Super Foods to the Rescue!
May 9th, 2011
What’s so SUPER about Superfoods?
If you are looking for a good health, then nothing beats foods, Having rich food with lots of fat can make you fat, and on the other hand, eating proper amount of healthy food full will help make you a healthy person.
Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense - meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. The most important things about super foods that they can fight against most of the common diseases, and help us maintain good health. You don't have to go to the health food store to find super foods; just wheel your cart through the supermarket. (Hint: Most are in the perimeter aisles, including the produce, meat, and dairy departments.)
Here are 5 super foods that you should include in your meals every day. More good news: We've pulled together the quickest, tastiest ways to cook and serve these healing foods, from tried-and-true favorites to fresh, new ideas.
A single serving (about 24 almonds) of these crunchy, protein-packed nuggets provides:
- 9 grams of monounsaturated fat to help slash LDLs ("bad" cholesterol) and boost HDLs ("good" cholesterol).
- 6% of your daily calcium and 20% of the magnesium you need--two minerals lower blood pressure.
- 35% of your daily vitamin E
- 3 grams of fiber
- One serving of almonds fits neatly into an empty Altoids mints tin. Fill the tin each morning and slip it into your purse or briefcase
- Toss some almonds into salads, stir-fries, fruit salad, or hot or cold cereal
- Keep slivered and sliced almonds on hand (store them in the freezer for freshness) to add to vegetable dishes, muffins, and cookies
Apples earned spots on the USDA's top-20 list of antioxidant-rich foods thanks to hefty quantities of flavonoids (natural chemicals in plants that fight inflammation, and impede cancer).
Apples are also a rich source of fiber. In a recent study at the University of California, Davis, people who ate two apples a day had fewer oxidized, artery-attacking LDLs than non-apple eaters.
- Chop an apple and add to hot cereal
- For a portable snack, cut up an apple and place the slices in a zipper-lock plastic bag with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Carry it with you in an insulated lunch bag (with a freezer pack) to eat at lunch or as a snack. It tastes like apple pie, without the crust or the sugar
- For a quick baked apple, core an apple, pack the center with raisins and walnuts, and dust with cinnamon. Place it in a bowl with 1/4 cup of orange juice, apple juice, or water and microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until done
Carrots are color therapy for your cardiovascular system. These veggies' brilliant orange hue is a sign of super-high levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that guards against artery-clogging oxidized LDL cholesterol. Only foods like carrots offer this protection. Cooked carrots have twice the antioxidant power of raw carrots because heat breaks down tough cell walls so that your body can use what's inside. Carrots also provide blood pressure-lowering potassium and magnesium, plus the homocysteine-lowering combination of folate; vitamin B6; and the antioxidants alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- Buy sliced and shredded carrots; add them to soups, salads, and casseroles.
- Instead of chips, serve presliced carrots with dip
- Add finely grated carrots to muffins, tuna or salmon salad, and casseroles
- Microwave baby carrots and stir in a dollop of honey for a sweet side dish
Your heart--and your waistline--love it when you have a milk mustache. (So, of course, do your bones!) Calcium and other minerals in milk help lower blood pressure by keeping arteries flexible and helping your kidneys flush pressure-boosting sodium out of your body. A glass of cold moo juice at lunch or a generous splash on your morning cereal could cut your risk of insulin resistance--a potent heart disease risk factor--by 71 percent, and help you lose weight. How? Mayo Clinic researchers suspect that calcium "down-regulates" fat absorption by fat cells and "up-regulates" fat burning.
- Cook hot cereal and low-sodium instant or canned soups with milk instead of water
- Make milk your drive-through thirst quencher.
- Order a latte with fat-free milk
- Make sugar-free instant pudding with low-fat or fat-free milk and serve it with berries
- Use fat-free evaporated milk in place of regular milk in baked goods, soups, and sauces. A cup contains 742 milligrams of calcium--more than double the amount in low-fat milk
- Whip partially frozen fat-free evaporated milk for a high-calcium dessert topping that has one-tenth the calories of regular whipped cream
Eating beans four times a week could cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 20 to 30 percent. They're rich in LDL-lowering soluble fiber (2 grams in a 1/2-cup serving) and homocysteine-controlling folate, as well as blood pressure-easing potassium and magnesium. Thanks to healthy doses of fiber and protein, beans give you steady energy, not a sudden rise (and fall) of blood sugar that ups your risk of metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
- Rinse canned kidney beans before using to remove sodium. Toss them into chili, casseroles, and soups
- For a quick tamale pie, serve warm kidney beans over a piece of cornbread and top with grated cheese
- Make a better three-bean salad: Combine kidney, black, and white beans, then mix in chopped tomatoes and scallions. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper
- In a food processor or blender, combine cooked kidney beans with garlic, cumin, and chili peppers for a delicious spread that can be used as a dip for crudités or a sandwich filling
Healthy eating doesn't have to take extra time out of your busy day--reaching for an ounce of dark chocolate or a fistful of almond is as quick as grabbing a bag of chips. And the taste? Out of this world.
(From the Article, "Super Foods to the Rescue")