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Endless Benefits: Super Foods Explained

Author: Cara Walsh

September 11, 2014

Endless Benefits: Super Foods Explained

Author: Cara Walsh

September 11, 2014

Hemp Hemp is a seed containing the essential fatty acids—omega 3, 6, and 9, as well as a high protein and fiber content. A versatile ingredient, Hemp can be added to salads, cereals and yogurt and blended into sauces or smoothies.

Eggs Often called the perfect food—eggs have approximately 80 calories and 6 grams of protein. They contain fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. A great breakfast food that can be served many ways, ranging from scrambled, hard boiled to poached,  eggs can also be eaten on their own or added to baked goods, salads, and much more. Tip: eat one hardboiled egg post workout to get a boost of protein without a lot of calories.

Beans Beans are an excellent source of protein for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. They are extremely high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and can help control weight and prevent heart disease. Beans are excellent in soups and salads, can be served hot or cold and are the perfect accompaniment to any vegetable or grain.

Beets get a bad reputation because many people assume they are hard to prepare. However, these deep red beauties provide extraordinary health benefits that shouldn’t be passed up, offering antioxidants, folate, manganese and potassium. Try purchasing precooked or prepared beets at the grocery store and serve with an arugula salad, goat cheese and a few nuts.

Walnuts Walnuts lower bad cholesterol, known as LDL, and can improve cardiovascular health. A 1 ounce serving (about 14 halves) is only 185 calories and contains 4.3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 2.5 grams of alpha linoleic acid and 11 grams of linoleic acid. They can be added to salads, oatmeal or eaten on their own. Try roasting walnuts in the oven before eating or substitute them for pine nuts in a pesto recipe and enjoy increased health benefits and a yummy new taste!

Chia Seeds Chia seeds, high in omega-3 fatty acids, promote heart health and are an excellent source of fiber, with 10 grams for just 2 tablespoons. Containing protein, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc, it’s hard to believe 1 tablespoon is just 65 calories. Chia seeds are very versatile and can be sprinkled on top of yogurt, cereals or any sauce. They can be added to smoothies or soaked in beverages and can even be used as an egg substitute – 1 tablespoon of chia seed soaked in 3 tablespoons water equals one egg.

Blueberries Although acai berries have been getting a lot of attention recently, but blueberries pack just as many antioxidants, fiber and anti-inflammatory qualities that help fight diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer. Blueberries are a great addition to your diet.

Garlic A study completed by the National Cancer Institute showed that consuming one clove of garlic a day reduced the risk of certain cancers and had beneficial effects on stomach and colon cancer. The antioxidant compounds found in garlic are most effective when eaten raw. However, you can also chop the garlic and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before cooking, giving the compounds time to form. Garlic can be used when cooking any vegetable or meat dish. Raw garlic can be added to homemade salad dressing or sauces such as pesto.

Kale Kale is an extremely versatile and healthy vegetable. One serving has only 33 calories, 2.4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, over 100% daily value of vitamin A and C, and is an excellent source of vitamin K and folic acid. A good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus, kale has antioxidant fighting power that can be used in many different ways. It can be substituted for lettuce in salads, baked like chips or put in soups and stews.


Source: Sole-Smith, Virginia. “Power Foods.” Good and Fresh 2013: 13-15. Print.

About the Author:

Cara Walsh
Counselor at The Carmel Mountain Ranch Medifast Weight Control Center
Cara Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Weight Control Counselor. Cara received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian through the Utah State University. Cara is currently completing her Masters in Dietetic Administration through Utah State University. Cara has always had a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She loves to focus on how food can heal and provide nutrition-while tasting delicious. Cara thrives on helping others reach their full potential nutritionally. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to Pilates and running the boardwalk on the Pacific Ocean with her son and husband.

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