Look, up in the sky, it’s superfoods swooping into kitchens everywhere. Despite what their name might suggest, superfoods do not wear capes and fight crime. Instead, these are foods believed to have added health benefits, like promoting a better immune system or helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Beyond that, these ingredients also offer chefs new elements to experiment with in their continued culinary education.
1. Dandelion greens
Salads have long been heralded as a healthy meal option. More recently, though, folks have replaced spinach and lettuce with dandelion greens. According to Best Health magazine, these leaves are full of vitamins and antioxidants, including iron, fiber and manganese. However, unlike more traditional salad fare, dandelion leaves have a more bitter taste and a subtle hint of garlic. Even still, there’s an upside, as the bitter component can aid in detoxifying the liver.
Hailing from Southeast Asia, the moringa plant is jam-packed with nutrients and vitamins, such as calcium, copper, phosphorus and zinc, all of which aid digestion and blood sugar regulation. In fact, InStyle noted, at least one study has demonstrated that moringa is comparable to pharmaceutical-grade antioxidant supplement. The plant has a number of uses in the kitchen. It’s often substituted for roasted nuts or green beans, the leaves are sometimes used in place of spinach, and the seeds are ground up into a spicy condiment.
Also called clarified butter, this form of butter is used for both culinary purposes and in religious ceremonies across Asia, Medical Daily reported. Ghee is made by melting butter and removing the fat, leaving a nice, creamy solid at the end. Ghee has a number of benefits, namely being lactose friendly and good for cholesterol, in addition to not needing continuous refrigeration. Because of its relative comparison to butter, ghee can be used for various purposes, including searing meat, cooking vegetables and frying rice, according to The Kitchn.
This cereal food is made from green wheat that has been roasted. Writing in Vogue magazine, Vladia Cobrdova explained that not only is freekeh full of fiber and protein, it’s an especially rich source of calcium and iron. Freekeh is also noted for having a rather low glycemic index, meaning that those who eat it will feel fuller longer. For years, it has been used as a healthier substitute for both rice and pasta, and Food Network has described freekeh as having more of a crunchy, almost nutty taste akin to brown rice and barley.
A final note
Despite all the purported benefits, everyone should be cautious when purchasing superfoods, food industry expert Phil Lempert told Healthline. Though these foods offer various nutrients and vitamins, they should not be seen as the be-all and end-all cure. Instead, they should be part of a more health-conscious diet.