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Five superfoods you’ve never heard of (but may well be in your smoothie soon!)

Wind back the clock twenty years and words that are now part of the healthy eating lexicon; spirulina, quinoa, wheatgrass etc were once alien concepts to most of us.

Fast forward a decade or so and what foods might soon be standard on our supermarket shelves? According to a new report, there are at least 50 new superfoods that we could soon be consuming as part of a healthier lifestyle. Here’s five you should know about:

MORINGA

Moringa, native to South Asia, is rich in Vitamins A and C and is already found in curry and soup dishes in the Philippines

Already familiar to those working in Ayurvedic medicine, moringa comes from a fast-growing tree of the same name.

Native to South Asia, its leaves are rich in vitamin A and C and are also packed full of potassium and calcium. Added to curries and soups in countries like the Philippines, the moringa’s seed pods also have good levels of cholesterol-friendly oleic acid.

The leaves can be dried and milled into a fine powder; moringa is packed with
cholesterol-friendly oleic acid

BAMBARA BEANS

An African legume that is sweeter than a peanut, the bambara bean has super sustainability because it can grow in tough soil conditions.

Eaten in East Africa, Malaysia and Thailand, the bambara is high in protein and versatile; it can be ground into flour, boiled, roasted or fried. It also has methionine in it, an amino acid that promotes blood vessel growth, and selenium, which can help regulate the thyroid and promote a strong immune system.

FONIO

A new way of accessing fonio, a tiny, gluten-free grain as small as sand that is housed in a husk you can’t eat, has been developed in Senegal, which means this superfood could be coming to a health shop near you soon. The grains are rich in iron, zinc and magnesium and might offer an alternative to cous-cous or rice in dishes.

WAKEME SEAWEED

This salty Japanese treat is big on fibre and is one of the few plant-based sources of
eicosapentaenoic, an Omega 3 fatty acid

The upside of wakame? It’s tastes good! This dried seaweed is fibre-heavy – containing blood pressure-lowering fucodian – and is one of the few plant-based foods that is rich in omega 3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic, normally found in fatty fish.

NOPALES CACTUS

Originating in Mexico, this colourful cactus, Nopales, comes with lots of fibre and the leaves, shoots and fruits can all be consumed

Head to Mexico for this one (although it could be grown in Europe), where it’s already a staple.

The fibre-rich cactus leaves, fruit and shoots from the stems are versatile and can be eaten raw, cooked or in juices, smoothies and even jams.

Early trials suggest it may help with weight-loss because it’s high fibre content could help the body to get rid of fat. It’s also been shown during research to have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, meaning it could be an ally for people with Type 2 diabetes.