We all know about kale, fish, whole grains and all the other foods that are good for us, but there are lots of other, less popular foods that are amazingly healthful, relatively easy to prepare and should be on your shopping list.
Here is a list of 10 healthy foods you’re probably not eating, but should:
Called “yiaourti” in Greece, this is a thicker, creamier yogurt because the liquid (whey) has been strained away. It contains probiotic cultures and has twice the protein of regular yogurt and fewer carbohydrates. It is also lower in lactose.
These seeds are one of the few plant sources of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds are rich in soluble fiber and contain high quality protein. Vitamins B-1, B-2, C and E, and minerals iron and zinc, plus smaller amounts of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are found in flax seeds. Toss these tiny brown seeds into cereal, yogurt, soups, and stews.
Brazil nuts are an exceptional food source of selenium, a mineral considered to be cancer-fighting, and are particularly good for prostate health. The unshelled version has nearly four times more selenium than those already shelled. Like other nuts, they also offer some protein, fiber and vitamin E. They are also a good source of monounsaturated fats, which lend them a rich taste and flavor.
Pale yellow in color, quinoa has more calcium and iron in it than rice, wheat or oats. And this carbohydrate source also contains more protein and dietary fiber than other cereal grains. People on a gluten-free diet can enjoy quinoa.
The chewy, nutty hulled grain used in soups and bread and as a substitute for rice, is quickly becoming a favorite of people trying to lose weight. It’s made up of 43 percent slow-digesting carbohydrates and 12 percent of a fiber known as a “resistant starch” because it goes through the small intestine without being digested at all.
Shitake mushrooms are not only delicious; they are considered an anti-viral, immune-booster, anti-allergen and anti-arthritic. Other mushrooms, including maitake and reishi are equally potent and rich in minerals and amino acids.
Eaten at almost every meal in Korea, Kimchi is packed with vitamins and immune system-boosting phytochemicals. Its main ingredient, fermented cabbage, contains lactic acid, which helps with digestion and may weaken infections. Kimchi is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber.
Like other leafy greens such as kale and spinach, broccoli rabe is a very good source of vitamin K, a nutrient needed to help the blood clot properly. It also is a rich source of the antioxidant vitamins A and C, and is a plant-based source of calcium.
Pickled Herring, a great source of omega-3, is an easy way to get more fish into your weekly diet without the hassle of cooking fresh fish. Herring, essentially a larger sardine, is still small enough to be low in contaminants. And it’s a good source of EPA and DHA as well as calcium.
These noodles made from the root of an Asian yam consist of a no-calorie soluble fiber, so they are a healthier alternative to egg noodles or pastas high in fast-digesting carbohydrates. Studies show that the fiber, called glucomannan, helps lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and may even help lower body weight. Researchers say that just 1 gram of this fiber can significantly slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream after a high-carbohydrate meal.
As a culture, most Americans tend to avoid foods we have not been exposed to before. But we suggest you give these healthy foods a try. With a little culinary adventure, you can add nutrients, fiber, and flavor to your diet.