Healthy Diet Foods

Four healthy diet foods that are gaining in popularity and look set to be the must-haves for the kitchen cupboard in 2015.

  1. Fruit - Baobab
  2. Vegetable - Seaweed
  3. Grain - Freekeh
  4. Beverage - Birch Water

Healthy Diet Foods - Baobab

Baobab is a nutritious fruit grown in a large number of African countries and boasts some impressive health giving properties.

  1. Powerful antioxidant
  2. Vitamin C content is 6 times that of oranges
  3. Potassium content is 6 times that of bananas

Baobab is becoming more widely available and supermarkets such as Waitrose and Marks and Spencer sell a juice containing it. It has been approved by the EU for use in cereal bars and smoothies.

The fruit itself has a white powdery texture and on its own is somewhat bland while the outer skin is tough. This means the raw fruit is unlikely to appear on supermarket shelves but will be available as beverages, smoothies, jam and cereal bars.

The rise in awareness of Baobab is in part due to the efforts of Aduna, a social business supporting production of the fruit in Africa by small scale growers. Co-founder Andrew Hunt says “it’s a product that already exists but currently goes mainly to waste, the supply is there, we just need to create the demand.”

Baobab Fruit

Seaweed

Seaweed is another healthy diet food whose time has come. The health benefits are numerous and now it is increasingly available in good restaurants and supermarkets the general public are beginning to cotton on.

  1. Good for digestion - high in fibre and encourages beneficial gut bacteria and reduces flatulence
  2. Full of nutrients and low in calories - seaweeds such as arame and wakame supply B vitamins, magnesium, iodine, calcium and folate. The findings were reported in a study by the British Journal Of Nutrition
  3. Reduces heart disease - a study of the population of Okinawa who are noted for their long life shows that the inclusion of seaweed in their daily diet lowers blood pressure and helps prevent furring of the arteries
  4. The Detox properties of eating seaweed were discovered in a study at the McGill University in Canada. It removes metal toxins cadmium and lead found in tobacco smoke, on the roads and in industrial areas. It is also effective in removing the radioactive chemical, strontium.  

On the shores of the UK it is possible to find up to 650 varieties of seaweed and Tim van Berkel of the Cornish Seaweed company believes that people are finally becoming aware of its possibilities in everyday cooking.

Freekeh

Freekeh is a grain widely used in the Middle East in salad dishes and cooked dishes such as pilaff. It has a nutty smoky flavour and goes well with sweet spices.

It is a good source of protein and pairs well with lamb or chicken. It takes about the same time to cook as brown rice 30 - 40 mins and can be used in dishes wherever rice is used.

Try it in salads with avocado, beans, mint, parsley, prawns and chillies. Combine with chicken or lamb, ginger, smoked paprika, garlic and onions for a tasty risotto.

Stores that stock Freekeh include Waitrose who sell it as a mix with quinoa, Merchant Gourmet and Marks and Spencer.

Birch Water

Birch Water is set to rival coconut water as a health drink if the latest reports are to be believed. It contains electrolytes including potassium and antioxidant flavonoids which aid hydration and will be popular with those who take exercise seriously.

It has a number of other health properties attributed to it (although not clinically proven) including:

Alleviates flu and headaches

Removes toxins from the body

Controls cholesterol

Liver disease

Eczema and general skin care

The birch tree has long been used for its health giving properties in many countries such as America, Eastern Europe and China but only recently has it been mass marketed for the general public.

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