Super Foods to the Rescue

Is it just me or is anyone else confused by the proliferation of so-called “super foods”? Remember the craze for Açai juice a few years back? Well apparently the Amazonian berry isn’t always a healthy choice, especially when found in sugary drinks.  Oh, and did you know that granola is really high in fat? News to me..so I looked through a few trusted sources like Self magazine and WebMD and compiled a list of edible, nutritious foods. I say edible because while I understand that quinoa is rich in protein, I have no idea how to cook it and more importantly, don’t have the desire to learn!

1) Eggs – Researching the healthiness of eggs was my top priority because while I love them, they’ve gotten a bad rap- yolks in particular – from the media. Specifically, while doctors agree that the whites have few calories and no cholesterol, they’ve advised us to refrain from eating the yolks (which if you’re eating a hard boiled egg is the best part right?)  New research shows, however, that many important nutrients are actually found only in the yolk such as vitamin B derivatives, like B12, which support healthy hair follicles. Plus, the high protein level found in eggs can contribute to weight loss as it helps curb your appetite.  According to doctors quoted on WebMD’s site, one egg a day is considered safe from a cholesterol standpoint so enjoy!

From a WebMD slideshow

2) Peanut Butter – Here’s another surprising find as my favorite childhood food can be quite healthy. As long as you stick to the kind with just nuts and salt (e.g. no hydrogenated oil)  peanut butter is high in protein and contains healthy monounsaturated fats to help lower cholesterol. Before you go nuts though (pun unintended I swear!), most studies have participants eating as little as a spoonful so those peanut butter & jelly sandwiches should probably be eaten in moderation. Avocados also contain “good fats” plus they’re high in fiber.

3) Spinach – No wonder Popeye was in such good shape! Spinach, and other leafy veg like chard, contain iron, which lots of women are lacking in, and folates that prevent hair breakage. In my experience, when I upped my consumption of spinach, I’ve felt more energetic which makes sense as iron helps red blood cells bring oxygen to organs.  As I don’t eat much red meat, this is an important part of my diet.

4) Whole Grains – We’ve recently instituted a white-bread ban in our house as the wholemeal version is less bloating and works to cut heart disease significantly. While this was fairly easy, I must admit that switching to whole grain pasta is an impossibility given my Italian husband who is absolutely disgusted by the mere thought! Anyway, oatmeal has the same effect and also has the added benefit of making you very full after breakfast so that mid-morning snacking is not required. Add some raisins or banana if plain oatmeal isn’t your thing.

Quaker Oatmeal website

5) Skim Milk – Having been somewhat lactose intolerant for most of my life, I’ve just been able to start drinking milk again after Sophia’s birth (don’t know if there’s a correlation but I’m not complaining). Skim milk contains the all important calcium and vitamin D which I wrote about in one of my previous posts. As it turns out, according to some studies (see Self magazine for more details), milk may also help relieve PMS symptoms.

6) Blueberries – These are the real super fruit as blueberries have high levels of antioxidants which may prevent certain diseases like cancer. Strawberries, kiwi, and raspberries all have similar healthy properties so stock up when they’re in season. Just as an aside, I can’t help but mention that dark chocolate (thankfully) is nutritious when eaten in moderation as it may lower stress levels – excellent!

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