The experts tell us to eat more veggies, enjoy whole grains and get enough lean protein to maintain optimum health. Seems simple enough, right? But you may be slumped over your grocery cart, scratching your head — what exactly is a lean protein? Which fruits and veggies? I’m here to help.
Ten years ago, you may not have found kale in your supermarket, but things have changed. Today, kale is an “in” food. As a member of a family of veggies called crucifers, it is a cancer fighter. Rich in vitamin K, kale also aids in blood clotting and cell growth.
A great addition to any soup or salad.
Exciting, yes, but in moderation. You need to eat chocolate by the piece and not by the pound. You’ll still benefit from its strong concentration of cocoa, which is packed with the antioxidant flavonol. People who indulge in chocolate regularly are slimmer than those who don’t, according to Archives of Internal Medicine.
My prescription? Enjoy 1.6 ounces of dark chocolate daily.
This crazy little seed is actually a whole grain and so much more — in fact, it’s a complete protein. That means you gain whole-grain advantages like fiber and lower risk for heart disease and diabetes plus the amino acids necessary for revving metabolism and building muscle.
Use in place of rice as a side dish or toss into soups and salads.
Sweeter than an Idaho potato and full of potassium, sweet potatoes help lower blood pressure and reduce stroke risk. The sweet potato skin has lots of fiber, so prepare them with a skin that’s good enough to eat.
Clean the whole potato and place it on a sheet of aluminum foil (just as you would a baked potato). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Wrap the potato in foil and bake at 350 degrees F until it’s soft when you squeeze it.
You can judge a fruit by its color. Blueberries’ deep-colored skin is a giveaway that they are rich in antioxidants. Blueberries also contain lots of vitamin C and E and are known for their heart-protective, memory-boosting, urinary-tract-supporting carotenoids and flavonoids.
Pop them in your mouth whole or added them to yogurt, cereal, and smoothies.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the gold standard throughout the Mediterranean. Heart-healthy and high in monounsaturated fats, EVOO helps lower cholesterol. Because EVOOs are not overly refined, they contain more antioxidants, vitamin E and oleocanthal that help reduce inflammation.
Drizzle on meat and veggies, or make a simple salad dressing with EVOO and vinegar.
Salmon is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Besides protecting the heart, omega-3s ward off premature aging and memory loss.
Grill salmon with a little lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Make enough so the next day you can toss the leftovers into a salad!
Stuffed with fiber, vitamin A and beta-carotene, pumpkin helps prevent heart disease.
There’s no need to roast your jack-o-lantern. Canned pumpkin is a healthy and convenient choice.
The fiber (pectin) in apples clears LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. And apples contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytochemicals.
Eat an apple a day!
The antioxidant lycopene accounts for tomatoes’ deep red color. And they provide vitamins A, C, and K.
Chop them up and add them to just about anything, or use them as a base for soups and sauces.
Read more in my book, The French Twist: 12 Secrets of Decadent Dining and Natural Weight Management.