Eight Foods You Should Eat Every Day
By Sandra Prior
It may be green and leafy, but spinach is also the ultimate man food. This noted bicep builder is a rich source of plant based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Bonus: folate also increases blood flow to the penis. And spinach is packed with lutein, a compound that fights age related macular degeneration. Aim for one cup of fresh spinach or half a cup cooked per day.
Make your salads with spinach; add spinach to scrambled eggs; drape it over pizza; mix it with marinara sauce, then microwave for an instant dip.
Sesame Stir Braised Kale
Heat four cloves minced garlic, one tablespoon minced fresh ginger and one teaspoon sesame oil in a pan. Add two tablespoons water and one bunch kale (stemmed and chopped). Cover and cook for three minutes. Drain. Add one teaspoon soy sauce and one teaspoon sesame seeds.
Various cultures claim yoghurt as their own creation, but the 2000 year old food’s health benefits are not disputed; fermentation spawns millions of pro-biotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body, which boost the immune system and provide protection against cancer. Not all yoghurts are pro-biotic though, so make sure the label says ‘live and active cultures’. Aim for one cup of the calcium and protein rich goop a day.
Yoghurt topped with blueberries, walnuts, flaxseed and honey is the ultimate breakfast – or dessert. Plain low fat yoghurt is also a perfect base for creamy salad dressings and dips.
Blend one cup low fat yoghurt, one cup fresh or frozen blueberries, one cup carrot juice and one cup fresh baby spinach for a nutrient rich blast.
There are two things you need to know about tomatoes; red are the best, because they’re packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene, and processed tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones, because it’s easier for the body to absorb the lycopene. Studies show that a diet rich in licopene can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Aim for 22mg of lycopene a day, which is about eight red cherry tomatoes or a glass of tomato juice.
Pile on the tomato sauce and Bolognese; guzzle low sodium V8 and gazpacho, double the tomato paste called for in a recipe.
Red and Pink Fruit Bowl
Chop one small watermelon, two grapefruits, three persimmons, one papaya and four guavas. Garnish with mint.
Most red, yellow or orange vegetables and fruits are spiked with carotenoids – fat soluble compounds associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis – but none are as easy to prepare or have as few kilojoules as carrots. Aim for half a cup a day.
Raw baby carrots, sliced raw yellow pepper, butternut squash soup, baked sweet potato, pumpkin pie, mango sorbet, carrot cake.
Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Scrub and dry two sweet potatoes. Cut each into eight slices, then toss with olive oil and paprika. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Turn and bake for another 10 minutes.
Host to more antioxidants than any other popular fruit, blueberries help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age related memory changes (hence the nickname ‘brain berry’). Studies show that blueberries, which are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C, boost cardiovascular health. Aim for one cup fresh blueberries a day, or half a cup frozen or dried.
Blueberries maintain most of their power in dried, frozen or jam form.
Cranberries also contain a good mix of disease fighting antioxidants and fiber. Snack on dried cranberries or add to yoghurt or breakfast cereals.
All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brainpower like black beans. They’re full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds shown to improve brain function. A daily half cup serving provides eight grams of protein and 7.5g of fiber, is low in kilojoules and free of saturated fat.
Wrap black beans in breakfast burrito; use both black beans and kidney beans in your stew, puree one cup black beans with a quarter cup olive oil and roasted garlic for a healthy dip; add favas, limas, or peas to pasta dishes.
Black Bean and Tomato Salsa
Dice four tomatoes, one onion, three cloves garlic, two jalapenos, one yellow bell pepper and one mango. Mix in a can of black beans and garnish with half a cup chopped fresh coriander and the juice of two limes.
Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenois than red wine and packing half as much muscle building protein as chicken, the walnut sounds like a Frankenfood, but it grows on trees. Other nuts combine only one of these features, not all three. A serving of walnuts – about 30g, or seven nuts – is good any time, but especially as a post workout recovery snack.
Sprinkle on top of salads; dice and add to pancake batter; spoon peanut butter into curries; grind and mix with olive oil to make a marinade for grilled fish or chicken.
Mix one cup walnuts with half a cup blueberries and a quarter cup dark chocolate chunks.
Oats are packed with soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Yes, oats are loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed by the fiber, and because oats also have 10g of protein per half cup serving, they deliver steady muscle building energy.
Eat granola and cereals that have a fiber content of at least five grams per serving. Sprinkle two tablespoons ground flaxseed on cereals, salads and yoghurt.