I keep on seeing these articles about “Ten Foods You Should Never Eat”, or “Ten Worst Foods”, or “Top 10 Nastiest Nibbles”. You get my point. Anyway, during a nutritional counseling session recently one of my clients asked me, (clearly exasperated after we reviewed some foods she should be avoiding due to her recent diabetes diagnosis, coupled with current high blood pressure and high cholesterol), “Lordy, what can I eat?”. And I thought, hmmm…we always are telling people what they SHOULDN’T eat, but what about a top ten of what they SHOULD eat? So here is my Top Ten Foods You Should Try to Eat Often:
Blueberries – Packed full of anthocyanins and phenolics (powerful antioxidants), blueberries are also bursting with Vitamin C and fiber. Studies have shown they may actually slow the aging process. Throw half a cup in your oatmeal in the AM, and toss another half cup with a salad for lunch.
Broccoli – Packed full of vitamin C, fiber, and cancer-fighting carotenoids, it’s a diamond in the roughage. Aim for a cup a day – steamed, baked, mixed in salads, topped on homemade pizza, or dipped in low-fat ranch dressing.
Yogurt – Greek, non-fat is best. Look for Oikos, Fage or Chobani brands in the 6-ounce serving size. Packed with calcium for strong bones, disease deterrent vitamin D, as well as enough protein to keep you full and satisfied, this creamy dairy delight is a must for those looking to lose or maintain their weight.
Fatty Fish – swimming in Omega-3s, which have been shown to reduce risk of heart disease and make us more insulin sensitive (good news for diabetics). Go fish at least twice per week with salmon, tuna or trout (bake, broil, poach or steam – NEVER fry!).
Leafy Greens – for about 50 calories, two cups per day give us a generous helping of vitamin C and K, folic acid, some calcium, magnesium and potassium, as well a ridiculous amount of vitamin A and lutein.
Tomatoes – Tasty sliced on a plate with some fresh basil in the summer, tomatoes are one of two veggies (carrots are the other) that get even more nutritious when you cook ‘em – so keep on eating way into winter. They contain lycopene, another powerful antioxidant shown to decrease risk of many cancers including lung, prostate, and stomach.
Quinoa – If you haven’t tried this wonderful whole grain, you need to – tonight. Quinoa has twice the amount of protein and almost 2g more fiber per cooked cup as brown rice.
Oats – Just ¾ cup a day may significantly reduce your cholesterol (when eaten regularly), and thus risk of heart disease. Steel cut is best, most instant packets useless (the less processed the better).
Beans – A vegan AND carnivore’s buddy, a cup of black beans contains 15g of protein as well as 15g of fiber (half your day’s worth). Serve with half a cup of quinoa and a cup of roasted veggies and you’ve got yourself a nearly perfect (meatless) meal.
Almonds – Go nuts for these nuts. Two tablespoons contain almost 4g of fiber, 75mg of calcium, just 1g of sugar, 9g of monounsaturated fat, and all for about 160 calories.
So what are you waiting for? Get shopping!!