Nutrition

Superfoods?

There are no guidelines defining Superfoods.

Although, officially, there is no scientific definition for superfood, there is a category of food often referred to as Superfoods. These foods are typically high in nutrients and low in calories and are good sources of essential nutrients, anti-oxidants and important vitamins and minerals.

Regular exercise and eating healthy foods can have numerous health benefits:

  • help to decrease stress
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • help with bodily joint mobility
  • thrive and function with more energy.

Some of the foods in the “superfood” category to include in your diet are:

Green Beans are low in sodium, very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese, along with dietary fiber.

  • High Fiber prevents weight gain, thus promoting weight loss.
  • An increase in fiber by 8 grams for every 1000 calories consumed will help toward a weight loss of 4.5 lb.
  • Also try raspberries, chickpeas, strawberries.

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which the body does not produce by itself. These fatty acids are said to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, increase the ratio of good to bad cholesterol.  Salmon is also a good source of selenium and B vitamins.

Be mindful of the differences between farm-raised Salmon and wild caught Salmon:

  • Farm-Raised Salmon may contain pesticides. It’s primarily farmed in open net pens that are vulnerable to infection from disease and parasites, as a result, they are sometimes treated with very high levels of antibiotics and pesticides.
  • Wild fish, on the other hand, may have a lower concentration of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl which is an environmentally toxic organic pollutant), but could be higher in mercury.
  • Also try Tuna.

Watermelon provides lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with few calories. It is a good source of vitamin C and lycopene, and is said help protect against some types of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

  • Eating foods full of water keeps you satisfied with less calories. Watermelon is a guilt-free, easy dessert.
  • Watermelon consumption will aid toward bodily hydration and maintenance of collagen (which gives structure to skin and hair).
  • Also try cucumbers (95% water), salad greens (90%), strawberries (91%), cantaloupe (90% water) and honeydew (90% water).

Blueberries contain polyphenols (for a healthy heart), phytonutrients (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics), vitamin C and fiber.  These all help to fight chronic diseases. They also work to protect the brain from inflammation and help to improve memory by promoting communication between brain cells.

  • Consuming about a cup of berries can increase levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and lower blood pressure.
  • Also try red raspberries and strawberries.

Tomatoes are considered to be both, a fruit and a vegetable. They come in many varieties and contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, lycopene and copper along with fiber and protein.

Research suggests that the combination of these nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent cardiovascular/heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and prostate cancer.

Tomatoes may be eaten raw or as an ingredient in foods:

  • Add sliced tomatoes to sandwiches.
  • Chop tomatoes in salad.
  • Use marinara or tomato sauces on pasta instead of creamy sauces.
  • Drink tomato juice or vegetable juice made from tomatoes.
  • Top scrambled eggs with chopped tomatoes or add them to a taco.
  • Eat tomatoes as a mid-afternoon snack.
  • Make a tomato sandwich.
  • Add canned or stewed tomatoes to soups and stews.
  • Serve stewed tomatoes over a baked potato.
  • Make salsa with lots of fresh tomato.
  • Put salsa on meats, fish, and eggs.
  • Also try Strawberries and Broccoli.

Dietary fiber is important in weight loss and weight management because consuming foods high in fiber keeps you feeling full for longer, thus reducing caloric intake.

Nutrition

Recipes That Use Tomatoes – a Tasty Health Food

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

BakedTomato1   

Eat as a side dish or as a sandwich between slices of whole-wheat country bread.

INGREDIENTS

  • tomatoes, halved horizontally
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet.
  3. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle with oil
  5. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Nutrition:  Per serving – 91 calories; 6 g fat; 4 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber; 375 mg sodium; 363 mg potassium.

 

Tortilla Soup

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 soft corn tortillas, cut into 1-by-2-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat and diced
  • 3 cups frozen bell pepper and onion mix, (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably with green chiles
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
  4. Add pepper-onion mix and cumin to the pot.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add broth, tomatoes, pepper and lime juice; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes more.
  7. Return the chicken and any accumulated juice to the pot and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute.
  8. Remove from the heat; stir in cilantro. Serve topped with the toasted tortilla strips and cheese.

