Bored of quinoa? We’ve found a bunch of lesser-known dietary powerhouses for you.
Say hello to these food superheroes:
Black rice – Black rice is rich in antioxidants and also contains a potent amount of anthocyanins (the red and purple pigments in the grain) that help promote anti-inflammatory benefits in the lining of the arteries. It is also high in dietary fibre that is great for intestinal health. Eat it on its own as a healthier substitute to white rice.
Coconut water and oil – Coconut water is a good source of fibre and electrolytes. Of course, the best source is directly from the fruit, but since it’s not always feasible, the prepackaged drink works too. Just make sure that it contains 100% coconut water with no additives or preservatives. Coconut oil is also rich in good saturated fats that aid in increasing metabolism and weight loss.
Tempeh – Tempeh, or Indonesian fermented soya bean cake, is high in healthy bacteria lactobacilli that is essential for good intestinal health. It’s also easier to digest compared to other legumes – the fermentation allows naturally occurring enzymes in tempeh to help predigest itself – and is a good source of protein for vegans, vegetarians, and those who want a variety of protein sources.
Cacao nibs – Dark chocolate has long been lauded as a good source of antioxidants, but the plant from which the seeds are used to make chocolate is even better. Eat them on their own or have them ground into a powder and mixed with cooked quinoa and a splash of coconut milk for a snack. Cacao nibs are very high in magnesium (the most commonly deficient major mineral in our daily diets) and has an antioxidant score that’s 14 times that of red wine and 21 times that of green tea.
Buckwheat – This gluten-free and protein-rich seed can serve as porridge for breakfast or rice for dinner. Buckwheat flour can also be used to make pancakes, pizza and other baked goods. Unlike rice, corn or wheat, buckwheat has a low glycemic index (it is digested slowly to maintain blood sugar levels), and is also a good source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that keeps skin and hair healthy and aids in wound healing.
Expert sources: Dr Katrina N Stehle, chiropractor & clinical nutritionist at The Wellness Chiropractic; Jaclyn Reutens, clinical dietiTian at Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants.
By Liu Kai Ying, Her World Fit & Fab, Issue #3 2014