Foods have so many amazing benefits for our health. These superfoods not only taste good but they also have multiple beneficial properties which help fight diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more. Part I of my favorite superfoods will give you super health and keep you strong and powerful like the superhero we all want to be.
Carrots: contain carotenoids (which help contribute to the orange color). Beta-carotene is one of the super-antioxidants present in carrots which convert to Vitamin A during digestion. Carrots are packed-full of Vitamin A which is fabulous for eye health and anti-aging skin health. Check out other colors of carrots such as purple, yellow, and red! Protect your eyes and eat a carrot today! I love adding carrots to stews, stir-fries, soups, pasta sauces, meat dishes, and salads. Dip a carrot into some hummus for a crunchy snack! Here’s a recipe for Meatloaf (with carrots in it) and a recipe for Hummus.
Spinach: another superfood with carotenoids. Spinach has iron, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. Iron is fabulous for promoting red blood cells which help in transporting oxygen around our body. Vitamin K is great for bone health to stay strong and solid. Vitamin C helps our immune system. Vitamin A (from the carotenoids) continues with our anti-aging and eye health power. Popeye the Sailorman sure knew what he was doing when he’d pop in his spinach for superhero strength! Keep up with your spinach intake by adding spinach to pasta sauces, salads (you can substitute lettuce for spinach), enchiladas, soups, and omelets. Here’s a recipe for Salmon Marinated in Soy Sauce with Sautéed Spinach.
Tomatoes: my favorite Mediterranean food! Another carotenoid-filled superfood, tomatoes have beta-carotene (more Vitamin A power) and lycopene (responsible for the red color) which contributes to anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, skin rejuvenation, and heart disease prevention. Cooking helps release lycopene and fat helps lycopene get absorbed by the body. So when you slightly heat up tomatoes and add olive oil (like when making a pasta sauce), you get even more benefits! Tomatoes also have Vitamin C, so when you eat tomatoes raw, you get more Vitamin C than when eating cooked tomatoes. Eat tomatoes either cooked or raw! You’ll benefit from both! Try tomatoes in a salad, pasta sauce, soup, stew, salsa, sandwich, or frittata. Here’s a recipe for a Quick & Fast Warm Tomato & Bread Salad and another recipe for Sausage & Herb Stuffed Tomatoes and another recipe for a Tomato Zucchini Bake (super-fast, easy, and fabulous recipe to bring to parties!).
Salmon: absolutely fabulous with Omega-3s and protein-packed B12. Omega-3s are a heart-healthy fat known for increasing brain health, reducing depression, Alzheimer’s, and asthma, and being anti-inflammatory. B-12 is important for helping you metabolize carbs, proteins, and fats, and support production of those red blood cells. Salmon is one of my favorite proteins around. I recommend eating 8-12 ounces of salmon a week. A serving size is 4-6 ounces on average. Here’s a recipe for Salmon Marinated in Soy Sauce with Sautéed Spinach.
Stay tuned for next week’s continuation of more superfoods to keep you rocking your superhero strength!
Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN