Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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I try to eat healthy foods; I'm sure we all do. After all, nutrition plays such a large part in overall health and wellness.
I don't know about you, but I end up eating the same basic foods day after day. It makes food shopping a no-brainer. I mean, I don't even need a list anymore.
But eventually it can all make eating rather boring, don't you think? And then what ends up happening: I overdose on the same old foods and end up shucking them for good.
So I've made a list of the foods that I'm not eating, or not eating enough of, but should be:
Beans. They're rich both in protein and provide healthful unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked beans deliver about 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. Afraid of gas? Soaking beans overnight and rinsing them thoroughly before cooking helps. Who knew that you could eat chickpeas roasted with curry? Take a look at this recipe from blogger Debbie Koenig over at Words to Eat By.
Beets. A rich source of folate and natural red pigments that may fight cancer. Since heating them decreases their antioxidant power, go for fresh, raw or grated beets.
Pumpkin seeds. They're packed with magnesium, which many of us are deficient in and don't even know it. Magnesium deficiency can affect your mood and energy level, among other things. Roast pumpkin seeds for a snack or sprinkle them on your salad.
Turmeric. It's a spice superstar and may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. And it's good for your brain, too. Sprinkle it into any veggie dish or into your scrambled eggs.
Sardines. High in omega-3s, there's virtually no mercury but plenty of calcium in these goodies. Also plentiful: iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and lots of B vitamins. Sounds like a wonder food! Eat them plain or mix them into a salad, top your toast with them or mash them up with mustard and onions and use as a spread.
Swiss chard. This leafy green veggie contains lots of carotenoids, which are protective to aging eyes and play an important role in bone growth and reproduction. Eat it chopped up and sautéed in olive oil. Another food blogger, Melanie McMinn, of frugalkiwi.com (check out her fabulous crafts, too!) offers this recipe for a comforting Greek stew made from black-eyed peas and swiss chard.
Cabbage. It's loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical that can boost cancer-fighting enzymes. It's also a great source of fiber and Vitamins C, E, A and B. It's equally good raw or cooked.
Blueberries. A study presented at the Experimental Biology conference in 2009 found that they lower blood cholesterol levels while improving glucose control and insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of both heart disease and diabetes. Just because they're not in season doesn't mean you can't have them. Frozen blueberries are available year-round. Top your yogurt or oatmeal with them or throw them into a smoothie.
Walnuts. It only takes seven walnuts (1/4 c) to give you 94 percent of your Daily Value of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with everything from dry eyes to depression. Snack on them plain or add them to veggie dishes like Brussels sprouts.
Sweet Potatoes. A super-star vegetable, loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They're great baked, mashed with some unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple, or oven fried. Another yummy recipe (I've got to try this one!) from Debbie: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage and Shaved Chestnuts.