Healthy Food Trends to Try for 2021
As the coronavirus and the pandemic continue to rage across the country, it should come as no surprise that many Americans’ everyday habits and behaviors are shifting with a renewed focus on health, immunity and wellbeing. With most people having to work from home during several months of lockdowns and quarantine, now more than ever, people are searching for innovative and nutritious food choices that will boost their immunity and promote a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the top choices that you might want to explore in 2021.
1. Plant-based eating
Plant-based eating refers to a diet that focuses on foods that come from fruits, vegetables as well as seeds, nuts, whole grains and legumes while reducing or eliminating animal products such as meat, fish and dairy. Although plant-based eating initially gained popularity among vegans, it is definitely emerging as the mainstream food movement for non-vegan demographics for numerous health benefits such as keeping your heart strong, reducing risks of cancer and stroke, improving your cholesterol and brain functions just to name a few. Some of the popular items worth exploring include: cauliflower rice, zucchini pasta, chickpea pizza and tortillas, meatless burgers and oatmilk.
Microgreens are featured as one of the biggest healthy food trends in 2021 by Frances Largeman-Roth’s article on Today. Microgreens (young vegetable greens harvested after the cotyledon leaves have developed), are highly rich in nutrients and they have four to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts. Some of the tastiest and healthiest microgreens include radish sprouts, pea shoots, sunflower shoots and wheatgrass. They can be easily added to your favorite sandwiches, salads, and even smoothies as nutritional supplements. Furthermore, growing your own microgreens is an efficient process and only takes about seven days.
Also mentioned on Largeman-Roth’s list are Postbiotics. Postbiotics are byproducts of fermentation carried out by probiotics, and they are known to provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to bolster the immune system and the gut barrier. Postbiotics can be commonly found in the same foods that contain probiotics, including sauerkraut, kefir, sourdough bread and kimchi (fermented cabbage dish).
Kelp is featured as the new Kale and is another big health food trend for 2021. Commonly referred to as a type of seaweed, it has been used in traditional Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisine for thousands of years due to its nutritional benefits. Not only does kelp offer an abundance of minerals, including calcium and B vitamins, it ranks as one of the top sustainable food choices since it requires no fertilizer for growth and actually helps clean water by preventing algae blooms.
5. New Cooking Oils
If you’re bored with vegetable or olive oil for everyday cooking, there are a whole variety of new cooking oils to try in 2021, including walnut seed and pumpkin seed oil. Walnut seed oil is good for your skin, helps lower blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels and may even have anti-cancer effects, according to a Healthline article written by registered dietitian and founder of Taste of Nutrition Katey Davidson. In addition, pumpkin seed oil – which can have a positive effect on your skin, heart and prostate – is said to ward off depression, and may even relieve some of the symptoms of menopause.
6. Foods to Boost Mental Health
The new food trends are not limited to those that offer benefits for physical well being but also for mental health. Davidson predicts that more food and beverage companies will be coming out with food containing ingredients to reduce stress, improve sleep and overall mental health. “In particular, functional beverages that contain stress reducing compounds, such as adaptogens (substances that help your body to adapt to stress) will increase in popularity”. These beverages can range from Mushroom Hot Chocolate by Four Sigmatic to antioxidant fruit smoothies.