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You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

The secret to achieving a lifetime of healthy weight may be as easy as changing your mindset, according to Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN, founder of Essence Nutrition.

“Instead of focusing on the goal of weight loss by way of fad diets, strive for feeling better,” she says. “Fad diets fail in the long run and are damaging to both psychological and physical health.”

So how do you choose what food to eat? “Eat the rainbow. Every food has a benefit, working together as a whole in the body.” And what about those few bites of birthday cake? Go for it!

“Deprivation and restrictions always lead to overindulging. People who have a healthy relationship with food and know they can have it whenever they want don’t overdo it,” she says.

Superfoods from A to Z

You’ve heard the hype around superfoods, but is there a crop of foods that deserve this distinction? While health officials recommend eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, certain nutrient-dense foods pack in a substantial number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which not only help fight diseases, prevent cancer and reduce inflammation, but also keep skin glowing and control weight! Coming in at just a few calories, here’s a list of this year’s top superfoods.

The superpowers in the foods or ingredients listed below are not guaranteed to cure or prevent disease; however, the benefits may help improve certain health conditions in combination with a healthy lifestyle.

 

ALLIUM VEGETABLES (CHIVES, ONIONS, GARLIC)

Super Ingredients: Vitamins C and B6, manganese, selenium, other antioxidants—most notably, allicin.

Superpower: Antibacterial and antiviral properties, helps prevent diabetes, reduces high cholesterol and high blood pressure

Super Food Recipe: Roasted Garlic

 

APPLES

Super Ingredients: Manganese, copper, vitamins A, E, B1, B2 and B6

Superpower: Weight loss, improves metabolism, lowers risk of diabetes, promotes good gut bacteria, lowers risk of cancer, helps fight asthma, protects the stomach from effects of NSAIDs

Super Food Recipe: Healthy Apple Crisp

AVOCADOS

Super Ingredients: 20 vitamins and minerals, monounsaturated oleic acid, lutein, potassium, folate

Superpower: Lowers cholesterol, benefits eyesight, reduces the risk of stroke, reduces risk of obesity, regulates blood sugar, lowers blood pressure

Super Food Recipe: Guacamole

 

BEETS

Super Ingredients: Potassium, betaine, magnesium, folate, vitamin C, nitrates

Superpower: Reduces blood pressure, helps anemia, improves circulation, improves cognitive function, enhances skin appearance, aids in detox

Super Food Recipe: Beet Berry Smoothie

 

BLUEBERRIES

Super Ingredients: Antioxidant anthocyanin, vitamins C and K, fiber

Superpower: Anti-inflammatory, lowers blood pressure, helps prevent heart disease, improves memory

Super Food Recipe: Blueberry Superfood Smoothie

 

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Super Ingredient: Sulforaphane, bioactive compounds, vitamin C, folate, potassium, manganese.

Superpower: Increase enzymes that lower the incidence of colon and lung cancers, decrease cell damage, prevents weight gain

Super Food Recipe: Cruciferous Crunch Salad with Avocado Dressing

 

DARK CHOCOLATE

Super Ingredients: Flavonoids, antioxidants, magnesia, selenium, iron, copper, fiber

Superpower: Supports circulation, suppresses coughs, improves memory, helps hydrate and smooth skin, improves mood, suitable for anabolic health

Super Food Recipe: Superfood Dark Chocolate Bark

 

FLAX SEED

Super Ingredients: Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, fiber, vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphate

Superpower: Improves cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, anti-fungal properties, weight control

Super Food Recipe: 100% Flax Breakfast Cookies

 

GINGER

Super Ingredients: Gingerols, capsaicin, piperine, antioxidants

Superpower: Boosts metabolism, aphrodisiac effects, anti-inflammatory, reduces morning sickness and nausea, helps with muscle pain and soreness, helps with osteoarthritis, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, improves brain function

Super Food Recipe: Ginger Tea

OATS

Super Ingredient: Soluble fiber, antioxidants, manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, vitamins B1 and B5, protein polyphenols, avenanthramides

Superpower: Appetite control, regulates blood sugar, manages weight, improves skin appearance, relieves constipation

Super Food Recipe: Easy Overnight Oats

 

SPINACH

Super Ingredients: Iron, potassium, fiber

Superpower: Strengthens bones, improves muscle efficiency, helps anemia and asthma, improves eye health

Super Food Recipe: Pumpkin Spinach Meatballs

 

SWEET POTATO

Super Ingredient: Phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins C and B6, potassium, magnesium

Superpower: Anti-diabetic effects, reduces the risk of obesity, improves immune system, supports healthy brain and nervous system function, improves gut health

Super Food Recipe: Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

 

WALNUTS

Super Ingredients: Alpha-linolenic omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, selenium, magnesium

Superpower: Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, reduces inflammation in arteries, lowers risk of Type 2 diabetes

Super Food Recipe: Healthy Candied Walnuts

WILD CAUGHT SALMON

Super Ingredient: Omega-3 fatty acids

Superpower: Reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, helps alleviate depression, supports brain function, promotes healthy aging

Super Food Recipe: Easy Baked Salmon

 

YOGURT

Super Ingredients: Calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, probiotics, lactobacillus

Superpower: Improves digestive health, boosts immune response, reduces risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, manages weight

Super Food Recipe: Yogurt Bowl

 

Add Some Spice to Your Life

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TURMERIC

Super Ingredients: Manganese, iron, vitamins B6 and C, fiber, potassium, turmerone and curcumin

Superpower: Anti-inflammatory, regulates glucose levels, boosts immunity, regulates liver, helps skin conditions, stabilizes mood

CINNAMON

Super Ingredients: Antioxidants, polyphenol

Superpower: Regulates blood glucose levels, aids digestion, improves gut health, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic effect, reduces heart disease

OREGANO

Super Ingredients: Thymol, carvacrol, vitamins K and E, fiber, manganese

Superpower: Clears congestion, aids digestion, antibacterial properties

 

This story is from the Summer 2021 issue. Read the magazine here.