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The last of the SuperFoods

February 4, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
There isn’t enough space to explain all of the “Superfoods” listed in the book “SuperFoods RX: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life” by Steven Pratt M.D., in one blog, so I have split them into three. I have already discussed beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, wild salmon and soy. For information on those foods, see my previous blogs listed on the right side of the full blog page.

The last foods on the list include: SPINACH: I love spinach. My mother always served canned spinach when I was young, but as an adult, we are finding it fresh in our grocery stores and restaurants. I grew up in the “Popeye” era when all young children pretended that eating spinach would make us strong. Spinach is one of my favorite garden vegetables. I can plant a new crop every few weeks and ensure healthy plants all season. My favorite is Savoy spinach. The leaves are thick and wrinkled making them nice and crunchy in salads.

TEA: You may have noticed that I am a tea drinker. I am not a fan of flavored herb teas and unlike my British roots, I do not use milk, but I do like sugar in my tea. I have tried several types of artificial sweeteners, yet I can’t seem to acquire a taste for them in my tea. I use about two teaspoons in a mug. I never liked the taste of coffee. Tea is believed to prevent heart disease and cancer, although I’m not sure how well researched these statements are.

TOMATOES: A couple centuries ago, tomatoes were believed to be poison. This thinking came from the fact that tomato plants are members of the nightshade family of plants, along with eggplant and potatoes but especially many varieties of noxious weeds that are known to be highly toxic. Fortunately, that myth was dispelled and we now can have tomatoes in abundance. While we can get tomatoes year round, nothing is better than a vine ripened tomato from our own garden. While we always knew that tomatoes were high in vitamin C, recent research has shown that cooked tomatoes are high in lycopene, the red pigment in the fruit, believed to lower the risk of prostate cancer.

SKINLESS TURKEY BREAST: This food is on the list because it is low in fat but high in protein. Pratt claims that we shouldn’t be worrying as much about how much protein we are getting as the types of healthy protein we consume. According to the MyPyramid program, I should be getting five ounces of protein a day, which I don’t believe is too much. Some days I go over and some days I go under, but it all evens out in the end.

WALNUTS: Pratt likes the idea that nuts are food that contains all of the nutrients needed to create a new plant. They are, after all, seeds, but they also are high in fat and as a result, high in calories too. But we can get a lot from just a few and one ounce of nuts is enough to get a good supply of manganese and iron, as well as vitamin C and fiber. Nuts are part of the meat and beans. I usually sprinkle about an ounce on my oatmeal or yogurt.

YOGURT: The last SuperFood listed is yogurt. A member of the daily food group, yogurt can be substituted for milk and in some cases, people who can’t tolerate milk can handle yogurt. It could be because yogurt contains probiotics, which are live cultures that help our digestive system break down and tolerate other foods. A probiotic is a living bacteria, and some yogurts contain a lot of different ones, including acidophilus. We’re going to talk about the effects of yogurt in a future blog, particularly the newer varieties that claim to be better at aiding digestion.

So that’s it, the 14 SuperFoods. They are all good for us, but I doubt this list is all-inclusive. There are many more foods that I would consider equally as super, and as this blog progresses, I hope to discuss many of those as well. If you have any suggestions or have a healthy food you think is a SuperFood, be sure to let us know in a comment.

Sunday was a quiet day at my house and I began my day with a late breakfast of one egg cooked on a griddle with cooking spray, a small whole wheat bagel with two teaspoons fruit spread, an orange and a cup of milk.

I was puzzled about what to have for lunch because I really wasn’t in the mood to cook anything elaborate. Instead I opted for a tuna sandwich on toast with chopped onion and spinach leaves. I also tossed on a half slice of Swiss cheese. I’m getting down to the bottom of the fruit bowl and need to replenish, but remembered there were grapes in the refrigerator. Once again, I had a glass of milk, as women my age need to boost their calcium as much as possible.

Dinner was another quickie meal. I tossed some sweet potato coins in a couple teaspoons of olive oil and baked them just until the edges were beginning to crisp. I am not a fan of sweet potatoes, but found I can tolerate them as a savory dish rather than sweet. So while my husband pours cinnamon and sugar over his, I prefer mine with a bit of low-fat ranch dressing. I also remember there was fresh asparagus that I needed to cook, so I steamed that and grilled a three ounce piece of boneless, skinless chicken.

Later on, I realized I was hungry again, so I had an evening snack of a pear, 1 ounce of cheddar cheese and a few cheddar crackers.


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Breakfast: 1 ounce meat; 1 ounce grains; 1 fruit; 1 dairy; 45 discretionary calories (tea and sugar in fruit spread)