Healthy Eating Trends to Watch in 2016
We may be only a few weeks into January but there are a few healthy eating trends which appear to be gaining in popularity and which you may like to incorporate into your weekly food plans.
- SoupingWhereas juicing was popular last year, we should try souping this year! Soup making uses the whole vegetable and so retains the vital fibre content which is lost through juicing. Soup making is a cheap and effective way to incorporate much need fibre and a whole host of nutritional benefits into our diets. Recipes can take advantage of seasonal products and are tasty, filling & a great winter warmer! Batches can be made in bulk as soups freeze really well in individual portions.
- Natural sugar alternatives There has been much written recently about the dangers of consuming too much sugar and it’s influence on the obesity epidemic. Like it or lump it, few of us get through the day without adding sugar to our daily diet. Food manufacturers are under increasing pressure to reduce the added sugar in their products. This year it is predicted that natural sweeteners such as stevia, maple syrup, date syrup & coconut palm sugar will be top of the sugar-swap list. Some of these alternatives are calorie free such as stevia, while others such as date syrup provide nutrients not present in refined sugar.
- Pulses Lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas have been associated with a reduced risk of many health problems including diabetes, coronary heart disease & cancer. The United Nations believes so strongly in these protein powerhouses that it dubbed 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Pulses can help weight loss by keeping you feeling full for longer and are a vital source of plant-based protein, fibre & amino acids.
- BeetrootBeetroot is a great ingredient in that it contains high amounts of fibre, potassium and dietary nitrates which are great for lowering blood pressure. It is also loaded with manganese which is vital for healthy bones and protecting cells from damage. They can be juiced, roasted, steamed, boiled, pickled or eaten raw and make a great addition to soups & salads.
- Probiotics Probiotics are live bacteria which boost the population of good bacteria in the gut. As well as being good for digestive health, research suggests that probiotics may be helpful in treating symptoms of depression due to an important connection between the gut and brain. There is growing evidence that probiotics are very effective at managing irritable bowel syndrome. Foods containing natural probiotics include some yoghurts, sauerkraut, miso, aged cheeses, & kefir(fermented milk drink). Some foods are also fortified with probiotics and supplements are readily available.
- Sprouted grains In the past, grains such as wheat, oats & barley were left to sprout naturally in the fields but modern day farmers began to harvest and mill the grains while they were still dormant. Sprouted grains are believed to be easier to digest as the sprouting process breaks down the starches and they contain more vitamins, minerals and protein. The flour from these grains is becoming more readily available and gives bread, scones & cakes a pleasant, nutty flavour.
- Meat-free protein With sausages, bacon and other red meat receiving bad press last year, there will probably be a rise in demand for vegetable proteins in 2016. Some useful sources include chickpeas, beans & lentils as described earlier, tofu, quinoa, nuts & seeds, cheese, quorn, milk & yoghurt and eggs. Adults need around 0.75g protein per kg bodyweight daily so for someone weighing 60kg, that’s around 45g of protein a day. Food labels now give detailed nutritional information so make it easier to work out your daily quantities.
There are a whole host of websites, magazines and books giving recipes and inspiration to help you incorporate some of these products into your weekly eating plans and by making small changes to your diet, you will be helping your overall health in the long-term.