In a recent Find Your Fit™ podcast, we discussed the Top 10 Best Foods listed awhile back by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. We then discussed how Jessica might make corrections to such a list. FYI, and for the discussion and fun of it, we print here for your edification, CSPI’s list, and Jessica’s list. Now the trick is to try to get as many of your daily calories from these lists. Bon a petit!
Center for Science in the Public Interest’s 10 Best Foods:
1 – Sweet Potatoes. A nutritional All-Star – one of the best vegetables you can eat. They’re loaded with carotenoids, and are a decent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Bake and then mix in some unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple for extra moisture and sweetness.
2 – Mangoes. About a cup of mango supplies 100% of a day’s vitamin C, one-third of a day’s vitamin A, a decent dose of blood-pressure-lowering potassium, and 3 grams of fiber. Bonus: mango is one of the fruits least likely to have pesticide residues.
3 – Unsweetened Greek Yogurt. Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt has a pleasant tartness that’s a perfect foil for the natural sweetness of berries, bananas, or your favorite breakfast cereal. It’s strained, so even the fat-free versions are thick and creamy. And the lost liquid means that the yogurt that’s left has twice the protein of ordinary yogurt – about 18 grams in 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt.
4 – Broccoli. It has lots of vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin K, and folic acid. Steam it just enough so that it’s still firm and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a spritz of lemon juice.
5 – Wild Salmon. The omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon may help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. And wild-caught salmon has lower levels of PCB contaminants than farmed salmon.
6 – Crispbreads. Whole-grain rye crackers, like Wasa, RyKrisp, Kavli, and Ryvita – usually called crispbreads – are loaded with fiber and often fat-free. Drizzle with a little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon to satisfy your sweet tooth.
7 – Garbanzo Beans. All beans are good beans. They’re rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. But garbanzos stand out because they’re so versatile. Just drain, rinse, and toss a handful on your green salad; include them in vegetable stews, curries, and soups; mix them with brown rice, whole wheat couscous, bulgur, or other whole grains.
8 – Watermelon. Watermelon is a heavyweight in the nutrient department. A standard serving (about 2 cups) has one-third of a day’s vitamins A and C, a nice shot of potassium, and a healthy dose of lycopene for only 85 fat-free, salt-free calories. And when they’re in season, watermelons are often locally grown, which means they may have a smaller carbon footprint than some other fruits.
9 – Butternut Squash. Steam a sliced squash or buy peeled, diced butternut squash at the supermarket that’s ready to go into the oven, a stir-fry, or a soup. It’s an easy way to get lots of vitamins A and C and fiber.
10 – Leafy Greens. Don’t miss out on powerhouse greens like kale, collards, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, and Swiss chard. These stand-out leafy greens are jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lutein, and fiber. Serve with a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
Jessica’s 10 Best Foods:
1 – Quinoa. Is a complete protein, complex carbohydrate, low cholesterol, low sodium, and great source of magnesium.
2 – Apples. Apples are a good source of soluble fiber, which can lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Fresh apples are also a good source of vitamin C — an antioxidant that protects your body’s cells from damage. Vitamin C also helps form the connective tissue collagen, keeps your capillaries and other blood vessels healthy, and aids in the absorption of iron.
3 – Blueberries. Scientists have shown that blueberries are loaded with compounds (phytonutrients) that may help prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Blueberries may also improve short-term memory and promote healthy aging. Blueberries are a low-calorie source of fiber and vitamin C — 3/4 cup of fresh blueberries has 2.7 grams of fiber and 10.8 milligrams of vitamin C.
4 – Almonds. These tear-shaped nuts are packed with nutrients — fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium. In fact, one serving (about seven almonds) has more calcium than any other type of nut — 22 milligrams. One serving also provides almost 15 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E. And they’re good for your heart. Most of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated fat — a healthier type of fat that may help lower blood cholesterol levels.
5 – Broccoli. Besides being a good source of folate, broccoli also contains phytonutrients. Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamin C — an antioxidant that protects your body’s cells from damage. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A and is linked to preserving eye health.
6 – Red Beans. Red beans — including small red beans and dark red kidney beans — are a good source of iron, phosphorus and potassium. They’re also an excellent low-fat source of protein and dietary fiber. Red beans also contain phytonutrients. Don’t like red beans? Substitute another kind to enjoy beans’ health benefits.
7 – Salmon or other oily fish. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids — a type of fat that makes your blood less likely to form clots that may cause heart attacks. Omega-3s may also protect against irregular heartbeats that may cause sudden cardiac death, and they help decrease triglyceride levels, decrease the growth of artery-clogging plaques, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. In addition to containing omega-3s, salmon is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of protein.
8 – Spinach and other leafy greens. Spinach is high in vitamins A and C and folate. It’s also a good source of magnesium. The plant compounds in spinach may boost your immune system. The carotenoids found in spinach — beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin — also are protective against age-related vision diseases, such as macular degeneration and night blindness, as well as heart disease and certain cancers.
9 – Sweet Potatoes.The deep orange-yellow color of sweet potatoes tells you that they’re high in the antioxidant beta carotene. Food sources of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in your body, may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of some cancers. In addition to being an excellent source of vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin B-6 and potassium. And like all vegetables, they’re fat-free and relatively low in calories — one-half of a large sweet potato has just 81 calories.
10 – Avocado. The are rich in healthy, satisfying fats, and have been proven in one study to lower cholesterol by about 22 percent. One avocado has more than half the fiber and 40 percent of the folate you need daily, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.