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Health Trends 2015: Move Over, Coconut Water. Birch Water Has Arrived.

Nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos rounds up a list of foods that have the world of nutrition buzzing this year. Here's the complete low down on what you'll soon spot at your local grocery store and some tips on how to use them.

Exotic waters

Move over coconut water, you're in for some stiff competition with all the other exotic waters hitting the marketplace: everything from maple water to watermelon water, aloe water to birch water, cactus water to barley water and even artichoke water. With proper hydration being a top health priority (and plain water getting a little boring for some), consumers will have their pick of their naturally flavoured waters, each with its own purported health benefit.

Watermelon water

Rich in antioxidants and citamins C and A, watermelon water is a great beauty tonic.. Vitamin C helps to firm and tone skin, and prevent wrinkle-causing free-radical damage. Vitamin A revitalizes skin by increasing cell turnover, and fights acne and inflammation. Plus the high lyocpene content helps to prevent UV damage. Watermelon water also contains more potassium than coconut water, potassium being a vital mineral and electrolyte required for cellular energy.

Get the recipe for watermelon kombucha mocktail »

Birch water

Birch water has cleansing and detoxifying properties, particularly for the liver and kidney. It helps ease water retention due to its diruetic properties and stimulates the digestive system. Birch water is also known to be good to strengthen hair.

Artichoke water

Artichoke water helps to stimulate bile production and improves the breakdown and digestion of fats. It can also help reduce the frequency and severity of heartburn, nausea and water retention.

Fermented foods

Gut health and probiotics are on-trend every year, and rightly so. After all, roughly 70 per cent of our immune cells reside in our gut. Fermented foods contain naturally occurring probotics that aid in digestion and gut health. The Japanesse have it all right by drinking miso soup before a meal. Fermented foods, such as miso, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, raw sauerkraut and even yogurts made out of almond milk, coconut milk and pure fruit, are becoming increasingly popular. Many companies are also adding fermented foods to their supplements to increase the probiotic content.

Whole foods

We're not just talking about the whole foods (like apples and spinach) you find when you walk in your grocery store. But rather, whole food ingredients are appearing in things like supplements and bars. As consumers become more educated about what they are putting in their bodies, companies are starting to use whole food ingredients to make up their vitamin and mineral requirements. These include foods such as spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, apples, beets and carrots, to name a few.

Non-GMO

Increased disclosure and education in the food scene has upped the ante for food manufactures to become Non-GMO certified. GMOs or genetically modified organisms are natural species which are genetically engineered to manipulate their DNA. Many eaters do not consider GMOs to be safe, and there is still research to be done on the long-term health effects. Since there is no law around labeling of GMO foods in Canada, many manufactures are taking it upon themselves to get non-GMO verified by a third party organization that ensures the foods and ingredients used are not genetically modified, letting consumers make an informed choice.

Ancient grains

While we've had our run with quinoa for the past few years, other ancient grains such as teff and kaniwa, are stepping up to make their mark. Both these grains are gluten-free and high in protein, contributing to their popularity.

Teff

Teff is the smallest grain in the world. It originated in east Africa, is a teeny-tiny little grain (similar in size to poppy seeds) making it easy to cook and use as an ingredient. Pasta manufacturers are now creating teff pasta as a gulten-free and high protein-alternative to wheat flour or semolina. In addition, teff is one of the highest grain sources of calcium.

Get the recipe for mint chocolate chip teff cupcakes »

Kaniwa

Kaniwa is a close relative to quinoa. It's also from South America but is smaller, and deep red. It exhibits a very similar nutritional profile and is becoming increasingly popular in uses for soups, salads, side dishes and even as a breakfast cereal.

Get the recipe for curried kaniwa salad»

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