Did you make a resolution to be healthier this year? Want to avoid being one of the many thousands that will abandon their resolutions by the end of January? Get realistic: chances are you won’t stick to a liquid diet or skip dessert for an entire year, but you can incorporate nutrient-packed foods into your routine for improvement in gut health, energy levels, and an enviable glow. Here are a few to keep in your kitchen:
The blacker the berry, the higher the antioxidant level. Anthocyanins (responsible for the deep color) address the effects of free-radical damage like hypertension and vision loss. Blackberries are also high in fiber, removing harmful bacteria from the gut. These are fabulous with a bit of whipped cream and molasses or in a sweet/savory vinaigrette.
This herb deserves recognition beyond that of supermarket Italian seasoning blends. Parsley helps to detoxify the liver and kidneys, is packed with Vitamin K, and has a high level of versatility. Throw it in your chimmichuri sauce, roughly chop for smashed potatoes, or blend with albacore tuna, apple, and Greek yoghurt for the perfect wrap filling.
The seed that does everything. Flaxseeds are high in protein and fiber, reduce blood sugar levels, and contain large amounts of omega-3s. They are great toppings for soups, salads or baked goods. They have a fabulously soft nutty flavor that is a friend to almost any dish. Tip: while they are great whole, their nutrients are more easily absorbed when ground.
The ruby red jewel of the citrus family, grapefruit is a secret weapon for those looking to drop a few pounds without sacrificing flavor. Grapefruit contains high levels of Vitamin C for disease prevention, Vitamin A for fighting inflammation, and a high water content to help you feel fuller. I love them broiled with a sprinkle of cinnamon for breakfast, in a meringue atop turmeric rice pudding (recipe coming soon!), or just plainly sliced.
Get your gut health together with this spicy, salty, and fermented cabbage mixture. Traditionally served as a side dish, kimchi shines all on its own. Good bacterias and selenium aid in boosting immunity and keeping cholesterol levels in check. The fermentation process creates antioxidants that can slow the process of skin aging. Put an egg on it, slather on a tofu dog, or pair with roasted carrots.
6. Dark Chocolate
Yes, dark chocolate in small amounts is good for you. There are dozens of pesticides in conventional chocolate so the organic route is best. Full of antioxidants, 75-80% cocoa chocolate also contains iron, magnesium, and copper. It helps to drastically improve heart health with smart long-term consumption. Try a savory spin; make cocoa rub for ribs or incorporate powdered cocoa in chili for a silky, complex flavor profile.
What is escarole? It’s a lettuce-like green in the same family as radicchio and endive. It’s slightly bitter with beautiful color variations. Escarole is a fat free green packed with B vitamins and fiber. Fabulous in soups, sauteed, or solo, it’s best when firm near the base with bright green leaves. Kale’s not going anywhere- give this a try.
Try to incorporating these foods into your routine for delicious new ways to supercharge your health throughout the year. I’ll be using them myself at home and in upcoming recipes. Happy New Year!