Top 7 Superfoods for 2015

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Improve digestion, lift your mood and feel the love with these 7 superfoods

New and exotic-sounding superfoods seem to crop up every year. But it’s not as much about food fads as it is about exploration and discovery. It’s exciting – and it’s promising.

“All these superfoods have extraordinary nutritional value, and we keep finding new ones. That’s because we end up exploring a different part of the world we were previously unaware of,” says Julie Daniluk, a registered nutritionist, TV host and best-selling author. “And sometimes we find superfoods right under our noses here in Canada.

“So it’s not to say there’s a list that competes as the best list or the only list. I see it as food exploration. We’re really in a beautiful time of discovery because food science is so young. Let’s face it; we’ve only been studying food for 100 years,” Daniluk points out. “We have so much to learn. Each new discovery is a wonderful piece of the puzzle that might be able to help us reduce cancer or battle inflammation and aging – all the things boomers are concerned about.”

Daniluk says this year food industry analysts are predicting a big surge in popularity for Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino food.

Here are the superfoods on Daniluk’s 2015 list, some of which fulfill that predication. (And the best part: most are readily available at your local grocery store.)

1) Daikon radish: Sometimes called Oriental radish, this long white vegetable is part of the cruciferous family of plants. Daniluk says its sulphur compounds help detoxify the liver and balance women’s hormones.

2) Kimchi: This is essentially Korean sauerkraut but with a spicy kick. Kimchi is a chunky, fermented cabbage garnish that contains high amounts of probiotic bacteria, which according to Daniluk, can help with regularity, boost your immune system and is wonderful for healing digestive complaints. (But it should be avoided if you have an ulcer or arthritis.) “All that sour is a real flavour booster, and it’s a perfect garnish on top of a dish. People are really starting to get their heads around bitterness.”

3) Dark chocolate – the 80 per cent to 90 per cent kind: Speaking of bitterness, this kind of chocolate is really good for you and can even make you feel happier – “like you’re falling in love,” says Daniluk. That’s because it contains an organic compound called phenethylamine, a known mood lifter (and the No. 1-craved food for menopausal women.) Julie recommends pairing it with raspberries or strawberries, which offset the bitterness. “Cacao is a superfood,” says Daniluk, “but keep in mind that chocolate is only good for you when the dairy, high amounts of sugar and the garbage oils are removed,” she cautions. “The chocolate bars you buy at gas stations do not qualify.”

4) Good old cauliflower: That’s right, cauliflower. “This common food is trending extremely high right now because it’s very high in hormone-balancing compounds,” says Daniluk. “But don’t serve it steamed with cheese sauce the way we have for the past 50 years. Now it’s being used in really wonderful new ways.” Cauliflower also has a lot fewer calories than potatoes, so it’s great if you’re watching your weight. Here’s Daniluk’s recipe for Creamy Whipped Cauliflower.

5) Amaranth: “I’m in love with this tiny little seed from Latin America,” says Daniluk. “It tastes amazing, it’s very high in protein and fibre, it’s gluten-free and a good source of B vitamins so it’s good for stress reduction.” It’s sweeter than quinoa but a bit sticky, so Daniluk recommends using it as a breakfast porridge.

6) Spirulina: This blue-green algae, grown in clean water, “is one of the most nutritious foods I’ve ever worked with in my whole life,” says Daniluk. “It’s almost a complete multi-vitamin and mineral.” It contains vitamins A, B and C, essential fatty acids, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Even NASA, America’s space agency, has named it a superfood, says Daniluk, because it’s one of the only things that can be cultivated in space and provides almost complete nutrition for astronauts.

7) Honeybush tea: This sweet-tasting tea from South Africa has hormone-balancing and anti-inflammatory properties, Daniluk explains. It’s also used to balance blood sugar, making it great for diabetics.

“All these plants have beautiful ingredients that can be a piece of the puzzle for many of today’s ailments,” says Daniluk. “The list of superfoods isn’t static. We just keep adding to it.”