Are you Eating these 10 POWERHOUSE Foods?
It seems like everywhere you turn, there is information telling you why you should NOT eat something. Newspapers, blogs,television, websites, media outlets, and anywhere else you can find information are all conflicting each other when it comes to what is considered healthy. Don't eat this...don't eat that...blah, blah, blah. I finally decided that it was time to share what you SHOULD be eating. We all know that fruits and vegetables should be a part of our everyday diets so I am not going for these traditional ones. These are the items that you see in the health food aisle and wonder what they are and why they are there....You may not know about them but these 10 items which are undeniably healthy and if you aren't eating them....then you should be!
1. Quinoa - The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa." This grain (actually a seed) is packed with nutritional value and is so easy to use in recipes. It is similar to cous cous, comes in many different colors, and can be used like rice in cooking. Quinoa is high in protein, calcium and iron, a good source of vitamin E and several B vitamins. It also contains all eight essential amino acids! Talk about a super food!
2. Chia Seeds - Yep...just like the popular ceramic pet you give as a gift. This tasteless little seed has a host of health benefits (aside from its awesomeness on a ceramic spongebob). It is a rich source of fiber, has anti-oxidants, contains more Omega 3's than salmon, can assist in blood sugar reduction, and is one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein. The chia seed is also great for weightloss. If you add chia seeds to water, they will form a gel that can be used to reduce fat in baking!
3. Coconut - Until recently, the coconut has been misunderstood....but that is all starting to change. The short list of the health benefits of coconut include: Lowers cholesterol, Improves digestion, has anti aging properties, stabilizes glucose levels, can fight off viruses and bacteria, regulates hormones, increases metabolism, and so much more. Coconut is available in many forms and was even utilized in WWII for blood transfusions! Tip---rub some coconut oil on your teeth and gums to kill bacterias that cause cavities and disease!
4. Kefir - Kefir is available in many forms and is usually recognized as a smooth
"fizzy" drinkable yogurt. Kefir is easily digested, it cleanses the intestines, provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, vitamins and minerals, and complete proteins. It is a powerful immune system booster and is good for those who can not have traditional milk due to lactose sensitivities!
5. Kale - The very same green leafy "stuff" that restaurants put on your plate as garnish is the very "stuff" you should be eating! One cup of kale has only 36 calories and 0 grams of fat making it excellent for dieters . That same 1 cup also has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which assists in regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating.It is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and omega-3s. This versatile veggie can be baked, boiled, stewed....you can do almost anything to it! Click here to get a healthy kale chip recipe! This snack is a great substitute for chips and even kids love them!
6. Millet - Millet is an "up and coming" grain being recognized because it is versatile and gluten free. The magnesium in millet can help reduce the affects of migraines and heart attacks. It also contains Niacin to help aid in lowering cholesterol as well as fiber!Use this in your recipes in place of rice or added to meatloafs, meatballs, breading, etc.
7. Garlic - Garlic has been used medicinally for centuries! It has immune system boosting powers, can cut a man's risk of prostate cancer, is shown to reduce the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels - thereby reducing the risk of stroke, and has also been shown to reduce hypertension. Garlic is available in many forms....fresh garlic is easy to incorporate into almost any meal or you can take it in supplement form!
8. Flax Seed - Flax seed is a tremendous source of omega-3 fatty acids! It has been shown to contain powerful anti-cancer compounds called lignans and is also a great source of fiber, which enhances digestion. You can add flax seed to your cereal, oatmeal, salads, or baking!
9. Watercress - It is green so you would assume that it is good for you but it still isn't widely known that it has huge health benefits. In 2007 a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that watercress has enough antioxidants to help reduce DNA damage done to our white blood cells, which is a starting point for many forms of cancer. Add it to salads, sandwiches, and green smoothies!
10. Sweet Potatoes - Now labeled one of the most nutritious vegetables around! Sweet potatoes get their orange color thanks to their alpha and beta carotene which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy. One medium sweet potato—or about 1/2 cup—gives you almost four times the recommended daily value of vitamin A, plus some vitamin C and B6, potassium, and other vitamins as well! Swap these for white potatoes anywhere you can! They make a great hash or even baked fries!
11. OKAY---I said 10 but I have to reiterate this! CHOCOLATE - Go for the dark chocolate that is rich in antioxidants and has also been shown to reduce blood pressure! Don't go overboard but drizzle a little melted chocolate on your berries or nuts. You can even add it to your kale chips! Sorry...Milk chocolate doesn't have the same effect...it has to be the bitter dark variety - but hey....chocolate is chocolate!
So..there you have it. 10 foods you SHOULD be eating. I went for the ones that were easy to incorporate into your diet as well as the ones that I found little to no controversy about their benefits! If you have any recipes using these items...please share!
Linked to Thank your Body Thursday