11 Superfoods To Try In The New Year If You Missed Your Chance In 2017
Foodie trends are my favorite trends, but even if you’re not actively keeping up with what’s hot as far as cooking essentials go, you’ve probably seen the term “superfood” get tossed around on Instagram, Pinterest, and maybe even your favorite cooking shows. For starters, pay close attention to your social feed; there was an abundance of must-have ingredients that took over the web and grocery lists of 2017. From spirulina powder to moon milk, there are countless superfoods to try in the new year if you’re looking to spruce up an otherwise bland palate and upscale meals that maybe aren’t as healthy as they could be with a few minor tweaks.
Obviously, not everyone cares about being "on trend," but you probably should care about the kinds of foods you're putting into your body, and how exactly these snack foods and full-course meals are nourishing your body (if at all). Social media influencers tend to entice their audiences to try superfoods by heavily focusing on how pretty their eats are, but aesthetic alone doesn't define these foods as "super." They stand apart from other good-for-you foods because they're loaded with antioxidants, they're anti-inflammatory, and they contain all-around medicinal, nourishing properties that keep you satiated, for one, but also really healthy in the long run.
So whether you're doing it for the 'gram or looking to better your meals in terms of taste and long-term benefits, here are some of the best superfoods of 2017 to sample in the new year.
All of those pretty mugs of moon milk clouding your Instagram feed aren't going anywhere, at least until the next holistic liquid lullaby takes the spotlight in 2018. But even though these warm, golden potions have the potential to become a forgotten fad in the coming months, adaptogens are forever (for now, at least).
These herbal supplements are wonderful for improving gut health, reducing stress, balancing hormones, and leveling up your sleep quality. In other words, you need these now.
2. Activated Popcorn
I'm honestly overwhelmed by the need to rant and rave to you all about the deliciousness that is this superfood popcorn from Living Intentions, because holy taste buds, this bag is a snacking game-changer.
The brand's collection of activated kernels features flavors like Tandoori Turmeric and Berry Smoothie, but their Salsa Verde seasoning is hands-down one of the best flavored popcorn I've ever tasted (beating out white cheddar, which was my go-to for years). Each bite has been sprinkled with zesty, aromatic spices and herbs, but Living Intentions also snuck in a dash of spirulina, chlorella, and kale, plus a whopping two billion probiotic cultures to boost your immune system while you snack.
Let's address the elephant in the room straight off the bat here: Until I roasted my veggies with this golden powder for the first time back in June, I was terrified and super reluctant about adding turmeric to my spice rack. Visions of stained fingernails and cooking utensils had me feeling hesitant, but once I educated myself on the many health benefits this superfood supplement has to offer, I caved.
In case you're still in the dark like I once was, turmeric contains a slew of medicinal properties, is naturally anti-inflammatory, and is said to encourage optimal focus. Ergo, you'll want to sprinkle this baby over tofu scrambles, poach eggs in turmeric water, and sneak it into as many recipes as humanly possible.
4. Chia Seeds
I had a friend back in college whose mother would pour a tablespoon or more of chia seeds straight into her water bottle so she could sip on and enjoy this superfood's benefits throughout the day. I'm admittedly not that advanced, but I do add a serving to oatmeal, smoothies, and on top of yogurt for a little extra fiber, omega 3's, and protein.
5. Sacha Inchi
If you know me personally, you're well aware of the fact that I am the queen of snacking, which isn't always a good thing because, rather than eat a full, nutritious meal, I'd rather graze throughout the day. Therefore, it's super important to incorporate foods into my diet that I can munch on the go while still properly fueling my body.
Enter sacha inchi, the seed whose aesthetic and texture eerily resembles a nut, and is a — *drumroll* — complete plant protein. About one-quarter cup yields more than eight grams of protein, five grams of fiber, and is loaded with healthy fats to keep you satiated.
6. Superfood Powders
Keeping up with the latest superfood trend can be expensive. So, even though all of the health benefits your favorite health gurus are preaching about sound fabulous, the products they're promoting aren't always budget-friendly.
Rather than spend your entire paycheck on 12 different items to stay relevant, give these powders from Amazing Grass a taste. The brand has a line of all sorts of scoopable superfoods that boast all kinds of antioxidant, detoxifying, and immunity-boosting properties in one shot.
OK, I'll admit it: I live for trendy health foods and powders that not only make my food better to eat, but also better to photograph for Instagram (but I know for a fact I'm not alone in this).
Acai is one of the many magical ingredients that wellness aficionados toss into their smoothie bowls for a bright, purple-tinted breakfast, with the added bonus of antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats.
If you've spent a Saturday (or two) skipping happy hour with your girlfriends to get chocolate-wasted, I've got an even healthier alternative for you. Dark chocolate is jam-packed with health benefits, but it's still considered a treat of sorts. Cacao powder, on the other hand, is something you can eat on the reg and benefit from every day.
For starters, a serving of cacao powder contains 40 times the amount of antioxidants in a serving of blueberries. According to Be Good Organics, it's the highest form of plant-based iron, has more calcium than cow's milk, and its high percentage of magnesium is great for a healthy, functional brain and heart.
9. Maca Powder
For those of you just getting on the maca powder bandwagon, I'm only a few seats behind you. I've yet to add maca to my own recipes, but am well aware of the awesome superpowers each scoop of the stuff contains.
Maca is an adaptogenic herbal supplement that balances hormones, energy levels, and, according to Dr. Axe, also contains more calcium than a cold glass of cow's milk. Translation: This is the stuff you should be adding to a well-balanced breakfast.
10. Nutritional Yeast
2017 was the year I realized I had some sort of dairy intolerance. This was really hard for me, especially because I married an Italian and boy, oh boy, does this man love his cheese. Though I haven't exactly cut the cord entirely on large cheese pizzas and taco bowls decorated with a three-cheese Mexican mixture, I've dialed back by putting nutritional yeast on pretty much everything, from fries and popcorn to roasted vegetables.
Nutritional yeast is nothing short of a blessing for anyone on a plant-based diet, as well as dairy-intolerant peeps looking to curb a cheesy craving. The only downside is that it's not the real thing. But the upside is it's a complete source of protein and loaded with B vitamins to support hair, skin, and nail growth.
11. Monk Fruit
We all know by now that processed sweets aren't exactly the best for our bodies, which is why I'm not so patiently waiting for the day when artificial sweeteners are discontinued.
Contrary to popular belief, there are other forms of natural sugars out there beyond maple syrup and honey. Monk fruit is one of them, and according to Dr. Axe, it's considered a superfood because of its high antioxidant levels and the fact that it contains anywhere from 300 to 400 times the sweetness of cane sugar, with no negative effect on blood sugar. Bless up.