5 emerging superfoods that should be on your radar

If you want to treat your tastebuds while giving your health a boost, these trending foods deserve a place in your kitchen.

If you want to combine good nutrition with some interesting flavours, add these up-and-coming foods to your pantry or fridge:

1. Microgreens

Sometimes called “vegetable confetti”, you’ve probably tasted microgreens before – they’re often sprinkled on meals in restaurants to add colour.

Their size is deceiving because these tiny vegetables pack a powerful nutritional punch – some are up to nine times higher in nutrients than their full-sized vegetable version.

You can get microgreen broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, radicchio, celery, garlic, onion, leek, spinach, cucumber and squash.

The baby plants are picked at about a month old when leaves are new. Buy them in supermarkets and greengrocers or grow them in pots.

“Microgreens are very young plants that can be high in folate, potassium, iron, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin C and B group vitamins. They are very good for you,” explains nutritionist Aloysa Hourigan.

How to cook with microgreens:

Sprinkle them over main meals or add them to a salad or smoothie.

2. Kelp

In Japan, about a fifth of meals contain seaweed, like kelp.

While the Japanese have long recognised the benefits of seaweed, the rest of the world is waking up to its nutritional value, too.

Seaweed contains as much protein as beef and is high in fibre. Kelp is one of the most popular types of seaweed and is found in health food stores.

“Kelp is also a source of iodine, which is important for healthy thyroid function,” says Aloysa.

More than half of children, pregnant and breastfeeding women are iodine deficient, according to the Australian Thyroid Foundation. Iodine deficiency can lead to tiredness, weakness, difficulty concentrating and weight gain.

How to cook with kelp:

Add kelp to miso soup, blend it in a vegetable juice or add dried kelp flakes to meals for seasoning.

3. Skyr

Skyr yoghurt has long been a staple in Iceland. It’s similar to natural Greek yoghurt but contains more protein and less sugar.

Research shows it also high in calcium, potassium and zinc.

“A serve of skyr contains about 19g of protein per serve while a cup of milk has about 8g of protein,” says Aloysa.

Skyr also uses a different culture to Greek yogurt – fans of the dairy food say it is creamier and less sour.

How to cook with skyr:

Eat skyr on its own, add it to breakfast cereal or to a bowl of fresh fruit or put it in a smoothie.

4. Black garlic

This is fermented garlic with a sweeter taste. It has been a feature in South Korean, Japanese and Thai dishes for centuries.

“Black garlic is a good addition to your diet because fermented foods have a prebiotic effect which promotes healthy gut bacteria,” explains Aloysa.

Garlic is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties and studies suggest black garlic may be more potent than the traditional form.

How to cook with black garlic:

Blend black garlic cloves with olive oil and cover chicken or fish before baking. Add it to spaghetti bolognese, a chilli or risotto. Or slice thinly and add to salad.

5. Hemp

Hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant but don’t have the mind-altering effects.

However, they do contain a lot of fibre, protein and good fats like Omega-3 and Omega-6. They also contain vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and B vitamins.

“The fats in hemp seeds are good for our skin and so can help with problems like eczema and acne,” says Aloysa.

The seeds are also good for heart health and to reduce inflammation.

How to cook with hemp:

Drizzle hemp oil over a salad or add to a smoothie. Use hemp seeds when baking to add texture and sprinkle them on cereal, yogurt or salads.

Written by Sarah Marinos.