The year may have only just begun, but already 2017 is being hailed as the healthiest year yet. 2016 saw the rise of cauliflower, the year’s most popular vegetable. Avocado or sweet potato on toast were everywhere and the tide finally turned on added sugar. This year, the healthy eating trend is set to continue – so what more can we do this year to improve our health?
- Fresh turmeric root
Despite turmeric being an ancient remedy used in South Asia for over 4,000 years, its health benefits have only recently been properly discovered for our Western cuisines. Chinese, Indian and Ayurvedic medicine use the turmeric root to treat a wide variety of health conditions including heartburn, diarrhoea, stomach bloating, colds, depression and achy joints.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is said to have strong antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can be beneficial in relieving arthritis, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’, preventing liver damage and diabetes, helping with depression and even cancer.
While turmeric’s stock is riding high, the current preoccupation with healthy eating has seen the root being used as a popular health giving ingredient in many recipes. What is now taking the world by storm is the ‘Golden Latte’ – a hot drink made with turmeric, coconut oil, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, honey and (plant based) milk.
Golden Lattes are enjoying something of a cult status at the moment, particularly in hipster neighbourhoods, vegan cafes and health food outlets all over. Here’s how to make your own Golden Latte at home:
- Fermented food and drinks
Increased interest in pickled and fermented food and beverages began to be noticed last year, and the trend is set to intensify in 2017. Gut health is a huge current topic among the health conscious, as a result of which people are eating sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, miso and other fermented foods more than ever.
In addition to eating real wholefood foods as the best way to maintain good gut health habits, fermented food and drinks are packed with probiotics, beneficial bacteria that help you boost gut health. These foods are thought to help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, fertility, immunity, low energy and low libido.
Take Kombucha, for instance. Known as the Immortal Health Elixir by the Chinese, it’s been around for over 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of extensive health benefits including for cancer, arthritis and many more degenerative diseases.
Kombucha is a raw fermented tea that is now fairly widely available, with many restaurants even making their own recipes. Based on sweetened black or green tea, the end product is slightly effervescent and a bit of an acquired taste. Here’s how you can make it in your own bespoke kitchens at home:
- Sea Vegetables
With the exponential rise in Vegetarian and Vegan cooking over the last few years, it’s perhaps no wonder that the world of edible plants has undergone deeper exploration – on land as well as in the sea.
Widely used in Japanese cooking for many years, sea vegetables – mainly nori, wakame, dulse, kombu (kelp), arame and hiziki – are a sub-genre that is receiving increasing attention in Western kitchens. If you’re not too familiar with the different varieties of sea vegetable, a useful visual overview and explanation can be found here.
Sea vegetables, or seaweed, are low in calories and a potent source of minerals that are essential to the human body. They are a versatile ingredient for all sorts of dishes and can even be served as a side dish on their own.
The growing popularity of sea vegetables can also be attributed to its alluring ‘umami’ flavour, used by many chefs to flavour soups, sauces, oils and salts, as a healthy alternative to MSG.
You can buy packaged seaweed snacks, have it in sushi or sprinkle it one stir frys and grain bowls. For more ideas about how to incorporate sea vegetables into your daily cooking, take a look at these delicious recipes:
This article was written by Dakota Murphey, independent content writer and healthy lifestyle coach.