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Want to know what healthy foods people will be talking about this year? We've got you covered, thanks to the recent Pollock Communications and Today's Dietitian "What's Trending in Nutrition" survey. The intel provides an in-depth look at the food and nutrition trends for 2022 and beyond, courtesy of insight from 1,173 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs).
These experts weighed in on food shopping habits, trending diets, and more. They also revealed a list of the top 10 superfoods of the year, which places a clear emphasis on plant-based foods that have a myriad of nutritional benefits. "With the focus on health and immunity in the next decade, and the increased popularity of plant-based eating, nutrient-dense options will be an important part of consumer diets, as they embrace food as medicine to help prevent disease," Louise Pollock, president of Pollock Communications, said in a statement. "In addition, there will likely be an increased interest in functional foods containing ingredients that provide health benefits beyond their nutrient profile."
The list includes longtime favorites such as kale and avocados, as well as foods that have been trendier in recent years, like ancient grains and kimchi. Keep reading to find out which superfoods you should stock up on in 2022!
Fermented foods such as yogurt and kimchi took the top spot, likely because of their immune- and gut-boosting benefits. According to researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine, a diet rich in fermented foods increases microbiome diversity and improves immune responses. To eat more fermented foods, try this recipe for homemade creamy yogurt, or this recipe for kimchi cabbage cakes.
These fruits are small but mighty! Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, which helps protect your cells against damage from free radicals, and may help reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Additionally, antioxidants are also important for hair growth, strong nails, and healthy skin. Add blueberries to your diet courtesy of this recipe for blueberry cobbler.
Seeds, like chia seeds and hemp seeds, are nutritional powerhouses. Chia seeds, in particular, are packed with antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Per a 2016 study, the specific antioxidants in chia seeds may have anti-cancer properties and have protective effects on the heart and liver. Chia seeds are also a great source of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which means they can improve bone health. Snack on some chia seeds and strengthen your bones thanks to this vanilla-cinnamon chia pudding.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with standard fruits like apples and oranges, 2022 is the year of exotic fruits such as golden berries and açaí. The latter fruit, which is a popular ingredient in healthy smoothie bowls, is loaded with antioxidants, may improve cholesterol levels, and according to a 2014 study, can protect your brain from damage as you get older.
The popular toast topper is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. In addition to being an excellent source of heart-healthy fats, avocados are loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that help with cholesterol, bone density, skincare, eye health, and more. If you're not a fan of avocado toast, blend an avocado in a smoothie instead.
The Japanese have been drinking green tea for thousands of years, and with good reason. The colorful beverage is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, and according to studies, can increase fat burning and boost one's metabolic rate. The easiest way to add green tea to your diet is to simply drink a cup of it iced or hot, but you can also make green tea rice if you're looking for a nutrient-dense side.
Nuts and nut butters are a terrific way to add protein, fiber, and other key nutrients to your diet. Pistachios, for example, are packed with antioxidants, including those that have been scientifically proven to promote eye health, and may help protect against cancer and heart disease. Need a reason to eat more pistachios? Give this green risotto with pistachio pesto a try.
The term ancient grains encompasses several grains that have stayed unchanged for thousands of years. Examples include amaranth, teff, farro, and quinoa. Quinoa is probably one of the most popular ancient grains, and is known for being loaded with fiber and containing all nine essential amino acids. The grain is also a solid source of vitamins B6 and C. Add some quinoa to your weekly dinner rotation courtesy of this quinoa bowl with sweet potatoes and kale.
Dark, leafy greens, like collard greens and spinach, deserve a spot in your diet if they don't have one already. Spinach and other similar veggies are an excellent source of protein and flavonoids, which can prevent damage from free radicals, cancer, and harmful inflammation. Spinach is also loaded with vitamins A and C, and has been scientifically proven to moderate blood pressure levels and decrease one's risk of developing heart disease. This wilted spinach with raisins and pistachios dish makes for an excellent side no matter what you're having for dinner.
Kale, another leafy green, earned its own spot on this list on account of its many nutritional benefits. Like spinach, kale is packed with protein and flavonoids. It also has plenty of vitamins A, K, and C, and is a solid source of satiating fiber. Learn to love kale thanks to this goes-with-anything kale salad.