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Next Generation Nutrition: The New Superfoods

27 Oct

Next Generation Nutrition: The New Superfoods

Superfoods get a lot of love. But there’s actually no legal or medical definition for the term superfood.

When a food wins the tagline “superfood” – it generally contains high levels of antioxidants or other nutrients.

If you think about it, all fruits and vegetables are especially “super” – given that they contain dietary fiber and other important vitamins and minerals.

But if you love healthy, high fiber foods and you’re looking to spiff up your superfood arsenal, check out these 5 new super foods you need to know about:

Amaranth

It’s time to cool it on the quinoa! Amaranth is an awesome, gluten free grain that has more essential amino acids than any other plant food:

  • Amaranth is the only grain with vitamin C
  • You can prepare amaranth as a hot cereal grain or combine into starch dishes as you would quinoa or barley
  • If you want a killer way to incorporate more amaranth, check out KIND Healthy Grains – a granola mix with 5 super grains, including amaranth

Super Seeds

If you’re tired of flax on your cereal and in your smoothies, check out these new super seeds:

  • Chia Seed: made from the same stuff as chia pets, chia seeds are high in fiber and help you feel fuller for longer
  • For an on-the-go chia solution, check out Chia Slims stick packs from Chosen Foods – simply add a Chia stick pack to 16 oz of water for 12% of your daily value for fiber
  • Daikon Radish & Broccoli Seeds: your favorite vegetables are now available in seed form, packed with antioxidants and great flavor too
  • Way Better Snacks’ Simply So Sweet Chili and Simply Unbeatable Blues tortilla chips contain sprouted daikon radish and broccoli seeds; sprouting increases digestibility and antioxidant content in these gluten-free and non-GMO corn torilla chips

Beet Juice

The green juice revolution is so passe! Red juice is now where it’s at!

  • Beet juice is an incredibly nutrient dense superfood with the proven capacity to boost energy for exercise and improve blood flow and blood pressure

Avocado Oil

Everyone knows olive oil is a heart healthy fat. But avocado oil is coming up strong as an alternate!

  • The majority of the fats in avocado oil are heart healthy mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • The high smoke point of avocado oil makes it a versatile tool in your kitchen

For more tips on becoming super food savvy, check out my segment clip from Good Morning San Diego.

Fiber: This One’s for the Birds

14 Aug

Fiber: This One’s for the Birds

It’s probably not something you think about every day – but our feathered friends need their fiber too.

In a recent article in HGTV Magazine, Stephen Kress – vice president for bird conservation at the National Audubon Society – said you have to fill your feeder properly.

Birds are energetic animals and need high calories options, so foods like bread and wheat in a bird feeder don’t cut it.

Instead, aim to fill your bird feeder with more nutritious options, such as:

  • Millet
  • Cracked corn
  • Black-oil sunflower seeds

For more information on how to stock your bird feeder, check out the National Audubon Society’s Bird Feeding Basics page.

La Tour Whole Grain Puffs

1 Apr

La Tour Whole Grain Puffs

If you find yourself hungry in the Hawaiian Isles, check out La Tour Bakehouse, an artisan bakery located in Honolulu’s historic Chinatown.

While owner Thanh Lam and his crew churn out some amazing French bread, they have also expanded into packaged snacks, including a line of Whole Grain Puffs.

I recently had a chance to sample the honey glazed sunflower, flax, and sesame flavor puffs, which are available at Oahu farmer’s markets and retail outlets like Longs, Foodland, and Safeway.

These whole grain puffs pack a flavor punch! They’re light and crunchy, and slightly sweet. The texture is similar to a puffed cereal, but the seeds and grains add a heartier taste.

A one ounce serving has 120 calories, 6 grams fat and 3 grams dietary fiber. These are a great, high fiber addition to any afternoon snack, whether you can be at the beach or not!

 

What’s the Story with Sprouted Grains?

11 Mar

What’s the Story with Sprouted Grains?

March is National Nutrition Month…where Super Foods take the stage.

And this year, it seems, sprouted grains are all the rage.

But what exactly is a sprouted grain? And why are they considered more healthful than traditional grains?

Shoots & Sprouts

Sprouting the seed of grains, nuts, and beans, can help unlock valuable nutrition. When the sprout takes shape, it deactivates certain enzymes that block nutrient absorption. Reducing these “anti-nutrients” (compounds like phytates and lectins) helps make more micronutrients and fiber available.

Other nutritional benefits of sprouted grains include:

  • Increased micronutrients such as B vitamins including folate, and vitamin C, plus fiber, and essential fatty acids
  • Improved digestibility – some people find sprouted grain easier to tolerate if traditional grains cause bloating or GI discomfort
  • Sprouted grains may also be less allergenic for those who have certain grain-based sensitivities
  • Higher content of certain antioxidants than non-sprouted grains

To learn more about sprouted whole grain nutrition, check out this article from the Whole Grains Council.

How to Sprout

If you’re looking to get more sprouted grains in your diet, here’s some tips:

At Home

You can sprout grains at home easily with some mason jars, water, and a few days’ worth of patience. Here is a great article from Vegetarian Times about sprouting and estimated soaking and sprouting times.

In Snacks

Way Better Snacks has an array of sprouted grains snack foods that include unique ingredients such as sprouted quinoa, and broccoli and daikon radish seeds.

Thanks to samples provided by Way Better, I recently sampled their Simply Sunny Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips. Not only are these chips packed full of flavor, they are GMO-free, gluten free and contain an impressive 3 grams of fiber per serving. If you’re looking for a convenient way to get your sprouted grains, Way Better is the way to go!

Bake With Sprouted Flour

Sprouted grain flour can be purchased or made from your own sprouted grains. Whole Foods Market carries a number of sprouted whole grain flours, and most can be substituted one-to-one for all-purpose flour in recipes.

If you’re not a baker but like bread, try out some of the commercially available sprouted grain bagels, whole grain breads, and tortillas available at certain health food stores. Look for sprouted grain bread products in the refrigerated aisle.

Safety First

Incorporating sprouted grains into your diet can enhance health and expand your whole grain horizons; however, raw sprouts and raw sprouted grains should be avoided by high risk populations such as pregnant women, infants, and people with compromised immune systems. To learn more about sprouts & sprouted grain food safety, click here.

And for a little more sprouted grain love – check out my segment on the topic from yesterday here.

Eureka! SAAA-WHEAT Bread

19 Apr

Eureka! SAAA-WHEAT Bread

I don’t eat a lot of bread, but when I do, you can bet it’s good bread!

Recently, when searching for my old standby Ezekiel in the bread aisle, I was pleasantly sidetracked by a similarly impressive brand, Eureka! bread.

Eureka Bakery touts its products as “organic bread worth its weight in gold”. This stuff is definitely heavy, but it’s worth every last calorie!

I sampled the SAAA-WHEAT flavor, whose enticing packaging promised me, “the perfect wheat bread! Chewy and full of flavor with just the right amount of crunch” guaranteeing when you eat it, you’ll say, “SAAA-WHEAT”!

One slice of SAAA-WHEAT has:

  • 130 calories
  • 3 g fat
  • 170 mg sodium
  • 23 g carbohydrate
  • 3 g dietary fiber
  • 5 g protein

The ingredient list reflects the hearty amount of grains and kernels, including: organic whole wheat flour, water, organic cracked wheat, organic wheat flour, organic cane sugar, organic sunflower kernels, organic wheat gluten, organic oat fiber, yeast, organic canola oil, organic blue cornmeal, organic flaxmeal, organic sunflower seeds, organic molasses, sea salt, cultured organic wheat flour, organic oats, organic black sesame seeds, organic white sesame seeds, organic vinegar, calcium sulfate.

To be honest, that’s a mouthful for an ingredient list – but the majority of those ingredients are sprinkled on top of the hearty bread. The bread itself is made of what bread should be: flour, sugar, yeast, and a little fat.

My current obsession with this bread peaks around lunchtime. California avocados are in peak season now, and nothing is better than a brie-avocado panini made with this great bread…a truly SAAA-WHEAT experience!