Each year, the superfoods game gets more hardcore. In the beginning, it was all about a bunch of kale, a sprinkle of chia seeds, a garnish of goji berries, and a slather of coconut oil. But over the years, superfood companies have begun to explore more enigmatic territories that excite (and admittedly, sometimes confuse) the health enthusiast in all of us. The following five top superfoods deserve a place on your 2017 superfood watch list so you can experiment with and benefit from their inherent nutritional properties.
With the emergence of botanical herb companies such as Moon Juice, Moondeli, and Sun Potion, among others, accessing the most mysterious and precious herbal tinctures and potions has never been easier. Meanwhile, other superfood companies have found unique ways to bottle elixirs of youth, vitality, and happiness in the most unexpected of ways.
Here are the five top superfoods set to dominate the health scene in 2017.
Top Superfoods of 2017
If you follow a lot of health food bloggers on Instagram, it’s nearly impossible to miss the gelatin trend. At first, the idea of gelatin sounds a bit icky, but once you learn of its benefits, you may consider it worth the plunge.
Gelatin is sourced from cows, pigs, and even fish. It is made up of collagenous joints, tendons and connective tissues, which are dried to form a powder. Regular gelatin contains whole proteins and will turn into a gel when added to liquids, but hydrolyzed gelatin is broken down into its amino acids and doesn’t gel when added to liquids. That way, you can enjoy the benefits of gelatin powder in a juice, coffee, or smoothie without ending up with clumpy Jell-O-like consistency.
Gelatin offers a slew of benefits, including better sleep, improved digestion, and a clearer complexion. It is particularly helpful for athletes or those who exercise regularly and depend on healthy joints to perform at an optimum level. The only setback of gelatin: it’s not vegan.
My favorite brand of gelatin, and the one I see used most often among health-conscious social media users, is Vital Proteins, whose gelatin is sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals.
The chill pill doesn’t have to come in pill form – it’s likely found in a powder that you can easily mix into a tea, juice, or smoothie. Adaptogens are the natural version of Xanax with way less harmful side effects. Lauded as the newest herbal trend, adaptogens help the adrenal system regulate hormones and manage stress.
The buzz-worthiest adaptogen at the moment may very well be ashwagandha, an ancient Ayurvedic herb from the same family as the tomato that is dubbed the “Indian ginseng” for its rejuvenating properties. You can find ashwagandha in powder form from Moon Juice and Sun Potion, or as part of a blend with ginger and Himalayan pink salt from Moondeli. But don’t just stop at ashwagandha. Another noteworthy adaptogen is cordyceps, a mushroom powder with active adaptogens.
3. Avocado Oil
Coconut oil gained it street cred because it is one of the best oils to cook with due to its high-smoke temperature. But avocado oil is entering the mainstream scene with even loftier promises. Compared to coconut oil’s smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, avocado oil’s smoke temperature sits at 520 degrees.
Cooking any oil at a high temperature puts it at risk of an altered chemical structure, essentially making it devoid of its nutritional properties and deeming it a salve of toxicity. Avocado oil can retain its chemical structure and nutritional benefits better than any other oil, making it the best superfood fat to pair with your cooked foods.
Make sure to purchase a cold-pressed virgin avocado oil so that you get the most from its high oleic acid, vitamin E, and chlorophyll content. While there are plenty of wonderful quality brands out there, Primal Kitchen‘s version is my go-to crutch.
4. Watermelon Seeds
As a child, didn’t we all low-key fear a watermelon seed it would grow into a massive watermelon in our bellies if we accidentally swallowed one? First of all, that won’t happen, and second of all, watermelon seeds shouldn’t be eaten raw. Instead, they need to be sprouted and shelled before consumption.
The result is a superfood worth reckoning with. A one-ounce serving of watermelon seeds boasts ten grams of protein and is a great source of vitamin B, magnesium, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Brace yourself – watermelon seeds will be raiding your health store shelves in 2017. Go Raw has already jumped the gun with its sprouted and shelled version of the treat.
5. Chaga Mushrooms
Chaga is a fungus that grows on Birch trees and is considered a medicinal mushroom in Eastern European and Russian folk medicine. It has incredible healing properties–it is a rich source of B-vitamins, flavonoids, enzymes, minerals, phenols, and antioxidants. It has been shown to protect the body’s cells from oxidative DNA damage as well as slow the progression of cancer when taken regularly.
Sun Potion’s chaga mushroom powder is a great complement to your diet. The company suggests either adding the powder to a warm beverage or simmering the powder in water for six to eight hours to unleash its superpower.
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