We’ve been hearing a lot about the wonders of coconut oil, but there’s a truckload of other great foods right under our noses that deliver just as much—or more—nutrition as their well-known superstar brethren.
Here’s a list of nine other super-foods to consider adding to your menus.
1. Quinoa—Quinoa has the highest protein of any cereal. It’s great for breakfast or a side dish, and it’s also terrific in salads. Quinoa is not technically a cereal or even a grain, even though it looks, cooks, acts and tastes like one. It’s actually a seed. But don’t tell anyone.
2. Yogurt—Full-fat and real. Nowhere has the low-fat insanity had a deeper effect than in the yogurt industry. It’s increasingly difficult to find real yogurt that isn’t “2 percent” or “low-fat,” or comes on top of some sugared-fruit product passing as food. But real, honest-to-goodness full-fat yogurt—preferably from grass-fed cows—can be good for you. It’s high in protein, calcium and omega-7 (from the full-fat dairy). Plus, it’s filling and delicious (at least the real kind is). Greek or regular—both are great.
3. Garbanzo beans—A quiet, little, unassuming nutritional superstar, garbanzo beans have a whopping 17 grams of fiber and 19 grams of protein per half cup—not to mention nutrients such as manganese, calcium and magnesium.
4. Fermented vegetables—Now that the microbiome is one of the hottest topics in health, we’re sure to be hearing more and more about fermented foods. And with good reason. They’re a great source of probiotics, teeming with healthy bacteria that will help cultivate your own personal gut garden. Examples include yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi.
5. Malaysian palm oil—I love this rich oil, which is red because of its high carotenoid content. It’s also a pretty good source of tocotrienols, which are part of the vitamin E complex. And environmentalists can relax because palm oil from Malaysia specifically is sustainable. More than 50 percent of the forests there are protected, and no orangutans are harmed whatsoever. The unrefined oil (like all unrefined oils) has a lower smoke point, so don’t get it too hot. The partially refined oil still has plenty of good stuff and stands up to higher heat.
6. Spinach—Before kale took over, spinach used to be the go-to choice for green leafy vegetables. It has a ton of potassium, some vitamin K and a bunch of other minerals (manganese, magnesium and iron) and fiber. And it has so few calories that it’s basically a free food.
7. Raspberries—These are the poster child for low-carb fruit. About eight of its 15 grams of carbohydrates are actually fiber, meaning you get more fiber in a 64-calorie cup of raspberries than you do in three slices of 100-calorie high-starch wheat bread—and none of the problems. Plus, raspberries are a great source of ellagic acid, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
8. Brazil nuts—One nut has more than an entire selenium supplement. They’re probably one of the best sources of this incredibly important mineral and antioxidant.
9. Cabbage—Cabbage comes from the brassica family of vegetables, which is kind of like vegetable royalty. All of them—Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale—are terrific, but cabbage is the queen of the hill. Studies have shown that the indoles in cabbage may help fight estrogen-dependent cancers such as cervical cancer. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C and manganese.
Please consult your personal physician before taking any outside health or nutritional advice.
Dr. Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, also known as “the Nutrition Myth Buster,” is a nationally known, board-certified nutritionist and expert on diet and weight loss. He has appeared on the “Dr. Oz Show,” Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS as an expert on nutrition has contributed to articles in The New York Times, Forbes, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair Online, Men’s Heath, Prevention and dozens of other print and online publications.