Keep up with the trends – 2017 brings with it a bunch of new superfoods on the block. The question is, though, are they everything they claim to be?
Meet 2017’s new superfoods.
FORGET kale, chai and amaranth – they are so 2012. There’s a wave of fad foods, sorry, miracle superfoods, that promise everything from reducing inflammation and fighting cancer to curing colds – if their pitches can be believed.
An indigenous Australian ingredient, this is better known as the Kakadu plum. The fruit is crazily high in vitamin C and has been credited with having antiviral and antibacterial properties, potentially helping ward off coughs and colds.
The slightly astringent fruit has a flavour between lemon and apple and makes a great frozen slushie, or should that be a “grosé” given its green colour and last summer’s drink of choice. What they may not tell you on the packet: It has been consumed by locals in the Kimberley for 40,000 years.
The white pith from the fruit of this bottle-trunked tree from the Kimberley is gaining attention on the back of a boom in baobab-based supplements.
The pith can be mashed with water to make a lemon sherbet sort of cordial or used to thicken soups. It claims high levels of vitamin C and calcium along with more magnesium than avocadoes, and more antioxidants than acai berries. What they may not tell you on the packet: How the boab got to Kimberley; no one knows.
Turkey isn’t turkey without cranberry sauce and this fruit’s popularity is set to soar as they are touted as good for everything from avoiding dental decay and stomach ulcers to lowering the risk of some cancers and treating UTIS. What they may not tell you on the packet: A high intake of cranberries has been linked to kidney stones and to increasing the blood-thinning properties of drugs such as warfarin.
A powder mixed with tree sap that, in its natural state, looks like elderly dog poo hardly sounds sexy.
But tell people that it’s an ancient biomass from the Himalayas, and that it’s loaded with 85 minerals including fulvic acid, and health nuts may overlook that, just as they have done in body-obsessed California. What they may not tell you on the packet: Apparently there’s extensive scientific research to prove the health benefits of shilajit resin but no one seems to be able to say where it is.
Along with chaga and reishi, cordyceps are the fungis of the new superfood gang.
They were cited in an ancient Tibetan medical text as having tonic properties but claims of their use as an aphrodisiac for the elderly, and their anti-cancer properties, have yet to be proven. What they may not tell you on the packet: Well, maybe in small print, but many of these statements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration and “this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease”.
The leaves, fruit and roots of this self-styled “Indian ginseng” (no relation) are used in Ayurvedic healing with the claim that the powdered root is good for “strengthening the immune system after an illness” and overcoming stress. It is also meant to boost your brain, lower cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar.
The powdered root mixed with warm milk and honey is drunk before bed. What they may not tell you on the packet: The Sanskrit name apparently translates as “smell of a horse.” It may also interfere with the efficacy of other medications and should definitely be avoided by pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
SPROUTED BROWN RICE PROTEIN POWDER
Whey is so yesterday. Using sprouted brown rice protein powder in shakes and muffins is vegan-friendly, low carb and it is claimed it won’t upset your tummy. What they may not tell you on the packet: SBRPP, as I like to call it, doesn’t come from some exotic faraway place, or get citations in obscure ancient scrolls, which I’m starting to think are musts for any aspiring superfood’s backstory.