Since the humble goji berry first appeared on Australian supermarket shelves more than a decade ago, 'superfoods' have become a global phenomenon. From Acai to quinoa, there are a plethora of foods now brandishing the superfood tag. We've put together a list of some of the less widely-known superfoods to get acquainted with today.
Friends with Fennel
Although masquerading as the offspring of celery and onion, fennel’s sweet, aromatic taste is strikingly reminiscent of liquorice and anise. Abundant from the Mediterranean to India, it makes for a great source of fibre and folate – a B vitamin crucial for the conversion of dangerous molecules known as homocystines into benign molecules. Clever fennel! The fennel bulb may also help to reduce elevated cholesterol levels and colon toxins. Try a ginger, apple and fennel juice or chopped fennel leaves to season your salad for a healthy flavour hit.
Miranda Kerr’s endorsement repertoire boasts David Jones to Reebok, but one name you probably haven’t seen on a fashion runway is Noni – the key ingredient in her KORA Organics range. Noni juice is derived from the fruit of the Morinda Citrifolia tree indigenous to Southeast Asia, Australasia and the Caribbean. Containing more than 170 vitamins and minerals, it’s a great immunity enhancer and antidepressant. Noni is most commonly available and consumed as a beverage.
Mate of Maca
Native to the Andes of Peru, Maca resembles a turnip and while it is claimed to be a fabulous aphrodisiac, it is mainly grown and dried for the nutritional value of its root. Known to alleviate menstrual issues - cramps, hot flushes, anxiety and mood swings (fun stuff), Maca is a friend to ladies. It is also a great aid to general health as it supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly. The taste of Maca powder can be a bit odd at first but is perfectly tolerable when mixed in a good smoothie.
The culinary world has welcomed mushrooms as yummy fungi; now super foodies are looking to embrace Cordyceps Sinensis – a fungus that lives on caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China, Nepal and Tibet. Now, those are some seriously cultured caterpillars. Cordyceps is used to treat a list of conditions including chronic bronchitis, respiratory disorders, dizziness and high cholesterol. They are usually taken as supplements in capsule form and often on a regular basis to strengthen the immune system and boost energy.
Pooh Bear was on to something with his honey fad - it so happens bee-gathered pollen is creating quite the buzz, considered one of nature's most completely nourishing foods for maintaining health inside and out. Containing a number of the nutrients we require, pollen is richer in protein than any animal source and is high in vitamins, free amino acids and folic acid. It can be bought in granule form and after a few rounds between a mortar and pestle, sprinkled on just about anything your taste buds desire! We vote dark chocolate.
Speaking of bees, another superfood worth investigating is Royal Jelly, a milk substance produced by worker honeybees made up of mainly water as well as proteins, sugar, fats, vitamins, salts and amino acids. Its regal name derives from the fact that bees use it to nurture their Queen Bee. The jelly is used for asthma, hay fever, skin disorders (amongst other things) and can be taken as a general health supplement in capsule form or applied directly to the skin to fight the effects of aging. We’ll take a lifetime supply, please!
Blue Green Beau
It may seem a little odd to snack on algae plucked from subtropical waters but it is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Our murky friend Spirulina contains blue green algae, however it can also be purchased on its own in powder or flake form and incorporated in a variety of delish dishes. It’s a great source of dietary protein, B-vitamins and iron and can be used to aid stress, fatigue, metabolism function, bowel health and anxiety among other conditions. If your body is your temple, blue green algae is your guard.
Camu Camu is not a fruit you can pinch off your neighbour’s tree – unless you call the flooded areas of the Amazon rainforest home. But, it is becoming an increasingly popular super food due to its antioxidant properties and the fact that it’s bursting with vitamin C – about 60 times more per serving than an orange. A teaspoon of Camu Camu powder can make up for a large amount of your daily vitamin C intake and act as an energy booster that’s great for your eyes and gums.