This Middle Eastern staple is healthy and tasty enough to add to your daily fuel plan. Consisting of chickpeas, tahini (a sesame seed paste), olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, hummus is often considered a meat alternative due to its protein count. Just a 1/2 cup serving has about 12 grams of protein, most of which comes from the chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans), and a hearty 7.4 grams of carbs to satisfy your hunger.
Hummus also provides many of the “good fats”— monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—that help lower cholesterol and promote lean muscle growth. Hummus also contains a number of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus (promotes bone health), iron (transports oxygen throughout the body), zinc (boosts the immune system), magnesium (regulates blood pressure) and folate (necessary for red blood cell production).
Hummus goes great with a salad, on top of a sandwich, or as a snack dip paired with raw veggies or multi-grain crackers. One brand even offers ‘to-go’ hummus packs with pretzels for on-the-go snacking.
Although most of the honey found in grocery stores has been heated and pasteurized, you can find healthy enzymes and compounds in raw, untreated honey. Vitamins and minerals in honey include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium. As the oldest natural sweetener in the world, it is a healthier option than white sugar. Use it in tea, coffee, yogurt, or cereal for a quick, natural and punchy pre-workout energy boost.
If you struggle with outdoor allergies, honey might be good for you. Studies show that honey’s pollen count may help build immunity to some seasonal allergies. Honey has also been reported to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties potentially beneficial for a sore throat. In the past, honey has been used as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial topical salve on burns or other wounds. Finally, the enzymes in honey can help with digestion, particularly of starchy foods.
Hemp seeds, which surged in popularity around 2008, have been used in both supplements and food products. Derived from a nut with a hard shell, hemp seeds can be roasted, ground into meat and oil or eaten raw. They are high in oil and fiber, and contain B vitamins, vitamin E, up to 33 percent (soy-free) protein and more essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3) than any other plant source.
Some nutritionists recommend hemp seed for its superior muscle-building protein, high nutrient density and enzymes that facilitate the conversion of amino acids into muscle. Hemp production in the USA is not legal, although hemp byproducts are certainly allowed. Although part of the “Cannabis sativa” family, the hemp plant contains less than 1% THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis).
Catch up on the rest of STACK’s Superfood series.