By Sarah Senter, LAc / @medicine_kitchen / written for Love Child Mag.
As we learn from & move beyond the 2017 ascension of matcha, bone broth, and collagen powders, new healing foods are re-cycling & ready to make their next mark on our modern world. Here are my picks for the best new (to you) superfoods to try this year. All of these selections are based on an evolution of what has been trending in the wellness world lately combined with some traditional favorites that always deserve a new place in the kitchen. If you want to eat for your highest potential, try to incorporate some of these culinary dynamos into your life. Cheers to good health and happiness in 2018!
1 / Moringa. Moringa is one of the most nourishing and detoxifying plants on the planet. This is a powerful combination as it can cleanse many different parts of the body like the liver, spleen and blood - but it can also enhance digestion, strengthen the immune system, and has 25x more iron than spinach and 7x more vitamin C than an orange. There is a good reason for the buzz about this superfood and why it’s worth experimenting with in the new year. Try cooking with it in soups if you can find it fresh in your Asian market, or sipping as a tea.
2 / Functional Mushrooms. Mushrooms like reishi, lion’s mane, cordyceps, chaga, and turkey tail have long been used for their immune benefits in eastern cultures. They have a high concentration of germanium, which is an element that improves cellular oxygenation and enhances immunity. The king of them all is the Reishi mushroom (which we know as Ling Zhi in Chinese medicine) but some of the lesser known fungi are becoming popularized and we will see more variation in how they are all consumed this year! (Mushroom lattes are here, folks!)
3 / Einkorn flour. Einkorn is an ancestral wheat flour that has not been altered or hybridized in any way since the dawn of agriculture. It is considered a pure form of “single grain” wheat since only one grain is attached to each stem (instead of up to groups of 4 grains in modern wheat varieties) and is much easier to digest the way that nature intended it to be. I think we will be seeing more of this grain as small farms are starting to cultivate it - and those of us with gluten sensitivity may find we can tolerate this wheat much easier than conventional types!
4 / Wild Rose. People are attracted to the beauty of food now more than ever. Floral herbs (rose, jasmine, chrysanthemum, lavender) are going to rise up this year as they are supremely lovely to look at while also having very useful health benefits. Rose is a wonderful plant for calming the spirit, reducing stress, calming redness in the skin, & slowly the aging process. Combine it with other herbs in a hot tea, add it into a hot bath, infuse it into your hot chocolate or skincare products…. the ideas are endless.
5 / (More) Fermented Foods. Everything will be fermented this year. It’s a good thing, too, since so many people need fermented foods for their gut health and immunity! Try home fermentation experiments - make your own sourdough bread starter or caraway-seeded sauerkraut, to start.
6 / Coconut yogurt. There is a lot going on in the alternative yogurt arena. Look for more companies making non-dairy, no-additive coconut yogurt or almond yogurt. Pure coconut yogurt is extremely high in fat and is lusciously creamy, but expensive. My trick is to buy 1-2 per week and eat half the cup at a time with loads of healthy toppings to make 2-4 servings. The coconut meat is very filling anyway so it works like a charm!
7 / Sardines. Sardines are generally so under appreciated and I hope that changes in 2018. They truly are a superfood. These oily little fish provide so many nutrients & fatty acids and some of the best, convenient protein you can find. Toss them on a salad or with your pasta, stuff your avocado with them, eat them with crackers, make them into sardine-cakes - we will all find new, modern ways of incorporating these gems this year.
8 / Liver. As pioneers of the wellness world keep going further back to traditional food ways, you can expect to see the resurgence of cooking with organ meats. Liver is a great place to start if you are new to this practice, especially if you are woman. Liver is extremely high in vitamin A, folate, iron, and B12 - which are all essential elements for women who are trying to conceive or suffering from any anemia. You can sauté liver with a little ghee, onion, and herbs, or make a light and delicious liver paté with some white wine in your food processor.
9 / Breakfast Salads. Vibrant, fresh foods will be climbing up the ladder towards breakfast more and more and I predict the Breakfast Salad is going to boom this year! Think fresh leafy greens with a scoop of cottage cheese, nuts and seeds, berries, avocado, sauerkraut, a slice of bacon or poached egg, roasted veggies from the night before all piled up together in a glorious bowl. Is this lunch? It could be. But it will also be breakfast in 2018. :)
10 / Ayurvedic Super Spices: Coriander, Cumin, Fennel, Turmeric. Turmeric is in everyone’s kitchen by now, but as the captivation with Ayurvedic wisdom continues we will see more of the nuances embraced. Look for more information on the uses of all of these powerful, healing spices and how to combine them for customized masalas and home remedies.