I’m a bit late with this, but was intrigued nonetheless. Last summer, the New York Times asked nutritionist and author Jonny Bowden to share 11 of the most readily available and healthy foods we should all incorporate into our diets. Read on to see how your diet measures up.
Why: Beets are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
How To Eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
How I Measure Up: I like beets, and eat them occasionally while they are in season. Although, I never eat them raw, preferring to roast, peel and section for salads. I am intrigued by the idea of grating raw into a salad. I think I might try this before the end of this summer. I have some time!
Why: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
How To Eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
How I Measure Up: I actually really dig cabbage, and I didn’t realize it was so healthy. I suppose I lumped it in with the nutrition-lacking iceberg lettuce. I usually incorporate cabbage into soups and stir fries. The one downside: it gives you gas.
Why: It’s packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
How To Eat: Sautéed in olive oil.
How I Measure Up: I use Swiss Chard whenever I can, as well as Collards and Kale. I like to use the beautiful leaves in arrangements and then eat. Usually I sauté, stir fry or add to soups or pastas
Why: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
How To Eat: On coffee or oatmeal.
How I Measure Up: I always add cinnamon to my cappuccinos (okay, I also sometimes add whipped cream). If I still ate oatmeal, I would add it to that as well. I do like cinnamon, and we have 2-3 jars of it in our kitchen.
Why: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
How To Eat: Drink it.
How I Measure Up: The only time I’ve had pomegranate juice is in a cocktail or muhammara.
Why: They are packed with antioxidants.
How To Eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
How I Measure Up: Prunes! I love prunes. They are my favorite dried fruit and I often keep a bag at my desk. Forget the prosciutto, eat them plain.
Why: They are packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How To Eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
How I Measure Up: I like roasted pumpkin seeds, but I only eat them after carving my Halloween pumpkin.
Why: They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
How To Eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.
How I Measure Up: No way, no how. I hate sardines. And anchovies. Which makes me a horrible Italian. I will stick with salmon for my omega-3’s.
Why: The “superstar of spices,” it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
How To Eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.
How I Measure Up: Not well. In fact, I am not entirely sure which cuisines use this spice liberally. I will need to research this.
Why: They are associated with better memory.
How To Eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.
How I Measure Up: I don’t really care for blueberries. In fact, I much prefer vegetables to fruit. My memory is crap anyhow, and I don’t think a few frozen berries will help.
Why: Low in calories and high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
How To Eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.
How I Measure Up: I prefer to avoid canned or frozen vegetables (with the exception of edamame), opting for fresh, seasonal produce. Anyhow, what is the point of a low calorie snack when you eat it with butter? I’d rather eat my butter on bread.
I didn’t fare too badly, how about you? Do you have other healthy foods that you recommend?