Foods for Longevity in 2017
by Kiki Athanas
January 11, 2017
"Superfoods" are out and "longevity foods" are officially in for 2017. We all love (to hate) the buzzwords and trends in the wellness space, but here's the real breakdown on what you need to know when it comes to nutritious edibles that are coming into the limelight as the new year unfolds.
Yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut. Been there, done that, and yes: watched the corny commercial featuring the dancing woman and her "probiotic"-friendly gut getting a little too excited about yogurt. Now it's time to take your fermented game to the next level...
Kimchi, black garlic, and beet kvass. All of these foods - and beverage - are about to experience some mainstream success, and it's a long-time coming! Seriously, all 3 are actually ancient "superfoods" that are a main staple in cultures dating way back.
Let's start with kimchi, the long-time Korean side-dish staple. Traditional kimchi consists of napa cabbage, chilli paste, garlic, ginger, and other vegetables like carrots and radishes - all fermented as time allows for the natural enzymes in the foods do their magic work. I've spoken lots about kimchi before here, so I'll keep this short and simply send you off to try it yourself with the delicious (and quite unique) recipe you'll have to try yourself (trust me - you can't buy this concoction anywhere!)
Next up, black garlic. It is a favourite sweet addition in Asian-cuisine (in fact, it was also developed in Korea - they know what's good)! And yes, I said sweet. Black garlic is actually garlic that has been subject to heat and humidity (usually over the timeframe of about 2 months) which produces a softer and sweeter flavour, as well as a darker colouring (hence the name). It goes great roasted with veggies, or you can add it to a soup like this Brassica Heaven one I have below.
Why not just use regular garlic? Besides the added versatility of black garlic's "mellowness", it has additional health benefits - YAY (don't pretend like you didn't see that coming)! First off, it provides the probiotic benefits that all fermented food carry, and it also has TWICE the antioxidants of fresh garlic (which already has plenty).
Lastly to discuss on the topic of fermented foods; beet kvass is predicted to get more and more common - so expect to see it on the shelf the next time you pick up a bottle of kombucha (so 2016 btw!). Beets have gained increasing popularity due to their immunity-boosting properties as well as their ability to lower blood pressure (due to the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which produces nitric oxide in your body - relaxing and helping to dilate your blood vessels). Once again, beet kvass is an age-old tonic wellness bloggers such as myself are only now just starting to get behind. It works as a great sports-drink replacement (versus those artificial ones that often do more harm than good), as it increases your stamina and levels of clarity. Wellness Mama has a great recipe here on how to make your own.
OUT: Golden Milk Tea
Seriously, if I see one more orangey-yellow latte on my Instagram I will have to throw a major hissy-fit, and it's not going to be soothing.
IN: Mushroom Lattes
While natural healers and foragers have been all about the world of mushrooms and their incredibly healing and disease-preventing benefits for years - social media and the "real world" needs a little more time to catch up. With that said, it's starting. It brings me joy to see Chaga tea being offered at local Toronto spots like Fresh Restaurants - who have a BOMB Chaga Apple Cider special on right now...seriously, it's a warming delight to my heart and belly! I also hear great things about Four Sigmatic Foods and their mushroom coffee mixes.
So why the love for all things shroom?! Well, Chaga in particular - picked off of birch trees grown in colder climates in the North (including Ontario - woot woot #REPRESENT!) - has endless immune-boosting ingredients and antioxidants. Specifically, its a natural Biological Response Modifier (BRM), which means it actually helps to speed up or slow down the immune system as necessary - checking in with the body to see exactly what support it needs. It's also been proven to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, among countless other beneficial properties and protectants.
So time to trade in your very over-done and over-instagrammed golden milk tea, and trade in and upgrade to a chaga latte.
OUT: Coconut Oil
Okay, so maybe that's a bit harsh - it's unlikely that coconut oil will totally lose it's appeal this year, but rather, there's a new "trendy" oil in town...
IN: Avocado Oil:
With an even higher smoke point than coconut oil, avocado oil is the "new" pantry staple we're all going to be forking out on this year. While coconut oil is great - sometimes you just don't want your fried eggs to taste like coconut. Enter avocado oil - similar in taste to olive oil, it can be used for salads and oh so much more! It's got a smoke point of 520°F and an endless amount of nutritional benefits, including:
- Rich source of "good" fats, i.e. monounsaturated fat oleic acid - the reason why the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world (thanks to it's heavy use of olive oil which contains that exact same acid).
- Can help lower inflammation, blood pressure, and "bad" cholesterol levels.
- It contains CHLOROPHYLL! One of my favourite natural detoxifiers for the body - this little gem will help remove heavy metal substances in your system and boost your immune system and metabolism.
The next time you drizzle or cook something in oil - be "current" and go with avo.
For a bit of recipe inspiration, check out some of the squash recipes I demoed on the Good Day show this week: