- Comment (1)
There are always a couple of trendy foods du jour — currently, it’s kale and chia seeds — that seem to get all of the attention. But there are many unsung healthy heroes that should find their way into your diet on a regular basis. Here, nutrition experts weigh in on the top five foods you may not be eating — but should be.
Beans: “Beans are a greatly underappreciated nutrition powerhouse,” says Martica Heaner, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor of nutrition at Hunter College, in New York City. “They’re very filling, high in protein and fiber, rich in B vitamins, iron and other minerals like potassium and calcium,” Heaner says.
Buckwheat: Despite having the word “wheat” in the name, buckwheat isn’t actually a grain at all, but a fruit seed that can be eaten like a grain. It has a hearty texture and is an excellent source of plant protein and fiber. “Plus, it’s rich in a variety of minerals and contains flavonoids (which may be linked to better heart health),” says Mary Howley Ryan, R.D., owner of Beyond Broccoli Nutritional Counseling, in Jackson, WY.
Mushrooms: Different varieties will have different benefits, but all are packed full of nutrients. Take portabellas, for example. “They have immune-boosting benefits, contain more protein than most vegetables, plus several B vitamins and 3 grams of protein in a 3.5 ounce serving,” Ryan says. “And they’re also flavorful and are hearty enough to be used as a meat substitute.”
Pumpkin seeds: Chia and flaxseeds get most of the spotlight these days, but Ryan is also a big fan of pumpkin seeds (sometimes called pepitas). “It’s good to eat a variety of nuts and seeds because they all have unique nutrient profiles,” she says. Toss a few toasted pumpkin seeds into a salad, soup or other dishes to add some antioxidants, protein and fiber to your meal.
Walnuts and walnut oil: Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that have been shown to reduce inflammation and may decrease risk of heart disease. “Walnuts are a rich source of these healthy fats,” Heaner says. Toss a handful of walnuts into cereal and salad and when making muffins or breads. She also suggests substituting walnut oil for olive oil — it can be used to make salad dressing or be drizzled over roasted vegetables.
Sally Wadyka is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist who writes about nutrition, health and wellness.
— Long a mainstay of South Asian cooking, turmeric adds zing to curries and other dishes. But it has also been used in Eastern cultures for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. More recently, turmeric has caught the attention of Western researchers who have been studying the herb and its potential health benefits. “OneRead more