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If You Have to Eat, Use Super Foods

I am not talking about the kind of foods that will propel you to a National Farting Championship. Nor am I talking about foods that will allow you to stay on the couch and melt fat like a lipo suction procedure. Nope! I have spent nearly a year trying to find calorie sparse and nutrient rich foods! Getting the healthy nutrients I need to build a strong immune system (haven't been sick since April!), avoid cancer (killed both my parents), lower blood pressure (almost off my meds), care for my heart, and keep the insulin in tolerable ranges (I was hypoglycemic, but not anymore!) was the goal.

Think of these foods like the Swiss Army Knife of the food world. These are foods that can meet one or more of your MFP requirements.

There is no perfect diet, except for the Whole Food Caffeine Fueled Carnivore Diet that I invented. :)

Here is my list of foods you should come to love, and make a regular part of your meal times. It's a little long, but it's complete. I am NOT an expert, but I do play one on My Fitness Pal. (Actually I am working on a Video Blog so I can say I play one on TV too! Any investors out there?) The information below may or may not be true, but in my research as well as working with my doctor, my trainer, and my nutritionist should be pretty reliable. This information is gleaned from sources too numerous to list. Google "super food" and  each of the individual food items and you'll get even more!

Almonds - Eating almonds has the same effect as the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. It is a source of vitamin E, magnesium, protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. Also, almonds (and other nuts) contain phytochemicals, which are plant chemicals that MAY provide powerful protection against heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases.

Apples - Apples are source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber such as pectin actually helps to reduce the possibility of heart disease. The insoluble fiber provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system. Thus slowing the absorption of calories! Vitamin C content is just underneath the skin, so eat that too!

Avocados - Avocados provide essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B and folic acid (iron). They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

They are fatty, but it's the good fat. So, enjoy a couple each week, or make some guacamole!

Beans - Fiber and protein are the essential nutrients in beans. I like Garbanzo Beans (Chic Peas), adding them to salad. This one will get you a high rating for breaking wind, as you propel your way to health! Red beans such as Kidney Beans all provide antioxidants. Be sure to drain and rinse canned beans to get rid of as much sodium as possible.

Blueberries - Rich in Vitamins K and C which helps in absorption of iron, also improves the immune system. They also provide plenty of fiber enhancing the digestion process. A rich source of manganese, they aid in bone development as well as in metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. And they make your tongue blue!

Broccoli - Low in carbs, this super food contains more vitamin C than an orange! And broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk! Add to that iron, vitamin K, fiber, and potassium, it is a great for body building, and reducing the effects of muscle cramps. It rivals bananas (which is not on the list, but maybe should be!)

Cinnamon - Possibly on the voodoo list of herbal remedies, studies do show that it reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. When consumed with honey it aided in reducing arthritic pain. One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory and another found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices as well as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.

Me, I just like it with apples.

Dark Chocolate - It helps lower high blood pressure and contains antioxidants which are good for your immune system. In fact, I find chocolate good for reducing an occasional case of the blues.

Dried Fruit - They pretty much are the same as fruit, but a concentrated version with most of the benefits. The nice thing is they are good for snacks, but watch the calories!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - The good fat. Excellent for your joints, full of antioxidants, it's heart healthy and may prevent oxidation, which causes cell damage, reducing the risk of cell aging and osteoporosis.

I am no virgin, but it sounds good to me.

Garlic - The NYT said it best: The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer, say the study authors. Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts. The concentration of garlic extract used in the latest study was equivalent to an adult eating about two medium-sized cloves per day.

I ate a huge clove with my seafood dinner the other night on a date with my wife. It's a good thing, because when I looked into her eyes, my heart would have stopped without it. But she didn't want to kiss me after that.

Honey - Antioxidants, energy boosting, and lower glycemic index than sugar, it is proposed to have some magical anti-aging properties. Here is my take, if it's good enough for Winnie the Pooh, then it's good enough for me!

