Tuesday, April 28, 2009

5 Super Foods that you need to know about!

We all know the importance of "eating the rainbow" - incorporating foods of all colors into our diets to ensure we have the proper nutrients in our bodies to keep us going.  But there are some foods in this world that are so nutritionally packed they have been deemed "super foods".  While there are several articles that talk of these foods, many differ in what they have to say.  I have found, however, that five foods in particular almost always make the cut.  These, I have chosen to share with you all.  I encourage each of you to incorporate these foods into your diet on a regular basis!

1) Spinach.  Yes, Popeye's favorite green, hated by almost all children (unless you're my wonderful bonus-daughter, Christin.  We believe her to be born without tastebuds.)  In fact, many adults have never eaten this wonder-food because of the nastiness they were served from tin cans as children.  But do not dispair, my friends, because there is light at the end of the tunnel!  If you haven't already, pick up a bag of fresh, pre-washed baby spinach.  Put it in your next salad.  Better than iceberg, I tell you.  My favorite spinach salad is baby spinach mixed with strawberries and topped with a light balsamic vinaigrette.  Add some chicken on top and YUM!!  (feel free to email me for said recipe . . .)
Not only delicious, but this green packs a power punch - Beta Keratin, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and every B vitamin under the sun.  Not to mention Iron, protein, and a slew of antioxidants.  And if you STILL don't like spinach, don't fret, there are more greens with all these wonderful goodies nestled in their leafiness:  Kale, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and arugula.

2) Blueberries.  Once thought to be only a muffin or pie componant, blueberries have turned out to be one of the most powerful foods on the planet.  While we were once lucky to find this gem only in the frozen fruit aisle (unless you happened to live in main . . .), we are now (thank you cultivation science) able to find fresh bluberries year round in the supermarket.  Toss them into a batch of bran muffins, if you absolutly must, but they are equally scrumptious sprinkled on top of some oatmeal or, better yet, added to that spinach and strawberry salad I just talked about.  Better yet, grab a handful out of the fridge and munch away!  Chock full of fiber and vitamin C, these little blue gems will satisfy you on the whole. 

3)  Garlic.  If you eat too much, you run the risk of smelling like a pizza, but no matter, this stuff is so good for you (not to mention tasty), you just won't care.  It has just about every mineral under the sun in it, including Pyridoxine (B-6 to us) - one of the world's most powerful heart-healthy antioxidents.  Of course, you can go the timid route with it and include it in your spaghetti sauce or stir fry, but why not grate some raw on your next salad?  Or roast an entire head, smash it up, and spread the lot of it on a pita bread.  Sprinkle a little kosher salt on top and viola!  Instant power-snack!

4) Tomatoes.  Almost everyone will eat a tomato in one form or another.  Don't like them raw?  Try a good marinara sauce or salsa.  No?  How about ketchup?  This superfood is packed with lycopene - proven to slow the growth of specific types of cancer (namely prostate cancer), so load up on your burgers and fries (turkey and baked, of course) and pile on the red stuff.  Incedentally, the longer you cook tomatoes and the more concentrated they get, the more lycopene you have, so if you don't like them raw, cook away!  

5) And finally, Whole Grains.  We all know we need more fiber in our diets, right?  Right??  Okay, just smile and nod, here.  Fiber not only helps us . . . well, you know, but it can also strengthen our hearts and our immune systems.  Not to mention the fact that the refined white stuff (bread, pasta, etc) is known to INCREASE hunger, and CAUSE higher colestoral levels AND diabetes.  Simply replacing one meal's worth of "white food" a day with a whole grain can significantly improve your health.  Don't believe me?  K, listen to this doctor about it.

So, there you have it.  My top five super foods.  I know what you're thinking, "What??  No water??"  No.  These are super FOODS.  Super BEVERAGES are for another post.   Oh, and you don't have to take my word for it, Google "super foods" and see what you get.  

Happy Eating, my friends!

No comments: