Just like in the fashion industry, each year in the nutrition field, trends that were once all the rage fade away and new trends emerge. Here at Princeton Longevity Center, we try to look into new trends and products to see if they are worth including in one’s diet. A few 2017 trends have caught our eyes so far. Here are 3 plant-based trends to sink your teeth into!
You are probably familiar with probiotics, otherwise known as “good bacteria”. There has always been a focus on yogurt being a great source of these probiotics. But, fermented foods are also a good of probiotics and, if you vary your sources of probiotics, you’ll get a wider variety of beneficial bacteria to support digestion, natural detoxification and your immune system. Some familiar fermented foods include: sauerkraut and pickles. Other fermented foods to try include: Natto (made with soybeans), kefir (similar to yogurt in taste), kombucha (made from tea & bacteria), kimchi (similar to sauerkraut), and tempeh (soybean based).
We still love kale and spinach, but another green to try to include in your weekly vegetable rotation is seaweed! Like other greens, seaweed is low in calories and provides vitamins A & C as well as iron, magnesium and fiber. Seaweed also has iodine, which supports thyroid function. There is some preliminary research suggesting that compounds in seaweed may help with hunger control. Look for wakame or kelp salads on menus and experiment with making your own seaweed salad at home! Also, look for roasted/dried seaweed snacks next to those kale chips!
Quinoa has been a focus these past few years. But, other “ancient grains” like amaranth, millet, kamut, sorghum and spelt deserve to get some attention too! Each of these grains varies in their nutritional content, but like quinoa, all are good sources of protein, fiber, B vitamins and iron. Most are gluten free, but spelt and kamut are varieties of gluten-containing wheat. We know that plant rich diet that include whole grains reduce the risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. So, expand your whole grain options this year by looking into these other “ancient grains”. Oldways Whole Grain Council is a good resource for learning more about these and other whole grains.