Are you looking to take your diet to the next level? Start by incorporating these nutritious and delicious superfoods in your meals. As always, we recommend checking with your doctor and/or dietitian before starting any new diet.
Start your day off right with oatmeal as a healthy breakfast cereal. Oatmeal is a whole grain containing soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) in the arteries. A serving size of 1.5 cups has three grams of soluble
fiber, 225 calories and nine grams of protein.
Blueberries make the perfect snack or topping for salads or cereal. They are packed with phytochemicals, the disease-fighting antioxidants that are linked to heart health. Available all year long, blueberries can last up to 10 days when refrigerated. Purchase organic blueberries when possible to reduce pesticide exposure. A serving size of one cup contains 80 calories.
Add beans for extra color, flavor and protein to soups, salads, side dishes and entrees. Linked to decreased risk of certain cancers, beans contain soluble fiber, which controls cholesterol, and antioxidants. The Dietary Guidelines recommend having three cups of beans weekly. Start with a quarter of a cup daily and work your way up to the three cups recommended, allowing your system to gradually adjust to the fiber. A serving size of half a cup is approximately 110 calories and has seven grams of protein.
Almonds are a great snack or garnish on salads, cereal, yogurt and grain dishes. They have heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols and are rich in protein and fiber. Studies also suggest that eating almonds may help reduce LDL cholesterol. A standard serving is one ounce or 23 almonds, containing 160 calories and six grams of protein.
Enjoy salmon for a healthy and tasty lunch or dinner. As a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends eating a four ounce portion of a fatty fish, such as salmon, twice a week. When possible, look for wild Alaskan salmon, which contains an even greater amount of omega-3 fatty acid than farmed salmon. Fresh filets should be bright orange or red with a firm texture and mild aroma. Prepare salmon by grilling, baking or poaching. A four ounce portion of salmon contains approximately 200 calories and 28 grams of protein.