Too often, we focus on what NOT to eat rather than what TO include in a healthy diet. The "nots" often leave us feeling deprived and full of cravings.
I'm not one to promote certain things as superfoods, but I do think there are certain foods that should be included in a healthy diet. These are foods that have great nutritional benefits. My mother-in-law believed in having a banana a day to lower her blood pressure, because bananas are high in potassium. Besides bananas, there's a high amount of potassium in potatoes, dried apricots, raisins and spinach — all to be included in a healthy diet.
You can add blueberries to your list of fruits to grab more often. A cup of blueberries has 80 calories and is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and fiber. Vitamin C promotes wound healing and is needed for growth and development. Vitamin K helps make strong bones and helps with blood clotting. Manganese helps the body process cholesterol. Fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and helps you feel full. Blueberries are easy to add to a salad, smoothie, yogurt, cereal or oatmeal. Or simply eat some freshly washed ones for a snack.
New research finds that blueberries may also reduce the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, as well as visual and neurological decline. That's because of their high concentration of anthocyanin, a beneficial phytochemical. While an apple has 12 milligrams of anthocyanin in every 100 grams of fruit, blueberries have a whopping 387 or 487 milligrams (depending on if they're highbush or lowbush). The lowbush variety has more anthocyanin.
The point is not to nix apples from your healthy diet or to only eat bananas but rather to make sure you include blueberries. I still believe what they teach you before you graduate as a dietitian: Choose everything in moderation, balance and variety.
Q and A
Q: Do any foods help with vertigo?
A: Vertigo, that feeling of being dizzy, can be debilitating. Vitamin B6 appears to reduce the dizziness and nausea that vertigo causes. To add more foods that contain vitamin B6 to your diet, look for fortified breakfast cereals, meat such as chicken and pork, fish such as salmon and tuna, peanut butter, beans, bananas, walnuts, spinach and avocados.
Here's a recipe to get you started adding more blueberries to your eating plan. This grilled peach and blueberry salad is from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
GRILLED PEACH AND BLUEBERRY SALAD
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
6 slices Prosciutto di Parma
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups baby arugula or watercress sprigs
1 cup fresh blueberries
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until well combined and creamy. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush peach wedges and onion slices with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. On a grill pan or your outdoor grill, over medium heat, grill peaches and onion slices, turning as necessary, until grill marks form, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, lay out prosciutto slices. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pepper. Bake 3 to 5 minutes, just until prosciutto begins to crisp up. Set aside to cool. Place greens on a serving platter. Top with peaches, onions, blueberries and crumble prosciutto on top. Drizzle with dressing. Chop salad before serving, if desired. Serves 6.
Per serving: 227 calories; 8 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams fat; 3 grams fiber.
Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Springfield, Illinois, and the media representative for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: elizadean at Pixabay