Have you noticed that there are certain foods that seem to appear out of nowhere, and suddenly they’re everywhere you look? Think alfalfa sprouts, pomegranate juice, açai, coconut water. The truth is, some of these foods are just fads, and owe more of their appeal to marketing than to their true health benefits.
But other so-called “superfoods” deserve their healthy rep and then some, and have earned a permanent place in your pantry. Here are 4 trendy health foods that deserve the hype.
1. Chia Seeds
An excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein, this ancient Aztec staple delivers. Sprinkle these tiny powerhouses on salads, cereals, and juice for a big nutritional bang for your bite.
This little seed with the funny name (pronounced KEEN-wah) contains all nine amino acids, plus fiber and iron. Try a few ideas Try a few creative ideas like these quinoa cakes to put its nutty goodness to work.
3. Flax Seeds
Similar to its chia seed brethren, flax seeds are a good source of omega-3s, fiber, and protein. Unlike chia seeds, however, they need to be ground for the best absorption of nutrients. Luckily, flax seed powder is now available from most health food stores and some grocery stores. You can sprinkle ground flax seeds on your breakfast cereal or add them to baked goods such as this pumpkin bread.
Another hot new grain that belongs in the “what’s old is new again” category is farro, an ancient type of wheat that has a coarse texture and nutty flavor. Farro comes to the U.S. from Italy, where it’s been a staple of rustic Italian cooking for centuries. There are several varieties of farro that also go by other names; farro grande, for example, may be better known as spelt. You can use farro in baked goods or serve it as a simple side dish, much as you would with rice, or use to give vegetable dishes like this yam salad a creative boost.
The takeaway: These heart-smart health superstars are no flash in the pan.