These days, there seems a certain tendency for ‘trends’. In fact, we see trends everywhere nowadays, with trends in fashion, online trends, economic trends, social trends, baby name trends and many more. Most of these trends last only a relatively short period of time, until another craze takes hold, which replaces the old and becomes the latest one, and when it comes to food there is no exception.
Food trends, both in terms of types of foods eaten and dietary habits, are seen everywhere and the start of the year often brings an excuse for the media to highlight a whole raft of predicted trends and bring them to the attention of the consumer, whom often, are only too keen to try them out.
So what are the proposed food based trends that we are predicted to be seeing in 2017 and which ones will you be trying?
The colour purple
This year, purple is definitely the new black. This year when it comes to food, it’s all about purple. Whether it’s purple berries, purple potatoes, purple cauliflower, purple corn or……well anything purple, it definitely should be eaten this year!
Not only will you be right on trend by consuming it, you will also be providing your body with some fantastic nutrients that are not as abundant in non-purple foods. Darker coloured fruit and vegetables essentially contain a higher content of antioxidants and other nutrients, making purple foods some of the healthiest out there. So here are three great purple foods to get you started on the purple trend:
Purple cabbage – For those on a weight loss mission this year, purple cabbage, also known as red cabbage, is a good addition to any meal due to the relatively high ratio of nutrients and vitamins to calories and fat. A great source of fibre also, this cabbage will help keep you fuller for longer too. For a vegetable it has a high content of vitamin C, particularly when eaten raw so can be easily added to salads or coleslaw. Scientists have identified that purple cabbage contains 36 different anthocyanins, which have numerous health benefits as well as giving the vegetable its distinctive purple colour. Make sure you don’t get this colour on your clothes when cooking and chopping though, as it is commonly used as a natural dye which isn’t easily removed!
Blueberries – These little berries are probably one of the most well-known and certainly one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. Native to North America and enjoyed immensely by grizzly bears, blueberries are a powerhouse and the ultimate functional food offering a variety of health benefits. One medicinal component that blueberries contain is Gallic acid, which is shown to be a powerful antifungal and antiviral, as well as an excellent antioxidant. It has also been shown, through an abundance of research, to offer health benefits to people at risk of certain forms of cancer or neural disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Aubergines – These purple vegetables are part of the deadly nightshade family along with tomatoes and peppers, yet are far less frequently eaten than the others. Aubergines are very rich in antioxidants, specifically one called nasunin, found in the aubergine skin. Nasunin has been shown to be specifically beneficial for brain health as it has been shown to help protect the fats found in brain cell membranes and we certainly don’t want to be losing too many of those! Aubergines are also a good source of the vitamins B1, B6, potassium and magnesium, the latter of which many people can be lacking in.
You may be more used to seeing seaweed on the shores of beaches and lying in rock pools, yet seaweed is going to be making more of an appearance on supermarket shelves and health food shops this year.
Seaweed is already a large part of many Asian diets and is becoming increasingly popular in Western diets also. Seaweed has been shown to be rich in specific bioactive compounds that are not present in other food sources and that have potential positive implications for human health. Seaweed contains main different proteins, polysaccharides and polyphenols, which have been shown to have an effect on human health and may help protect against certain diseases, such as diabetes. It is also a good source of a variety of antioxidants. Some research has shown that some potential benefits of consuming seaweed include possible antiviral, anticoagulant and anticancer properties, although a lot more research is needed before these claims can be confirmed.
Due to the deep purple colour of these berries, they could have happily been mentioned in the purple section of this article, however as they are so fantastic for health they deserve their own little section. Native to South America, acai berries are grown on the acai palm tree, found widely in the amazon rainforest. These small berries really pack a punch when it comes to nutrients and health benefits, with some studies showing that acai berries are far richer in antioxidants than many other berries including blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries. Acai berries are very high in vitamin C, which is required for a healthy immune system and skin health. They have also shown to offer powerful anti-inflammatory effects, protect heart health and are helpful for anti-aging effects.
You can think of these berries as miniature power packs, especially as they are packed full of antioxidants and there has been some evidence to suggest they can improve athletic performance and energy. Due to the high content of antioxidants in this berry, Acai is found in both dietary supplements and cosmetic products that are aimed at the healthy aging market. Although you will find acai berry in weight loss supplements claiming they help with weight loss, unfortunately there is no strong evidence to support this claim. These berries may be powerful, but as much as we may want them to, they do not dissolve fat or increase metabolism.
You may or may not have heard of kefir, but if you haven’t, chances are you will be hearing a lot more about it in 2017. Kefir is basically made from fermented milk and is a cultured, creamy product, very similar in consistency to yogurt but slightly thinner. It is made by adding ‘kefir’ grains to milk, but these are not grains in the conventional sense, but are actually cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that when mixed with milk and left for 24 hours, causes the microorganisms in the kefir grains to multiply and ferment the sugars in milk turning into the ‘yogurt like’ kefir.
So what is the benefit of this you may ask, well very simply Kefir is one of the most potent sources of probiotics there is, far more potent than yogurt in fact. Kefir grains contain around thirty different strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very rich and diverse probiotic source beneficial for health, especially gut health as probiotics can help balance the ‘friendly’ bacteria in your gut. One of the probiotics, unique to Kefir is called Lactobacillus kefiri, which has been shown to have anti-bacterial properties as well as being potentially effective at treating gut inflammatory disorders.
For those suffering with allergies, in particular asthma, animal based research has shown Kefir to display anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects, which showed potential for kefir to be useful for the treatment of allergic bronchial asthma. Just in case you needed any more reason to try Kefir, it is also packed with numerous beneficial vitamins and minerals too, including calcium, and with kefir being shown to increase calcium absorption by bone cells there is no excuse not to try it.
You can easily make your own kefir using the delicious Delamere Dairy goats’ milk and buying kefir grains from high street health food shops or online. There are many instructions online on how to make kefir, but all you really need is Delamere Dairy goats’ milk, kefir grains, a plastic strainer, a glass jar, a spoon and a bit of patience to wait about 24-48 hours for your kefir to form. Once done, you will have made a delicious
goats’ milk kefir, packed full of probiotics and goodness that your body can’t help but thank you for. The good thing is you can actually re-use the kefir grains multiple times to re-make more kefir, you just need to remember to keep buying more Delamere Dairy goats’ milk!
These tiny black seeds have been used as a food source as early as 3500BC and have historically been recognized for their nutritional and medicinal properties, mainly due to their high content of omega 3 fatty acids. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds provide about 135 calories, 5g of omega 3 fatty acids, 4g of protein, 11g of fibre and an abundance of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and B vitamins. ‘Chia’ is the ancient Mayan word for ‘strength’ and with the all the nutrients provided in these tiny seeds, it’s not hard to see why.
Chia seeds make a good healthy snack for those people wanting to manage their weight, as they are a high source of fibre and protein, which makes an ideal snack combination as it helps to keep you full. Research
has also shown that consuming Chia seeds are beneficial for diabetic patients as they have a positive effect on weight loss and improve obesity related risk factors as well as maintaining good glycaemic control, so could well be beneficial in the management of obesity in diabetes.
The thing to remember is that a trend only becomes a trend if you the consumer makes it so. Predictions of trends are all very well, but predictions are not always right. The foods named above have shown to have proven scientific health benefits, so are certainly a good addition to your diet. The good things about proposed food trends is that whether it happens or not, it’s a good excuse to try some foods that you may never have had before and if you like it, you can easily make it a more permanent trend in your own diet.