Gut-friendly dishes and the other super-healthy food trends of 2018

Here's a quick overview of what to expect in 2018! Source: Pexels

There’s great news for people who love great food but also care about their health – 2018’s food fashions are right up their street.

Forget burger and donut crazes, according to Brisbane-based nutritionist Alessandra Trovato, plant-based diets and root-to-stem eating will be at the forefront in 2018. From gut-friendly foods to hemp-infused dishes and faux meat, here’s a quick overview of what to expect.

Plant-based diets

Diets that are focused on produce rather than meat are set to be massive this year. Nowadays, a lot of people are shifting away from highly processed foods and consuming whole foods instead.

“Including plant-based meals in your diet has many benefits for your cardiovascular health,” Alessandra says, listing lowering blood pressure and reducing the overall risk of heart disease and stroke as just two of the upsides.  

But the Aussie nutritionist cautions that it’s important to remember that many vegetarians/vegans are more susceptible to have protein and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. “So, it’s important to make sure you are meeting your requirements,” Alessandra says, advising people who want to eat only plant-based foods to include a supplement in their diet. 

Faux meat 

As more chefs embrace ingredients such as tofu and tempeh, scientist and food technicians across the globe have been developing a range of faux meat products. US burger chain Impossible Foods is one of the first to launch a burger made entirely of plants. Surprisingly, the patty even oozes with blood, like a real beef burger! 

It won’t be long before your supermarket freezer has plenty more options than a bit of tofu, but in the meantime, you could try another meat alternative called Quorn or try more traditional, filling alternatives such as falafels and other chickpea-based products.

If you’re keen to try other alternative grains, teff, amaranth and bulgur are available from most healthfood stores, if not your supermarket.

Middle Eastern flavours

Filled with rich spices and healthy veggies and fats, Middle Eastern-inspired dishes will be popping up everywhere in 2018. “The rich spices such as harissa, cardamom, za’atar and turmeric will be centre stage,” Alessandra says. 

Fantastic for your health, a new US study found that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, could prevent memory loss and improve mood

Root-to-stem eating 

Root-to-stem eating is a fantastic foodie trend – not only is it good for you, but it’s great for the environment as well. “This is due to a generalised shift into healthier eating, as well as an effort to eat sustainably and globally reducing food waste,” Alessandra explains.

The idea is pretty easy to grasp – eating the whole fruit or veggie minimises waste, it’s that simple! There’s some easy ways to try it:

  • Add celery, broccoli and cauliflower leaves to salad greens or stirfries
  • Slice broccoli stems into little discs and roasting them with a bit of oil and salt, then use as an alternative to croutons in salad
  • Use leek and asparagus stems and other vegetable tops in a stock or broth
  • Add strawberry tops to water for a gentle fruit flavour
  • Make pickles out of watermelon rind
  • Bake potato peelings to make a crunchy snack or garnish

Gut-friendly foods

Being keen to maintain a healthy gut is becoming pretty common. And with fermenting, pickling and preserving becoming increasingly popular, Alessandra says that gut-friendly foods is set to be so big, cafes and restaurants will likely embrace the new trend. You can read more about fermenting and preserving here

Hemp-infused foods

“As a health-conscious nation, it won’t take long until hemp becomes a main-stream food ingredient,” Paul Benhaim, the CEO of Elixinol Global, which makes hemp product, says. “Hemp is a highly nutritious source of quality plant-based protein,”

The new superfood is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Not too sure how to incorporate it in your diet? Paul advices “sprinkling some delicious hemp seeds” on top of your next meal. They’re easily available online and from many healthfood stores.

Despite coming from the same plant species as cannabis, the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – the hallucinogenic component in cannabis) level in hemp is very low, so your salad won’t give you a high.

What do you think? Are you keen to try these new food trends?

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