10 Food Trends To Follow For A Healthy 2017

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What’s cooking for the New Year? From new nuts to old milk, 2017 has plenty of nutrition trends to help you keep healthy all year round.

1. Healthy fats, including walnuts and vegetable oils, reduce risk of diabetes
Swapping healthy unsaturated fats for carbohydrates or saturated fats may reduce your risk of diabetes, according to a new analysis of 102 randomized trials totalling 4,660 participants. The analysis found that eating more unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, in place of either carbohydrates or saturated fats lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin resistance and secretion.

RELATED: 6 Myths About Diabetes

“The findings reinforce the idea that, contrary to the low-fat craze that began in the 1980s, not all fats are equally bad for you,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of Tufts’ Friedman School and editor-in-chief of the Health & Nutrition Letter, who is senior author on the study.

So go ahead, snack on sunflower seeds and pan fry with polyunsaturated oils. But remember, fat may be back but butter is not. The bottom line: Tufts professors found that eating more polyunsaturated fats in place of carbohydrate, saturated fat or even monounsaturated fat significantly improved the body’s ability to secrete insulin—a finding never before confirmed in any dietary intervention.

2. Such a nice nut: Sacha Inchi Inca Nut
The sach inchi nut is such an easily-digestible and so rich in essential fatty acids that it could displace almonds as the superfood snack.

RELATED: 5 Reasons To Love Walnuts

The seeds are rich in protein, omega 9 and vitamin E and A and can be eaten whole or in the form a powder or oil.

Sacha Inchi is also known as Inca peanuts or Inca nuts. Dry roasted and unsalted, they’re reportedly among the richest sources of omega fatty acids in the world. Sacha inchi seeds are also loaded with protein, fibre and antioxidants.

3. Kefir: Elixir of health
The fermented dairy beverage is not the same as drinkable yogurt even though it’s similar. Kefir is the hugely healthy product of milk fermented with the addition of yeast and bacteria (just like beer!). It takes time to process and eventually it gets funky with a bit of effervescence so it’s extra refreshing. The probiotic benefit is off the chart. Plus, kefir is a complete protein providing all the essential amino acids and it’s a fine source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B12.

Close-Up Of Marijuana Plants

4. Edible pot—beyond brownies
Get ready to bake and cook with cannabis when recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada next year—even though it may be another year or so before the licensed distribution is sorted out.

Meanwhile, recreational pot has already been approved by popular vote and made available in several states in the U.S so don’t be surprised if you’re at a bistro across the border and find you can order cannabis-cured lox and potted shrimp stew, both already spotted on menus. A pioneer in cannabis haute cuisine has been Sinsemil.la in New York, an upscale underground dining club. Here in Canada, look for cannabis in wafer form, coming from Saskatchewan-based Cannimed and producer Prairie Plant Systems. You could serve them with Earl Grey for high tea.

5. Mimicking meat molecules
With all the 21st century technology and scientific advances, you’d think they’d be able to duplicate the molecular composition of meat. Well, they have. It’s called cellular agriculture. It involves producing animal free proteins that are molecularly identical to meat, dairy, eggs, chicken, fish, shrimp and turkey.

Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Muufri, Ripple, Perfect Day and CellPod are moving into mainstream markets and challenging the norm. Medical science and food production are intertwined and producing foods that are better for the environment, have a longer shelf life, better food safety and can personalize nutritional attributes all while changing the landscape of animal welfare.

6. Repeat: Pea protein
The hottest trend in protein comes from pea powder which, besides being a lactose-free source of protein, also may help reduce blood pressure, according to the University of Michigan. That’s because pea protein is high in arginine, an amino acid that keeps blood vessels healthy and can reduce high blood pressure.

Also, there’s evidence that enzymes produced in the purification of pea protein could help lower blood pressure. In a clinical trial, a combination protein isolate supplement made from pea, soy, egg, and milk was found to lower high blood pressure more than the placebo in people with high blood pressure taking 20 grams three times a week. And in a three-week preliminary trial, hydrolyzed pea protein alone reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

7. Putting the colour purple on your plate
According to experts from Whole Foods, who examined consumer behaviour globally across 465 stores, our plates are going to look very colourful this year, with purple foods in particular expected to fly off the shelves.

