Yes, another list of good-for-you food. Here, you’ll find a short list of foods that you really ought to incorporate into your diet—because, frankly, their health benefits are through the roof. Eating well is one of the nicest things you can do for yourself, and if you can recruit your taste buds to be your ally, you may just discover that it’s fun to be good.
Creamy, succulent avocados not only contain the best kind of fat (monounsaturated oleic acid) but also help your body block the absorption of bad fats (cholesterol). They’re high in lutein, which aids eyesight, and in potassium and folate, which may reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. And they’re low in pesticides.
The pigment betacyanin, which gives beets their distinctive hue, is just one of several disease-fighting phytonutrients found in this root vegetable. Beets are also a good source of folate, which guards against birth defects, colon cancer, and osteoporosis, and are high in fiber and beta-carotene.
Glucosinolate-rich horseradish fights cancer and kills bacteria. It’s also a good source of calcium, potassium, and vitamin C, which, among other things, helps maintain collagen.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Whether orange or white, sweet potatoes contain phytonutrients that promote heart and eye health and boost immunity. They’re flush with beta-carotene (thought to lower breast cancer risk) and vitamin A (which may reduce the effects of smoking).
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables—cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli rabe—contain a powerful range of disease fighters. One particular hero, sulforaphane, may increase enzymes that lower the incidence of colon and lung cancers.
Fresh or frozen, blueberries have sky-high levels of antioxidants, which combat the damage done by inflammation. Anthocyanins, the natural plant compounds that give blueberries their deep color, may have antidiabetic effects as well. And new research suggests blueberries might protect the heart muscle from damage.
7. Dark, Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and swiss chard are an excellent source of iron (especially important for women), vitamin A, and lutein for eye health. Best of all, you know those omega-3s everyone’s talking about? They reside in dark greens (including seaweed, which is why they’re concentrated in fish).
Alliums, the botanical family that includes leeks, onions, and garlic, share many remarkable traits. They can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research suggests they inhibit the growth of prostate, stomach, and colon cancer cells. They also have antibiotic properties—so they can ward off germs as well as vampires.
9. Whole Grains
Don’t eat whole grains (such as buckwheat and quinoa) just because they are high in magnesium, B vitamins, fiber, and manganese. Do it because they taste great—nutty, buttery, earthy. And that, in turn, may actually help you to not overeat—one study found that people feel fuller after eating buckwheat than after eating other grains.
Like whole wheat, ancient spelt is sweeter, nuttier, and higher in protein than its processed relatives. Both are also good sources of manganese and copper.
OK. These are the first ten on a list of 25 sUpErFoOdS. Of the ten I am currently occasionally eating all but horseradish. Although I did have that once at the Sader last year at The Ward Family Passover. But I need a kick in the pants to have them more regularly than once a week or less. I have beets every single day. And yams at last twice a week. Blueberries are in the freezer. And spelt is in my Bruce’s Cereal. So I’m heading upstairs to cook Bruce’s to toss some blueberries on.
Next shopping trip I’m going out of my way to buy more of these and to use them in more from-scratch cooking.
Why have I gotten away from really eating healthy? Instead I’ve been sneaking in unhealthy food but just eating less of it.
How’s that workin’ for ya, sweet pea?