Mankai Duckweed: The Next Superfood?

Mankai Duckweed

A few years back the latest superfood had the ability to cannibalise our lives. Remember a few years back when kale was enjoying its moment and popped up at juice bars as the way to start your morning, or when it was deep-fried and disguised as chips or even when beauty brands added it to your face cream? While most of us are more attuned to the benefits and limitations of so-called superfoods these days, celery farmers are definitely doing higher than average trade this year after celery juice was dubbed the latest health trend for 2019. 

While kale, blueberries and celery are well known and relatively easy to get hold of, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of the newest superfood: mankai duckweed. It’s not the most elegant of names, but according to Israeli researchers it has impressive benefits.

So, what is mankai duckweed? Mankai is a protein-rich, aquatic plant strain of duckweed, which has been served up on dinner tables in Southeast Asia for centuries where it is commonly known as the ‘vegetable meatball’. Duckweed has the same protein profile as eggs and contains the nine essential amino acids. The mankai strain is particularly rich in iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B complex and vitamin B12.

The small study by Ben Gurion University of the Negev, compared the benefits of slurping on a mankai duckweed shake to a yoghurt shake and found that the former helps to lower your glucose levels. Previous research published in Clinical Nutrition found that mankai duckweed has the same amount of high quality protein as soft cheese and peas and pinpointed the plant as a unique source of vitamin B12. 

Perhaps what gives mankai the edge over kale and celery is that it is virtually tasteless and odourless,so you can reap the rewards and it is pretty much undetectable. And, it’s relatively sustainable as you only need a small amount of mankai duckweed compared to soy, kale and spinach, and it can be grown year round.

It’s not surprising that the cafeteria at Harvard University is already serving up mankai shakes. Until the superfood comes to your local juice bar, you could add a spoonful of Aduna’s Moringa Green Superleaf Powder to your morning coffee or smoothie. If you’d rather slather a superfood onto your skin, it’s worth exploring PHB Ethical Beauty’s dedicated Superfood range, which includes some of the buzziest ingredients in the dreamiest textures, including the cult hero, Superfood Brightening Serum.

What Is All The Fuss About Adaptogens?

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You might have noticed adaptogens have been popping up in health and wellbeing articles and posts recently. But, you’re not alone if you’re not entirely sure what an adaptogenic herb is and why people are hailing them as energy boosters and stress relievers. Here’s a straightforward guide to adaptogens and their health benefits.

What are adaptogens?

They are natural herbs that help to support and balance our hormonal equilibrium or our hypothalamic pituitary endocrine axis as it’s technically known. This equilibrium is split into three sections or axis, your brain adrenal, brain thyroid and brain gonadal. All three have to be balanced to ensure your mood, metabolism, immune system, libido and energy levels are all functioning optimally.

Who can take them?

Adaptogenic herbs have been used to help rebalance hormones and improve overall wellbeing for centuries. They’re generally deemed as safe for everyone to take. However, we recommend consulting your health practitioner if you’re taking medication or are pregnant.

What are the key adaptogenic herbs?

Maca

Wellbeing gurus and hipsters have helped boost the profile of this adaptogen with maca lattes. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll get the same energetic boost from the sprinkling you get on a coffee as you would from mixing a couple of teaspoons of good quality powder into your morning juice. Maca is renowned for helping to supercharge energy levels and the root is also thought to help with fertility and libido concerns.  

The supplement: Organic Maca Root Extract by Viridian

Moringa  

Another great option for those who want an energy boosting pick-me-up, moringa is the healthy alternative to your mid-afternoon caffeine fix. It also helps your body deal with stress, and impressively contains more than 90 nutrients and over 40 different antioxidants. It’s no surprise that it’s also known as the miracle tree. Moringa powder has an earthy, peppery flavour, which makes it perfect for mixing in with soups and juices.     

The supplement: Moringa Green Superleaf Powder by Aduna

Astragalus

If you find that you’re always feeling under-the-weather with depleted energy levels, it is worth looking into astragalus. It’s renowned for its immune-boosting powers and helps to increase your interferon and white blood cell counts. Shabir recommends taking an astragalus supplement from autumn through spring to fight off any colds and infections.

The supplement: Astragalus Extract by Swanson

Ashwagandha 

This wonder herb helps support your HPA (brain-adrenal axis) and regulate your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. It’s also thought to help conditions such as arthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits. Ashwagandha should be your go-to if you’re battling with stress and anxiety. While ashwagandha won’t give you the instant high that prescription drugs do, you will notice a difference in a week or so if you take it consistently.  

The supplement: KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus by Wild Nutrition

Rhodiola 

Another good adaptogen for those who suffer from stress regularly is rhodiola as the herb helps your body deal with physiological and psychological stress. Small studies have shown that rhodiola can support your brain when you’re stressed and reduce mental fatigue. 

The supplement: Magnolia Rhodiola Complex by VH

Holy Basil

Also known as tulsi, holy basil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and helps to boost brain power. If you struggle to concentrate or regularly get a foggy brain, holy basil could help improve your cognitive function.

The supplement: Wholistic Holy Basil by Pukka

Does It Matter If You’re An Early Bird Or A Night Owl?

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Some of us leap out of bed in the morning with all the gusto of a Duracell bunny, while others don’t fire up their energy until later in the day. Aside from feeling a little groggy in the mornings, up until now there hasn’t been anything wrong with being a night owl. What morning birds achieve before work, they fulfill in the evening. Read More…

Is Moringa Powder The New Superfood?

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It has been a decade since Moringa was featured in a documentary and dubbed the most nutritious plant on Earth. The documentary highlighted Moringa’s success in parts of Africa where people who added dried Moringa leaves to their diet overcame malnutrition and hence this was dubbed the Miracle Tree. Read More…