Yes, ladies and gents, this is a brand-new vegetable. Kalettes are, essentially, the totally healthy lovechild of Brussels sprouts and kale. A hybrid created by Tozer Seeds, don’t be put off by the Dr Frankenstein-like idea of a ‘created’ veggie – it isn’t a genetically modified product. The small, cabbage-like green cooks faster than Brussels sprouts, is more versatile than either sprouts or kale, and boasts a savoury and nutty flavour. This tasty mashup works grilled, fried or raw, and in such an enormous variety of dishes that it makes it even easier to get in your five-a-day – unfortunately we haven’t yet spied them in the UAE yet, but we hope to spot them soon.
2 Bone Broth
The name might be unappetising, but once you’ve heard about its potential benefits, it’s easy to see why bone broth has earned itself such a coveted reputation that it’s got people queueing down the block for a cup in New York’s trendy meatpacking district. A cornerstone of paleo or Stone Age-inspired diets, this is a clear, meaty elixir that essentially tastes a bit like the stock you put into soups and sauces. It’s made from bones simmered for longer than regular broth, often with meats and aromatic herbs added, and in some cases, other health-boosting add-ins from ginger and chilli oil to turmeric, vinegars and fermented vegetables. So what’s so good about it, you might wonder? While research on its benefits has as yet been inconclusive, experts claim that the high collagen, gelatine and protein content – (not to mention essential vitamins such as C, D and E) and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium – can help to improve bone health, digestion and your immune system, and leave you with healthier hair, skin and nails.
An aromatic spicy paste made from chilli and other spices and herbs, harissa originates from North Africa and the Middle East, often used as a condiment or flavouring in soups, stews and couscous, alongside grilled meats or even as a dip to be mopped up enthusiastically with bread and perhaps some olive oil.
“That old stuff is healthy?”, its regular consumers might wonder. Described as a metabolism supercharger by health personality Dr Oz, thanks to its high levels of capsaicin and other disease-fighting antioxidants, harissa can be a great way to flavour dishes and provide a health kick. Researchers have claimed that eating spicy foods can help to temporarily boost your metabolism, combat inflammation and even ward off certain types of cancer.
Move over, quinoa, there’s a new grain in town: another up-and-coming healthy food from the Middle East, freekeh has also been around for centuries and is wheat that’s been harvested while it’s still young, green and still soft. It’s then sun-dried, leaving consumers with a grain that boasts a uniquely firm yet slightly chewy texture and a nutty, earthy and somewhat smoky and roasted flavour that is distinctly moreish – sort of like a lighter version of orzo.
Not only is it low in fat, the whole grain is also high in protein and fibre (with almost twice that of quinoa in each serving), which means it’ll help keep you fuller for longer. It’s also packed with essential nutrients such as selenium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron, and it’s also low on the glycaemic index. In Dubai you can find it in dishes at Tom & Serg, or as an ingredient athealth food stores or occasionally even at regular supermarkets.
Blue-green algae (actually a type of bacterium) has become a hot addition to many a health nut’s food regime of late, and for good reason, thanks to its high chlorophyll content. A green pigment used by plants during photosynthesis to convert light into energy, chlorophyll is said to help your body heal faster, control and stabilise hunger levels and cravings, promote healthy iron levels and help mop-up free radicals, thanks to the high antioxidant content. It’s no wonder, then, that spirulina is often taken by cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
This superfood is rumoured to have been used since the time of the Aztecs in 16th-century Mexico, and spirulina is now popularly used either in tablet or powder form, often added to smoothies and green drinks. According to the website of Nutrex Hawaii, a popular supplier of spirulina, the algae can contain “approximately 60 per cent more digestible protein – it contains every essential amino acid [as well as] more carotenoids than any other whole food and [is] an excellent source of vitamins A, K, B12 and iron, manganese and chromium”. It also states that it’s the “best wholefood source of gamma linoleic acid (GLA) – an essential fatty acid, necessary for human health. It plays a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development, [and is] rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, chlorophyll and enzymes”. Powdered spirulina contains an extraordinarily high level of protein and iron and as such, it’s now very popular with people who workout regularly.
It can be expensive, but one teaspoon goes a long way. Now, we’re not going to lie – it does have a rather distinct odour, and we wouldn’t recommend ever consuming the powder on its own, but once mixed into your smoothies or green juices (or even soups, sauces and other meals), you can hardly taste it and its ‘Eau de Pond’ isn’t an issue. We like to make it a part of our daily regime.