MATT PRE­STON

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?

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Stellar - - Contents - MATT PRE­STON

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.

GUBINGE

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.

BOAB POW­DER

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.

CRAN­BER­RIES

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.

SHILAJIT RESIN

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.

CORDYCEPS

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”.

ASHWAGANDHA

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.

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