SIX GREAT FOODS

What’s ahead for food and nutrition in the coming years? I hope to see more movement toward an anti-inflammatory diet. This eating plan is not truly a “diet” but rather the nutritional component of a healthy lifestyle. It recommends more fresh fruits (mostly berries) and low Gl vegetables, whole grains, and foods rich in omega-3 fats such as salmon, walnuts, and ground flax and more low-fat animal protein, lower saturated and trans fats, as well as less foods made from refined flour and sugar. Eating this way can help prevent age-related diseases linked with chronic inflammation. I think the low-carb craze is passing. But know the difference between good carbs, which are digested slowly, and lower-quality choices that are digested rapidly, raise blood sugar, and may promote weight gain. For this year, I’ll spotlight six foods to eat more often:
Berries. These small, colorful fruits are loaded with antioxidants that may help protect against cancer and oxidative damage to the eyes, brain, heart, and joints. Berries are easy on calories and brimming with fiber and phytonutrients, and they won’t cause spikes in blood sugar, either. Among them, blueberries top the antioxidant charts thanks to their powerful pigments. I prefer organic varieties.
Black cod. Increasingly available in this country, black cod might also be called butter-fish or sablefish in restaurants and fish markets. Its velvety and mild-flavored flesh is treasured in Japan. With more omega-3 fats than salmon, black cod is a good food for your heart and has low levels of mercury and PCB contaminants. Smoked sable sold at Jewish or Russian delis is black cod, a fish that can also be broiled, steamed, or grilled in miso (soybean paste). Choose black-cod products from Alaska, where it’s a sustainable resource.
Buckwheat: While considered a whole grain, buckwheat is a relative of rhubarb and contains no wheat. A slowly digested carbohydrate that’s filled with fiber, buckwheat has an earthy taste. People with wheat allergies or celiac disease can eat buckwheat grits, groats, and kernels (known as kasha) because they lack gluten. (But products made with buckwheat flour including breads and Japanese soba noodles may also contain wheat flour unless they’re labeled gluten free.)
Sweet potatoes: Let these Thanksgiving favorites grace your table year-round. These yellow- and orange-fleshed vegetables earn praise as excellent sources of vitamins A ( carotenoids that preserve eye health) and C, and for their fiber if you eat the skin. A baked one has about 100 calories. Okinawans enjoy purple-fleshed sweet potatoes.
Turmeric: The color and flavor of curries and American mustard come from this yellow-orange spice that’s a staple in Indian and Asian cooking. Turmeric is being intensely studied for its anti-inflammatory and cancer-protective effects. With evidence growing for the health benefits of curcumin, turmeric’s medically active ingredient, I suggest spicing up your cooking with it now. This spring, make turmeric tea—a refreshing, unsweetened instant beverage commonly served cold in Okinawa.
Walnuts. These plant-based powerhouses of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and vitamin E can also supply a sweet and crunchy source of protein and fiber.
Whether you snack on a handful, mix into salads and main dishes, or chop them into baked goods, walnuts are versatile and rank as one of the most popular nuts in the world.


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