We all know about many of the key “superfoods” that are often suggested to us for a power-packed diet. Some of these include goji, açai, turmeric, or kale, and for good reason. These ingredients are undoubtedly nutritious, but there are other less well-known options that can be just as healthy.
Here are a few ingredients that you may not have known about, but that have some powerful health benefits.
Are your usual grains becoming too familiar? Give Kamut a try. This ancient ingredient has been found as far back as Egyptian times. It has more protein and fatty acids that wheat, plus is full of zinc, selenium, magnesium, and fiber. Kamut is also a source of thiamin, phosphorus, niacin, iron, folate, manganese, vitamin B2 & B6, and calcium. Also called Khorasan wheat, this has a nutty flavor and is great for digestion due to its high fiber.
Kamut is perfect is cereals, breads, soups, baking, and beyond. The easiest way to work with it is by soaking overnight then boiling for about 30 minutes and it’s ready to enjoy. Try it out in this Seeded Spelt and Kamut Sourdough recipe for a healthier and more flavorful bread alternative.
You can also enjoy Kamut in nutritious sweet treats like these Cocoa Puffed Rice and Kamut Crispies throughout the day.
Don’t throw those pits away! If you’re a fellow avocado-eater, this is an item that you probably already have in your kitchen. A lot of prized nutrients live in the seeds of your avocado. In fact, around 70% of avocado’s antioxidants are located in the pit! Some of these benefits include encouraging cardiovascular health, reducing fatigue, and anti-aging properties. They are also noted as potentially instrumental in the lowering of blood pressure. Just keep in mind that research on the consumption of these seeds is still minimal.
Avocado seeds have a slightly bitter flavor. Because of this, the easiest way to reap their benefits is by throwing them into a smoothie. By combining it with other flavors, you won’t even know it’s there but can enjoy the health boost. Find out more by looking at Why You Should Eat That Avocado Seed and How to Make it Tasty.
If you’re looking for an immune boost, don’t just gravitate toward oranges. Instead, acerola (or acerola cherry) is a must-have. Not only does this have wonderful vitamin C levels, but the flavor is delicious as well. Other perks of this South American fruit include heart health because of the B vitamins, in addition to promoting brain function due to its anthocyanins.
Because of acerola’s favorable sweetness, you can enjoy this as is or in sweeter dishes like smoothies or desserts. You can also get creative and add it to salsa recipes for some flavor dimension.
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Sea vegetables are amazing diet additions, but some tend to be more prevalent than others. Wakame is often underappreciated but can offer fantastic advantages for those who are aware of it. Some of these include bone-strengthening due to its calcium levels, plus cancer prevention and assistance with diabetes. This occurs because of its fucoxanthin, which can help maintain lower body weight as well as ease insulin resistance. For those who are anemic or just looking for an iron boost, wakame is also a great plant-based source.
Wakame is great in dishes needing some saltiness, such as salads, stir-frys, soups, and sushi. A classic way to treat this is in some Spring Rolls With Wakame to get yourself started with this ingredient. Or, as a heartier dish, try out this delicious Kabocha Squash Stuffed With Black Rice, Kale and Wakame.
For more creative chefs, use in this Spanish Omelet with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Wakame for a brunch like no other. However you use it, wakame will not disappoint.
Often integral to the perfect curry, fenugreek is native to South Asia but deserves to be embraced across the earth. Its uses include helping with sleep, calming fever or a sore throat, enhancing digestion, balancing hormones, and promoting heart health. In addition, fenugreek is wonderful for digestion due to the mucilage which coats the stomach’s lining. This has also been studied for strong anti-inflammatory effects on pre-existing ailments.
The flavor of this distinctive ingredient is perfect for adding character and spice to your meals. It’s perfect in recipes such as Indian Whole Wheat Flatbreads With Fenugreek to serve alongside your favorite dish. For a more flavorful bite, try it in this Methi Gobi: Indian Cauliflower With Ginger and Fenugreek. Another way to highlight fenugreek is inside Instant Pot Green Kitchari, which is just as delicious as it is healing.
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It may be hard to pronounce, but the benefits are easy to see. Ashwagandha, also referred to as Indian Ginseng, is an adaptogen which has long since been used in alternative medicinal healing. However, you don’t have to wait until you’re feeling ill to give it a try. Ashwagandha is great for reducing stress or anxiety, memory, and brain improvement, helping adrenal functions, and enhancing muscle strength & stamina.
You can often find ashwagandha in powder form most readily. If so, this is a great format to add to smoothies or elixirs. Alternatively, add it to a turmeric latte or brew some tea with this herb.
For even more healthy inspiration, head over to the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. With over 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, you can try new recipes every day.