Greek Low- or No-Fat Yogurt - Both Greek and regular yogurt are part of a healthy diet. They are low in calories, packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures. However the Greek variety is strained to remove most of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar. In roughly the same amount of calories it doubles the protein and cuts the sugar content in half!

Oats - One of the best whole grains, and full of fiber. Studies concluded that eating oats (any whole grains) was linked to a lower risk of death from diseases that are triggered by inflammation, including heart disease and diabetes. Post-menopausal woman may like them too!

Onions - Bad for your breath, but the sulfur (a compound) and quercetin (a flavonoid) are good for you. They are also in the group of fruits and vegetables referred to as negative calorie foods, which; require more calories to digest than you will get from eating them. Add to that celery, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers, along with 2 dozen others, and you may lose while still eating substantial amounts.

Oranges - Get part of your daily dose of soluble fiber and vitamin C. Vitamin C from oranges and other citrus fruits is much more like to be used by the body than C supplements.

Soy - It's what tofu is made out of and full of protein. It just happens to be my least favorite on this entire list. Soy itself is not the super food, it is the fermented soy products such as miso, Tempe or soy tofu sauce.

Sweet Potatoes - A starchy vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fiber and lower in carbs than white potatoes.

Spinach - Popeye was right. Spinach is a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of fiber, protein, vitamins A, C, E (Alpha Tocopherol), K, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.

This powerhouse food is low in calories and good carbohydrates, you can't eat too much of it!

Tea (green or black) - Drinking green tea reduces the risk of esophageal cancer by nearly sixty percent! It also helps reduce cholesterol. Green tea's antioxidants, called catechins, scavenge for free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis.

Tomatoes - No matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce, you're eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, iron, vitamin E. Early research suggests Lycopene was helpful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even male infertility.

Turkey - White turkey is lower in calories than any other meat, including chicken. It contains calcium, protein, and it's low fat and naturally low in sodium!

Walnuts - 1 ounce of nuts can go a long way in providing key healthy fats managing hunger. Other benefits are a dose of magnesium and fiber. If you suffer from IBS, I suggest cashews twice a day!

Wild Salmon - I have an ounce of salmon 3 or 4 days a week as part of my breakfast sandwich. Experts say the 8 or 9 ounces is very good for us. Studies have shown that we lose more weight when consuming an equal amount of salmon calories vs. beef, chicken, pork or turkey.

I would like to add that I don't take supplements except for those that promote healthy joints: glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin D and fish oil. These only work for about 30% of those that take them, and I don't recommend them for everyone. My blood work looks terrific when I eat the above foods, that's what matters.

Opinions on nutrition differ, but tell us your favorite super food - well as long as it is not pizza!

Thanks for your votes and comments.

164 votes + -

46 comments:

czechsmate wrote 103 months ago:
well done, I enjoy and try to incorporate most all of them in my diet.
76wendyful wrote 103 months ago:
This is a great guide! I will be using it to make my shopping list! :)
GentlyLosing wrote 103 months ago:
Yep, eat all these except the avocados (bleck) and the garlic (hurts my stomach!)

