Throughout the month of January, we’ve been highlighting fun, unique or unusual things to try in the new year. So far, we’ve tackled unique supplements and new, trendy workouts. Today, we’re putting on our chef’s apron and discussing unusual food ingredients that add amazing health benefits to your diet, expand your culinary horizons, and impart a tasty twist to your favorite recipes. This isn’t your average “best superfoods to eat” list. Keep reading for existing, unusual food that will add new flavors and new nutrients to your meals!

3 Best Unusual Food Ingredients That Make Cooking More Fun (And More Nutritious)

1. Taro 

Taro grows throughout the Hawaiian islands.

Taro root is a staple food for Native Hawaiians. It’s very high in minerals and antioxidants, especially vitamin E, vitamin B6 and manganese.

When cooked, the root has a sweet, potato-like flavor and texture. Hawaiians also pound taro into poi, a pudding-like starchy dish used as a side when eating meat, fish, etc. (think of it as a replacement for rice, potatoes, etc.). Even to this day, poi is enjoyed by the people of Hawaii, and it has profound health benefits:

  • It reduces high blood sugar  
  • It boosts your cardiovascular health and lowers your heart disease risks 
  • It may reduce your risks of cancer It strengthens your gut health, especially when consumed as poi
  • And more

When it comes to using this unusual food ingredient, try and cut taro into big pieces and add it as a substitute for carrots or potatoes in your favorite stews or soups. Use taro flakes in breads and cakes to add sweetness (and a fun purple hue). Enjoy Hawaiian poi as a side dish.

2. Star Fruit

When cut, star fruit has a beautiful star shape.

Once you see this yellow tropical fruit, which is available in many specialty produce stores, you’ll see where it gets its name: When you cut it into slices, each slice forms a perfect star shape. But star fruit isn’t just visually engaging.

Also known as carambola, the entire fruit is edible and has a juicy, sweet-and-tangy flavor.

A single star fruit has more than half a day’s worth of vitamin C, making this unusual food ingredient a true star (pun intended) for your immune system.

It’s also a very rich source of guercetin and other plant-based compounds that have numerous health benefits, such as boosting your liver health and managing your cholesterol levels.

Because of its beautiful colors and unique shape, this unusual food ingredient is perfect as a garnish on salads and other dishes.

Or, cook with it similar to how you would with pineapple. And you can, of course, enjoy it simply on its own!

3. Spirulina

Spirulina can give your smoothies a very vibrant color.

When you’re told to eat dark green, leafy vegetables, the emphasis is on “dark green.” That’s because that green hue means the plant is rich in chlorophyll, a marker of true health for the plant. Healthy plants have a lot of chlorophyll, which they use to grow. 

But it’s not just the plant itself that’s healthy for you: Chlorophyll on its own is often an overlooked nutrient in healthy diets and strong immune systems.

And spirulina is one of the best sources of chlorophyll. Health benefits include:

  • It’s very, very high in protein, vitamin Bs, copper, iron and other nutrients
  • It’s one of nature’s best sources of antioxidants
  • It helps to reduce inflammation
  • It improves levels of “healthy” cholesterol and brings down levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol
  • It’s being studied as a way to reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease and more

So what exactly is spirulina? This unusual food ingredient has been enjoyed for thousands of years (archaeological evidence shows that even the ancient Aztecs enjoyed spirulina) and is actually a type of algae. Farmers grow it, dry it, and sell it as a bright-green powder.

You can cook and bake with spirulina, or better yet, enjoy it raw by adding a spoon or two of it to your favorite smoothies or shakes. 

So what new, unusual food do you want to try today? Each of the above ingredients adds a unique twist to your daily culinary routine, and all have powerful immune-boosting health benefits. And if increasing the strength of your immune system is one of your goals for 2021, don’t forget to stock up on BioPro-Plus 500. The five bio-identical thymic proteins in BioPro-Plus 500 will fire up your immunity and help restore your immune system’s strength, vitality and balance.

Interested in More Unusual Food Ingredients? Keep Reading More:

Plant Hormones In The Food We Eat Could Influence Our Health

7 Healthy & Tasty Plants you can Easily Grow Indoors