Super foods for spring by Alexis Ratowsky, Registered Dietitian

  • Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Alexis Ratowsky, Registered Dietitian Roper St. Francis Bariatric and Metabolic Services ROPER ST. FRANCIS

Super foods for spring
Eat well, feel great and get ready for expending more energy outside this spring and summer with this list of my top ten spring super foods.
1. Spinach is a great source of iron, which helps fuel our muscles with oxygen for energy. Spinach holds several important phytochemicals, including lutein, which helps prevent age-related macular degeneration. And, it contains lipoic acid, which helps antioxidant vitamins C and E regenerate.
2. Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt has twice the protein of regular yogurt, as well as live-active cultures (i.e. the “good bacteria”) that can help with digestive health. The tart flavor and thick consistency makes it a calorie-saving substitute in recipes for high-fat mayo and sour cream. 
3. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants. One cup of blueberries is a great source of fiber, and provides a burst of flavor for only around 80 calories. 
4. Wild Salmon, like other cold-water fatty fish, is a lean protein source loaded in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may aid in the fight against coronary heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends consuming two servings of cold-water fish a week. 
5. Sweet Potatoes are high in potassium, vitamin C, caretonoids, and fiber. For a little extra fiber, eat the skin too, but make sure you scrub it well first. Since these are naturally sweet, you don't need to add any sugar or syrup, just poke a few holes and bake it in the oven to allow its natural sweetness to shine.  
6. Red cabbage is not only low in calories, high in water and fiber and a go-to food for individuals trying to lose weight–it is also a good source of lycopene and lutein when cooked. Diets rich in lutein may help lower the risk of vision loss associated with aging such as developing cataracts or age-related macular degeneration. 
7. Garlic is a little bulb with a powerful punch of flavor and health benefits. It has been thought for centuries to have a medicinal purpose when incorporated into one's diet. Research reveals that garlic may have an anti-bacterial effect, help protect against certain cancers and reduce blood cholesterol levels. 
8. Quinoa, a South American super food, was once thought of as the “gold of the Incas” since it's packed with fiber, magnesium, potassium and zinc, a complex carbohydrate, and a complete protein. This makes quinoa a particularly good source of protein for vegetarians. It is also gluten-free, which makes it a good option for individuals with a gluten allergy or intolerance. 
9. Beans (including soy beans such as edamame) are an excellent source of fiber, which may help lower your cholesterol, as well as provide protein without any saturated fat. Both protein and fiber can help you feel full longer. Half a cup of black beans provides seven grams of fiber and six grams of protein for about 100 calories.
10. Asparagus is the food highest in glutathione which is an important anti-carcinogen. It is also rich in two cancer-blocking vitamins (A and C) as well as the mineral selenium. Plus a 5 ounce serving is only 20 calories and is great in a chilled spring salad.
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