Welcome to a new year! It’s a time of new beginnings and fresh starts. This year, make it a time of trying new healthy foods as well. Why not start 2010 off right this January and try a new, often overlooked, nutritious food every week? You may just find a new favorite!
Week One – Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are little, nutritious powerhouses, packed with omega-3 fatty acids (to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke) and protein (to keep you satisfied longer). In fact, just 1 ounce of hemp seeds is chock full of 11 grams of protein!
Hemp seeds are easy to incorporate into a healthy diet. You can sprinkle them on top of oatmeal or toss them in the blender while making a smoothie. Consider using them in the place of sesame seeds as well and throw them in stir-frys or sprinkle them on top of salads. Hemp seeds can be found at Whole Foods and many other health food stores.
Week Two – Sardines
Sardines aren’t just tiny fish packed in can; they are filled with calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and vitamin B! That’s a lot of nutrients packed in one little fish. Additionally, they, like other fish, are high in omega-3s, but unlike other fish, they hardy contain any mercury at all.
Eat sardines the way you would tuna in a can. If you’re feeling brave, eat them plain. If not, toss them in a salad or mash them into the same ingredients you would use for tuna salad; just go light on the mayonnaise. Sardines can be found at most grocery stores.
Week Three – Goji Berries
Goji berries, like other fruits, contain high levels of antioxidants. However, these little berries blow the competition out of the water when looking at antioxidant levels per serving. According to ORAC ratings, which are a way of measuring antioxidant levels, goji berries have one of the highest levels of any fruit.
Eat goji berries the way you would raisins. They may be enjoyed either fresh or dried and can be eaten on their own or make a great topping for salads, oatmeal, or yogurt. You can find goji berries at Whole Foods.
Week Four - Beets
Beets often get overlooked but they are packed with folate and betaine, two nutrients that combine to lower inflammation levels in your blood and decrease your chance of heart disease. Additionally, very early research suggests that the pigment in beets might actually help fight cancer.
If possible, eat beets raw for maximum health benefits. You can peel and slice it thinly, then toss with olive oil and lemon juice for a nice salad. If you do not feel up to eating beets raw, roast them in the oven with olive oil and pepper for a tasty side dish. And don’t throw away the leaves and stems, which can be eaten like spinach, raw in a salad or sautéed for a side dish. The leaves and stems are full of vitamins and antioxidants as well. Find beets in most grocery stores.
This year, be adventurous in your eating while reaping a number of rewards to your health!