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HomeSuper Foods  
Super Foods

Super Foods & Healthy Kitchen Tips

by Susan Smith Jones, PhD

  1. Almonds promote a healthy heart. Two ounces, or about 40 almonds, give you more than 50% of your daily requirement of magnesium. Eating almonds may also reduce the risk of colon cancer.
    • Preparation Tips - Soaking nuts and seeds removes the growth inhibitors that impair germination. Once they germinate, they contain more life force and are easier to digest. Almonds are great as part of a trail mix, ground and sprinkled over a salad, used as part of a raw pie crust, made into raw almond butter, or simply eaten alone as a nutritious snack.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to grind, crush, or chop these healthy nuts.
  2. Asparagus quickly changes the pH of the body. Asparagus changes the body chemistry and eliminates wastes while breaking down constituents of nitrogen, sulphur, and ammonia. It's a good source of folate (6 spears contain 135 mcg, a third of the adult RDA), and also has 545 mcg of beta-carotene and 200 mg of potassium. Asparagus is a powerful antioxidant and contains the elements necessary to eliminate free radicals.
    • Preparation Tips - I eat asparagus just as I do celery or carrot sticks. I also enjoy them chopped into salads, juiced, or lightly steamed. To make the perfect steamed asparagus, lightly steam for 3 minutes. Place the spears into cold water, drain, and lightly sprinkle with your favorite vinegar (I use brown rice vinegar or raspberry) and lemon zest. Chill and serve or pack for the lunchbox.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to blend this healthy veggie with other vegetables to create a nutritious and tasty beverage.
  3. Avocados are known as nature's butter and help prevent heart disease and some types of cancer. Avocados have about a quarter of the calories of total fat as dairy butter. By weight, they provide more heart-healthy monosaturated fat, vitamin E, folate (the plant source of folic acid), potassium, and fiber than other fruits. Yes, it is a fruit! It's the number one fruit source of the cholesterol-lowering phytosterol, called beta-sitosterol, which helps prevent certain types of heart disease and cancers, including prostate cancer. Avocados also help protect your eyes from cataracts and from age-related macular degeneration. They also have a reputation as an aphrodisiac!
    • Preparation Tips- I spread it on whole grain bread, mash it into baked potatoes instead of butter or margarine, and even use it as a great hydrating facial mask. If you desire to lose weight, limit your consumption to just one a week because of their high fat (albeit healthy fat) content.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to create the perfect guacamole.
  4. Blueberries are known to prevent and reverse abnormal, physical and mental decline. Despite their small size, one cup of blueberries contains only 80 calories and a whole pint gives you about 180 calories, so they're a dieter's best friend. Referred to as the "brain berry," blueberries are packed with tannins, anthocyanins that have been linked to prevention - and even reversal - of age-related mental decline and anti-cancer effects. They are one of the most potent antidotes to oxidate stress, a process that ages you.
    • Preparation Tips- I recommend eating them several times a week either fresh or frozen in the wintertime. I always have frozen organic blueberries on hand to use when making smoothies.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to create a tasty blueberry smoothie.
  5. Broccoli fights cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions. It has two powerful cancer-fighting substances. First, sulforaphane gives cancer-causing chemicals a one-two punch. It destroys any carcinogenic compounds that you've ingested, and then it creates enzymes that eat up any carcinogens left over from that reaction. Sulforaphane also kills the bacteria H.pylori, which causes ulcers and greatly increases the risk of gastric cancer. Second, broccoli boasts indole-3-carbinol which helps your body metabolize estrogen, potentially warding off breast cancer. Broccoli may also inhibit the herpes simplex virus from reproducing.
    • Preparation Tips- I eat broccoli raw, lightly steamed, juiced, and in the form of sprouts which magnify broccoli's potent healing powers.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to blend this nutritious vegetable with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and sweet bell peppers for a superb veggie smoothie.
  6. Cantaloupe helps to cleanse and rehydrate. This beautiful fruit has lots of zinc, which is important for the prostate gland. Eat half a cantaloupe - which makes a great snack - and you'll receive more vitamins A and C than an equal amount of just about any other fruit. Just 1/4 slice of cantaloupe offers between 800 to 900 mg of potassium. If you're not getting enough potassium, you could be putting yourself at risk for a stroke.
    • Preparation Tips- For maximum digestion efficiency, eat cantaloupe (and all melons) alone. I put cantaloupe pieces in plastic storage backs to snack on when I fly or drive in the car for hours.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to create a mouthwatering melon smoothie.
  7. Chili peppers raise endorphin levels. Chilies are so rich in vitamin C that they have been used as natural remedies for colds, coughs, bronchitis, and sinusitis around the globe. Just one raw, red hot pepper (1 1/2 oz, 45g) contains about 65 mg of vitamin C, nearly 100% of the RDA. Another component of chilies is bioflavonoids, plant pigments that scientists believe help prevent cancer. Chilies act as preventive medicine against strokes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks, and may also help prevent blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke by acting as an anticoagulant.
