Today, it seems that wherever you turn you hear “don’t eat this”, “avoid that” and so on and so forth. So to avoid sounding negative, today we are going to look at the positive side of things with 5 great foods that are beneficial to incorporate into one’s daily diet.
Most of these foods are not common knowledge to the average person, nor are their health benefits. Some of these foods may be known to some of us as healthy, but for some reason we have a hard time making them part of our daily diet.
So here it is, my semi-annual update that focuses on 5 foods that I have made part of my daily diet for optimal health, and how and why you can too.
If someone asked me 6 months ago if I would eat kale the answer would have been a quick no. I have never imagined myself ever in my life eating kale. I was just not one for those dark, leafy greens. I had a hard enough time with spinach.
Well that is the power of time and education! Today I have incorporated this green powerhouse on almost a daily basis.
Kale is packed and I mean packed with vitamins K, A and C not to mention offers many other vitamins and minerals in high amounts. Kale also has large amounts of the necessary antioxidants, phytonutrients and carotenoids. You can see a more detailed analysis of kale from World’s Healthiest Foods.
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Nutrient Density Scores, kale, along with collards achieves the highest nutrient density score of 1000 beating all other vegetables and fruits.
Kale has the ability to strengthen our immune system, protect against cancers, heart disease and a whole slew of other diseases.
For more health benefits of kale, check out this article from Dr. Linda Posh.
But what about its strong taste that so many, including me find utterly unpleasant? Well you can be a big girl or boy and be strong about it by chopping up kale finely and making a salad. Other people prefer to steam kale and add it to various dishes.
As for me, I have found the ultimate way to enjoy kale and that is through a delicious pineapple-kale smoothie, that I enjoy on almost a daily basis.
Say what? Yup that is the response of most people when you tell them about this amazing food. Quinoa is an ancient grain from South America that the Incas used.
Most people are so used to rice, pasta and potatoes that they do not realize that there is a whole world of amazing grains out there, and quinoa is one of them.
What is most amazing about quinoa is that it is an amazing food choice for vegetarians as it is known as a complete protein food, since it offers all the essential amino acids.
Quinoa is gluten free and hence also an excellent choice for anyone suffering from Celiac’s Disease.
Quinoa is also packed full of phytonutrients and antioxidants and dense in several vitamins and minerals like: manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper and phosphorus. Quinoa also acts as a pre-biotic as it feeds the flora in our intestines.
It has proven beneficial in maintaining proper levels of blood sugar, protecting against arthrosclerosis, cancers, heart disease, asthmas, migraines and the list goes on. For a complete list of the benefits of quinoa, see World’s Healthiest Foods.
Generally speaking this grain is unrefined and easily found as organic. Quinoa is eaten cooked and has a light, fluffy and nutty flavor. It makes a great addition to any main dish or can be made as a dish on its own.
Kamut is another ancient grain, this time with Egyptian roots, of which many people are unaware of.
It is a relative of the modern durum wheat, but is packed with 20-40% more protein and is higher in beneficial lipids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals than regular wheat. It is higher in nutritional value, mostly for the reasons that it is untouched by modern farming practices. Hence, it is also easily found organic.
Many people allergic to common bread wheat (Triticum vulgare) are not allergic to a variety of wheat (Triticum turgidum spp turanicum) that is an ancient relative of durum wheat and known as Kamut today.
Kamut is also high in fiber and more easily digestible than durum wheat. It is also full of many vitamins and minerals in higher amounts than typical durum wheat. For more information check out Kamut.com.
Kamut is eaten cooked and has a delicious light and sweet, nutty flavor. It is typically eaten as a cereal but can be incorporated into any main dish.
Teff is another super grain that most people are unaware of. This grain comes from a grass whose history originates in Ethiopia.
Teff has high concentrations of different nutrients. Some of these are very high calcium content and high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. A great advantage to Teff is that the iron from Teff is easily absorbed by the body, so it is a great natural alternative for people who suffer iron deficiencies.
Due to its tiny size, Teff seeds are mostly bran and germ and so provide an excellent source of fiber.
Teff is high in protein. Although it is not considered a complete protein, it has 8 essential amino acids for humans and lysine levels higher than that of wheat, millet or barley. For more informatio on Teff visit The Teff Company.
Teff also contains no gluten and hence is appropriate for people with Celiac’s disease.
It helps to control blood sugar levels and aids in digestion and overall good health.
Teff is eaten cooked. It is a tiny grain (smaller than a poppy seed), and once cooked makes a flowing, soupy mixture. It is delicately sweet and nutty in flavor too. It can serve as an excellent breakfast cereal, or can be mixed with fruits and vegetables in various meal combinations.
5. Salba Products
I have begun eating Salba grain almost a year ago, but have just recently been introduced to its many other whole foods like flatbreads and even rice crispy squares.
Salba is also an ancient South American grain that has been intensely studied and proven to have many nutritional and health benefits. It comes from the same family as chia seeds but is not equivalent in nutritional benefits to plain chia seeds.
Salba is a nutritional powerhouse that offers: the richest source of omega-3′s found in nature (8 times more than salmon), a near perfect balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, 7 times more vitamin C than an orange, 6 times more milk than calcium, 3 times more antioxidant strength than blueberries, 2 times more potassium than bananas, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli and 3 times more iron than spinach.
Studies on Salba demonstrate reduction in inflammations, reduction of blood pressure, improvement in blood coagulation, control of diabetes and weight management, just to name a few. For a complete list visit Salba’s official site.
Salba is also gluten free and hence perfect for people with Celiac’s disease. Salba is also certified organic.
Salba is eaten raw and can be incorporated into any meal, simply by sprinkling some Salba grains to it. Salba can easily enrich any meal as it is excellent on cereals, salads, in smoothies, on pastas and rice dishes just to name a few.
So there they are the 5 beneficial foods that I have incorporated into my daily diet in the past 6 months and intend to keep eating for the rest of my life.
There are still many people I encounter today, that fall into the trap of despair and think that with all of the hype we hear today about all the “bad’ stuff that we should avoid, “there is nothing left that is good for us”. But I beg to differ. There are still many, many foods out there are not only good for us, but wholesome, unrefined and great tasting.
If you have not tried some of these foods, I invite you to try some today! You might be surprised and get hooked on how much you like healthy food.