Top 10 Healthy Food Trends for 2017

Top 10 Healthy Food Trends for 2017 Blog Post

I can’t believe 2016 is almost over. It certainly was a big year. Food wise, we saw cauliflower everything, avocado toast start to pitter out (although it’s still popular), doughnut shops take hold, and smoothie bowls everywhere. So what’s coming up for 2017? I asked EatingWell’s editors what healthy food trends they’re seeing on the horizon for next year. Here’s what we predict will be hot next year.

Bean Pastas


Source: Food

What Is Spirulina?

This article originally appeared on CookingLight.com.

You probably never thought you would be adding algae powder from tropical lakes to your smoothies, but spirulina is becoming quite the popular addition for many health-focused eaters. Even though this superfood is in the spotlight right now because of its nutrients, bright green color, and bounty of healthy benefits, spirulina has been a superfood long before 21st-century nutritionists began adding it to their smoothie bowls.

Spirulina is quite possibly one of the oldest life forms on Earth. The first people to ever use this algae as a food source is unclear, but Aztecs and African natives may have consumed the algae in their daily diet many centuries ago.

Fast forward to today, we understand why spirulina is here to stay. Our assistant nutrition editor, Jamie Vespa, MS, RD, breaks down why this superfood clearly has staying power and is gaining momentum in superfood circles:

Dried spirulina contains about 60 to 70 percent protein. It’s actually considered one of the few plant-based sources of “complete protein,” meaning it contains all essential amino acids your body needs but can't produce on its own. It’s also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, and K. Spirulina may be more beneficial for vegans or vegetarians that lack adequate iron in their diet. Touted as a “superfood," health claims surrounding the blue-green algae include its ability to boost immunity, fight allergies, and reduce fatigue.

With its high nutrient density, the benefits of spirulina reach far and wide. We love it in our smoothies in the morning because research suggestions the powder may boost energy, reduce fatigue, and naturally suppress appetite. Great benefits, right? That's why we say it's time to say goodbye to coffee and hello to spirulina smoothies.

Like other superfoods, spirulina may strengthen the immune system, help with digestion, balance the body's pH, and reduce inflammation. Small studies support these claims, but more research is needed to know if these claims are true.

Spirulina is available as tablets or powders. We prefer the algae in its powdered form because it's easy to add to recipes, such as our Best Green Smoothies. However, "spirulina can get a bit pricey, and it's always important to remember the lack of quality control in the supplement industry. As such, do your research to find a quality product that has been third-party tested and is certified free of contamination," Vespa explains.

Source: Nutrition

Eat the Rainbow with This Healthy Hummus Recipe Made 4 Ways!

Eat the Rainbow with This Healthy Hummus Recipe Made 4 Ways! Blog Post

The only thing better than a big bowl of homemade creamy hummus is 4 big bowls of homemade creamy hummus in all the colors of the rainbow. That’s right—vibrant, colorful hummus all naturally dyed by vegetables. We’re always looking for new ways to eat more veg, and this may be our favorite yet! Roasted red peppers, beets, avocado and cilantro don’t just add color, they also add tons of flavor and silkiness to this healthy snacking favorite!

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Source: Food

The Real Paleo Diet Included More Plants Than We Thought

What would a caveman eat? That's the basic premise behind the Paleo diet, a nutritional regimen centered on the same foods that sustained our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The trouble is, we don't know exactly what those foods were.

But archeologists at a site in the northern Jordan Valley in Israel have uncovered new and surprising clues about the real Paleo diet: It turns out ancient humans feasted on a wide variety of plants along with their fish and meat. 

The researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bar Ilan University identified 55 edible plant species that the camp's inhabitants would have eaten 780,000 years ago, including veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Some you’d even recognize, like water chestnuts and acorns.

“Our knowledge of the diet of early hominins derives mainly from animal skeletal remains found in archeological sites, leading to a bias toward a protein-based diet,” the authors wrote in the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They concluded that their findings "change previous notions of Paleo diet."

