With 2012 coming to a close, many of us are looking ahead and thinking of ways to make 2013 a healthier year.
If you are one of the many people focusing on making changes to your diet in 2013, take a look at some of the most popular health food trends of the last year.
It's never too late to add them to your diet:
Raw Juice: Raw juice bars are popping up everywhere. While these juice cleanses are expensive and certainly not a healthy long-term weight loss plan, they can be a good way to get fruits and vegetables into your diet or to help you kick-start a healthier way of eating. Many juice bars also offer juices made with nutritious fruits and vegetables that you might not normally buy and prepare. The process of juicing does take out the fiber in the produce so this is not necessarily a more nutritious way to eat but it can be a good supplement to a healthy diet and a great substitute for other high-sugar beverages like energy drinks or smoothies.
Hemp seeds: Seeds continue to be a superfood on the lists of many nutritionists. The newest to be heavily promoted by health experts? Hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are a good source of omega fatty acids, including the important omega-3 fatty acid, ALA. In addition, unlike other plant sources of protein, hemp seeds provide all of the essential amino acids, making them a complete source of protein. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 90 calories, 6 grams of fat and provide 5 grams of protein. Add them to cereal, yogurts and smoothies for that added protein and healthy fats. If you have a nut or seed allergy, talk to your doctor before trying them.
Kefir: Sold as a yogurt-like drink, kefir has been around for ages but is recently experiencing a resurgence in the world of health foods. According to the National Kefir Association website, kefir can have significant health benefits, especially related to digestive disorders and strengthening the immune system. These benefits are attributed to the multiple strains of probiotic cultures kefir contains. In addition, as a dairy product, kefir provides calcium, protein and is also a good source of fiber.
Local produce: The last year saw the continuing popularity of farmers markets in both rural and urban communities. According to the National Restaurant Association, one of the major menu trends for 2013 is locally sourced meat, fish and produce. Because this food doesn’t have to travel as far, fewer chemicals are used to grow and sustain them. Locally grown foods are also thought to be richer in taste and nutritional value because there is less time between harvesting and preparation. Although it is hard to buy entirely local, try and visit local markets as much as possible and many supermarkets now often produce grown by local farmers.