Most of my patients already know they should be eating less refined and processed foods. The challenge is learning what to eat instead!
So this week you have a personal grocery shopper. Me!
I am going to put 10 items into your shopping cart this week that will help you reduce your risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even depression.
Print this list and take it to your grocery store. Bon appétit!
1. Broccoli or Cauliflower
Benefit: They contain substances that force your liver to detoxify your body, helping to reduce your risk for cancer. They are also chock full of folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene which help with inflammation.
Preparation: Chop into chunky pieces and steam until just fork tender. Mix some extra virgin olive oil with some chopped garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Toss with the broccoli, and then load on your plate.
2. Green Tea
Benefit: Green tea contains incredible amounts of anti-oxidants which can reduce your risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Matcha, a powdered form of green tea (found in specialty food stores, Asian markets and larger grocery stores) is the most potent.
Preparation: Brew up a strong one half cup (5+ minutes steeping time) and mix the tea with a one half cup of warmed 2% milk. If using matcha, use one half teaspoon with one half cup of warmed 2% milk and you’ve got a green tea latte in a snap!
Benefit: Walnuts are great for heart health, containing lots of omega-3 fatty acids. They contain healthy fat and are a terrific source of protein and vitamin E.
Preparation: See the Winter Squash recipe below, or grab a handful for a quick snack!
4. Squash (Butternut, Acorn, etc.)
Benefit: Winter squash is a versatile powerhouse: full of beta-carotene, antioxidants, fiber, and potassium.
Preparation: Cut squash in half, scrape out seeds and fill with chopped apples, raisins and walnuts. Add cinnamon, honey and some olive oil. Bake in a 350 degree oven until fork tender.
5. Leafy Greens (Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Mustard, Collard, and Beet Greens; organic is best)
Benefit: Leafy greens are full of beta carotene, vitamin K, minerals, and are considered powerful cancer fighters!
Preparation: Take off tough stems and veins; heat up a large skillet with bit of olive oil and sauté torn greens with minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Add a bit of water and cover to cook for 5 minutes. Serve with a pinch of sea salt.
6. Red wine or red/black grapes
Benefits: Red wine and red or black grapes contain lots of antioxidant flavonoids and phenolic compounds that help to dilate blood vessels to reduce the risk of hypertension.
Preparation: Drink a maximum of 1 glass per day red wine for women and max 2 glasses for men; or munch on the fruit – one grape cluster equals one glass of wine.
Benefits: Oats contain soluble fiber which helps to control cholesterol, and antioxidants that help to prevent heart disease.
Preparation: Here is your new breakfast for the week: buy rolled oats with no added salt or sugar. Try them as a cold cereal with milk, dried fruit and almonds. Or, for a fast hot breakfast, pour boiling water over one quarter cup rolled oats and one half cup water, stir and add cinnamon and vanilla.
8. Black Beans
Benefits: We should all be eating more plant protein, right? The black bean’s dark pigment contains lots of antioxidants, and the bean is rich with protein, as well as fiber, folate, iron and magnesium.
Preparation: Put a large can of black beans into a pot with 3 cloves of garlic, a large can of low sodium diced tomatoes, and dried chipotle powder and/or cumin. Heat a few minutes, wrap into a tortilla with some greens, and you have dinner! Be sure to make enough for leftovers the next day!
Benefits: Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. The EPA and DHA metabolites of the omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and can help to prevent heart disease.
Preparation: Choose the inexpensive pink salmon, but make sure it’s wild. Pink salmon is a great way to eater lower on the food chain, and with less mercury intake. Rub with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and black pepper, and broil.
Benefits: Everything tastes better with garlic! And it contains compounds that can lower oxidative stress. In other words, it is an anti-inflammatory food which protects our heart and blood vessels.
Preparation: See the broccoli, salmon, and leafy greens recipes above.
11. Dark Chocolate
Benefits: Do you really need a reason to eat chocolate? It contains antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, and is an anti-inflammatory food. Dark chocolate is truly a guilt-free treat (when eaten in moderation, of course).
Preparation: Choose fair trade and/or organic whenever possible. 1 ounce of dark chocolate after dinner is the perfect ending to any meal.
The Diabetes Education & Nutrition Clinic is located in VMC’s Kent Clinic, 24920 104th Ave SE in Kent. Phone: 425.656.5377.