From spirulina to matcha green tea and maca powder, a whole host of superfoods shot onto our radar in 2015.
If you didn’t get around to trying them all, here are the ones you should make time for this year.
Spirulina is a single-celled, blue-green micro algae that has lived on Earth for roughly 3.5 billion years, yet we don’t use enough of it in our cooking.
It’s a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, selium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and B-Complex.
On top of that it’s high in protein and amino acids, which help the body to fight infection while encouraging the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Advocates say it can also be beneficial for the skin, aiding repair and rejuvenation.
Buy it in powder form and add it to smoothies, soups, pestos and stir-fry recipes.
Dubbed “nature’s viagra”, the native Peruvian plant maca has been used as a fertility aid in both humans and animals for thousands of years.
But more recently, foodies have been adding maca powder into smoothies in the hope of gaining energy.
Nutritionists believe the plant helps to stabilise the endocrine system – the collection of glands that produce hormones to regulate metabolism, growth, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood.
Try it in smoothies, cakes, porridge, milk drinks or cacao treats.
3. Camu Camu
Camu camu is well-known for having 50 times more vitamin C than your average orange, but it’s also high in B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, amino acids, antioxidants and bioflavonoids.
Advocates believe this mix of vitamins and minerals gives camu camu antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Buy the fruit in powder form and mix with fruit juices or blend into smoothies.
4. Raw Cacao
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans, which preserves the beans’ nutritional content. Think of it as the healthier relative of cocoa.
Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
Foods rich in magnesium have been shown to balance brain chemistry, build strong bones and help regulate heartbeat and blood pressure.
Cacao also contains the beauty mineral sulfur, which is thought to promote strong nails and hair and provide glowing skin.
On top of all that, cacao has been shown to raise the level of serotonin in the brain, meaning it reduces symptoms of PMS and acts as an antidepressant for some people.
Add it to smoothies, teas, desserts, raw food bars or any dish that calls for the delicious flavour of chocolate.
Traditionally a Middle Eastern food, freekeh is simply wheat that has been harvested earlier than we would normally in the UK. It is then roasted and threshed.
It’s thought to contain three times the amount of protein and twice the amount of fibre than brown rice, meaning it can play an important role in diabetes and weight management.
Freekeh also has a low glycaemic index meaning that carbohydrates release quite slowly compared to baked potatoes and white bread and we feel energised for longer.
Use freekeh in place of brown rice or barley in dishes like pilafs, risottos and salads.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut has been cited for boosting metabolism, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, brightening teeth and strengthening immunity in recent years.
But in 2015, coconut oil took centre stage.
Extracted from the meat of the fruit, coconut oil can now be found in everything from salads and smoothies to beauty balms and hair treatments.
Advocates say the oil’s antibacterial components and antioxidants help calm breakouts and brighten skin tone.
Make the most of it in the kitchen by adding it to salad dressings, soups and baking.
Matcha, the finely ground powder made of whole, high-grade green tea leaves, is thought to contain as many antioxidants as 10 glasses of regular green tea.
It’s been consumed in the Far East for over a millennium, but the tea has gained in popularity closer to home in recent years as a way to boost energy.
Nutritionists have said that matcha’s unique combination of nutrients and amino acids, including L-Theanine, provide increased endurance for up to six hours with none of the usual side-effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension.
In short, it’s good, clean energy.
Add ½ teaspoon of matcha powder to your chosen drink – fruit juice, hot/cold water or milk – or add to baking if you’re feeling adventurous.
8. Bone Broth
Bone broth, known to some people as stock, is a liquid made by boiling poultry, beef or fish bones until they break down. Vegetables such as onions, ginger, celery and garlic are sometimes added for flavour.
Dieticians have said bone broth can be beneficial to health as it’s hydrating and contains vegetable and herb anti-inflammatories.
The bones the broth is made from also provide collagen – a protein thought to help with our own bone, joint and skin health.
Although bone broth has been used in cooking for years, fans are now sipping on it as a drink.
Find out how to make broth at home here.
The South American fruit lucuma packs a powerful health punch with its abundance of antioxidants, fibre, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
The fruit also acts as a natural, healthy sweetener, meaning it can help stabilise blood sugar while also curbing cravings and appetite.
Studies have found lucuma extract has an anti-inflammatory effect on wound healing and even reduces skin ageing.
Because of its sweet taste, you can use lucuma powder in place of sugar in most dessert recipes including cakes and biscuits.
Chlorella is a single-celled, fresh water algae which is cultivated mostly in Asia.
It’s been heralded as the “number one algae for liver detoxification” as it removes alcohol, heavy metals and environmental pollutants from your system.
It also contains vitamins B6, B12 and iron, which support the immune system and may prevent you from catching a pesky cold.
To drink chlorella stir the powder into water and add a good squeeze of lemon to tone down the taste.