Nutrition:  Per serving – 357 calories; 12 g fat ( 4 g sat , 4 g mono ); 86 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrates; 37 g protein; 4 g fiber; 775 mg sodium; 231 mg potassium.

 

Tomato-Basil Skewers

TomatoBasilSkewers

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 Small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 16 Fresh basil leaves
  • 16 Cherry tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (to drizzle)
  •  Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Thread mozzarella, basil and tomatoes on small skewers.
  2. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Nutrition:  Per Serving: cal. 46, Fat, total 3 g, chol. 8 mg, sat. fat 2 g, carb. (g) 1, pro. 3 g, sodium 217 mg, Potassium 34 mg, Fat 1 g

 

Tomato Tart

TomatoTart

INGREDIENTS

  • 17.3 oz package puff pastry
  • Egg
  • 4 oz Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1.5 lbs tomatoes, cored & sliced thin
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Thyme sprigs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll each sheet of pastry to 11 by 11 inches.
  3. Transfer each to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cut a -inch-wide strip from each side.
  4. Whisk egg with a tbsp of water and brush on edges of pastry sheets.
  5. Line edges with strips forming a border, trimming any overlapping pieces on the corners. Place baking sheets in fridge or freezer, about 15 min.
  6. Brush border with egg mixture. Use a fork to prick pastry within the border, about every 1/2 inch. Bake until just golden, 12 to 15 min.
  7. Sprinkle center of each tart with half the cheese and arrange half the tomatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Garnish with a few thyme sprigs.
  8. Return to the oven until the cheese is melted and the pastry is cooked through, about 8 min. Serve warm or at room temperature. 2 tarts, 12 servings.

Nutrition:  Per Serving: cal. 145, Fat, total 10 g, chol. 29 mg, sat. fat 4 mg, carb. 10 g, fiber 1 g, sodium (mg) 167.

Nutrition

Sweet, Juicy Tomatoes – a Tasty Health Food

Tomatoes not only taste good but they are also healthy to eat.

Research suggests that the combination of nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent cardiovascular/heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and prostate cancer. Tomatoes are an excellent source of:

  • Vitamins C, A, E, B6 & K
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Lycopene
  • Fiber

Eating tomatoes helps to build strong bones. The vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes are both very good for strengthening and repairing bones.  The lycopene also has been shown to improve bone mass, which helps to fight osteoporosis.  (Lycopene can be concentrated by cooking/processing.  Get much more lycopene by eating about 3/4 cup of tomato sauce every day.) 

Tomatoes’ antioxidants (lycopene and vitamins A & C) fight the free radicals which can cause cell damage.  The vitamin A in tomatoes works to improve vision and helps prevent night blindness.  Recent research shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration (a serious eye condition).  They can even make your skin and hair look better.

They are also a very good source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar.  So, eating tomatoes can keep your blood sugar in balance.

If mild to moderate chronic pain is an issue (such as from arthritis or back pain), tomatoes in your diet can help reduce the discomfort.   Tomatoes are high in bioflavonoids and carotenoids, which are known anti-inflammatory agents.  Chronic pain often involves chronic inflammation, so attacking the inflammation is a good way to fight this pain.

Build lots of tomatoes into your everyday eating to lose weight.  Because tomatoes contain copious of water and ~ 2 grams of fiber, they are one of those foods that will ‘fill you up’.  They have almost no fat, a low 22 calories and contain 1 gram of protein and about 4.0 grams of carbohydrates.  They make a great snack and can be used to “bulk up” salads, casseroles, sandwiches and other meals.

Add sliced tomatoes to sandwiches; Chop tomatoes in salad; Use marinara or tomato sauces on pasta instead of creamy sauces; Drink tomato juice or vegetable juice made from tomatoes (I could have had a V-8); Top scrambled eggs with chopped tomatoes or add them to a breakfast taco; Eat tomatoes as a mid-afternoon snack; Make a tomato sandwich; Add canned or stewed tomatoes to soups and stews; Serve stewed tomatoes over a baked potato; Make salsa with lots of fresh tomato; Put salsa on meats, fish, and eggs.

Need some ideas to incorporate more tomatoes into your diet?  Click on the Nutrition tab and select the recipes section for some of our healthy tomato dishes.