Sunday, May 8, 2011

Super Foods

5 Super Foods Mom May Not Be Eating
May 5th, 2011
Can you guess what they are?

This Sunday, May 8th is Mother’s Day. We all want to get Mom the “perfect” gift, and what better gift than one overflowing with love and healthy dividends? This year when you’re planning a home-made dinner or making reservations, why not serve up some super healthy dishes that incorporate these super foods or choose a restaurant that offers a menu which features some of these superstar ingredients:

Seaweed Gomasio – A healthy alternative to plain table salt, this traditional sesame salt has been used for centuries in Asia. It’s made from organically grown sesame seeds roasted and ground with sea salt and three trace mineral-rich sea vegetables—dulse, nori and kombu. As a source of high quality protein, calcium, iron, iodine, and a superior range of amino acids—including methionine, tryptophan and lysine—it provides nutrients that are often missing in vegetable protein sources. Sea vegetables, due to their sodium alginate content, are also well-known to be protective against environmental pollutants.

Try it on whole grain or gluten-free pasta, salads, vegetables, popcorn, and corn on the cob in place of salt. It also heightens flavor in special Mother’s Day salad dressings and marinades.

Chia Seeds – This ancient super food packs a real punch. Extremely nutrient dense, one small seed contains nearly 50 energizing nutrients. They are gluten-free and abundant in vitamin C, protein, minerals, vegetable-based calcium, essential fatty acids, and fiber.

You can sprinkle them on salads or add them to a Mother’s Day smoothie without altering the taste.

Red beans – In a 2007 study of antioxidant absorption of foods done at the USDA’s Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center in Little Rock, red beans—including small red, red kidney, and pinto—came up on top, with a rating of 8,459. That’s important because, while other foods may have a higher antioxidant capacity, they’re not as readily absorbed as beans. The darker the better—their color reflects their content of phenol and anthocyanin antioxidants. A great source of protein, beans are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. Their soluble fiber actually helps stabilize blood sugar and because they are so high in thiamin (a cofactor in the production of the memory-linked brain chemical acetylcholine), they can also protect Mom’s brain cells.

Use red beans in chili, enchiladas and burritos, as a base for veggie burgers, or toss them with other beans, garlic and seasonings for a cold salad.

Tart Cherries – Montmorency cherries, the most common tart cherries produced in the United States, contain significant quantities of melatonin—the antioxidant hormone produced by the pineal gland. In fact, they contain even more than is normally found in the blood. Melatonin plays a role in the production of the body’s own potent free-radical scavengers, glutathione and SOD. It also rules our circadian rhythms, which supply us with chemicals that allow us to sleep and encourage us to wake up.

Consider dried cherries as an addition to Mother’s Day muffins, oatmeal, gluten-free pancakes, salads, rice, rice pasta, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. Tell Mom to mix a bit of tart cherry juice (regular or concentrated) with water, particularly when she’s exercising. One study found that it may reduce join inflammation cause by physical activity.

Cumin – Found in seed or ground form in Middle Eastern, East Indian, African, and Mexican cuisines, cumin relieves gas, colic and digestive-connected headaches. A powerful free-radical scavenger, cumin also improves liver function and enhances the primo detox antioxidant, glutathione.

It’s a great addition to wake up beans (especially red beans), dips, marinades, stews, lamb, beef, and chili powder.

Although Mother’s Day is only “officially” one day a year, honor your superstar mom every day with superstar foods!

-Edge On Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman