This Functional Dietitian’s Favorite Foods for 2019

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In contrast to many common resolutions which often begin with things to cut back on, here are some foods, I would like you to eat more of!

  1. Beautiful, bright berries. They have a lower glycemic index than other fruits and carry a powerful nutrition punch. They are packed with disease fighting phytochemicals and other nutrients. Toss some in your morning unsweetened oatmeal. Blend them into a green tea smoothie. Sprinkle them on top of a hearty salad.
  2. Avocados. Shocker! Most of you know how much I love this superfood! Rich in healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins that help you stay satisfied for a longer period of time and provide fuel to keep your energy-producing units (mitochondria) healthy and running efficiently. Use avocados to add interest to your free-range organic eggs. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper and fill celery boats. Chop them and add them on top of black bean soup.
  3. Did I mention Free-range organic eggs?! Eggs are a great source of high quality protein. Be sure to go with free-range organic eggs to limit your exposure to added hormones and harmful pesticides. What I love most about eggs is how versatile they are. They are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Make a dozen hard-boiled eggs each Sunday and have them available for quick meals and lunch-box fillers.
  4. Almonds and other nuts and seeds. In people with Type 2 Diabetes, almond intake improves blood sugar control, decreases weight and lowers LDL cholesterol. Nuts and seeds are a good source of fiber, healthy fat, and other minerals (namely magnesium) which promote cardiovascular health and aid with weight management.(1)
  5. Green tea. Research indicates that the combination of catechins (epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG) and caffeine in green tea may help people lose weight. (2) Drink daily. If you are not a fan of the flavor, use it as a base liquid in soups and smoothies.
  6. Maca. A cruciferous vegetable grown in Peru and is related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. Generally it is ground and consumed in powder form and is a good source of both iron and protein. Maca is excellent for a caffeine-free energy boost and may improve mood and decrease risk of depression.(3) Try it in oatmeal and smoothies or add to your favorite homemade granola bar recipe.
  7. Wild Salmon. Definitely skip the farm raised salmon! Farm raised salmon has been found to have high levels of PCBs (Poly-chlorinated bi-phenyls). PCBs have been linked to cancer and other health problems. Wild salmon also has a higher mineral and omega-3 fatty acid content than farm-raised salmon.
  8. Bone broth. Because it is made by boiling down bones and cartilage it is rich vitamin and minerals that promote healthy bones. Also, bone broth is excellent for promoting healthy digestion and may help individuals who are dealing with increased gut permeability and other inflammatory bowel conditions. Replace traditional broth with bone broth in recipes or sip on bone broth like tea.
  9. Seaweed. It is rich in a carbohydrate that feed the good bacteria of our intestinal tract. It has been shown to delay stomach emptying which helps you feel satisfied for a longer period of time. Seaweed also contains compounds which may reduce body fat. Seaweed is a great snack food. Be sure to read ingredient lists as some seaweed is made with maltodextrin which is a filler ingredient that has a high glycemic index.
  10. Last but not least – sweet potatoes. They are rich in antioxidants that help to protect every cell in our body. Try sweet potato toast or a sweet potato and tumeric smoothie!

Start 2019 right! Include the above foods in your diet regularly and in general aim for a whole-foods varied diet! Happy New Year!

References:

  1. Yun Ying Hou et. al. (2018) A Randomized Controlled Trial to Compare the Effect of Peanuts and Almonds on the Cardio-Metabolic and Inflammatory Parameters in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1565; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111565
  2. Chacko SM, Thambi PT, Kuttan R, Nishigaki I. Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review. Chin Med. 2010;5:13 10.1186/1749-8546-5-13 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef]
  3. Meissner, H. O., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mscisz, A., & Kedzia, B. (2006). Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. International journal of biomedical science : IJBS, 2(2), 143-59.

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