Salmon is a potent dietary source of the heart-healthy omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Despite what you may have heard, farmed salmon actually contains more omega-3 fats than wild salmon. Salmon is also a smart choice of fish because it contains low levels of mercury. EPA and DHA have profound effects on heart health, ranging from decreasing triglyceride levels — an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease — to reducing the risk of sudden death from heart attacks by almost 50 percent. Salmon can be a versatile protein and omega-3 source in your diet. Enjoy smoked salmon as a snack or in an omelet. You might also choose to broil, bake or poach salmon filets for lunch or dinner. And if you’re in a pinch, canned or packet salmon is a portable source you can add to salads without needing a refrigerator to keep it fresh.
Chia seeds — yes, from the famous Chia pet — have emerged as a health-boosting powerhouse. One tablespoon of chia seeds contains five grams of fiber, while you’d need two tablespoons of flaxseed meal to get the same amount of fiber. One tablespoon of chia seeds has approximately 2.4 grams of the plant-based omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid, also found in flaxseed meal. Chia seeds contain chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that may help improve blood sugar control. You can find chia seeds in the health food section of your local grocery store, usually near the flaxseed. Adding chia seeds to your diet is simple. Mix them into yogurt, add 1 tablespoon to a protein shake or stir them into oatmeal for an extra infusion of fiber and antioxidants.
Blueberries are one of a limited number of fruits with its origins in North America. A berry with a long history, researchers estimate that blueberries have been around for 13,000 years. They were a long-time staple of native American foragers, used for nutritional and medicinal purposes. Blueberries have also been shown to fight America’s silent killer, high blood pressure. Eating the equivalent of 2 cups of blueberries each day for eight weeks can lower blood pressure by 6 percent, according to a 2010 study in “The Journal of Nutrition.” Blueberries, like raspberries, are just as nutritious fresh as they are frozen. Top a bowl of Greek yogurt with blueberries and raw cashews for a simple, high protein, high antioxidant breakfast, or have a bowl of blueberries after dinner for a naturally sweet dessert.
Blueberries are often touted as the ultimate healthy food, but raspberries contain a nutrient profile that should not be forgotten. One cup of raspberries has more than two times the fiber of one cup of blueberries. Raspberries have an antioxidant capacity — a rating scientists use to determine the amount of antioxidants in foods — greater than strawberries, kiwis, broccoli, leeks, apples and tomatoes. Research with black raspberries has shown that raspberries can fight DNA damage and the production of inflammation producing proteins in your body.
Depending on where you live, raspberry season usually lasts from the end of May to August. But you don’t have to be limited to eating raspberries only during this time. Frozen raspberries are available year round and contain levels of nutrients comparable to freshly picked raspberries. Raspberries are naturally sweet and are perfect for dessert after dinner, on top of a spinach salad with sliced almonds and grilled steak during lunch, or in a smoothie for breakfast.
Kimchee is a traditional Korean dish consisting of fermented vegetables, mainly cabbage. The fermentation of the cabbage to make kimchee fosters the growth of probiotics such as lactobacilli, the same healthy bacteria found in yogurt. In addition to the probiotics to support healthy digestion, eating kimchee can also aid in weight loss. Researchers from Ajou University School of Medicine found that daily consumption of kimchee improved insulin levels and reduced body fat percentage. You can find kimchee in the Asian section of your local grocery store or you can make your own. Eat kimchee as a side dish or incorporate it into an Asian-inspired stir fry.