By Yinglu Peng, Dietetic Intern and M.S. Candidate
As a patron of a supermarket, you probably notice new foods popping up on the shelves all the time. But it’s difficult to know which ones are worth trying and which ones are just junk. Some new food products are making waves among Dietitians and are definitely worth adding to your cart.
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Kefir: Located in the dairy section, you may mistake kefir for yogurt. However, there are several differences between yogurt and kefir. Cultured at room temperature, kefir is a rich source of probiotics. It contains about 30 different microorganisms (aka “good bacteria”) that help with immune health and digestive function. Kefir is also a rich source calcium, protein, and B-vitamins. People with lactose intolerance can usually tolerate kefir, since the good bacteria have already digested the lactose. But be forewarned—kefir is sour and not sweetened like some conventional yogurts. If you’re a newbie to kefir, try using it in cooking.
Skyr: This is another product you will find in the yogurt aisle. An Icelandic yogurt, skyr is similar to Greek yogurt. Both are slightly sour concentrated milk products that are fermented with bacteria. Skyr is also another good source of probiotics.
Hemp: This plant was prohibited in most of the United States for a long time because it’s closely related to marijuana. Hemp is now sold in seeds, hearts and powder, and the protein and fiber in hemp slows digestion, which helps keep you fuller longer. Hemp is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which could help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Jackfruit: A popular fruit in Southeast Asia, this giant fruit grows best in warm weather. It is a good source of protein, potassium, iron and calcium, and some vegans swear that it tastes like pulled pork. The texture of jackfruit is soft with a sweet taste, and it can be turned into everything from chips to ice cream to noodles.
Teff: This gluten-free whole grain is the size of a poppy seed and is extremely popular among runners. Teff has a long list of health benefits, like providing long lasting energy, boosting immunity, stimulating digestion, strengthening bones, promoting cardiovascular health and aiding in weight loss.. Not to mention that teff is high in fiber, protein, manganese, iron and calcium. One cup of cooked teff has about 255 calories, 10 grams protein, 29% of your daily value of iron and 12% of your daily value of calcium.
Sorghum: The fifth most commonly grown grain crop in the world after wheat, rice, corn, and barley, sorghum is becoming more popular among home cooks. This gluten-free whole grain is high in protein– about 22 grams in one cup cooked—and contains almost half the recommended daily value of iron (47% in one cup). Plus, it’s rich in other minerals, like magnesium, copper, calcium, zinc and potassium. Sorghum is also rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which help lower risk of heart disease and cancer.