Five Healthiest Foods to Eat in 2013: Kuzu

Ditch the cornstarch and opt instead for this flavonoid-rich thickener, which can help reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

Kuzu is a thickener derived from a plant of the same name; it’s bursting with flavonoids, a powerful antioxidant that reduces cholesterol, lowers the risk of blood clots, and protects against heart disease. “It can be used as a thickening agent in the place of cornstarch,” says Meredith Sobel, MS, RD, CDN, of Sobel Wellness. “I use it in my chocolate pudding.” Kuzu provides a smooth texture for sauces and gravies “without interfering with taste,” adds DeRobertis. She recommends using kuzu for added body in soups and noodle broths as well as dusting vegetables and fish with kuzu powder and then deep-frying them. This results in a light, crisp coating. It can also be made into a tea.

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