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Foods That Defined 2016

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Alkaline Water

Often touted as a superior form of hydration, alkaline water is a less acidic water. Pure water has a pH of 7, but alkaline water has a pH above 7 (0 being the most acidic; 14 being the most alkaline). Alkaline water advocates claim this pH difference creates a more healthful environment in your body. The more basic water, they say, provides increased energy and may slow aging. While this sounds like a miracle in a bottle, the reality is your body should be taking care of its own pH levels. If they’re out of whack, then something is wrong with your body, not your water. Research currently doesn’t support any true benefits from alkaline water, so save yourself some money and stick with tap or bottled water.

Aquafaba

Sometimes referred to by the less savory name of “bean juice,” aquafaba is the leftover liquid that remains after cooking a batch of beans. This magical liquid, which used to be poured down the drain on a regular basis, has been found to be a fantastic vegan egg alternative. Whipping it results in light, fluffy texture that mimics egg whites, but it also creates a great binder for baked goods or breading foods. Although most recipes usually use chickpea liquid, it works with other bean varieties as well.

Curcumin

A member of the ginger family, this naturally produced molecule is what gives some plants, like turmeric, their bright color and pungent flavor. Often sold as a supplement and natural food coloring, curcumin has been studied and found to have possible anti-inflammatory benefits.

Cucurbitaceae

An odd word for something you’re likely familiar with, cucurbitaceae is a plant family of over 900 species. Of those plants, the family includes some foods we can’t get enough of, like squashes, zucchini, pumpkins, and some gourds. Fall favorites like butternut or spaghetti squash are in the cucurbitaceae category, making it a favored family tree. As healthy eaters look for alternatives to traditional carb-heavy or gluten-rich foods, the cucurbitaceae family will continue to grow.

Kombucha

A fizzy tea, kombucha has taken over the refrigerated drink section of many grocery stores. Tea, flavorings, and sugar are fermented with SCOBY (a special culture of bacteria and yeast) to create a probiotic-rich product. It has a similar yeast-y flavor to beer, due to the fermentation process. The bubbles make it a great gut-friendly soda alternatives. Just keep an eye out for plain or lightly sweetened versions to avoid overloading on sugar.

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