Here are 5 superstar foods that I bet you do not include in your diet as often as you should!
Canned pumpkin – 100% canned pumpkin (I love the Libby’s brand) is second only to dark leafy greens in terms of the nutrients it provides per unit calorie. It offers super-high (more than any other food!) levels of carotenoids along with a nice kick of vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K, and potassium. I always add it to my oatmeal, plain yogurt, and corn bread recipes.
Sesame seeds – Like their nut cousins, sesame seeds are concentrated nuggets of nutritional excellence. They are exceptionally rich in a host of key minerals and provide two very special and unique phytochemicals, sesamin and sesamolin. Both are super-potent antioxidants from the lignan family that have been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure, and boost the activity of vitamin E. Throw toasted or raw sesame seeds into your salads or veggies. Enjoy hummus regularly. Keep tahini (pure, ground sesame seeds) as a staple in your fridge and use it as a “healthy oil” base for salad dressings and sauces.
Kale – Kale is arguably the healthiest food on the planet and kale salads are delectable if you know how to properly prepare them. The “magic step” is vigorously massaging the chopped kale leaves in your hands after you have poured on your vinaigrette of choice and before you add any additional ingredients (about 2 minutes). This all-important “kale massage” softens and tenderizes the kale leaves.
Quinoa – This ancient “whole grain” was revered by the Incans and is arguably the healthiest of all whole grains (technically it is a seed, but we call it a whole grain because of its taste and texture). It is a fantastic source of a full package of health – building minerals, lots of plant-based protein, including all of the essential amino acids, and tastes delicious. It cooks in 15 minutes or less and can be used just as you would rice. Quinoa is a starch staple in my kitchen.
Lentils – Like their bean cousins, lentils are cheap, versatile, filling, and power-packed full of fiber, B-vitamins, protein, minerals, and antioxidant polyphenols. They provide more folate than any other food and have an edge over the other legumes because they cook quickly, require no pre-soaking, and tend to cause less gas. Eat them!
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