Foods with high nutrition content and gives a lot of health benefits are considered to be “super foods.” Health experts sorted out the best foods to eat like dark green vegetables, berries, nuts, citrus fruits, fatty fish, legumes and whole grains. But there are six foods that are not thought of as nutritional powerhouses but can definitely improve your diet.
Let’s get to know more about the nutritional goodness of these foods and hopefully they can help us make more informed choices that can be of great help to your budget, health and weight.
1. Lentils and Beans
They’re rich in potassium, zinc, protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and complex carbohydrates. Eating a diet rich in legumes can help promote weight loss and has been shown to lower "bad" cholesterol and raise "good" cholesterol. It is recommended to eat three cups of beans or lentils a week. Toss them into stews, soups, grain medleys, salads, or greens or create a veggie dip by pureeing beans and adding your favorite seasoning. You can also lower the sodium content in canned beans by approximately 40% by thoroughly rinsing them in water.
It’s a favorite summertime fruit because it’s naturally sweet, low in calories, juicy, and chock full of vitamins C, A, potassium, and lycopene. It should be a staple in everyone’s diet although some people avoid it because they think it is high in sugar. Did you know that because it is so high in water, it helps meet fluid needs?
3. Sweet Potatoes
It’s naturally sweet and often thought as high in carbohydrates and calories, but don’t be fooled because it’s one of the best vegetables you can eat. They’re a great source of beta carotene, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. You can enjoy it with very few extra calories. Mash it or slice into fries and oven bake until golden brown or top a slow-baked sweet potato with applesauce, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and crushed pineapple or black beans and salsa.
4. Red Cabbage
It’s a great source of folate, fiber, vitamins A, D, and K; and lots of trace minerals with only 22 calories in one cup chopped. It’s also rich in antioxidants. It can boost cancer-fighting enzymes. You can eat it cooked, raw, sweet, savory, stand-alone in a dish like coleslaw, or add it to almost anything from casseroles, salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers, and more.
5. Canned Tomatoes
If you think that fresh tomatoes are best than those canned, think again because cooking tomatoes helps release some of the disease-fighting lycopene so it is better absorbed. A fire-roasted tomato should be a staple in the pantry. In a study in the 2009 Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that a diet rich in tomatoes may help prevent prostate cancer and that is because of lycopene, a strong antioxidant, that helps prevent other types of cancer. So stock your pantry with canned tomatoes for spaghetti sauce, pizza, and home-made salsa or toss a can into stews, casseroles, soups, greens, or pasta dishes.
6. Plain Non-fat Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt stands out from all other yogurts because of its thicker, creamier texture since the liquid whey is strained out. Also, it contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts. All yogurts are excellent sources of potassium, protein, calcium, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. But with Greek yogurt you can skip the extra sugar calories found in most yogurts and pump up the protein since it contains twice as much protein, which is great for weight control because it keeps you feeling full longer. You can pair the tart yogurt with the natural sweetness of fresh fruit or your favorite whole grain cereal.
There are hundreds of essential foods lining the shelves in the center aisles that should not be overlooked. These are just six of them. They may not be a part of the list of super foods but the benefits they give to your health are indeed super.