Monday, May 10, 2010

Underestimated Powerhouse Foods

What makes a food "super"? If you believe what you see in the grocery story, superfoods are everywhere these days-goji berries, acai juice, wheatgrass, seaweed-many of them exotic ingredients pitched with promises of weightloss, smoother skin, an energy boost, or even a healthier heart. But despite the marketing, there's little to no proof that the food fad of the moment will improve your health. Most people will do best with a diet that derives nutrients from a variety of whole food sources.

Still, there are some foods that deserve the superlative treatment because they have been scientifically show to contain high amounts of the good stuff-like vitamins, minerals, and proteins. The following 5 are all proven sources of nutrients your body needs, no gimmicky mumbo jumbo required:).

why they're worth it-
Beets are high in vitamin C and folate. Plus, they're a great source of the antioxident lipoic acid. "Recent research shows it can be helpful in healing nerve damage in people with diabetes, " says Salge-Blake.

why they're worth it-
Salmon contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. "You want to be having 2 fish meals per week because that's going to lower your risk for heart disease, " says Salge-blake. Salmon is also high in protein, so they're great add-on to veggie-heavy dishes. (Tuna and Sardines have the same benefits and are both just as healthy for the times salmon is too high in cost.)

why they're worth it-
Brussels sprouts are low in sodium and cholesterol free. "They are a good source of fiber, " says Salge-blake. "And we also have some studies to show vegetables in the cruciferous family have phytochemicals [plat compounds that have protective health benefits] in them."

why they're worth it-
Pumpkin seeds are a good souce of fiber, vitamin K, and iron. Plus, they're loaded with protein, so they're perfect addition to vegetarian dishes. "This could be a good way to having a meatless meal", says Salge-Blake.

why it's worth it-
Like it's cousin broccoli, kale is packed with vitamin C. (2 cups have twice as much vitamin C as a medium sized orange.) It's also a good source of vitamin A (beta carotene), calcium, and potassium, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure.

Recipes that include the super foods

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Pinenuts
serves 4
1 pound Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey (reduced sugar honey)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 apples (see list), cored, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. Peel outer leaves from Brussels sprouts, cut off the ends, and quarter each sprout. Place sprouts in the dish and sprinkle with oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
3. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes. Stir well.
4. Add the apples and nuts. Stir again. Continue roasting for 10 minutes or until the sprouts are tender.

Roasted Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens
serves 4
1 bunch beets with greens
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.

(Information source-DiabeticForecast, Dr. Tracy Neithercott, and


Tom and Miriah said...

Hey Mel, thanks for giving me permission to use these for my project at work. I miss you!