Superfood side dish

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Lately it seems that “superfoods” are everywhere. You hear about them during the health report on the news. You open up magazines and find articles with colorful pictures trying to educate you about them. You Google something on the Internet and something about superfoods pops up on the side bar. You can’t get away from them. But why would we want to? They are super, after all.

Often, though, we read about new health findings but never take action because it feels like too much work or we do not know how to incorporate them into our routine. But what if it was not that hard? What if it were super easy?

It is. All it takes is knowing what some of the superfoods are and then planning your menu around them. For example: black beans. These little guys are packed with protein; they are full of fiber, iron and antioxidants. Pick up a can or two at the grocery store and heat them up on the stove one night to go along with tacos or quesadillas. Make guacamole by mashing up avocados, cilantro, jalapeños, lime juice, diced tomato and a little green onion. Avocados are high in vitamins B and K. They help to lower cholesterol and also help reduce metabolic diseases. (And here is a little something else to try: Swap out your sour cream with plain Greek yogurt. It tastes exactly the same but it has twice the protein of regular yogurt and can be fat free!)

Tomatoes are another superfood. Not only are they bright red and beautiful to look at, but in the summer, they can be a perfect side dish to a light meal. Slice a tomato, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese, tear some fresh basil and drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top and you have a very easy and quick caprese salad. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, which is not found in many foods. Lycopene can help lower cholesterol; it also can help protect your skin from UV rays and has been shown to help prevent certain cancers.

Broccoli and cauliflower are two vegetables that many people avoid. Maybe it is because they have only had them steamed or boiled. Next time, try sautéing them in a little bit of coconut oil or olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper while cooking. When finished, add a touch of fresh Parmesan cheese on top. These veggies go great with seafood, steak or chicken. Not only are they delicious, they are full of phytonutrients, which help fight age-related conditions as well as certain cancers, including breast and uterine. They are also high in vitamin C and folic acid (which is great for women who are looking to become pregnant!)

And how about a salad of fresh fruit? Toss together strawberries, blueberries, bananas and walnuts (all of which are superfoods) for a side that goes great with chicken salad or turkey burgers. Walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids that aid in memory, strawberries contain things that help halt the growth of certain cancers and blueberries are great for fighting age and cell damage, as well as helping fight off certain age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. That banana is loaded with fiber and can actually help you slim down.

There are many superfoods. Eat them by themselves or pair them with others for a superfood side dish. You are limited only by your imagination.

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