Thursday, February 24, 2011

Top 10 Superfoods to Eat Now!

Top 10 Superfoods to Eat Right Now for Your Health!
By guest blogger: Jeri Bright, OU Dietetic intern

March is National Nutrition Month, the perfect time to take a fresh look at the big picture. The theme for National Nutrition Month is Eat Right with Color and the American Dietetic Association reminds the public to focus on including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy on their plate every day. An overall pattern of eating should be the important focus. Not one food or type of food guarantees good health, just as no single food is detrimental to health. Let’s take a look at 10 super foods and different ways you can incorporate them into your diet!

1. Kale
Kale is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, and folate. In some studies, kale has been shown to lower the risk of developing certain types of cancers. Try serving kale with other foods high in vitamin C such as strawberries to help increase the absorption of iron.

2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has twice the protein as regular yogurt! Try substituting Greek yogurt in your favorite recipes for sour cream, mayonnaise, or regular yogurt as a more nutritious alternative.

3. Blueberries
Packed with antioxidants and high in potassium and vitamin C, not only can blueberries lower your risk of heart disease and cancer but they can also help with inflammation. Try topping berries with a little frozen yogurt instead of topping your frozen yogurt with a little fruit.

4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and carotenoids and can be baked just like regular potatoes. Try substituting sweet potatoes for regular potatoes in your favorite recipes. Select sweet potatoes that show no signs of discoloration and have a large, uniform shape.

5. Tea
Green tea contains EGCG, a powerful antioxidant shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Studies also show that tea drinkers have lower cholesterol. Add some honey or lemon to your tea for extra sweetness.

6. Dark Chocolate
Packed with antioxidants and can lower blood pressure. Remember, the darker the chocolate, the better so buy chocolate that has a 60% or higher cocoa content.

7. Garlic
Lowers total cholesterol but raises ‘good’ cholesterol. Lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of blood clots. Try using garlic to enhance the flavor of your favorite recipes!

8. Edamame
Also known as soybeans, edamame is an excellent source of fiber, high in protein, and a good source of vitamin C and iron. Edamame is found in the frozen foods section and can be served hot or cold, depending on personal preference.

9. Strawberries
With more vitamin C per serving than an orange, strawberries are the second richest fruit source of antioxidants and have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Try buying frozen strawberries and using them in smoothies and salads to add natural sweetener.

10. Pumpkin
Pumpkins are a rich source of beta carotene which may help prevent certain types of cancer. Pumpkins are very versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Try drizzling pumpkin cubes with olive oil and roasting them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

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