The most talked about super-foods of 2013

STEPHANIE AYRE
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2013
superfoods

EAT THESE NOW: Coconuts and Kale - just some of the on-trend super foods of the year.

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KALE

Dubbed as the "queen of greens" kale has been popping up everywhere in the last twelve months. The leafy cabbage-like food has been praised for being high in Vitamin A,C, K, iron and calcium. It's filled with 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of omega 3 fatty acids, which is essential for brain health, heart health and has been noted for its ability to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

It's also popular due to its versatility, tasting great baked as chips, in salads or even blended into your favourite juice or smoothie.

QUINOA

Pronounced keen-wah this ancient grain-like substance has been become one of the biggest rice and pasta alternatives to date. And because it's not actually a grain (looks can be deceiving!), it's also a great substitute for gluten-free eaters.

It's full of protein, which we know is essential for muscle repair and growth, but that's not at all. This clever superfood also contains an impressive amount of essential nutrients like vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, copper, zinc and magnesium. All of which work together to stave off cancers, migraines and promote healthy digestion.

GOJI BERRIES

This little red berry is one of the healthiest berries around. And while they were here well before any of us, they seem to have carved a bit of a reputation this year. Why is that? They contain many of the B vitamins needed for breaking down fats and converting carbs to energy, but they are also rich in antioxidants important for a healthy immune system and help banish free radicals that have been linked to cancer and ageing.

These little fruits taste great dried and sprinkled over salads and cereals and taste even better soaked in a bircher muesli overnight.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

This health tonic superfood has become more than just a kitchen staple. Just by drinking two tablespoons diluted in water each day it is said to be effective for weight loss, thrush, digestion issues, cramps, heartburn, energy and is great for balancing your body's pH levels towards a more alkaline state.

HEMP SEEDS

Despite the obvious correlation, hemp seeds and marijuana do not contain the same level of THC - they're so much more! Nutty in flavour, similar to that of pine nuts, these little seeds are very high in protein. Three tablespoons contains 11 grams of protein and contain 10 essential amino acids. A few spoonfuls of hemp seeds each day can support healthy hair, nails and skin, help with weight loss and metabolism and provide support for a healthy respiratory and cardiovascular system.

They taste great on their own as a snack or even better sprinkled over cereals or salads. Or for an extra protein boost, just pop some into your daily smoothie.

MACA

Maca powder is one of the newest foods for us to hear about, but there's no wondering why it's been classed as one of the best superfoods. Packed with nutritionally rich substances - vitamins B, C, E, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids - it can be a great supplement to your daily diet just by adding it to your smoothies.

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Above all else, maca provides you with energy. But it is also great for sexual function and is often used to improve mood and offer relief for women's problems like cramping.

FLAXSEEDS

Flaxseed, otherwise known as linseed, made it into the final cut this year. They might be small but are high in fibre, vitamins, low in carbohydrates and rich in omega-3 fatty acids - key nutrient in fighting inflammation in our bodies.

These little seeds are the perfect nutritional boost for any meal and can also be bought as oil or a ground meal. If you're unable to eat eggs, then flaxseed is a great substitute when cooking, as the soluble fibre adds structure and density to the food.

KOMBUCHA

Has this drink made an appearance in your diet this year? Well it should! This fermented tea, also known as an "immortal health elixir", is being used to help turn back the clock. It contains things like glucosamine which is needed for joint health. It can promote a healthy digestion due to its natural bacterial and yeast properties, as well as boasting the power to detox the body. It does this through its rich enzymes and healthy bacterial acids, which in turn reduces the load off the liver.

The recommended amount to drink differs for each individual but starts at around 150 mls, three times a day. But if you're not a fan of its rather funky taste you can make the switch to the supplements and probiotics available.

COCONUTS

Coconuts whether we're talking about its hydrating water, oil or tasty flesh, this tropical superfood is here to stay. We can drink it, eat it and even apply it to our skin and hair, so it's no wonder it has made such a lasting impression. It has top-to-toe benefits with its antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Its high content of good fats can assist in the health of your hair, skin, heart, cholesterol, weight, immune system, digestion, dental and bones.

Guzzle some coconut water when you need re-hydrating, sprinkle some flakes over your muesli or in baked goods or even cook your usual dishes with coconut oil. And due to its medium saturated fatty acids, coconut oil can be heated at higher temperatures than most other oils.

CHIA SEEDS

Chia seeds have also had a bit of a moment this year and it's because they're packed with omega-3 - eight more times than salmon - and include bowel-regulating dietary soluble and insoluble fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. There's no difference in size, taste, smell or nutritional value between black or white chia seeds. And, if you're not a fan of seeds, you can get your daily intake through chia oil or chia bran, too.

A notable mention is the consistency when mixed with water. When you add one tbs of chia to one cup water, the chia seeds form a gel-like substance that you can add to smoothies, juices, herbal teas, yoghurts, soups, salad dressing or sauces.

- Popsugar.com.au

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