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Superfoods

February 2, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
We’ve all heard of them.

Ever since Dr. Steven Pratt wrote his book, “SuperFoods RX: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life,” we are seeing these foods mentioned in just about every commercial and magazine ad for healthy eating. Pratt claims that the 14 foods listed in his book were derived from studying healthy dietary patterns around the world. He also claims that eating these foods will help prevent disease, enhance our health and even perhaps, extend our life span.

I am a skeptic. When someone recently told me there was a new product on the market that can eliminate toxins from our bodies by simply wearing a patch on the bottom of our feet that will draw out those poisons, my brain just couldn’t take it in. Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t, but I have a hard time believing it is that simple.

But the concept of superfoods, I must admit, is a little more believable for me. After all, all of the foods on Pratt’s list are well known for their health benefits by helping to reduce inflammation (one of the recently discovered causes of heart disease) as well as taking in vital anti-oxidants and important nutrients that our bodies need for optimum health.

Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program and if you are allergic to any of these foods, it makes sense to avoid them. But here are the first four:

BEANS: According to Pratt, the darker the better, and this may also pertain to beans. While all beans have the same basic nutrients, darker beans have higher polyphenol counts. Polyphenol is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect our cells and make them resistant to disease. This doesn’t mean you should only eat black beans, but mix them up not only for the health benefits, but for the variety as well.

BLUEBERRIES: The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council says that blueberries are heavy sources of many antioxidants. All berries are good, but blueberries are supposed to be better. We can find them practically all year in our stores, although during the off season, they can be pricey. I buy frozen blueberries during those periods, but they are great in smoothies and on hot cereal.

BROCCOLI: I love broccoli and could eat it at every meal. I don’t even have to cover it with melted cheese, like my granddaughter. My husband, on the other hand, hates broccoli. I once offered him $20 to eat a small sprig and he passed. Eat it if you like it and if your digestion agrees as well.

OATS: My husband loves oats, but I have never been a fan. I found I could eat the instant variety, and even though I know it doesn’t have the same health benefits, not to mention the high sugar content (Quaker Heart Healthy or Weight Control instant oats aren’t as bad), I figure they are better than nothing. Oats have been proven to reduce cholesterol and is high on fiber. Americans don’t get enough fiber because of our diets of highly processed, overcooked foods. But I truly wanted to eat oats, real oats, so I experimented. I found if I played around with them a bit, I could make them easier to get down. So I added things like mashed bananas, peanut butter, nuts, maple syrup as a sweetener, cinnamon and nutmeg; basically whatever I could think of to make them taste less like oats. I have to admit they aren’t bad after all and I can now add oats to my list of healthy foods.

The last two days of the work week were extremely busy and as a result, I didn’t have time to post a blog about Thursday’s menu, so I am doing both Thursday and Friday now. I am only showing one photo of my breakfast however, because I had the same thing both mornings. Friday night was Avon night with my neighbors and I was the host. I served taco salad made with ground turkey and everyone put their own salads together with whatever ingredients they preferred. I found whole grain tortilla chips as well and also served a fruit platter of fresh pineapple, grapes and melon. For my lunches, I made sandwiches with the sliced low-fat turkey I’ve been trying to use up and added more fruit and vegetables as I thought those areas were suffering in the beginning of the week.

While I don’t make it a habit to post numbers because this blog is about healthy eating more than weight loss, I thought I should mention that since I have been following the MyPyramid program for the past 14 days, I have lost six pounds, so it does work. And while I don't have a weight loss goal, I am going to wait and see where this plan takes me.

 
 

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Breakfast Thursday and Friday: 1 ounce grains; 3/4 cup fruit; ½ meat (nuts); 2 tsps. oils; 1 cup milk; 30 discretionary calories