1. Kabocha Squash
I’m most excited about sharing this particular ingredient with you! My beautiful Japanese mom raised us on steamed kabocha squash. Full of antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C as well as iron and fiber, this delicious, rich and sweet squash that tastes like chestnuts and rich pumpkin is the cover star of my new book, Clean Green Eats (Harper Wave, 2015), and it’s about to become one of the most popular ingredients this season. Slice it thin, roast it with a little olive oil and sea salt and toss it into your favorite fall soup.
Part of the ginger family, turmeric root is available at health-food markets and is a powerful detoxifier. Commonly used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory power, it’s packed with manganese, iron, vitamin B6 and fiber. Grate this root into your grain salads, soups, eggs and stir-fries. Sprinkle a little on roasted nuts, popcorn or pasta for an anti-inflammatory punch.
3. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seed is a complete protein, meaning it offers all the essential amino acids your body needs to fuel metabolic function and build muscle. There is 5 grams of lean muscle–building protein in just 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds. They’re also an ideal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are known to boost brain power, improve heart health and supercharge your immune system. I love sprinkling them on my pasta dishes, in salads or blended into smoothies.
4. Adzuki Beans
One of CE’s top superfoods of 2014, just 1 cup of these cooked red beans is packed with 26% of your daily value (DV) for iron, 30% of your magnesium, 35% of your potassium and a whopping 70% of your DV for folate. I grew up with these beans since they are used in Japanese cooking, in Japanese pastry, Japanese red beans and rice, and even on their own! See right for a delish recipe with these powerful little guys.
Rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and vitamins C and E, green tea powder is a miracle elixir. Matcha tea may even aid in the prevention of cancer and can be used as a fat burner, to lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and to naturally detoxify the body thanks to its chlorophyll content.
6. Liquid Aminos
This simple and delicious condiment can take the place of soy sauce. Amino acids are important because they are the building blocks of proteins. If your body is lacking in amino acids, it can affect your physical and mental health.
7. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is rich in natural enzymes and important minerals, and it has amazing detoxifying powers. Studies show that apple cider vinegar may also help to lower LDL, aka “bad” cholesterol.
8. Arame Seaweed
Sea vegetables such as arame are naturally full of iodine, a trace mineral that is crucial for thyroid hormone production. These hormones are responsible for controlling metabolism, appetite, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature, among other functions.