With a growing interest in healthy foods, new and interesting cooking ingredients are beginning to emerge in recipes and on supermarket shelves. We take a look at three of the latest food trends, why they are good for you and how you can include them in your everyday cooking.

NZ Real Health

With a growing interest in healthy foods, new and interesting cooking ingredients are beginning to emerge in recipes and on supermarket shelves. We take a look at three of the latest food trends, why they are good for you and how you can include them in your everyday cooking.

Coconut flour

How do I use it?

You can use coconut flour in recipes that you would use normal flour, however, be aware that as it’s highly absorbent, it can't be used as a direct substitute (i.e. you can't replace 1 cup of standard flour with 1 cup of coconut flour). 

Because of this, when using coconut flour you will often need to add more liquid such as water or coconut milk and use around a third of the amount you would normal flour. This may take quite a lot of experimentation which can be time consuming and expensive, so to avoid frustration it could be a good idea to start by finding recipes from cookbooks or online that have already been tried and tested.

Coconut flour has a natural sweetness to it. If using a recipe that also includes sugar, you might consider adding less to allow for the sweetness from the coconut flour.

What is it?

Coconut flour is made with the leftover pulp from making coconut milk. After the milk has been extracted from coconut meat, the remaining pulp is then typically baked at a low temperature to dry it out, then finely ground until it resembles the consistency of flour.

What are its benefits?

For people who have an allergy or intolerance to gluten, grains or wheat, coconut flour makes a great alternative to regular flour. It is also rich in fibre and protein which is great for producing baking that is dense and quite filling.

Kefir

How do I use it?

Incorporate kefir into your diet by using it instead of regular milk, though remember that the flavour is closer to resembling yoghurt than milk. Add to smoothies, pour over cereal, use in baking, or drink on its own.

What is it?

Kefir is a fermented, probiotic-rich drink that originated hundreds of years ago in the Causcaus Mountains between Asia and Europe. It has a slightly sour taste that is similar to drinking yoghurt and is traditionally made by adding live active yeast - kefir 'grains' - to cow, sheep or goat milk.

What are its benefits?

The probiotics in kefir are great for keeping the digestive system healthy and it is also thought to help boost immunity and support detoxification. Kefir is rich in vitamins and minerals which vary depending on which type of milk is used, and the drink is typically low in sugar as it is 'consumed' by the yeast during the fermentation process.

Although it’s usually a dairy product, kefir can also be made without milk by using products such as soy milk, coconut milk or juice instead. These alternatives can be a good option for people who experience dairy or lactose allergies.

Almond Milk

How do I use it?

Use almond milk as a substitute for regular milk by adding it to your cereal, smoothies, baking, hot drinks, or on its own.

What is it?

Almond milk is made by adding water to ground almond meal and straining the liquid. As it can have a nutty flavour and at times taste a little bitter on its own, it's common to have vanilla extract added (as is sometimes done with soy milk) to sweeten it.

What are its benefits?

Almond milk is becoming a popular alternative to milk for those who are allergic or intolerant to lactose/dairy products as well as being a good option for vegans. It is low in calories, contains healthy fats, and is rich in Vitamin E. As it has no saturated fats or cholesterol, it’s also healthy for your heart.


NZ Real Health is an online magazine where you can find practical information and advice on health, wellbeing and fitness. For more articles like this, visit www.nzrealhealth.co.nz.