The new year is typically a time for people to begin new goals and make resolutions to start living a better life. For many, a healthier diet is a major goal for the approaching year. Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring, difficult or expensive. A little forethought definitely pays off in the long run with health benefits for you and your family. So, what are some of the trendy foods and beverages that can put a positive and interesting spin on your diet? Consider these readymade or easy-to-prepare options:
Kombucha is a fizzy fermented green or black tea that for thousands of years has been recognized as having health benefits. It can be an acquired taste for some people, but it can also be a very refreshing healthier substitute for soda or even beer. It has tiny traces of alcohol from the fermentation process, but kids and adults alike will reap the benefits of this beverage without intoxication. Kombucha is also antioxidant-rich. Foods and drinks that are fermented or are rich in probiotics have a lot of benefits, including promoting a healthy gut, stronger immune system and increased liver function. Get the unpasteurized variety for the maximum level of probiotics. Green tea kombucha can even promote weight loss.
CBD-Infused Foods and Beverages
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound in hemp plants. It’s one of many phytocannabinoids that are found in cannabis plants (the most popular being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the only phytocannabinoid that gets you high). Because hemp plants contain 0.3% THC or less (flowers and leaves of the marijuana plant have 15 to 20% THC), CBD won’t give you a high. However, CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors to keep the body functioning properly, and it can give your body an overall sense of well-being. The ECS is responsible for regulating mood, anti-inflammatory response, appetite and sleep schedule, to name just a few. So, CBD-infused food and drinks can provide a ton of benefits and there are many options to choose from. One option that’s becoming popular is CBD water (both the plain and sparkling varieties). CBD-infused coffee, honey, gummy bears and chocolate are just a few of the other food and drink options available.
Hummus is a simple, yet versatile, food that’s been around forever; it’s tasty and has a lot of health benefits. Chickpeas are cooked and mashed and then blended with lemon juice, tahini and garlic. It’s generally eaten as a dip or a spread. Hummus is a good form of fiber and protein and contains a variety of vitamins. A new adaptation is sweet hummus, aka, dessert hummus. When it comes to flavor, peanut butter, chocolate, cinnamon and fruits are just a few of the seemingly endless possibilities.
Avocado oil is rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and proteins. It has many benefits such as lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, improving symptoms of arthritis and boosting the immune system. Because avocado oil doesn’t really have a strong distinctive taste, it won’t overpower the food that you’re cooking. Instead, it adds a buttery hint. Use it to make salad dressings and for frying and marinating. Avocado oil has a smoke point of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well beyond that of olive oil or even peanut oil. This high smoke point makes it great for stir-frying, deep-frying, searing or pan-frying.
Adzuki beans are small beans that are prevalent in East Asia. They’re just starting to gain some recognition among Americans who want a good meatless protein alternative to other varieties of beans. Adzuki beans are packed with protein, fiber and micronutrients. They have a sweet taste, so they’re often used in making desserts like brownies, but they’re also great for soups or as a side dish.
Exploring the plethora of healthy foods and beverages can be interesting and exciting. Just imagine the number of foods that exist that you might not know about. Next time you go to the grocery store be sure to look for a few of these options and get a new start on your healthy lifestyle.