The Power of Power Foods
I try to avoid talking about foods as “good” or “bad,” but realistically, certain foods are just better than others. Without naming names, much of the processed crap we are bombarded by on shelves is the less-than-great stuff. But it’s not all nasty - there are tons of nutritious rockstars in the grocery store, many of which you’re probably already eating. So be on the lookout and make it a point to add more of these power foods into your life this year.
- Blueberries and strawberries: The berry family is known for being loaded with insane amounts of antioxidants. And now you can have them all year round with Simple Truth’s frozen berries. These are a freezer staple and I add them to smoothies winter, spring, summer and fall.
- Coffee: Yes, that little coffee habit is actually a good thing! Research repeatedly shows the cognitive and heart-health benefits of drinking 1-2 cups of Joe a day. Just don’t counteract that goodness by overdoing the sugary add-ins.
- Green Tea: On that note, after you’re done with your 1-2 cups of coffee, fill up your cup with green tea and you’ll continue hitting the antioxidant jackpot. Green tea is known for its anti-cancer and heart-healthy benefits, not to mention it’s also insanely hydrating.
- Quinoa: Quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas” – little did they know that these little seeds (generally considered a grain) are protein powerhouses. So skip the pastas; you won’t miss it when you’re eating “gold.”
- Beans: Beans, beans they’re good for your heart…you probably never paid much attention to that part of the song, but they literally are loaded with fiber and B vitamins and can help lower cholesterol. We’ll skip to the end of the song…“So eat your beans at every meal!”
- Extra Virgin Olive oil: The gem of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is full of mono-unsaturated fatty acids. It’s a mouth full but all you need to know is that it’s great for every cell in your body – from your heart to your hair.
- Dark Chocolate: We all need a little chocolate in our lives. Dark chocolate is way less processed than its milky cousin. Dark chocolate is full of benefits like lowering blood pressure and boosting mood. When milk is added to chocolate, it may actually interfere with absorption of these antioxidants. So dark chocolate is not only allowed in a healthy diet, it’s highly recommended.
So what are your favorite power foods?
About Carolyn Brown:
Carolyn Brown, MS RD is a NYC based nutritionist. She works in private practice at Foodtrainers, specializing in weight management and general healthy living. Carolyn received her undergraduate degree from Tulane in New Orleans and her Masters from New York University with brief stays in Colorado and Italy in between. She is a weekly contributor to WebMD’s Real Life Nutrition blog and has been quoted and written for many websites, television programs and other publications including CNN, FOX, health.com, CBS news, Glamour, WebMD and the New York Daily News. Carolyn's favorite activities are snowboarding, running and yoga and favorite vice foods are her dad's homemade pizza, and pretty much anything with dark chocolate. Follow Carolyn on twitter for more nutrition nerdiness: @onesmartbrownie.