Superfoods for a Healthier Life (cont.)
But the list of potentially life-saving foods is by no means limited to 14. For example, Wendy Bazilian and Steven Pratt, authors of The Super Foods Rx Diet, suggest 14 other super-nutritious foods: beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, and yogurt. (All but turkey are also mentioned in Joy Bauer's Food Cures and 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.)
What Makes a Super Food?
Several efforts are afoot to rank or score foods according to their nutritional profiles. But James Joseph, PhD, a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says the various systems can be confusing. It's easier, he says, to simply choose a wide variety of colorful produce, whole grains, nuts, fish, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.
"Most people don't walk around with a pyramid or book on the healthiest foods but they do know their grocery stores," says Joseph, author of The Color Code. "Avoid most of the center aisles and spend more time in the perimeter, where produce, dairy, meats, fish and whole grain bread are located."
Venture into the interior aisles for whole grains, nuts, and simple frozen foods such as blueberries, he advises -- but try to avoid refined flour, sugar, saturated and trans fats, and the temptations of the snack aisles.
And don't forget that portion size matters, even when it comes to healthy foods. You can take more liberties when eating low-calorie fruits and simply prepared vegetables, but take care to eat other super foods in sensible portions.
Think Addition, Not Subtraction
Perhaps the best thing about "super foods," experts say, is the idea that you can stop worrying so much about the foods you should avoid, and instead concentrate on foods you can add to your diet.
"People are tired of being told what not to eat, and if we could shift our advice to encourage them to start eating more good-for-you foods, they will recognize how delicious and filling healthy foods are and eat fewer of the less-healthy foods," Grotto says.
Published January 31, 2008.
Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author, The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids.
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Last Editorial Review: 2/4/2008