For Good Health: Are You Eating Enough SuperFoods?

BlogHer Original Post

Blueberries
In 2004 Stephen Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews published a book called SuperFoods RX. Inside the front cover, they introduce the idea behind their book, saying:

SuperFoods RX is based on a simple but profound premise: some foods are dramatically better than others for our health and longevity.

In the book Pratt and Matthews identified 14 of the most nutrient-dense SuperFoods, things that everyone should be eating. If you don't like some of the foods, you can choose foods called "sidekicks" which have similar nutrients. Since we're talking about Good Health this month, and I've been sharing ideas for cooking health-promoting foods (like sweet potatoes, dried beans, cabbage, and greens) I thought it might be a good time to check and see how Bloghers are doing on eating their SuperFoods. I bought the book in about 2005, and writing this I discovered it has influenced my food choices more than I realized. However, if some of these foods never make an appearance on your table, I'll give a couple of recipe ideas for each food.

Beans
Includes: all dried beans especially pinto beans, navy beans, Great Northern beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), and lentils.
Sidekicks: green beans, sugar snap peas, and green peas.
Try to eat: at least four 1/2 cup servings per week
Ideas for cooking beans:
I shared a lot of bean recipes in my post about Beans are a Great Choice for Good Health.
Sugar Snap Peas Saute from Tasty Palettes

Blueberries
Sidekicks: Purple grapes, cranberries, boysenberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, blackberries, cherries
Try to eat: 1 to 2 cups daily
Ideas for cooking Blueberries:
Blueberries recipe collection from Simply Recipes and other blogs (including the great photo of the blueberries by Elise shown above)
Vegan Blueberry Cobbler from Karina's Kitchen

Broccoli
Sidekicks: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnips, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, mustard greens, swiss chard
Try to eat: 1/2 to 1 cup daily
Ideas for cooking broccoli:
Oven Roasted Broccoli with Lemon, Chili-Garlic Oil, and Parmesan from Pinch My Salt
Artichoke and Broccoli Frittata from Gluten-Free Bay

Oats
Sidekicks: Wheat germ, ground blaxseed, brown rice, barley, wheat, buckwheat, rye, miller, bulgur wheat, amaranth, quinoa, triticale, kamut, yellow corn, wild rice, spelt, couscous
Try to eat: 5 to 7 servings a day
Ideas for cooking oats:
Oatmeal Toasting Bread from Farmgirl Fare
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Albion Cooks

Oranges
Sidekicks: Lemons, white and pink grapefruit, kumquats, tangerines, limes
Try to eat: 1 serving daily
Ideas for using oranges:
Poached Halibut with Cilantro Cream and Oranges from Beyond Salmon
Moroccan Style Chicken with Oranges, Black Olives, and Fennel from Tigers and Strawberries

Pumpkin
Sidekicks: Carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, orange bell peppers
Try to eat: 1/2 cup most days
Ideas for cooking pumpkin and butternut squash:
I shared Lots of Unique Pumpkin Recipes on Blogher.
I proclaimed Butternut Squash is a Beautiful Thing on Blogher.

Wild Salmon
Sidekicks: Alaskan halibut, canned albacore tuna, sardines, herring, trout, sea bass, oysters, and clams
Try to eat: eat fish two to four times per week
Ideas for cooking wild salmon:
Pasta with Smoked Salmon from The Well Seasoned Cook
Cilantro Chile Salmon from Daily Unadventures in Cooking

Soy
Sidekicks (forms of soy): Tofu, soymilk, soy nuts, edamame, tempeh, miso
Try to eat: at least 15 grams of soy protein per day and divide daily soy intake into two separate meals or snacks
Ideas for cooking with soy:
Tofu Stuffed with Brown Rice and Mushroom Dressing from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Edamame Saute from Christine Cooks

Spinach
Sidekicks: Kale, collards, swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, romaine lettuce, orange bells peppers
Try to eat: 1 cup steamed or 2 cups raw most days
Ideas for cooking spinach and greens:
I share lots of recipes for Greens of all kinds on Blogher.
Spinach and Artichoke Gratin from A Veggie Venture

Tea
Sidekicks: None
Try to drink: 1 or more cups daily
Ideas for using tea:
Jamaica Flower Iced Tea from 101 Cookbooks
Tea-Tinged Truffles from One Hot Stove

Tomatoes
Sidekicks: Red watermelon, pink grapefruit, japanese persimmons, red-fleshed papaya, strawberry guava
Try to eat: One serving of processed tomatoes or sidekicks per day and multiple servings per week of fresh tomatoes
Ideas for using tomatoes:
How to Use Garden Tomatoes Week from Kalyn's Kitchen
Ten Delicious Ways to Eat Tomatoes from Mighty Foods

Turkey (skinless breast)
Sidekicks: Skinless chicken breast
Try to eat: 3 to 4 servings per week each 3-4 ounces
Ideas for cooking turkey:
Simple Turkey Chili from Tiny Morsels
Turkey Breasts with Pan Sauce from Culinary Infatuations

Walnuts
Sidekicks: Almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews
Try to eat: 1 ounce 5 times a week
Ideas for using walnuts:
Banana Walnut Cake from Mahanandi
Mocha Cupcakes with Walnuts from Batter-Splattered

Yogurt
Sidekicks: Kefir
Try to eat: 2 cups daily
Ideas for using yogurt:
Yogurt Dessert from Yogurtland
Yogurt Soup from Almost Turkish Recipes

How are you doing?
So there are the fourteen foods you should be eating regularly. How are you doing at eating your SuperFoods? The two categories where I know I'm really lacking are Tea and Soy. If anyone has a good recipe using any of the SuperFoods, be sure to share it with us in the comments.

Sources:
SuperFoods RX
SuperFoods to the Rescue by Web M.D.

Blogher Food Editor Kalyn Denny also blogs at Kalyn's Kitchen where she finds it pretty easy to eat SuperFoods when they're in dishes like Spinach Salad with Warm Ginger Vinaigrette or Greek Yogurt with Agave Nectar and Pecans.

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