Trendy super foods such as avocado, coconut oil, kale and chia seeds may be the in-thing to be seen eating whilst sipping on a freshly squeezed vegetable juice,  but many of the old-fashioned foods that have fallen from the grace of the modern dining table are just as virtuous as a turmeric latte made with coconut milk.

Whether it’s down to their acquired taste or association with wartime, poverty, awful school dinners or bad home-cooking there are many health-enhancing foods that we consumed decades ago that have become  unfashionable or are hard to get hold of nowadays.

Tapioca pudding

Yes, I must confess that I do not hold any love for this old fashioned dessert. Throughout my childhood I referred to it as frogspawn although I have heard it called eyeball pudding and I must admit that whenever, I see it or think of it I remember being forced to eat it as a child at nursery.

Tapioca pudding was most certainly back of the queue when looks were given out and it has a distinctive taste and texture. Indeed, this aesthetically displeasing dish has been dubbed as ‘Britain’s most hated school pudding’ and I would certainly give it my vote. However, be that as it may, it may be time to give Tapioca another try as it is an old fashioned super food. Gluten-free and low in fat, tapioca contains an impressive array of healthy carbohydrates, proteins and essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, calcium and selenium.  As I can’t stand the thought of the pudding I may have to try it in Bubble Tea

 

Cottage Cheese

Forget the terrible 70’s recipes of stuffing pineapples with cottage cheese or making strawberry and cottage cheese salads and cast away thoughts of retro  fad diets; because plain unadulterated cottage cheese deserves to have its praises sung. Indeed cottage cheese is a super food being, extremely high in protein, but low in calories and sugar. It should definitely take its place in the super food hall of fame as being a good source of potassium, fantastic source of protein and it’s a nice affordable food; unlike some of our super trendy food fads.

 

Applesauce

No I haven’t lost the plot, apple sauce is a super food, well it is at least more super than: Agave nectar

Pop into any health food shops and you’ll be presented with an array of alternative sweeteners that are all packaged up as superfood sugar substitutes—now they sound natural and wonderful, however, things such as agave nectar contains more calories per tablespoon than boring old, granulated sugar, as well as high amounts of fructose, which in excess can harm liver function and promote obesity.

So if you are looking to move away from refined sugar, my advice is don’t reach for the agave nectar, instead try sweetening your yogurt , ice cream or rice pudding with some home-made  applesauce.  Because unsweetened applesauce provides you with a natural sweet taste and  will also give you a good dose of fiber and vitamins.

Prunes

Yes, they’re not exactly glamorous looking, but they are a good source of fiber that can help keep you regular. But before you start thinking about old ladies sitting on decrepit seafront hotels sipping tepid tea and eating a bowl of tinned prunes for breakfast; then you must consider their thoroughly modern, super food credentials. Packed with anthocyanins, a family of anti-inflammatory, anti-carcineogenic antioxidants that can help fight obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.   They are naturally sweet and make a great natural sweetener in baking recipes, smoothies and puddings.

Aspic jelly

The craze for coating almost everything you can think of in aspic jelly from asparagus to prawns;  Fanny Cradock-style was at its height in the 1960’s and 1970’s. At that time, savoury jellied creations were a common sight in restaurants and at dinner parties. I have even seen recipes for set tomato soup immortalized in aspic jelly as well as cold mutton and even mussels and whilst we may turn our nose up at some of these garish aspic jelly creations and wonder why they ever achieved popularity, aspic is actually quite the health food. It’s high gelatin content – is the wonder ingredient in today’s trendy bone broths that are being promoted as superfoods. Indeed aspic may help support the digestive system, boost collagen levels in the skin, strengthen hair and nails, and improve joint health, but if you can’t face that then perhaps you’ll plump for a marrow.

Marrows

The old fashioned marrow that used to get baked, pickled and made into jam seems to have been pushed off our culinary tables by the smaller and more aesthetically pleasing courgette. Years of bad cooking means that marrows have become considered bland, watery, stodgy, tasteless and sometimes bitter. Prepared correctly however, they are delicious and bursting with nutrients, from beta-carotene and vitamin C to iron and fibre.

Ox tongue

Sliced ox tongue for sandwiches is not really that popular today, which is a pity, because it is a forgotten super food. Protein-packed tongue is a particularly rich source of essential minerals like iron and zinc, which many of us lack in our modern diets, as well as immune system-boosting choline and folate (vitamin B12).

So before sitting down with a detox smoothie and bowl of pomegranate quinoa just consider that a few sprats might be just the nutritional boost you need.

An oily fish that is now classified as sustainable, the sprat is rich in high quality protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Plus by eating the bones, you get a hit of calcium to support the health of your joints.

Perhaps, instead of perusing the aisles for the latest super foods we may be as well to follow some good old fashioned recipes.