In recent years, food writers have bestowed the label “superfood” to a variety of vegetables, fruits, and proteins for their reported health benefits. While certain foods are more nutritious than others, a single meal does not possess superpowers in the face of chronic disease. Instead, nutritionists and dieticians stress good dietary patterns. A healthy lifestyle (exercise included) that strives for both food diversity and moderation can help an individual maintain a healthy weight and help mitigate the underlying causes of fatigue, high blood pressure, and diabetes. That in mind, particular foods are continuously noted for their gusto and sustenance.
Chef and restaurant guru Matthew Delsignore is known for his passion and enthusiasm in and outside of the kitchen. With so many of us evaluating our habits and health, he believes now more than ever that it’s crucial to flex your creative culinary muscles. As you explore dietary delights, you don’t have to swap flavor in lieu of nutrition. Below, Chef Delsignore spotlights seven delicious and versatile health foods to create a symphony of taste in a nourishing diet.
1. Leafy Greens
Mom was right when she told you to eat your vegetables. Per ChooseMyPlate.gov, an online resource overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, vegetables should account for 30% of your plate. In this case, dark leafy greens.
Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens are an excellent source of zinc, calcium, vitamins A and C, fiber as well as phytochemicals.
The kale craze may have dwindled, but it’s nutritional value remains. Try incorporating a variety of dark leafy greens in your next salad or saute them in olive oil. They also make terrific additions to soups and stews.
Across the board, berries provide sweetness and a cornucopia of disease-fighting nutrients: vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants. Blueberries, in particular, can deduce the risk of heart disease and cancer since they contain high levels of anthocyanins, flavonoids, and resveratrol. Research has also shown that the acai and goji berries can significantly boost antioxidants within your blood. Most berries also go well in oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt.
Fish, in general, is a healthy source of protein, though salmon tend to swim above the rest. It’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, and selenium.
Your cooking options are wonderfully diverse, as well. Experiment with different marinades, glazes, and cooking either on the grill, oven, or stovetop.
Avocado goes well on more than toast. With over 20 vitamins and minerals, fiber, and folic acid, it throws quite the nutritional punch. Relatively low calorie, it can elevate a variety of dishes, notably salads and sandwiches, or be enjoyed on its own with a dash of fresh ground pepper.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Not everyone’s tastebuds jive with sweet potatoes, but they’re higher in nutritional value than their russet counterparts. As a vibrant root vegetable, sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins, potassium, fiber, and the antioxidant, carotenoid, which may reduce the risk of cancer.
For those economically minded with their grocery shopping, eggs provide an abundance of protein at affordable rates. Per the USDA, a single egg has approximately 6 grams of protein but only 72 calories. They also contain essential amino acids rich in A and B vitamins. Of course, be wary of cholesterol.
Consider an omelet with a bounty of vegetables (peppers, onion, and spinach) for an appetizing and healthy meal.
Fermented foods play a pivotal role in overall physical well-being by keeping the gut healthy. Yogurt is a prime example of this. It contains live cultures (aka probiotics) that protect the body from harmful bacteria.
Try to avoid pre-sweetened yogurts; instead, purchase plain yogurt and mix with berries, flaxseed, nuts, granola, honey, and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. You can also reduce your calorie intake by supplementing yogurt for sour cream or mayonnaise.
About Matthew Delsignore:
Matthew Robert Delsignore is a chef and restaurant guru from North Carolina with unsurpassed passion and energy for everything involving restaurants. He knows the ins and outs of the industry and isn’t afraid to get his hands a little dirty to get things done. Currently working as a sushi chef for a new restaurant, Mr. Delsignore is cultivating his interest in Asian cuisine. He is also a craft beer and cocktails enthusiast with a passion for travel, fitness, and sports cars.