There has been a lot of talk about “Super Foods” in the news, so I wanted to highlight some here. Essentially a super food is any food that is nutrient rich, heart healthy and essential for disease prevention. Here are my favorites:
Avocado—Contains 20 essential vitamins and minerals, and heart healthy unsaturated fats that help with the growth of the central nervous system and brain.
Blueberries—High in antioxidants and delicious!! Blueberries can help prevent memory loss and wrinkles.
Broccoli—Rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. Has been linked to preventing breast cancer.
Dark Chocolate– (70 percent cocoa) I love dark chocolate! It is antioxidant rich, promotes bone strength and has been reported to reduce blood pressure.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil– Contains heart healthy monosaturated fats and is a good source of vitamin E. EVOO has been linked to reducing the risk for breast and colon cancer, lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health.
Greek Yogurt— Calcium rich, and protein packed. Promotes bone growth (essential for women).
Oats–High in fiber and can help lower cholesterol and the risk for heart disease.
Spinach—Extremely nutrient rich: iron, vitamin K, B vitamins, polyphenols and betaine. Can prevent age-related degeneration, cataracts, some cancers and cardiovascular Disease
Walnuts—Helps lower cholesterol and increases brain power. They are packed with protein, vitamin E, and omega-3s.
Wild Salmon– Packed with healthy omega-3 fats and vitamin D. Can boost mood and fight depression.
- Wondrous Whole Grains:
Whole grains are awesome! I hope you are getting your fill! I’m not just saying this because I work in a bread department, but rather, because they are absolutely delicious and nutritious! The recommendation is to get 3 servings of whole grains a day. Examples of a serving include: 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1 oz whole grain pasta or rice, 1 slice of 100% whole grain bread and 1 cup of 100% whole grain cereals. Whole grains have reported health benefits of reducing the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and are important for weight maintenance. Check out http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org for more information on the benefits (and necessity) of whole grains.
When I can afford to, I try to buy organic. I like that the products use natural ingredients and are not processed; I’m not clouding my body with things I can’t pronounce and high-fructose corn syrup. I truly feel healthy when I eat organically, it’s a mind and body connection (I know that sounds very–earthy of me but it’s true, when you eat things that are good for you, you feel rejuvenated). The organic items I tend to buy the most of are cereal, yogurt, milk and energy bars. I’m not as picky when it comes to produce, but when you look at the labels of an organic granola and a regular granola you will be shocked to see the difference between the ingredients list. It is reported that organic products have 25% more nutrients in terms of vitamins and minerals than products derived from industrial agriculture. It is also safer, and does not contain pesticides. To learn more about organic products check out http://www.organicconsumers.org
I love me some yogurt! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and although I alternate between cereals with soy milk and yogurt with granola, I think my all time favorite is the latter. There is something about creamy yogurt, sweet fruit and crunchy granola that puts me in a good mood. I have a huge sweet tooth, so maybe it’s because it seems like I’m eating dessert for breakfast. My favorite is thick and tangy greek yogurt. It provides the perfect contrast to the sweetness of fruit and granola. It is also packed with protein and keeps me full and energized for a longer period of time than milk and cereal. But I digress. The benefit of my favorite breakfast food: probiotics or “healthy bacteria”. They aid in digestion and skin care. When it comes to buying yogurt try to find one that contains probiotics for it’s added health benefits. Also, beware of the “low calorie” yogurts. They may be tempting but check the label for aspartame (artificial sweetener) and high sugar content. My favorite brands: Stonyfield Farm, Fage, Chobani.