Power foods. You hear about them often: “Bulk up on your power foods!” or “A diet rich in power foods is super healthy for your!” But what exactly are power foods?
Power foods are items that have the richest amount of nutrients, the least amount of calories and keep you and your heart healthy! These foods are so healthy and full of so many nutrients. You may even gain some super power strength.
1. Avocado: Here’s the thing with avocados: They are rich in mono-polyunsaturated fats… HUH? What’s that? Ok, it basically contains good fats, fats that may actually help lower cholesterol! It also is rich in potassium and that too is good for high blood pressure and may even protect against breast cancer. Slice up some avocados, squeeze a little lemon juice and give it a pinch of salt!
2. Salmon: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Salmon is the perfect source for those omega-3 fatty acids. Your body can’t produce them on it’s own, and it’s essential that you get them from somewhere! It’s also got, B6, B12, D, Phosphorus, Potassium & Selenium… yes, that’s a whole bunch of goodness! Go ahead and throw a quick teriyaki marinade on a salmon filet and throw it on the BBQ!
3. Bean or Legumes: Beans, beans the magical POWER fruit! The more you eat, the healthier you are!!! So let’s just start with this: B1, Protein, Folate, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, & Niacin are just some of the nutrients & vitamins that you are going to find in these power houses! Lentils, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans just to name a few are super powerful when incorporated to your diet! They are great for the prevention and protection of heart disease! Cook up some black beans in some water, garlic cloves and salt… and transform them into a Black Bean Cilantro Salad! Chop up some cilantro, red and green peppers and onion… give them a toss in some lemon juice a cap full of white vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper and YUM! That’s a fabulous summer salad in minutes! (Oh and did I mention that beans also play a role in stabilizing female hormones!)
4. Whole Grains: Barley, brown rice, bulgur, flaxseed & oatmeal are just a few of these power foods in this group! They contain vitamins A & B, a ton of soluble fiber (which we all know is good for) niacin, copper & iron! These great grains are wonderful for lowering cholesterol and helps prevent high blood pressure. When shopping for these items though, don’t get fooled. Look for ones where one of the first two ingredients say “whole grain” or “whole wheat” If it’s 3rd, 4th or 5th down the line… it’s not as valuable in vitamins as it is in it’s whole form. One of my favorite salads EVER is Tabbouleh… it’s made with Bulghur or cracked wheat, chopped parsley, tomatoes, onion, lemon, olive oil, cayenne, salt & pepper. (I even throw in a little chopped cucumber and crushed dried mint!)
5. Nuts: The super powers contained in these tiny yummy bites are incredible! They help build muscle and fight food cravings. They contain protein, Vitamin E, fiber & folate (in peanuts). They help fight against obesity, heart disease & some cancers. Go for pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews or peanuts… Don’t go for those smoked or salted ones though. They contain high sodium and can raise blood pressure! My quick fix is a mix between almonds and dried cranberries… (another fabulous super food!)
6. Green Vegetables! Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Aspargus! Oh yes, go green! These green power busters contain Vitamins A, C, K, folate, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium and fiber! One serving of spinach alone can give you your daily serving of Vitamin A and half of Vitamin C. These mean green fighting machines have been known to fight against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke & obesity! Now if you’re thinking: How am I gonna get my kids (or even your spouse- mine sees a vegetable on his plate and covers it with his food to camoflauge the fact that he doesn’t like them) to eat them, try this trick! I coat my asparagus in some dijon mustard and olive oil then roll them in some italian style bread crumbs. I bake them in the oven on 425 for 15 minutes… they come out crispy delicious and packed full-a vitamins! Or my all time fave. Clean and pat dry some kale, then cut them into chip sized pieces and coat on either side with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with some coarse salt and place on a sheet pan- put into the oven on 400 for about 20 minutes, tossing it at least once during the 1/2 way point…. as soon as they come out of the oven, squeeze 1/2 lemon on top… they are perfect little crispy kale chips! The best snack ever!!!!
7. Yogurt! Let’s go back and think about how old the process of yogurt actually is. I’m gonna assume that yogurt making has been around for as long as people have been eating, and there’s a good reason why this probiotic has been around for as long as it has been. What is a probiotic? It’s bacteria. GOOD bacteria that has the power to protect you in so many ways! It aids in digestion, iritable bowel syndrom, inflammatory digestive tract disorder and is just good all for aiding with an all around run of the mill tummy ache. It contains tons and tons of calcium which protects your bones and a bunch of protein which make our little ones grow into strong adults! When my little ones were well, little little ones, I used to give them Yo Baby Yogurt. It’s so easy for them to digest and they loved it. Now it’s harder to get them to sit down and eat it, so I like to sneak it into their daily diet. I will use it to marinate chicken (makes it so tender) or I even use it in a potato salad, or even make a salad dressing out of it! As a salad dressing, go ahead and mix a few spoon fulls of yogurt with some olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and some crushed dried mint and use it with a cucumber salad!
So go ahead, bulk up on those POWER FOODS! It’s good for your brain! It’s good for your body! It’s good for you!