Do you find yourself making a bee-line to the junk food aisle or bakery as soon as the temperatures drop and the weather turns cold? You’re not alone. Some women avoid even going to the market just to avoid the temptation of sugary, carb-rich, or high-calorie foods.
Registered holistic nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos, author of Must Have Been Something I Ate, can empathize with your dilemma but she doesn’t suggest avoiding the grocery store. The health expert encourages you to make a list of supermarket superfoods and confidently go grocery shopping with your list in hand.
This dark leafy green is a super-concentrated source of vitamins and minerals that delivers many health-boosting benefits. “Kale has amazing bone-building, cholesterol-lowering and anti-cancer properties,” says Kotsopoulos, who is also the founder of corporate wellness company beVibrant. “It is also rich in flavonoids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.”
Creamy, dreamy avocados rank high as a heart-healthy food but there are many other mouthwatering reasons to eat them. Kotsopoulos explains, “This superfood contains stress-busting vitamins B5 and B6 and has anti-aging skin-protective and hydrating benefits, as well as the ability to satiate hunger and balance blood sugar.”
Put broccoli at the top of your list of cancer-fighting foods. “It has amazing anti-cancer properties, especially in helping to prevent ovarian, breast and prostate cancers,” Kotsopoulos says. “To boot, broccoli is rich in bone-building vitamin K, high in fiber and helps assists in weight loss.”
Red bell peppers
Low in calories but high in nutrients, red bell peppers are packed with the antioxidant vitamins C, A and E, which have amazing immune-boosting and anti-aging properties, according to Kotsopoulos. “They are also rich in anti-stress and energy=boosting vitamin B6,” the wellness expert adds.
Instead of packaged, processed cookies, turn to naturally sweet superfoods to satisfy your craving for comfort foods. “Sweet potatoes are an amazing comfort food, as they are rich in complex carbs and stress-busting nutrients and help to increase serotonin production, which means a boost to your mood, too!” Kotsopoulos states. “They are also a low-glycemic food that can keep your blood sugar level in check and aid in healthy weight loss.”
More than a flavorful ingredient in your savory recipes, garlic is a potent superfood. According to Kotsopoulos, the “stinking rose” contains allicin, which is a compound that lowers cholesterol as well as helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. That’s not all: Garlic possesses natural antibiotic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it can also help you reach your weight loss goals. “Apples are super-high in fiber, which helps to satiate hunger and balance blood sugar levels,” says Kotsopoulos. If you’re not looking to lose a few, keep them on your shopping list because they also contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and improve heart health.
Get a head start on heading off illness before cold and flu season by incorporating more mushrooms into your menus. “Mushrooms are a super immune system-booster,” says Kotsopoulos. “They are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D and they are rich in beta glucans, which are among the strongest immune-boosting compounds around. Plus, they have strong anti-tumor properties and help regulate disease-fighting white blood cells.”
Yummy, crunchy, tasty almonds may be high in calories, but these nutritious nutty gems are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, energy-boosting and stress-busting B vitamins and vitamin E, which has anti-aging properties and helps prevent oxidative damage, including wrinkles. Almonds are also high in fiber and can aid in weight loss. “Research shows that people who regularly consumed almonds had a healthier body weight than those who abstain from almonds,” adds Kotsopoulos. “Just be mindful of portion sizes — one to one-and-a-half ounces a day will do you.”
If you’re looking for a protein fix, the high-fat frozen burger patties are not it. Eggs, however, are nature’s perfect protein and can keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. “Consider eggs as your weight-loss BFF,” says Kotsopoulos. “This includes the yolk! Half the protein is in the yolk, plus it contains choline, which helps to boost memory and prevent age-related memory decline.”