What Do This Year’s Biggest Food Trends All Have in Common? | Healthyish

Quick & Easy Food Recipes at 101accident.com

[10/11/17: An earlier version of this article was dismissive of cultures that’ve used matcha, turmeric, and spirulina for far longer than they’ve been trending in the Western world. We sincerely apologize and have amended the text.]

What made matcha, turmeric, and spirulina this year’s wellness A-listers? They’re powder and they’re pretty, but also it’s their taste. Matcha, spirulina, and turmeric all have a decidedly earthy flavor, though you might not realize it considering that most Americans are consuming them with a lot of extra sweetener.

According to Google’s first-ever beverage trend report, earthy flavors ranked among the top three most-Googled food trends in the United States, with matcha reporting year-over-year growth of 202% since 2015. Turmeric showed 80% year-over-year growth, marking it as a flavor to watch next year, too. Meanwhile, the New York Times flagged spirulina as a top trend last December. It’s one thing for a flavor to be hyped, but it’s another to develop a lifestyle following, as these three ingredients have.

“There is almost the sense that they shouldn’t taste good,” says Dr. Charles Spence, author of Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating. “If they taste good, [you think] they can’t be good for you, and like medicine, if it tastes awful, you believe it must be doing the work.”

Powdered spirulina extract Blue Majik.

Photo by Alex Lau

But, even as earthy flavors trend upward, it’s hard to keep sweetness at bay. A Grande Starbucks Green Tea Latte made with almond milk (the least-sweet milk option) still has a whopping 21 grams of sugar. Why? The matcha powder is pre-sweetened, which might explain why it’s lasted so long on the brand’s roster. On the other hand, Portland teahouse Tea Bar uses unsweetened matcha powder, but CEO Erica Swanson admits that new tea drinkers “may not be accustomed to” the flavor.

“Many of our drinks can be made unsweetened, but we want to make everything approachable,” she says All drinks can be sweetened with honey or raw sugar according to the customer’s preference. To showcase the mineral flavor of E3 Live algae, she pairs it with unsweetened peppermint tea, and Tea Bar offers four different matcha drinks that can be sweetened to taste: vanilla, lavender, cardamom and peppermint. “These flavors can help a first-time matcha drinker become more accustomed to the slight bitterness it contains,” she says.

And, of course, matcha, turmeric, and spirulina have another thing in common: they’re photogenic. On Instagram, #matcha has been used over 2.7 million times, while #spirulina appears upwards of 600,000 times and #turmeric clocks in over 400,000. They’re also gaining traction on Pinterest. A spokesperson for the platform tells me that users saved 4.3 million matcha recipes last year, while 2017 has seen a 42% increase in the number of people saving turmeric tea ideas. As of June, searches for “spirulina” were up 35%.

Regardless of the hype (and as long as you don’t douse them with sugar) these ingredients’ health benefits are real. “Turmeric [is] anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and effective at breaking down mucus in the lungs,” says holistic nutritionist Jennifer Hall Taylor. “[It’s] great for respiratory trouble related to allergies and colds.” Meanwhile, she says, matcha, algae, and spirulina are high in chlorophyll, “which has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar, protect against free radicals, cleanse the blood, and protect against candida and other bad bacteria in the gut.” Not to mention, blue green algae and spirulina have high levels of B vitamins, “which can be difficult for vegans and vegetarians to get in adequate amounts through diet alone.”

It’s unlikely earthy flavors will disappear anytime soon. Instead, Hall Taylor says, it’s more likely the trend will expand to include other anti-inflammatory ingredients such as miso and bay leaf, which can be added to both sweet and savory dishes. As for color? Ube—this year’s favorite root vegetable—has that covered.

Embrace earthy flavors:

moon-milk.jpg

In Ayurveda (one of the oldest systems of natural healing in the world), warm milk is a common remedy for sleeplessness. This recipe features nutmeg (a natural sleep aid) and ashwagandha (an adaptogen that helps your body deal with stress) to shepherd you to dreamland. Look for ashwagandha at health food stores, Indian specialty stores, or Whole Foods. Here’s why drinking this at nighttime is better for you than counting sheep.

SEE RECIPE

iced-matcha-latte

For a really bright green latte, use ceremonial grade matcha.

SEE RECIPE

sweet-potato-turmeric-miso-soup.jpg

Be careful not to let this soup boil when reheating—you want to retain the delicate properties of the miso, which can be destroyed by high heat.

SEE RECIPE


Quick & Easy Food Recipes at 101accident.com