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10 trending functional foods

In that what-do-I-eat moment the search is on for health-enhancing foods. Then comes the how-to-add-it moment, when you have the ingredient but you now need help finding a recipe to include this food in a tasteful and time-efficient manner.

“Food as medicine”, “proactive health”, and “superfoods” all come to mind when thinking about naturally functional. Here are the top 10 most searched functional foods to date in 2020.

  • Turmeric
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Avocado oil
  • Kefir
  • Chia seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Saffron
  • Kombucha
  • Açai berry
  • Raw honey

There’s a lot of probiotic action going on here. Good gut bacteria (aka, probiotics) are important for optimal health and are particularly essential for proper digestive function. From the fermented milk drink, kefir, that may contain up to 61 different microorganisms making it a much more potent source of probiotics than many other fermented dairy products, to kombucha; a fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years. Made from fermented apples, unpasteurised and unfiltered apple cider may also provide live cultures to assist gut health.

Humans have been controlling the fermentation process for thousands of years, primarily in the form of fermented beverages in the earliest days. Evidence of a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit, honey, and rice found in Neolithic China dates back to 7000-6600 BCE. Wine-making dates to around 6000 BCE in Georgia, in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. There is also strong evidence that people were fermenting beverages in Babylon around 3000 BCE. How that all started is lost to time. We know that one microbe, yeast, has been around for at least 80 million years.

The list above is bringing people back to their ‘from paddock to plate’ grassroots. Take turmeric, for example. The powdered form is losing popularity as the once unrecognisable root now takes its place on the supermarket shelf with more effort and focus on sustainability and growing your own food.

One of the most commonly mispronounced foods, quinoa [KEEN-wah], has worked its way into people’s trolleys as more recipes from farmers and cooks become available and the question of ‘where does food come from’ is answered. Chia is close on quinoa’s heels. I highly recommend Jess’ food blog @choosingchia if you’re after some quick and delicious chia inspiration. Move over sesame seeds!

Raw honey is an interesting one and if you haven’t watched our From Paddock to Plate Virtual Video Excursion on this topic, then you need to. An insightful tour led by an Australian beekeeper on the journey of Jarrah honey, one of the world’s most highly sought after honey varieties for its distinct antimicrobial prowess.

What’s on your shopping list?

Louise FitzRoy is the Founder and Director of From Paddock to Plate, Australia’s leading independent food education provider.

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