A new survey asked more than 1,300 nutritionists what's trending—here's what they said.
Many nutritionists will tell you that "superfood" is a loaded term—and, sometimes, the health halo associated with so-called superfoods isn't totally earned or deserved. But when asked to list the best superfoods right now, many nutritionists chose staples that aren't exactly "new", but rather a healthy part of any diet—fresh produce.
A new annual survey published by Today's Dietitian and Pollock Communications asked 1,342 registered dietitians which foods they believe are the healthiest for 2019—or, the superfoods they believe consumers will go bananas over. In the past, Cooking Light has asked our lead nutritionist, Carolyn Williams, PHD, RD, to investigate ingredients like turmeric, matcha, and alkaline water that many on the internet had lauded as "superfoods," but it seems that nutritionists are now considering more routine items to have a better reputation overall.
"We are still seeing the consumer push for cleaner labels and the industry continues their work to deliver it," Jenna Bell, RDN, told Today's Dietitian. "It's beyond food is medicine; now, food is the core of wellness."
But Bell also points out that plant-based lifestyles have moved past a burgeoning trend into the mainstream; many items on the following list have grown, and interest in dairy has dramatically shifted.
The one noticeable change in this year's survey? Kale has fallen off the top ten list, while another non-dairy item makes its way onto it.
These are the top 10 superfoods to keep an eye on in 2019, according to nutritionists:
1) Fermented Foods
Yogurt is a prime example of this category, as gut health continues to be one of the most innovative aspects of nutrition today. Consumers are interested in finding foods—like these four gut-healthy ingredients—that can help them reduce inflammation and detox naturally. If you're interested in resetting your microbiome with fermented foods, check out Cooking Light's 3-day detox plan.
While kale isn't on nutritionists' radar anymore, this creamy fruit still is—and for good reason. Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, and folic acid, according to Jamie Vespa, MS, RD. Avocados are also chock full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber, with roughly 50 calories per 1-ounce serving.
And you can put them on much more than toast—here are 35 tasty ways to cook with avocado.
From chia seeds to flaxseed and even hemp seeds, these small-but-mighty snacks are nutritional powerhouses. They’re loaded with dietary fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These are five seeds you should be adding to your diet immediately.
The healthiest foods you should be eating now:
- 6 Fall Superfoods You Should Be Eating All Year Long
- A Nutritionist Weighs In on 13 Top Superfoods
- What Is Swiss Army Produce—And How Can I Be Eating More?
4) Ancient Grains
Quinoa isn't the only wholesome grain you should be enjoying in 2019. Farro, a popular substitute for enriched pasta products, and teff, which is similar to millet, can be used to top salads, bulk up grain bowls, or in baking.
5) Exotic Fruit; Acai and Golden Berries
From acai to goji berries, these deliciously sweet options are solid sources of fiber, plus they’re rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy fatty acids. We love them in these healthy and delicious smoothie bowls.
Williams says this superfood contains high levels of phytochemicals—including flavonoids, anthocyanins, and resveratrol—that help the body combat inflammation naturally. Other research has shown blueberries to cut risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as memory loss. Not bad for a little berry!
Beets have been shown to help offset the risk of many chronic diseases due to their high levels of vitamin B, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Whether you choose almonds, pine nuts, pecans, or pistachios, nuts are one of the healthiest on-the-go snack options. We've previously published reviews of research tied to the nutritional benefits of consuming nuts (mostly due to their healthy levels of unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.)
9) Coconut Products
We were a little surprised to see this item make the list. In fact, recent research has led to an all-time low demand for coconut oil, which was once one of the most high-profile superfoods. Last year, the World Health Organization released new guidelines asking people to keep their saturated fat intake to less than 10g of day—so, keep that in mind when cooking with coconut oil or other coconut byproducts.
10) Non-Dairy Milks
We've watched as oat milk has slowly but surely surged to popularity in America (so much so, there was a hefty shortage last year!) But that doesn't mean people aren't sold on almond milk anymore, as it may be healthier than any other plant-based milk on the market. In fact, we've seen many non-dairy milks hit shelves this year, including pecan milk and macadamia milk. If you're looking for the perfect milk for your dietary needs, consider our nutritionist's guide.