The nutritionist who sees me on a regular basis is a Russian woman with an accent to match, straight out of a Le Carre spy story.
“Variety. You want variety. Every week, when you go to market, buy one thing you didn’t buy week before” she is always telling me.
“Have fish for breakfast once a week” she tries to convince me, without much luck. I think that having grown up in Russia or northern Europe might make this proposition simpler. I just cannot stomach herring or lox with my coffee.
Before you start thinking I am one of those weird Californians with a nutritionist on call, obsessed with food, I am not. Not really, at least. I started working with the Russian as part of the cancer care I received and I liked it so much, I kept seeing her. I love to expand my knowledge on the power of food, on how simple food can support our health.
A couple of days ago I was browsing a book by Karen Ansel, Healing Superfoods, and I was newly amazed by all the goodness in everyday staples we don’t give a second thought to. And, let’s face it, who has the time, money, and willingness to hunt down weird berries from the Amazon, unpronounceable spices from India or stock our fridges with juices whose ingredient list requires a PhD in botany?
Here are a few interesting tidbits I thought I would pass along.
LIMA BEANS are packed with fiber, help lower cholesterol and a serving contains twice as much potassium as a banana.
ORANGES are rich in flavonoids that help prevent blood clots by keeping blood vessels relaxed and flexible.
BRAN FLAKES are slow absorption carbs that feed glucose to the brain thereby maintaining our synapses in good working order.
YOGURT. The king of super foods: filled with minerals (calcium, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc amongst others) and vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C and J) yogurt not only strengthens bones but also nails and hair. And it reduces the possibility of getting diabetes.
BOK CHOY is rich in calcium. A cup of book choy has as much calcium as half a cup of milk.
CHOCOLATE. People rejoice: dark chocolate also contains flavonoids that help prevent skin cancer. Cocoa flavonoids make our skin smoother and less sensitive to the sun. The best way to consume it would be to add a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to your coffee.