Trends come and go, so sometimes it’s easier to just mind your own bowl of spinach and ignore whatever expensive foods are getting buzz in the press. But there are some that are worth your time and attention. Here’s Well+Good NYC‘s cheat sheet to help you sort the good from the bad:
If you’re like us, you may end up dismissing a health food once it’s become trendy or overly marketed.
Who wants to drink kombucha when hipsters are carrying around their homemade brews on every corner? And should acai be in our breakfast bowls if it’s in our spam filters?
It’s easy to forget that many of these faddish foods became must-have munchables because of their actual health benefits.
We tapped the nutrition known-how of Keri Glassman, celeb nutritionist and founder of Nutritious Life, to find out when it’s right to follow the crowd with our shopping carts.
Here are 10 (super) trendy health foods she recommends…
Found in: In bags and snacks at the natural food store, Organic Avenue pudding, a delicious muffin at Le Pain Quotidien, even Dr. Perricone’s Super skin-care line.
Merits: Chia seeds fueled the ancient Aztecs and “are a great source of fiber and are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids,” says Glassman. Because they absorb fluid well, they can naturally thicken smoothies, and they help you feel full longer.
Recommended use: 1 tablespoon a day sprinkled into smoothies, salads or soups.
Found in: Cinnamon Snail’s vegan food-truck shake, health guru David Wolfe’s kitchen, and in supplements and Gnosis chocolate.
Merits: Maca may help spice up your sex life, but more research is needed on that front, says Glassman, who confirms its other benefits. It’s loaded with “amino acids important for skin and bone health, and sterols, which help control cholesterol levels.” Bonus: Like ginseng, maca raises the body’s ability to ward off disease via natural hormone regulation.
Recommended use: 1 tablespoon of the root in ground powder form. Sprinkle over food or add it to tea or smoothies (possibly for the Barry White effect).
Merits: Antioxidants are trendy on their own, but the molecules really do protect against daily damage from free radicals, and acai packs a powerful dose. Contrary to some claims, the berries won’t result in miraculous weight loss, warns Glassman. And, she says, “Remember, blueberries are probably just as great.”
Recommended use: Add the fruit to smoothies or cereal, or stir acai powder or concentrate into a glass of water after a workout. Use on your skin help fight sun and free-radical damage.
Found in: You can’t escape it! Salads at every healthy restaurant (and City Bakery), at Whole Foods in the form of overpriced chips, and every green juice.
Merits: Glassman calls kale the “green giant” because of its abundant vitamins and minerals. It’s packed with calcium and vitamin K for healthy bones and has a whopping 5 grams of fiber per cup, which is great for digestion. “It also has 45 different flavonoids, potent antioxidants that research has linked to lowering the risk of cancer,” says Glassman.
Recommended use: Get a cup of kale daily. Steam for 5 minutes, drink it up in a juice, or massage in a delish raw salad.
Merits: Hemp seeds contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and are loaded with potassium, iron, and calcium. “They’re one of the only plant-based complete proteins containing all eight essential amino acids that your body can’t make and must obtain through food,” says Glassman. They may also lower bad LDL cholesterol—and help you get or stay regular.
Recommended use: 1 tablespoon per day as a snack, or add to salads and soups.
Continue reading for five more healthy food trends worth following…
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