    • Preparation Tips- Handle chilies with care. When I'm preparing meals with chilies, I wear thin gloves, am careful not to rub my eyes, and always wash my hands and all utensils well with soap.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to create the perfect heart-healthy dip or spread.
  8. Cinnamon helps normalize blood sugar. Cinnamon is a highly versatile flavoring as well as a carminative that relieves bloating and gas. Adding cinnamon to food, especially to sugary ones, helps normalize blood sugar by making insulin more sensitive. Cinnamon's most active ingredient is methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP), which increases the processing of blood sugar by 2,000%. It is also thought that it may help ward off diabetes and obesity.
    • Preparation Tips- I sprinkle it on fruits and cereal, blend it in smoothies, and incorporate it in fruit sauces, purees, soups, and squash dishes. Put cinnamon sticks in your tea or other hot beverage to create a tasty, nutritious drink.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to create a healthy smoothie or fruit sauce.
  9. Coconut and coconut butter (also referred to as coconut oil) has been used as a food and medicine since the dawn of history. Unlike saturated animal fats found in meats and dairy products, coconut butter is a raw saturated fat containing mostly medium-chain fatty acids which the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly. Coconuts may help lower cholesterol and regulate thyroid function.
    • Preparation Tips- Coconut butter can be eaten straight or blended into a salad dressing, mixed into a smoothie, or incorporated into raw food cuisine. It can also be used as a skin lotion. This is the main moisturizer I've used on my skin for years and on my hair as a bi-weekly deep conditioner. Most butters and oils are light sensitive so make sure it is stored in a dark container to insure no light penetrates and damages the oil. Always choose raw, cold-pressed coconut butter - never heated.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to whip up some health-conscious coconut butter treats.
  10. Flaxseed is known as "Nutritional Gold" and is a rich source of essential fatty acids. It's used, not only for food, but also for making linen. Essential fatty acids are shown to be therapeutic and protect against heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, many skin diseases, and others. Flaxseeds also help eliminate toxic waste, strengthen the blood, reduce inflammation, accelerate fat loss, and reduce depression.
    • Preparation Tips- Sprinkle it on your cereal, salads, smoothies, or yogurt, add it to your favorite recipes, or simply stir it into juice or water. I use flax oil and ground flax seeds (meal).
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to mill this seed into a powder or meal form - perfect texture for adding to your cereal or salads. You may also mix this into your favorite smoothie or yogurt.
  11. Garlic keeps the body chemistry balanced. Herbalists and folk healers have used garlic to treat myriad diseases for thousands of years; it has been intensively studied in recent years, with hundreds of scientific papers published in medical journals since the mid-1980s. Garlic is a rich source of unique sulfur compounds that keep your body chemistry in balance. Major medical universities around the world have found Aged Garlic Extract (also known as Kyolic) to be effective in its ability to resist and fight cancer, cardiovascular disease, other respiratory ailments and infections, and fatigue.
    • Preparation Tips- If you do not like the taste or odor of garlic, you can still receive its benefits by taking the odorless liquid extract, capsules, or tablets.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to mince this herb to add to your favorite garlic dish.
  12. Grapefruit protects against cancer and heart disease. This fresh fruit eases constipation and improves digestion by increasing the flow of gastric juices. Deep inside the white rind and membranes of this fruit lie bioflavonoids, citric acids, and pectins - compounds that protect against cancer and heart disease. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other inflammatory disorders find that eating grapefruit daily seems to alleviate their symptoms. The pectin content of grapefruit juice helps reduce fever and soothes coughs and sore throats. Make grapefruit your first course to help prevent overeating.
    • Preparation Tips- Whenever possible, choose pink and red varieties because they are more nutritious than white grapefruits.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to mix this nutritious fruit with other fruits and vegetables to create a healthy drink.
  13. Kale may help prevent breast and lung cancer. It also helps prevent age-related macular degeneration of the eyes and aids in fundamental processes of cell circulation and respiration. Kale is also rich in folate, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Few vegetables compare to kale when it comes to its nutritional beauty.
    • Preparation Tips- Juice kale with other green vegetables and herbs (such as celery, Swiss chard, collard greens, romaine lettuce, cucumber, parsley, beet tops, etc.) and add some carrot and apple for sweetener. On an empty stomach, this superior fresh-juice tonic will revitalize your cells and body in minutes.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to mix kale with other green vegetables and the fruit, tomato, to create a revitalizing juice.
  14. Kelp is a stellar, nutrient-dense sea vegetable. It is also known as Laminaria and contains a natural substance that enhances flavor and tenderizes. Kelp works as a blood purifier, relieves arthritis stiffness, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Its natural iodine may help normalize thyroid-related disorders, like overweight, and lymph system congestion. It may also help eliminate herpes outbreaks.
    • Preparation Tips- Next time you want a seasoning, instead of salt, reach for kelp granules. I enjoy them plain and mixed with cayenne or garlic (available at health food stores).
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to mix the kelp granules with other herbs to create a flavorful tenderizer.
