The 5 Healthiest Foods From Around the World You Should Try This Summer

From quinoa to crickets — yes, crickets — these local dishes are packed with nutrients.

By Toni Gasparis
quinoa

My favorite part of traveling is eating. No matter where I go on vacation, I’m always looking up the must-try cuisine in the area and curating a long list. Whether it’s hot chicken in Nashville, Margherita pizza in Rome, or fresh ice cream from a dairy farm in Iceland — I make sure to try it all. So when Dr. Oz came out with his list of the five healthiest foods from around the world that you should try, I was excited to find out what they were — and, uh, shocked to find crickets on the list.

Even if you can’t travel to these countries to try these items, you can check out your local grocery store — or maybe even an international grocery store — to find these foods. Dr. Oz also included healthy recipes to try out this summer using each ingredient. Which will end up making it onto your grocery list? 

Quinoa 

Quinoa is native to Peru and is considered one of the healthiest whole grains. In fact, the Incas called it the “mother of all grains” and believed it to be sacred  — and they might have been on to something. 

While we may not consider worshiping a grain in modern times, quinoa is definitely worthy of praise because it has the highest protein content of any grain (12 grams per cup). It is the perfect gluten-free grain substitute and can replace pasta or rice in your meal as a healthier carb option. Try out this quinoa and purple potato salad as a side dish at your next summer BBQ. 

Tip: Rinse your quinoa in water before cooking to get rid of their natural coating that many people think tastes soapy. 

Lentils 

Lentils have been around since the beginning of time. Well, maybe not quite that long, but 8,000 years is pretty impressive. These legumes are a staple in Indian cuisine because of their health benefits and are used in many of their soups, known as dals. Lentils are a hearty plant-based protein (17 grams in less than 3/4 cup) that also provide your body with iron. This red lentil soup incorporates traditional Indian spices, like turmeric and mustard seeds, into a delicious dish that is guaranteed to fill you up. 

Snow Pea Leaves 

You may have had snow peas before, but have you ever thought to eat the leaves, too? All parts of this pea plant are edible and the leaves of this plant are packed with nutrients that promote healthy gut bacteria. Also called shoot or tendrils, Dr. Oz thinks these leaves taste like a cross between baby spinach and peas. This plant is commonly cooked in China by blanching them and the sautéeing them with spices. This recipe for snow pea leaves uses garlic and ginger to create a delicious flavor with maximum health benefits. 

Chapilunes (aka Crickets) 

While you may squirm at the thought of eating bugs, crickets actually have just as much protein as more traditional animal products. One-hundred grams of ground beef contains 26 grams of protein. The same amount of crickets contains 21 grams of protein. Crickets are a good alternative protein since they create less greenhouse gas than meat, grow in small places, and don’t need a lot of water to grow. Crickets are a popular dish in Mexico and you can actually find them pre-roasted in some stores. If you’re looking to experiment with alternative protein sources try adding them into tacos

Hazelnuts 

Nutella lovers rejoice: Hazelnuts are healthy for you! While these nuts are loaded with antioxidants to help your body, you should be getting their nutrients straight from the source — the raw nut instead of a pre-packaged, sugar-filled chocolate hazelnut spread. Hazelnuts are very popular in Dr. Oz’s homeland of Turkey because they are healthy, delicious, and local. While you get the most benefits eating the whole nut (including the skin), no one can deny chocolate and hazelnut is an amazing combination. So, if you’re looking for something sweet try making these dark chocolate and hazelnut bars.

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Article written by Toni Gasparis