We can’t get away from food knowledge, which is power and what you put on your plate can have a huge impact on your life, as previously mentioned. Here Paula McGrath, BBC, reflects on future food that is good for you and the planet:
“If you want to stay healthy and help save the planet, how about a dish of algae followed by some cactus and ancient grains?
Once a staple mainly eaten in Bolivia and Peru, quinoa has now become a familiar food across the globe – so what other healthy foods are waiting to be discovered?
A new report lists 50 so-called future foods which are both healthy and good for the environment. So which “super” foods are on the menu of the future?
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The Moringa tree is often referred to as “the miracle tree” – it’s fast-growing and drought-resistant and in its native south Asia many parts of the tree are used in Ayurvedic medicine.
The leaves can be harvested up to seven times a year and contain vitamins A and C and minerals like calcium and potassium. They are often added to clear broths.
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In the Philippines and Indonesia, it is common to cut the long seed pods – known as “drumsticks” – into shorter lengths to be stewed in curries and soups. These pods also contain seeds which are rich in oleic acid which has been linked to higher levels of “good” cholesterol in the body.
The leaves can be ground into a powder to be used in smoothies, soups, sauces and teas.
Priya Tew, a dietitian and media spokesperson from the British Dietetic Association, knows it well. “A favourite in my family food history, eaten as part of a curry in Sri-Lanka, You scrape the inside out with your teeth and suck the sauce off.”
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In Japan Wakame seaweed has been cultivated for centuries by sea farmers for human food – but offerings of it were made to the spirits of ancestors and even taxes were paid in seaweed.
Nowadays it’s also grown in sea fields in France, New Zealand and Argentina. It can be harvested all year round – without using fertilisers or pesticides – and dried in the sun.
The dried seaweed adds a delicious, salty umami flavour to food and it’s also one of the few plant-based sources of eicosapentaenoic acid – the omega 3 fatty acid which is almost exclusively found in fatty fish that feed on algae.
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One of the softest brown seaweeds, Wakame also contains a large amount of fucoidan – a dietary fibre which has also shown potential in animal studies to lower blood pressure, to have anti-blood coagulation properties and even anti-tumour activity.
“Seaweeds can be a great source of iodine and omega 3’s, especially for people eating less animal products. Great in a stir-fry, I ate this a lot in Hong Kong,” says Priya Tew – but she also warns that “it is important to only eat a small amount each day so you don’t get too much iodine, and also due the heavy metal content from the sea.”
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A common ingredient in Mexican cuisine the leaves, fruit and cladodes (flattened shoots rising from the stems of the plant) of Nopales or prickly pear can be eaten raw, cooked, or made into juice or jam.
It’s easy to grow in Central and South America, Australia and even Europe.
Some clinical studies suggest that fibre from cacti helps the body to excrete more of the fat we eat – but any weight loss benefits are yet to be proven. Other trials suggested it can reduce blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes – and may even lessen unpleasant hangover symptoms.
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Anyone wanting to try the prickly pear cactus might want to consider easing into it – some people experience side effects like mild diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal fullness.
Priya Tew comments: “Some interesting health claims, it is important to note these are unproven currently and there are side effects. I can see this sadly becoming a new health craze.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-48138772
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