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SUPERFOODS! The top healthy foods to include on your grocery list (hint, blueberries are brain food and ice cream is a healthy eater’s indulgence of choice)

When I warned you against eating certain gross foods in 2012, I kind of left you hanging with no where to turn but an empty refrigerator. But fear not! I’ll help you out with a list of eight things you should be eating in 2012.  Guaranteed (not guaranteed because I’m not an expert) for a happier you in the new year.

1. Kale
Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables EVER. It’s just sitting around making all the other vegetable jealous, so you should be eating it up. It’s a great source for antioxidants and fiber. If you’re new to the kale world there are many easy ways to include it in your diet. You can make kale chips, you can add it to your pasta, or use it as a bun for a burger.

The trick!? Massage your kale for ten minutes before you begin cooking with it.

2. Sweet Potato
My friend makes the best sweet potato wedges with a spicy cayenne dip. When we sit around and have a girls night, this literally replaces our chips and dip. And I’m a huge chip and dipper, so if a vegetable can replace that craving, you know it has to be pretty delicious. It’s so good for you and a great source of vitamin A.

3. Greek yogurt
Who knew yogurt could be trendy? Greek yogurt is all the rage right now and with its thick and creamy consistency I can understand why. To be honest I hate regular yogurt, and if you’re a yogurt hater too trust me and do not hesitate to try Greek.  The benefit of Greek yogurt is it’s loaded with protein: it contains twice the amount of regular yogurt.

4. Tomatoes
Tomatoes are vegetables, so naturally we think they are good for us, which they are as long as they’re the organic ones! But did you also know that tomatoes work overtime to make you look good? Tomatoes are really good for your skin. They’re supposed to help clean up blemishes and make you glow. And yes, J.Lo eats a lot of them.

5. The Dirty Dozen
In the list of foods to avoid I spoke about The Dirty Dozen, which is a list of fruits and veggies that are the most contaminated with pesticides. Here is a list of the 12 least contaminated fruits and veggies.

onions
avocado
sweet corn (frozen)
pineapples
mango
asparagus
sweet peas (frozen)
kiwis
bananas
cabbage
broccoli
papaya

6. Ice Cream
This is by far my favourite option on the list. Even if you’re trying to be a healthier you in 2012, you’re eventually going to want a treat, and it turns out ice cream is the best dessert for you. Why, you ask? Because it’s low on the glycemic index, which means the sugar release is slow and it keeps you satisfied for longer. It is like 12 cookies vs. one bowl of ice cream. 

7. Blueberries
Blueberries are my secret brain power weapon and before anything important such as an exam, job interview or a day when I’m going to be confronted with a lot of math, I make sure to eat a cup of blueberries. They’re full of antioxidants, they help with memory loss, and are age defying. Pretty powerful fruit.

8. Avocado 
People tend to be afraid of avocados because they have a lot of fat in them, but really, it’s super great fat. (Yes, that exists) They help prevent a million things, like different forms of cancer (breast, oral, prostate) and are also good for the health of your eyes. And did I mention the word guacamole?

~ Lindsey Peterson, photos by Laura Kunzleman

1 comments
ElinaMark
ElinaMark

From asparagus to sweet potatoes to a robust cabernet -- every bite (or sip) of heart-healthy foods delivers a powerful dose of phytonutrients that prevent and repair damage to cells. That's the essence of preventing heart diseases.

"There really is an abundance of ffruits and vegetables in many colors, shapes, sizes that are good for your heart," says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, a dietitian with the Preventive Cardiology Center at The Cleveland Clinic. "You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating these foods every day."

Indeed, fresh produce provide the cornerstone for a heart-healthy diet because they help wipe out free radicals in the bloodstream, protecting blood vessels.

It's what Zumpano calls "the whole-foods diet. You want everything to be in its natural form, as it comes from the ground, the less processed the better," she says.

Whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, fatty fish, and teas are just as important -- offering all sorts of complex heart-protective phytonutrients.