Apple cider vinegar, turmeric, activated charcoal, kombucha, and more… you hear people buzzing about these hot wellness favorites all the time! Walk into a smoothie bar and you see matcha on the menu, pick up a magazine and some celebrity is swearing by the miracle benefits of celery juice. We asked Sarah Wragge, our contributing nutrition editor to give us the real deal on 10 of the trendiest foods — and the ones we should be eating now!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar started getting really popular a few years ago, with everybody talking about its health and weight loss benefits. Apple cider vinegar helps control blood sugar levels that lead to cravings, and is said to work as an appetite suppressant when consumed with meals. It contains organic acids and enzymes that help speed up metabolism and can increase the rate at which body fat is burned. It also works to detoxify the body, helping our digestive systems become more efficient.
SAYS SARAH: Like all fermented foods, apple cider vinegar it is a great probiotic remedy — something everyone should be taking for a healthy gut. Know that bloated feeling? Apple cider vinegar helps increase the good bacteria living inside our digestive tract, and fight the bad bacteria which are often the cause. Personally, I’d rather you take a great probiotic – look for one with 10 billion cultures or higher, and at least 5 different bacteria strains. I like Renew Life. For some people, raw vinegar on an empty stomach (when you should be consuming it) doesn’t feel great, especially first thing in the morning.
Thanks to Pharrell and a bunch of other ceIebs, celery juice has been hailed as a miraculous healing tonic. Its biggest health proponent, the Medical Medium, has even written a book on its mythical powers. While research has shown the anti-oxidant rich phytochemicals in celery can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and decrease inflammation, the claims it can fight infections and disease have not been backed by scientific evidence.
SAYS SARAH: Celery Juice is high in electrolytes, so it’s very hydrating. The best time to drink it is first thing in the morning on empty stomach as a system flush, after our bodies have been detoxing through the night. Celery juice is packed with vitamins and minerals, however it offers the same benefits as any green juice (fresh-pressed). Keep in mind that when you juice celery, you remove the beneficial fiber that helps balance blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full. You’re almost better off blending celery into a smoothie so you get benefits of the fiber as well.
Maca is a powerful Peruvian superfood, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. But its most unique and powerful benefits are in the sex department!
SAYS SARAH: Maca is an incredible root! It balances hormones, and helps with pre- and post-menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Libido boosting, it’s famous for improving sex drive and helping fertility – for both men and women. Maca is energy boosting, and mood elevating too. I recommend you take it in capsule form or mix in smoothie (avoid after 3pm). Start with 1 tsp. a day and work up to 3 tsps.
Perhaps you noticed the selection of black juices at the health food store, and wondered what charcoal was doing in your juice. Originally used in emergency rooms as a treatment for overdoses or poisonings, activated charcoal which is made from coconut shells, has become a trendy detox tool and Master Cleanse additive. Due to its powerful toxin-clearing properties, activated charcoal can be a remedy for such digestive ailments as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
SAYS SARAH: Picture a vacuum that sucks everything up and moves it out. Activated charcoal is a toxin absorber, and because the body is unable to absorb the charcoal, it moves through the digestive system and gets eliminated on the other end.
A favorite in smoothies, teas, and healthy recipes online everywhere – turmeric has become one of the most buzzed about wellness supplements. Turmeric is part of the ginger family and has an exotic nutty taste. Curcumin, which is the main active ingredient in turmeric, is recognized for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
SAYS SARAH: Turmeric is like magic! It combats inflammation – and is especially beneficial for women at that time of the month. Important to note: the most active compound in turmeric, curcumin, cannot be activated unless black pepper present. So be sure to add a tiny bit!
Matcha literally means powdered tea and is made from ground green tea leaves. Rich in antioxidants, when you drink a cup of matcha you ingest the entire leaf and receive 100% of the nutrients (as opposed to steeping) — the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of green tea! You also get three times as much caffeine as in a cup of steeped tea.
SAYS SARAH: Matcha has so many different benefits! It stabilizes blood sugar, boosts metabolism, and is a great skin detox too! Matcha exploded because of its high antioxidant properties, as well as the caffeine buzz — without the jitters. There are even Matcha Lattes at Starbucks (not really recommended because of the added sugar). Keep in mind that not all matchas are created equal, so be sure to get one that is ceremonial organic grade.
Still slightly under the radar, E3 Live is a nutrient packed blue-green plant algae that provides over 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids – and protein! Rich in chlorophyll, which energizes and detoxes the body, E3 Live also aids digestion, decreases inflammation, and amps the immune system. It is a brain booster and mood stabilizer as well.
SAYS SARAH: E3 Live is a nutrient dense superfood with all sorts of amazing benefits! Water foods have far more nutrients then plants that grow on land — and here’s a really fun fact: E3 has more protein and chlorophyll than any other food source on the planet!
Thought to have originated over 2000 years ago in China, Kombucha is a fermented probiotic drink that has caught on in the last few years as the favorite brew of the wellness set for all its health and digestive benefits. Kombucha is made from sweetened tea that is naturally fermented by a symbiotic combination of healthy bacteria and yeast, which gives it the vinegary flavor and carbonated fizz.
SAYS SARAH: Kombucha is a powerful antioxidant, and one of its greatest health benefits is the ability to detox the system. Because it’s naturally fermented, Kombucha is rich in probiotics that help improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and support your immune system. Just be cautious not to drink too much because it is high in sugar.
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, and is a fatty acid found in coconut oil. A popular Bulletproof coffee ingredient, this high-quality, healthy fat is good for both the body and brain – said to help to increase energy levels, improve cognitive performance, regulate blood sugar, and boost fat burning.
SAYS SARAH: MCT Oil is most commonly extracted from coconut oil, and more than 50% of the healthy fats in coconut oil are MCTs. While the Bulletproof diet calls specifically for MCT oil, to me it’s not necessary to buy a separate product. Plus with coconut oil you get the benefits of the additional healthy fatty acids it contains as well.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen – one of a family of herbs and roots that have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. Having gained newfound popularity in the modern wellness industry, adaptogens “adapt” to each individual’s blood type to help the body regulate its physiological stress reactions.
SAYS SARAH: Ashwagandha is nature’s Xanax. It’s super calming and relaxing. This powerful root helps reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood too. It’s really amazing! I recommend combining it with Maca, which also an adaptogen, and adding a tsp. of each to your favorite smoothie recipe. It’s a great combo!
For more Nutrition Buzz with Sarah read…