inotnew wrote 103 months ago:
love onions. as a kid I would eat them like an apple. course that was before I discovered boys. Great blog. Great information, I will refer back to it.
jdhosier wrote 103 months ago:
I make a green (or red) smoothie to take to work most days. The green in the smoothie is usually spinach, collard greens, kale or turnip greens. All these greens are nutrient dense and very low calorie. Great list and description, John. Thanks for posting.
Hungry_Tuna wrote 103 months ago:
I eat everything on this list with the exception of turkey on a regular basis! (I'm pescatarian)
Anyway, heck yeahhh! :)
Great post!
flabulous4 wrote 103 months ago:
Yup, I'd forgotten how much I like some of the foods on this list! Might have to get an avocado or 2!
johnwhitent wrote 103 months ago:
Good stuff, but I still prefer chicken to turkey.
Hoppymom wrote 103 months ago:
Excellent! Might I add Kiwis? nutritionally dense, supplying your daily requiremnt of Vitamin C it is also a good souce of potassium, fiber, and lots of vitamins A and E, which is one of the missing nutrients. kiwk is one of the only fruits that has it. They also have a mild laxative effect due to their high fiber content.
Quinoa could also be on theis list. Lots of benefits there also. Thanks for this.
Watch out for honey though have you seen the gut on that Pooh guy!?
Hotmess2012 wrote 103 months ago:
Great post, for those of us whom are easily confused by all the different "Do's & Don'ts" when it comes to eating healthy. Thanks. And your posts are hilarious, thanks for the smiles :0)
easfahl wrote 103 months ago:
Yep, you hit most of the ones I know. And most of them I absolutely LOVE! I'm pretty sure my family knows all the "super foods" because I mention them so often, even when they won't eat some of them. I also agree with Hoppymom about kiwi fruit and quinoa, and I'll throw pomegranates in on the list too.
AngelaR1 wrote 103 months ago:
Ground Flaxseed Meal
bllowry wrote 103 months ago:
I can't eat fruit (lack the enzyme to digest it) but I do add ground flaxseed and/or wheat bran to casseroles and baked goods and add chia seeds to my oatmeal and baked goods.
pspetralia wrote 103 months ago:
Have you read SuperFoods RX? It is a great book with a very similar food list.
belltech911 wrote 103 months ago:
This is an awesome post! I eat horribly and think that finding healthier snacks will be the key to a successful journey back to the me I'm striving to be! Thanks
myshell26 wrote 103 months ago:
Apples and peanut butter are a weakness of mine. Keeps me away from cakes and cookies though!
vger11 wrote 103 months ago:
had 10 from your list just today!! amazing :p
caramkoala wrote 103 months ago:
Great list! I didn't know about cinnamon before, now I will add some to my morning smoothie :)

I can't do salmon. maybe one day in the future, just not now. I am not a fussy eater, just salmon is one of the few things I can't get down.

