Crazy food trend that’s good for you
The green superfood trend has been around for some time now.
For years, health enthusiasts have been blending a range of nutrient rich green vegetables, like kale, spinach, celery, avocado and cucumber, for a concentrated low calorie juice or smoothie to kick start the day.
Devotees swear by their daily green juice for glowing skin and boosting energy.
And while there may not be specific evidence to support these claims, there can be nothing wrong with dosing your diet up with greens.
But now, it seems green superfoods may have had their day, as another colour of the rainbow is edging it out of the top spot.
Blue juices, smoothies and blue foods in general, are starting to feature more commonly on wholefood cafe menus around the country.
Now, the blue food movement is being touted as the next best thing on the superfood trail.
The rich antioxidant content of blue and purple foods, including blueberries, blackberries, beetroot, red cabbage and purple carrots are known to offer multiple health benefits.
Specifically, the plant compound anthocyanin, which gives these fruits and vegetables their rich pigment.
Anthocyanin has been shown to help protect the body's cells from damage, and help to reduce inflammatory compounds in the body.
Naturally, when these fruits and veggies are juiced, the antioxidants molecules are compounded, potentially creating super nutrient rich juices and smoothies.
You could be forgiven for struggling to compile a list of blue foods, apart from the obvious choice of blueberries.
But now blue superfood powders are being introduced to the market, offering a quick and easy solution for your antioxidant needs.
Expect to see a whole lot more blue algae powder on your favourite smoothie and juice menus.
When added as a concentrated powder to smoothie bowls and juice blends, the result is a rich cobalt blue colour, which adds extra B group vitamins and protein to any mix.
Fans also claim that it acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to reduce inflammation - this health benefit remains to be scientifically proven.
To date there have been only a few beetroot juices on the market high in nitrates that can lower blood pressure and improve oxygen transport to the body's cells.
In fact, dosing the body with concentrated beetroot juice has even been found to improve the performance of elite level cyclists.
Compared to fruit-based juices, beetroot is relatively low in sugars.
As such, this root vegetable makes a lower calorie, high antioxidant alternative to popular fruit juice mixes.
While spirulina, a form of blue/green algae, does have some positive nutritional properties, you can also find simple blue powders to add to your foods in order to build colour.
These are often derived from dried flower petals.
Unlike blue algae powder or spirulina, these dried floral additions will not add any significant positive nutritional properties to your dish.
When it comes to weighing up the benefits of blue versus green juices and smoothies, the reality is that you cannot go wrong either way.
Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables are exceptionally good for the body and very few of us consume anywhere near the amounts we should for optimal health and wellbeing.
Concentrating these foods into a daily juice is a really easy way to boost your overall intake, with likely benefits for our skin, digestion and cellular long-term health.
The key thing to remember is that any fruit-based ingredients will contain sugars, compared to vegetables, which are much lower in natural sugars.
As such, it's important to focus your smoothie or juice blends around more blue or purple vegetables than fruits.
And when you see a blue juice on the menu at your local juice bar, remember, you heard it here first, blue superfoods are on the way up.
Susie Burrell is a nutritionist. Follow her on Twitter: @SusieBDiet