8 Healthy Foods You Probably Have Never Heard of (But Should be Eating)
Now that kale and quinoa have gained such popularity, other niche health foods are beginning to enter the mainstream. With the healthy eating movement rapidly growing, people are becoming more educated on what to eat. Although you may be getting your fair share of greens and grains in your diet, there are plenty of other lesser-known foods rich in nutrients that you may not know about.
If you’re getting sick of all your usual superfoods, we’ve gathered a list of eight healthy foods that you aren’t as popular, but contain a variety of health benefits.
Similar to quinoa, amaranth is considered an ancient grain, but it is actually a seed. It is naturally gluten-free and contains a whopping amount of vitamins and minerals, including a ton of iron. Because it contains all the essential amino acids, amaranth is a great source of protein and has even been proven to help lower cholesterol levels.
A traditional part of Indian cuisine, mung beans are low in cholesterol, high in dietary fiber, low in sugar, and high in protein. These legumes are rich in potassium and the B vitamins are a great source of nutrients, especially for vegetarians. They can be prepared in the same way as lentils with a variety of vegetables and spices.
Maca is a root that is mostly found in powder form. Filled with vitamins B, C, and E, maca tastes best in smoothies, shakes, or even salads. Though the research is limited, many people believe that maca can be used to increase sexual function and alleviate menstrual issues and menopause.
Romanesco is a vegetable similar to broccoli and cauliflower, though it is crunchier with a bit of a nuttier flavor. This colorful vegetable is is rich in vitamin C, iron, folate, carotenoids, and fiber, and studies have found that these types of cruciferous vegetables are shown to help fight off cancer.
More commonly used in Asian cuisine, black garlic is regular garlic that has gone through a heating process that softens the bulbs and turns their color black. The result is a sweeter-tasting garlic with a flavor similar to balsamic vinegar. Black garlic adds a whole new flavor to dishes but retains the numerous health benefits of regular garlic, including inflammation reduction, improved cardiovascular health, and prevention against major diseases. Black garlic has also been found to contain twice the amount of antioxidants as fresh garlic.
Spirulina is a form of algae that is high in many vitamins and minerals, but it is most known for its high protein content. Two tablespoons of spirulina provides enough protein for one meal, and it contains many essential amino acids and minerals. It is high in calcium and can help fight allergies, lower cholesterol, balance blood pressure, and fight against cancer.
The pichuberry is a Peruvian fruit that is high in vitamin C, D, and B12. The superfruit is filled with antioxidants, helping prevent against diseases, cellular aging, and cancer. Though it looks like a little tomato, the taste of a pichuberry is sweet, with a hint of tart.
Salsify is a root vegetable that looks pretty ugly, but provides a significant amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is high in potassium, iron, and copper, and it helps promote a healthy immune system, improves digestion, and maintains bone strength. Salsify is said to taste similar to an artichoke, and it can be boiled, mashed, or fried.