New Foods: Are They Really Healthy?

New Foods: Are They Really Healthy?

Each year new superfoods hit our shelves, but are these foods really worth the money? Here we take a look at the latest “superfoods” on the market. 

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Maple Water

Move over coconut water, maple water is about to rain on your parade. This beverage is the sap straight from maple trees and has been touted as the next natural energy drink. But there is little (if any) research out there on its health benefits. Like coconut water, maple water is a low-kilojoule drink with just 38kJ per 100ml. It contains 46 bioactive compounds including vitamins, minerals organic and amino acids, polyphenols and phytohormones. Maple water is delicious and refreshing, making it a great beverage to add variety to your diet, but it’s no replacement for water.

Kaniwa

Kaniwa

Kaniwa is a seed half the size of quinoa and is often called baby quinoa. It has a crunchy texture and is a dark red colour. Kaniwa is originally from the Andes Mountains in Peru and is related to quinoa. Unlikely quinoa however, kaniwa does not contain any saponins, a component in some foods that gives them a soapy, bitter flavour and requires rinsing of the food before it is cooked and eaten. In terms of nutritional value, kaniwa resembles quinoa. Kaniwa is rich in the flavonoids isorhamnetin and quercetin, which may play a role in skin and heart health. Kaniwa is also contains B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc, and is a gluten-free grain. Enjoy as a substitute for rice, pasta, quinoa, buckwheat or any other grain.

Matcha green tea

Matcha Tea

Matcha tea is a fine powdered green tea traditionally used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. It contains the entire leaf of the Camellia Sinensis, which has been ground to make a powder. Because the whole tea leaf is consumed when the powder dissolves in water, Matcha tea contains 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea. While there is research into the health benefits of green tea, very little research has been done specifically focusing on Matcha tea. However, we do know that it is rich in the catechins, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may help to boost the immune system. It is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which may help to keep the brain alert, yet relaxed. Enjoy ¼ teaspoon of Match tea in water at a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius up to 3 times per day.

 

Buckwheat

Buckwheat

Despite sounding like a relative of wheat, buckwheat is actually a pseudo-cereal - it comes from a different botanical origin, but is similar to other cereals in terms of composition and use. It is high in protein, rich in carbohydrates and contains polyunsaturated fatty acids. This gluten-free grain also contains vitamin B1, C and E, zinc and rutin, a bioflavonoid thought to help control blood pressure and possess anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. While not any more nutritious than other whole grains, buckwheat is a great way to add variety to your diet. Enjoy through a salad, or use buckwheat flour in pancakes or add soba noodles (made from buckwheat) to your favourite stir-fries.

Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour

With the rise in gluten-free eating and the popularity of all things coconut, coconut flour is quickly becoming the go-to flour. It is made from fresh coconut meat, which is dried at a low temperature and then finely ground into a powder with a consistency to wheat flour. It is high in fibre, suitable alternative for wheat flour in baking and contains more protein than other flours. As coconut flour is highly absorbent soaking up liquids like a sponge, you can not use it as a direct replacement for grain-based flours. In fact, very little coconut flour is needed to cook with. About ¼ - ⅓ cup of coconut flour is needed per 1 cup of wheat flour. You will also need to increase the number of eggs in the recipe and thoroughly beat the coconut flour with other ingredients to remove the lumps. Use coconut flour as an alternative, not a permanent replacement for wheat flour.

Kombucha

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fizzy, slightly sweet and acidic fermented tea made by adding a culture of yeast and bacteria to a solution of tea, sugar and sometimes additional flavours like fruit juice. During the brewing process, the yeast and bacteria grow into a mass that resembles a mushroom cap, which is why it is often referred to as "mushroom tea". You can buy bottled various flavoured kombucha, both pasteurised and unpasteurised, from health food stores and supermarkets. You can also make your own. While no research in humans exists on the health benefits of kombucha, when unpasteurised it is rich in probiotics - good bacteria that has been shown to boost digestive and immune health - but may also pose a food safety risk. Pasteurised kombucha, while safer, loses its probiotic properties during the pasteurisation process. While kombucha isn't a magic potion, it can be enjoyed in moderation without any guilt.

Images: Ingimage

 

CAITLIN (53 of 58)About the author
Caitlin Reid is a unique health professional with qualifications as an accredited nutritionist, accredited exercise physiologist and yoga teacher. Caitlin is passionate about all things health and wellness, and keeps up-to-date with the latest health research, which she uses when contributing expert advice to health, fitness, lifestyle and food companies. She is also the nutrition expert for the Women’s Fitness magazine, the dietitian for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and ambassador for Papaya Australia. Follow Caitlin on Instagram @caitlinareid or visit her website.

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