In an online statement, the health food company described the phenomenon as a “fast growing trend.” They said: “Richly coloured purple foods are popping up everywhere: purple cauliflower, black rice, purple asparagus, elderberries, acai, purple sweet potatoes, purple corn.”

8. Pulp Non-Fiction: Cold-pressed avocado oil
About 70 per cent of oil pressed from the pulp of avocados is oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that’s also the main component of olive oil and the factor that makes both oils heart healthy.

RELATED: 13 Reasons To Love Avocado

Like olive oil, avocado oil has been shown to be one of the most effective oils in increasing the “good” cholesterol, HDL, while also reducing blood triglycerides, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. Also, avocado oil is a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Consuming healthy fats like avocado oil also helps the body absorb important nutrients in plant foods, such as carotenoids, found in carrots and spinach.

But wait, there’s more!

The fatty oils of avocado oil have been shown to be beneficial to skin and studies in rats showed it helps in wound healing and decreasing the production of free radicals.

Also, several studies have reported that a combination of avocado and soybean oil extract may relieve the painful joint inflammation and stiffness of osteoarthritis, especially in the knees and hips. The same combination may also help gum disease.

So make 2017 the year you drizzle avocado oil on your salads and roasted veggies, use it in baking and smoothies and mayo and marinades. Consume it cold but cook with it too—it’s also a safe and healthy cooking oil because its fatty acids are stable at high heat.

9. Consume some cabbage, savour some sauerkraut
Shred it, pickle it, boil it, stuff it.

One half cup of shredded cabbage (75 grams) contains just 17 calories, a mere 4 grams of carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fibre and 2 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein.

Here’s what you get when you eat a half-cup of cooked cabbage:

  • 30-35 percent of daily vitamin C needs
  • 81.5 micrograms of vitamin K
  • 11 milligrams of magnesium
  • 22 micrograms of folate
  • small amounts of vitamin B-6, calcium, potassium, and thiamin
  • antioxidants choline, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin as well as several flavonoids including quercetin, and apigenin

Red cabbage tends to contain more of these compounds than green cabbage.

10. What’s wrong with watermelon?
Nothing’s wrong, and everything’s right. Remember how we were once told it was only water and sugar and therefor a waste of calories? That was wrong. Sure, it’s about 90 per cent water, but we now know water is good for us, hydrating the body, flushing the kidneys and bladder and keeping our blood flowing. And the big melon is dripping with valuable nutrients: lots of beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and smaller amounts of B1, B2, B3 and B6.

Plus important minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and small amounts of copper, iron and zinc. Its very big on lycopene, the carotenoid also found in tomatoes that gives watermelon its rosy hue and fights free radicals. In short, watermelon is cleansing, alkalinizing and mineralizing and easy to digest. So slurp up all that tasty watermelon juice along with the melon or buy a jug of Tropicana watermelon juice at the supermarket. Plus, watermelon seeds are now a thing. Look for sprouted watermelon seeds.

They’re white and smaller than the black seeds we spit and easier to digest. Sprouted watermelon seeds are ripe with protein, iron and heart-healthy fats.

…And these items have had their day

1. Pho
When you can buy Campbell’s Pho in a cardboard box at the supermarket you know the trend is past its peak. Faux pho, anyone?

2. Pumpkin spice
It’s not a flavour, it’s an invasion: pumpkin spice everything all the time everywhere: PS Cheerios, PS kale chips, PS beer, PS yogurt, PS potato chips, PS etc.

3. Kale
Still good for you, as part of the cruciferous veggie family, but so ubiquitous it’s boring already (See pumpkin spice above).

4. Sriracha
Once somewhat exotic but now it’s everywhere—and everybody can now pronounce it correctly.

5. Flavoured vodka
OK, we can do lemon, maybe even orange. But Smirnoff Raspberry Pomegranate Sorbet vodka? Bing Cherry? Vanilla? Strawberry? Peppermint Twist? Double Chocolate? Are we talking about the liquor store or the ice cream shoppe?

6. Offal
The internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal, once considered inedible or, at best, a source of nourishment for people who couldn’t afford better. Then it became nose-to-tail trendy, a status thing to eat a snout. But really, which human carnivore wouldn’t prefer a pretty piece of filet to a pig’s ear or a chicken’s heart?