From antediluvian detox smoothies to Gwyneth Paltrow’s absurd diet that excludes dairy, gluten, and sugar, we see that diet fads are just like fashion; they’re popular until the public is convinced of another major “scientific discovery” or “must-have” trend, andtheir preferences change. Scroll down your Tumblr or Instagram feed and you’ll most likely find endless posts dedicated to the ever-popular avocado and kale, or another dietary trend that’s sweeping the populace.
However, will these obsessions last? When will people tire of the damp, gooey taste of avocados, or the dark, dry kale salads?
Below are several items that are deemed the top “super” food trends of 2014 – ones that pack in maximum nutrients with minimal calories. Still, keep in mind that the ultimate purpose for consuming super foods is to build a “super” diet – one that enhances overall health in general.
An uncommon fruit from Peru, pichuberriesare not only sweet, but also contain high levels of vitamin C, B12, iron, protein, and cancer-fighting compounds. According to its nutrition label, 3/4 cup of pichuberries provides around 39% of your daily-required Vitamin D value.
Also referred to as the Incan peanut, sachainchis are seeds that can be directly eaten or pressed to form heart-healthy oils. Also complete in the essential amino acids, this power food enhances memory and alertness. For those who are often forgetful, add them to salads for simple intake of nutrients.
Derived from the Aztec minority, chia seeds were valued as a nutritional super food long before it was worshipped in modern society. Not only do they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, but they also provide an adequate amount of magnesium, fiber, zinc, and iron. Just half a teaspoon packs in the amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in 5 ounces of salmon.
These seeds are unprocessed whole grains that can be consumed directly or added into other dishes. Since they can absorb up to ten times their weight in water, they are used to thicken soup, gravies, puddings or immunity-boosting smoothies. Chia seeds can also be added into granola bars, muffins, or oatmeal.
Matcha (green tea):
Not to be confused with green tea, matcha is a concentrated green tea powder made from the whole tealeaf. Loaded with antioxidants, which reduces risks of attracting heart disease, it has gradually been taken on as part of the “tea craze”*. Substitute a typical morning cup of coffee with matcha, which boosts energy and promotes relaxation.
*The rising trend of tea-drinking that is beginning in the US, with Starbucks pairing with Teavana to open up a tea bar.
Incorporated into many athletes’ diets, beet juice is known to improve athletic endurance and recovery. Studies show that consistent intake of beet juice enhances workout experiences and heart functioning by allowing for smoother oxygen and blood flow. Though beets can also be eaten whole, cooked beets actually contain fewer nutrients than juiced beets.
Though not all of these foods can be easily found in China, keep looking out for opportunities to try them, as they can effortlessly boost the energy or vitamins your normal diet lacks. However, as the term “craze” denotes, popular foods are transient. Even though avocadoes, quinoa, and kale are no longer on 2014’s “hot” list, they are undoubtedly still high in nutrients and should be consumed for a varied, nutritious diet.
This article originally appeared in the March, 2014 issue of UNIT-E. It was written by Cherry Chan, a student at the International School of Beijing.
UNIT-E was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of establishing a non-profit, student-run magazine for international students in Beijing. Staffed by current students from a range of international schools, the magazine provides an amalgam of cultural tidbits, fragments of Beijing student life, and a broad spectrum of unique perspectives from a diverse group of young adults.
Photos courtesy of UNIT-E and Martin Cathrae (Flickr)