  15. Lemon is an alkalizer for the body. Of all the citrus fruits, lemon is the most potent detoxifier. It kills some types of intestinal parasites, such as roundworms, and dissolves gallstones. Limonene, the volatile oil responsible for the distinctive lemon aroma, helps treat some forms of cancer such as breast cancer. If taken in the morning, lemon juice is known to improve liver function and has been used to help eliminate kidney stones. Lemons also help relieve colds, coughs, and sore throats. Too much lemon juice, however, if left on the teeth, can erode tooth enamel so rinse out your mouth with pure water or brush your teeth after consuming lemon juice.
    • Preparation Tips- When a recipe calls for fresh lemon zest, which is the grated outer peel, make sure it's from an organic lemon or else it might have been waxed or sprayed with chemicals.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to create fresh lemonade.
  16. Mushrooms help boost the immune system. Mushrooms are low in calories and rich in minerals. Shiitake mushrooms may help fight cancer, infections, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Shiitakes boost the function of tumor-fighting interleukin-1 and cancer cell killers known as T lymphocytes. They may also lower cholesterol and blood pressure and are an over-all rejuvenation and anti-aging food. White mushrooms and portobellos are a good source of selenium, which may help prevent prostate cancer, and slow an enzyme used in the production of estrogen, which may promote cancer in postmenopausal women.
    • Preparation Tips- I dice shiitakes and put them in soups, salads, and grain dishes. I also incorporate them into my veggie burgers. I always have dried mushrooms on hand that I can hydrate quickly when I may not have time to visit a farmer's market or natural food store.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to dice shiitakes and incorporate them into your favorite dish.
  17. Parsley detoxifies and rejuvenates the body. Nibble on a few leaves when you want your breath to be sweeter. Parsley is our best source of the volatile oil apiol, which improves appetite and digestion by increasing blood circulation to the digestive track thereby enhancing absorption of nutrients. It helps prevent kidney stones and various urinary tract ailments and is effective in slowing the aging process, reducing depression, lowering cholesterol, strengthening the kidneys, and detoxifying the cells.
    • Preparation Tips- Include parsley when you make fresh juices or chop it and add it to grains, salads, soups, sandwiches, and whole grain pasta dishes.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to mix parsley into other fresh juices to add extra nutrients.
  18. Pumpkins, fresh or canned, can help keep you healthy for many months to come. They offer lots of beta-carotene (only carrots and sweet potatoes have more) and are the #1 source of alpha carotene, a cancer inhibitor that's even more powerful than beta-carotene. They decrease the risk of various cancers, including those of lung, colon, bladder, cervical, breast and skin. In the landmark Nurses' Health Study, women with the highest concentrations of carotenes in their diets had the lowest risk of breast cancer. Studies show that a compound in pumpkin seeds may help prevent benign prostate enlargement, a common problem for men over 50.
    • Preparation Tips- If you want to cook fresh pumpkin, look for those labeled "sweet" or "pie" pumpkins at the grocery store; the kind you carve is stringier and not as palatable. You can roast fresh pumpkin and eat it like winter squash. Roast the seeds, too, or peel, boil, or steam and mash pumpkin flesh (or use canned pumpkin) for soups or breads.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to create the perfect pumpkin mix.
  19. Tomatoes are an internal sunblock. It's an important part of the antioxidant defense network in the skin and, in combination with other nutrients, can raise the sun protection factor (SPF) of the skin. Eat tomatoes to enhance your skin's ability to withstand the assault from the damaging rays of the sun. According to a review published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1999, study results were strongest for prostate, lung, and stomach cancer, although there's some evidence that tomatoes protect against breast, ovarian, and other cancers too. Ounce for ounce, cherry tomatoes afford more nutritional value than large tomatoes, because most of the nutrients are contained in the skin.
    • Preparation Tips- Cooked tomatoes, like those in sauce, contain more absorbable lycopene than raw tomatoes. They make a delicious snack and thirst-quenching treat, especially cherry tomatoes. Eat them just like an apple.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to mix this healthy fruit with vegetables to create delicious and nutritious tomato juice.
  20. Walnuts may lower cholesterol. They provide two heart-healthy essential fatty acids: linolenic and linoleic fatty acids. Linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) is associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease. Linoleic acid may reduce your chances of having a stroke. Walnuts are a good source of fiber and protein. They also provide magnesium, copper, folate, and vitamin E. In terms of nuts, walnuts have the highest overall antioxidant activity. One of the main antioxidants is polyphenol, which may help prevent heart disease.
    • Preparation Tips- Eat a handful of nuts five times a week. Choose nuts that are fresh and raw, not roasted and salted. Walnuts are superb alone or incorporated in trail mix and sandwiches, chopped and sprinkled on salads and vegetables, added to whole grain cookies and breads, and blended in smoothies and soups.
    • Suggested Equipment - Use The Total Blender or Connoisseur from Blendtec's fine living product line to grind, crush, or chop these healthy nuts.
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