And I have a spot picked out for my blueberry bush as soon as the worst of this heat is over. I love fresh blueberries (frozen are yuck) but they are so expensive so i am going to grow my own for smooothies and snacks.
loischapman wrote 103 months ago:
Excellent list you put together and very well written. i have embarked on this journey bout 10 years ago. I consider myself to be a very healthy eater. Eating this way with exercise has allowed me to come of meds for diabetes and high blood pressure. My big problem is that I over eat. so have been working on this since end of October and have lost 16 pounds so far.Again thank you for sharing your story and great information. My favorite super food is kale...sometimes steamed. juiced with fresh beets parsley and spinach with lots of garlic.
JustLindaLou wrote 103 months ago:
Excellent! I keep a whiteboard on the door to my pantry and have a superfoods list on it to help me remember stuff to eat as often as possible.
DelSchro wrote 103 months ago:
All my favorite foods :)
Jennie183 wrote 103 months ago:
Wow, you sound like the condensed version of Dr Oz.
SnackPack wrote 103 months ago:
Awesome blog. I eat many of these and frankly think it is some of the tastiest food I enjoy. I am saving this.
gdunican wrote 103 months ago:
What about Garlic Supplement pills instead of the WHOLE RAW Garlic? Do you achieve near to the same??
Aratama wrote 103 months ago:
You might want to add Kangaroo to that list, for anyone who wants to keep good meat in their diet. It has less saturated fat (and total fat) than even white fish! Yet is still high in protein, and tastes fantastic. OK, so admittedly, it might be harder to come by outside of Australia. Plus, being so low in fat, it can be tricky to master how to cook it without drying it out. It should be cooked and still be pink inside (cooked pink, not raw pink!). Try marinading some steaks and cooking them on a griddle pan using baking paper. The results are stunning and it stays juicy for days, in case you like to cook up lunches for a week like I do :)
Lainn wrote 103 months ago:
I am actually cooking a stew that has A LOT of these in it atm.
I agree with all of this and really appreciate you putting it together!
I was also pleased you put in that Soy in of itself is not a super food, but when it is fermented. After talking with my breast cancer doctor and doing research soy (un-fermented) is something I stay far far far away from! Hard to do so this day and age though.
jadedone wrote 103 months ago:
Have you ever tried cinnamon with your beef? It is really good in stews. Or in tomato sauce!
SpaNancy wrote 103 months ago:
Don't forget QUINOA and KALE! And be sure if you buy honey, look for LOCAL honey, and RAW. It's still sugar, tho. Xylitol may be a good sugar replacement. (I'm always looking!)
Jujubie wrote 103 months ago:
Rhubarb! I just can't get enough. Nutrition info can be found here:
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2056/2
Keegansmum6 wrote 103 months ago:
Wow all of those foods I like,thank you for that list!
chrisdavey wrote 103 months ago:
did not see pop tarts on the list? Increased pop tart consumption always equals gym PR's for me! :)
Nicolette1960 wrote 103 months ago:
Great post. Thank you for doing the research for me. Especially eliminating the farty foods. I seem to have found them, and my husband does NOT appreciate it. By the way, neither do the dogs
jamiesadler wrote 103 months ago:
I eat as much wild game meat and fish as possible. I try to stay away from store bought meats. Quinoa is amazing as well. I use it for dinner and breakfast. Its wonderful with nuts, bananas and a small amount of brown sugar or honey tossed in. In the summer I like to snack on raw rhubarb from my garden.
strela32 wrote 103 months ago:
I am going to print this list. Thanks!
bisland wrote 103 months ago:
Thank you for sharing
joseyjo78 wrote 103 months ago:
Reading this made me fell a whole lot better, as I eat most of these foods every day... Yum!
Goal_Seeker_1988 wrote 103 months ago:
Thank you so much for sharing this!
PirateGary wrote 102 months ago:
"Extra Virgin Olive Oil - The good fat. Excellent for your joints, full of antioxidants, it's heart healthy and may prevent oxidation, which causes cell damage, reducing the risk of cell aging and osteoporosis."

Awesome blog and I *heartily* agree up until that statement. With greatest respect, please consider this article's contentions.

http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/hurtful-food-its-about-time-the-olive-oil-myth-was-laid-to-rest.html

I welcome counter-point. I'm in this for the knowledge.

PirateGary wrote 102 months ago:
Oh, also, the bottom of the link contains comments from the nutritionist that nicely summarize his position - you have to scroll nearly to the end.
may1108 wrote 102 months ago:
i love edamame... in pods, boiled n salted. yum yum they r great full of proteins.
SixCatFaerie wrote 102 months ago:
Thank you for this!
stacygayle wrote 91 months ago:
I eat everything on that list except for soy. Allergic. I don't like apples much raw but I love to bake them with a little cinnamon and cheddar cheese ;) I also hate Greek yogurt so it's a no-go. I'm glad I'm already part of the way there!
sigsby wrote 91 months ago:
I am really close on your list. I haven't used any soy products or eaten any salmon yet. The avacados I just purchased yesterday. It's too bad we can't add pizza as a superfood. It's been my most common craving since I started improving my nutrition.
lpina2mi wrote 91 months ago:
I love this list and would add walnuts and nori sheets.

Dried fruit (dates, mangos, prunes) can really satisfy me when I want something sweet, BUT I cannot do it in the evening and I can only have a small portion. My body jumps into fat storage mode for an extended period as soon as unaccompanied sugar hits my blood stream. (BTW, I am not diabetic nor tested as pre-diabetic.)
vwilliams003 wrote 52 months ago:
You are awesome for posting all this great information! Thanks!
soufauxgirl wrote 52 months ago:
Wow mostly ticks for the super foods that I have on a regular basis - no wonder I feel so darn good these days! Thanks for writing all the health benefits for each one - cinnamon and Kale I will need to find recipes to incorporate these ingredients into.

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