There are many foods which are packed with vitamins and minerals to help you stay healthy and well. Did you know that they are called Functional Foods?
The first Functional Food that I think about are the orange ones! Carotenoids- they are the B-Carotene in carrots, orange fruits, butternut squash and cantaloupe. Great for your health and wellness; the yellower the better!
Here are a few more functional foods:
Lycopene is found in foods such as tomato products.
Lutein is found in dark green veggies such as kale, spinach, collard greens, eggs, corn and citrus.
Onions, garlic, scallions, leeks and chives are called- Diallyl Sulfides and the name for strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates , and berries and walnuts are called- Ellagic Acids
And you have all heard of the Omega – 3 s and how important they are. You do not have to take these fatty acids in pill form if you eat them. The fatty acid- a-linolenic acid is found in flax seeds, flax oil, walnuts, canola oil, soybean oil, sardines in oil and Atlantic Salmon.
For some Eicosapentaenoic Acid- you can eat some herring, salmon, Wild Alaskan Salmon, blue fin tuna.
And finally, you can find Docosahexaenoic Acid in Atlantic Salmon, Blue Fin Tuna, Mackerel and Omega-3 enriched eggs.
And if it sounds complicated, it really is not. Here are some tips on how to get your pre and probiotics.
PREBIOTIC- Whole grains, especially oatmeal, flax and barley, greens, berries, bananas, legumes, onions, garlic, honey and leeks.
PROBIOTIC– This is your yogurt. But it does not have to be only dairy yogurt. You can find probiotics in soy, almond or coconut yogurt, and fermented dairy and non-dairy products such as sauerkraut and fermented soy such as meso and tempeh.
Other functional Foods:
Phenols- they are in apples, pears, citrus fruit, parsley, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, squash, yams and tomatoes.
Lignans- they are found in flax seed, rye
Flavonoids- found in berries, especially the dark berries, cherries, red grapes and tea– especially green tea.
Your diet and what you should be eating
When you are choosing what to eat, you want to stick to the basics such as discovering the resources that are available to you such as Getting Started With My Plate. It replaced the food pyramid a few years ago, making it easier to understand what you should be eating. This government program is online for your convenience- http://www. ChooseMyPlate.gov
The recommendations on healthy eating include:
Enjoy your food but eat less
Avoid Oversized portions
Make half of your plate fruits and veggies!
Switch to fat free or low fat milk ( 1%)
Make at least half of your grains– whole grains
Look at the sodium in foods- especially products such as soups, breads and frozen meals, and choose foods with low sodium numbers
Drink water instead of sugary drinks
Taken in part from the US government resource: MyPlate.gov. Fall/Winter 2011