The advocates recommend it to be consumed in the morning instead of breakfast. However, what goes up, must come down – and there is a down.

Coffee-2

Should you bother?

Firstly, replacing breakfast with this beverage is a sure fire way to lower the amount of essential nutrients you could be consuming by a nutritious, balanced breakfast. Saturated fat has been disproven as the once-branded Devil we thought it to be, but it still must be consumed in moderation, and I believe this morning ritual to be pushing our limits a little further than I feel comfortable recommending.

Lastly, there are currently no studies on Bulletproof Coffee, so my advice to you is if you have high cholesterol please choose not to consume this beverage. To the rest of you, just make it a monthly event, not a daily one. Listen to your body.


Kombucha

Plain and simple, Kombucha is a fermented tea. Makers add a culture of bacteria and yeast called a ‘Scoby’ to a solution of tea and sugar. If alternative flavourings are desired, fruit juices may be added. Spooked by the floating bits at the bottom of the bottle? Don’t be as they are just sediment from the fermenting process. While we are on the subject of the fermentation process, I will mention that it may result in teeny, tiny amounts of alcohol. Kombucha must have less than 0.5% alcohol if it is to be sold.

A photo posted by Kahlan (@kambuchaa) on

Should you bother?

Kombucha may soothe digestive issues, as it is rich in probiotics (healthy gut bacteria), low in calories and has less sugar than a soft drink. You can purchase from a health food store or make your own if you are lucky enough to find a shop selling a ‘Scoby’. You’ll need to ferment it in big jar for up to two weeks, but make sure you research the proper technique as when brewed incorrectly you could become quite ill. It’s probably best to buy it to be safe, and there is plenty around these days. Enjoy in moderation and you and your gut bacteria will reap the rewards.


The Gen Y Nutritionist, Rosie, has a unique ability to connect with the next generation about what and how they eat in a way that is educational, sustainable and entertaining. As the founder of My Nutrition Adventure, Rosie’s knowledge extends to every type of eating plan be it vegetarian, gluten free, body specific and beyond.

Lead image: Matcha Mylk Bar Facebook