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About the Paleo Diet

What's more, our ancestors were by no means picky eaters. They had a varied diet, the authors point out, and ate in-season, which may have allowed them to hunker down in one place and find food all year long.

The researchers also found evidence that these early humans cooked their food to make it safe to eat, and more palatable: "The use of fire is very important because a lot of the plants are toxic or inedible. Using fire, like roasting nuts and roots for example, allows the use of various parts of the plant,” said author Naama Goren-Inbar, a professor at the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a press release.

RELATED: Best Vegan and Vegetarian Protein Sources

So would a caveman eat mostly meat, or mostly plants?

The answer to that question is still unknown. "There probably was no single balance between meat and plant," Peter Ungar, PhD, chair of anthropology at the University of Arkansas, said in an interview with the New Scientist. "Human evolution is a work in progress, and diets likely varied along a continuum in both time and space."

 

 

Source: Nutrition

Should You Trust the New Research About Sugar?

The link between sugar and chronic diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes is well established, but even though many public health groups recommend limiting sugar intake, they differ widely on the recommended daily limits.

The most recent U.S. dietary guidelines recommend Americans get less than 10% of their daily calories from added sugars—which is roughly the equivalent of a 16-ounce soda. The World Health Organization has issued similar guidelines, while other groups say 25% of total calories should be the cap.

Complicating things is a new study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, where researchers looked at the evidence used to support daily sugar limits of less than 10% of a person’s total calories. Ultimately, they concluded that those public health recommendations were based on low-quality science.

So does that imply that sugar should get carte blanche in the American diet?

Not exactly, say the researchers. “Although our findings question the recommendations from guidelines produced by leading authorities, the findings should not be used to justify high or increased consumption of nutrient-poor, energy-dense foods and beverages like candy and sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Bradley Johnston, principal investigator of the review, in a statement.

Still, some researchers expressed concern about the trustworthiness of the new findings since the research was funded by the North American branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ISLI), a trade group whose board is made up of scientists as well as representatives for major food and beverage companies. ISLI members include Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, Dupont, Mars, Inc., Monster Energy Company, Nestlé USA, PepsiCo and more. (You can see the organization’s membership list here.)

“Our concerns about the funding source and methods of the current review preclude us from accepting its conclusion that recommendations to limit added sugar consumption to less than 10% of calories are not trustworthy,” writes Dr. Dean Schillinger, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in a corresponding editorial in the same journal. “Policymakers, when confronted with claims that sugar guidelines are based on ‘junk science,’ should consider whether ‘junk food’ was the [funding] source.”

The authors of the new study say they conducted the study without input from the International Life Sciences Institute. “However, given our funding source, our study team has a financial conflict of interest and readers should consider our results carefully,” the authors wrote in their conclusion.

A separate Nov. 2016 study, lead by Schillinger, found that industry-funded studies are significantly less likely to connect sugar or sugary beverages to bad health outcomes than studies funded by independent researchers. It was the latest in a series of recent reports about the connection between the sugar industry and researchers.

A Sept. 2016 report by Dr. Cristin Kearns, a dentist turned investigative researcher at UCSF, found that the sugar industry sponsored research that blamed fat for heart disease rather than sugar. Another report by Kearns found that sugar industry advocacy groups influenced federal cavity prevention recommendations through strategies like getting sugar experts on federal panels concerning tooth decay.

Today, the food industry funds a lot of health research. As one example, a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported that between 2011 to 2015, more than 95 national health organizations accepted money from Coca-Cola or PepsiCo or both.

When asked why they chose to publish the new industry-funded study, the editors of the Annals of Internal Medicine sent this statement by email:

“Annals decided to publish the paper because the topic of sugar consumption is one that is of great interest to Annalsreaders and their patients. The fact that recommendations differ substantially is confusing for clinicians, their patients, and the public in general…

Despite what the editorial implies, the authors of the study do not conclude that intake of any amount of sugar is healthy. Rather, the authors conclude—and provide evidence to support this conclusion—that guidelines about sugar consumption are based on weak evidence and we need better research on this topic.”

This article was originally published on Time.com.

Source: Nutrition