The word “superfood” is thrown around a lot these days to describe healthy foods – but in reality the term should really be applied to foods that are so great for you that they provide multiple disease-fighting nutrients that might be missing from your diet. The bonus of most of the super foods on this list is that we’re back to volumetrics (they generally fill you up so you can enjoy plenty of food without excess calories) and are easy to include in everyday meals (really important, because what’s the point of knowing the most fantastic foods to eat on the planet…but not be able to track them down or stomach the taste!?).
Women’s Health Magazine has pulled together a list of the latest and greatest when it comes to super foods – some of these may seem exotic, but tracking them down will be worth it to incorporate their nutrients into your diet.
1. Kefir: Similar in flavor and texture to a yogurt you’d drink, Women’s Health tells us kefir “has more protein and less sugar than yogurt, but with the same creamy texture, tangy taste, and probiotics (as yogurt). These healthy bacteria are a known immune enhancer, and may protect against colon cancer, says Tamara Freuman R.D.”.
My absolute favorite varieties come from Lifeway, with Kefir drinks that taste like smoothies – available at most grocery stores.
2. Jicama: Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? This delightfully sweet root vegetable seems like it should be one of those fruits that’s too yummy to be good for you – but it is a vegetable and it is! Women’s Health tells us “This slightly sweet and crunchy root veggie stars inulin, a belly-flattening fiber that acts as a prebiotic to promote helpful bacteria in the gut. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, which may boost collagen and fight wrinkles.”
If you’re like me, eat it plain (I can down a cup in a one sitting…which is less than 50 calories, by the way)…but not everyone enjoys it quite that much! It’s fabulous to cook with (I made a yummy mango/jicama slaw for grilled chicken tacos the other day, see here) or pretend you’re on a Mexican vacation – they sell jicama on the streets there with a big squeeze of lime juice and sprinkle of chili powder – ah chihuahua!!
3. Chia: Women’s Health tells us that “one tablespoon of these nutty-tasting edible seeds has as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal, plus bone-building calcium and heart-healthy omega-3s. Chia is also a good source of iron, which many women don’t get enough of, notes Freuman.”
Treat chia like an adornment and sprinkle it on salads, soups, oatmeal, cereal…almost anything, to add extra nutrition. Or use it to thicken puddings or stir-fries – Women’s Health tells us the chia seeds absorb liquid and acquire an almost gel-like texture!
4. Sprouts: I used to eat these on sandwiches when I was younger – turns out they were seriously beneficial! Women’s Health tells us “three-day-old broccoli plants may contain up to 50 times more of the anticancer agent sulforaphane than mature stalks– but without the pungent taste, says Kate Geagan, R.D., author of Go Green Get Lean.”
Again, since these guys are pretty neutral in taste – toss them on anything you can! Whether it be a sandwich, wrap, pizza or taco – adding sprouts can seriously up your nutrient intake.
5. Black Garlic: A fermentation process gives this garlic its extra antioxidants – nearly double that of a regular garlic clove – that help lower cholesterol and reduce cancer risk. It doesn’t taste like regular garlic either – it has a sweeter flavor, and does not give you “garlic breath” – so feel free to load up at lunchtime! 🙂
To see some yummy recipes to use black garlic (to season everything from steak to kale!), go here!
6. Kelp: Women’s Health tells us that kelp is a “possible anti-breast-cancer crusader, kelp is loaded with vitamin K, calcium, and other essential nutrients. And its natural alginate fiber may help block fat, says nutritionist Christine Avanti.”
This one may be a little more daunting to incorporate into your diet, but never fear! Here are a few easy options: first, try it in powdered form and simply mix into things you’re already making – meatballs, soups, lasagna, or second (and this is my personal favorite) try these kelp noodles – they have a very neutral flavor and should be treated as any pasta noodle with any sauce you like….but they only have 6 calories per serving! (If I’m being honest, your kids may not go for them as they do retain a slightly crunchy texture – but I tell myself it’s al dente and enjoy a huge plate of “pasta”!!)
7. Nutritional Yeast: Women’s Health tells us that “a single serving of these cheese-like flakes has an incredible nine grams of satiating protein and provides more than your RDA of B vitamins to help boost energy, squash stress, and decrease your risk for chronic diseases. Try it: As a dairy-free sub for Parmesan on popcorn, potatoes, pasta, or scrambled eggs.”
Nutritional yeast can be found at health food stores or specialty markets!
8. Barley: This one’s easy to incorporate! Barley is a nutty grain that is rich in “niacin (for healthy hair and skin) and cancer-fighting lignans. Plus, “the soluble fiber keeps your cholesterol levels healthy, cutting your risk for heart disease,” says Geagan,” Women’s Health tells us.
I swap barley in for quinoa or brown rice in almost any recipe (and featured it in this super yummy recipe a few weeks ago!) to up the fiber and nutrition levels just a bit! Lund’s has Bob’s Red Mill brand, my personal favorite.
To see the full original article, see here!