Known by Siberians as the “Gift from God” and the “Mushroom of Immortality,” Chaga is not just any old mushroom. This super-shroom is supposedly packed with potent phytochemicals, including sterols, phenols, and enzymes. It’s been claimed that the woody fungus boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation, protects against viruses, reduces cardiovascular disease and improves liver health.
Chaga is most commonly consumed in powder or tea form but is not yet available from mainstream health stores. Fans of the mushroom say that drunk with milk it tastes a little like a mocha!
Note that before taking any plant or herbal supplement it’s important to consult with your health professional.
If 2014 was the year of the green smoothie, 2015 will be the year of the bone broth. Yes you heard correctly. Bone broth is being hailed by nutritionists as an incredibly nutritious and health boosting super soup. Fans of the Paleo (Caveman) diet are not surprisingly big on this broth and recommend drinking it straight to boost digestive health. It’s also said to boost immunity and support joints, hair, skin, and nails due to its high collagen content.
The verdict? A great way to get more value for money from your roast chicken. Try to use organic, poultry and follow a recipe for a healthy broth to complement your diet.
Move over Acai – there’s a new South American superfood in town. Lucuma is a subtropical fruit found in the Andean valleys of Peru known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties. Despite being super-sweet, it has a very small effect on blood sugar levels making it a great choice for diabetics and anyone wanting to avoid fluctuations in sugar and energy levels.
It can be added to cereals, used in baking and tastes great in smoothies and desserts. Lucuma powder is now widely available in most health food stores.
Another Peruvian speciality that has grown in popularity and is now a staple in many nutritionists’ cupboards is the grain Amaranth. Amaranth is in a group known as pseudo-cereals, which means it’s not a true cereal grain like oats or wheat. One of the benefits of this is that it’s gluten-free. Health benefits include its high protein content, alongside a good dose of iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
You can cook it in a similar way to rice, or have it instead of oats for a tasty porridge with a bit of bite. Try this month’s salad if you’d like a tasty way to experiment with the grain!
Written by Ruth Tongue