Food. Let’s talk about food. I know I’ve been talking a lot lately about understanding your relationship with it and learning how to eat in balance and moderation but let’s talk now about eating and eating some “super foods”.
I hesitate to use that term since it’s kinda over used but seriously, there are some really awesome super foods out there that pack a ridiculous amount of health benefits and not a ton of calories to boot.
I want to share some of my favorites with you =)
Spinach. I love this stuff! It’s sautéed in with other veggies and eggs for a breakfast meal and has become my “lettuce” for salads. What other benefits does it offer?
Powerful antioxidants in spinach have been found to combat a variety of cancers, including ovarian, breast, and colon cancers. And it’s good for the noggin: Research indicates that spinach reduces the decline in brain function associated with aging and protects the heart from cardiovascular disease. Although it contains relatively high amounts of iron and calcium, oxalate compounds bind to these minerals and diminish their absorption.
Get creative in how you use it and indulge all you want as it packs minimal calories and tons of nutrients.
Walnuts. Who can resist a handful of nuts? Especially when they offer up the goodness that walnuts do.
One-quarter cup of walnuts supplies 90 percent of the daily recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in everything from maintaining cognitive function, to improving cholesterol and blood pressure.
I love some tossed in my morning cottage cheese with fresh fruit. It makes a fast, protein and nutrient packed breakfast I can eat getting ready. They’re also tasty mixed in with oatmeal and a handful of dried fruit =)
Yogurt. It’s no secret I love Greek yogurt but all yogurt packs lots of good benefits. Greek just contains the highest amount of protein.
Yogurt contains probiotics, which are bacteria that live in the intestine, aid in digestion, boost the immune system, diminish bad breath, and are even associated with longer life spans. A 1-cup serving also supplies one-third of your daily calcium requirement, as well as 14 grams of satisfying protein.
Just be cautious about “fruit” varieties as they can pack a whopping amount of sugar.
Sweet Potatoes. These tasty little critters have shown up a lot more in my house than just for Thanksgiving 😉 My favorite way to have them is to cube them up, toss them with some olive oil, sliced onion and bake till crisp and tender. The cold ones are delicious to add to breakfast the next morning!
Need a beta-carotene fix? Just one medium sweet potato packs over four times the recommended daily amount. These tasty tubers are also rich in potassium, inflammation-fighting vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which may prevent clogged arteries.
Boiling sweet potatoes may cause some of the water-soluble vitamins to leach out, so try them baked, roasted, or cubed, and added to soups or stews. If you need a boost of fiber, make sure to leave the skins on.
Just one half of a medium-size avocado contains more than 4 grams of fiber and 15% of your recommended daily folate intake. Cholesterol-free and rich in monounsaturated fats and potassium, avocados are also a powerhouse for heart health.
Use avocados as the base for a creamy homemade sandwich spread, or add a few chunks to your favorite salsa for a simple and delicious way to dress up grilled chicken or fish.
I use avocado to mix into tuna to replace the mayo =) Add a little lemon juice, salt and pepper… . yummy!
Seriously. I love avocados. 😉
Apples. Who doesn’t love biting into a perfect, sweet, crunchy apple ?
Apples are the richest fruit source of pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, decrease the risk of colon and breast cancers, and maybe even lessen the severity of diabetes.
Try throwing a few slices on your favorite sandwich or toss with field greens, toasted pecans, and a light vinaigrette for a delicious salad. With so many varieties available, you’ll never get bored finding new ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.
Blackberries. In my area have been so plentiful and inexpensive most of last year I’ve almost always had them in my ‘fridge. I love them in salads, alone, or tossed in my morning cottage cheese. Get creative with how you use them.
Blackberries, which contain only 62 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per cup, are excellent sources of a few key nutrients. As a result, they help keep your tissues healthy and combat chronic disease.
The fiber in blackberries helps aid digestion and may help lower your cholesterol levels, which fights cardiovascular disease. One cup of blackberries provides almost 8 grams of fiber, which is 21 to 32 percent of the daily fiber recommendations for men and and women, respectively. The vitamin A in blackberries also supports your digestive tract by helping maintain healthy mucous membranes, such as the tissues that line the inside of your mouth. Each cup of raw blackberries provide 308 IU of vitamin A. This is 13 percent of the daily vitamin A intake for women and 10 percent for men.
Blackberries owe their rich purple hue to their anthocyanin content, and these anthocyanins also offer cancer-fighting benefits. They act as antioxidants — chemicals that fight genetic mutations and cancer-causing tissue damage — and may have the ability to slow cancer cell growth, according to research.
I’d say there’s lots of reasons to grab some, wouldn’t you ?
And one more favorite pick….
Just one medium orange (think tennis ball) supplies all your daily vitamin C, which is a dynamite immunity booster and cancer fighter. And consuming vitamin C is best done in its natural form: Italian researchers also found that test subjects had greater antioxidant protection after drinking orange juice versus vitamin C–fortified water. Plus, this sweet and tangy fruit is a good source of fiber, potassium, calcium, folate, and other B vitamins.
Now there are lots of awesome foods out there to feed your body… this is just a tiny sampling. Explore on your own and find something new you haven’t tried to add to your own super food list =)
Tell me… do you have a favorite super food ?