The 11 Healthiest Whole Grains You Should Be Eating

Carbs get a negative rap because so many people are eating the bad ones—refined carbohydrates in white bread, candy, cookies, sugary cereals, and all sorts of other junk food and drinks. In fact, research has shown that 95 percent of the grains we eat are refined. Eating too many foods with these adulterated ingredients isn’t just bad for watching your weight; it can also raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes, plus raise your levels of blood fats called triglycerides, putting you on the fast track for a heart attack, stroke, or other health issues.
The good news is that working the healthiest grains into your diet can help prevent these health problems. Healthy, whole-grain foods are made from cereal grains that include the whole kernel, and research shows that they can protect you from ticker trouble, diabetes, colon cancer, and possibly asthma and Alzheimer’s disease. These 11 grains are worth keeping at the top of your shopping list.
Whole Wheat

This one is pretty easy, as long as you don’t let food marketers trick you. It can be readily found in bread and pasta products, but make sure the label says “100 percent whole wheat.” Terms like “multigrain” and “wheat” don’t cut it. As when you’re shopping for any whole-grain product, look at the ingredients and make sure the whole grain is at or near the top of the list. Each serving should contain at least 2 or 3 grams of fiber.

oats
2/11 THINKSTOCK
Whole Oats

Oats are particularly rich in avenanthramide, an antioxidant that protects the heart. When you’re shopping for this whole grain, whether you see the word “whole” or not doesn’t matter the way it does with wheat products. Oats in the ingredients list mean the product is made from whole oats. But, if you are buying something like instant oatmeal, avoid those that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Studies have found that it was a source of mercury contamination in oatmeal. We suggest sticking to the good old-fashioned unsweetened kind and mixing in a little fruit or honey.

Brown Rice

When you choose white rice over brown, around 75 percent of its nutrients—including nearly all the antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins contained in the healthy bran and germ—are left on the milling-room floor. Always opt for brown rice, which includes brown aromatic varieties like basmati and jasmine. Get even more exotic with red and black rice, both of which are considered whole grains and are high in antioxidants. Though technically a grass, wild rice is also considered a whole grain and is rich in B vitamins, such as niacin and folate.

Whole Rye

According to nutritional research from the nonprofit The Organic Center, rye has more nutrients per 100-calorie serving than any other whole grain. It has four times more fiber than standard whole wheat and provides you with nearly 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of iron. The problem is, most rye and pumpernickel bread in this country is made with refined flours. Be persistent and look for “whole rye” topping the ingredients list to get the healthy benefits.

Freekeh

Yes, freekeh has a crazy name, but it has very serious benefits. This Arabic grain is a low-carb form of ancient wheat that has up to four times more fiber than brown rice. Freekeh kernels are harvested while they’re young and then roasted. They contain more vitamins and minerals, such as immune-boosting selenium, than other grains. Once in your stomach, freekeh acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria that aid digestion. (This is different than a probiotic, which is a beneficial live bacteria you consume). Look for it in Middle Eastern markets or natural-food stores.

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Whole-Grain Barley

Eating a half-cup of whole barley regularly during a 5-week period cut participants’ cholesterol levels by nearly 10 percent when compared to other participants who went without barley in a USDA study. Add raisins or dried apricots to quick-cooking barley and serve it as a side dish. Just make sure it’s whole-grain barley, not “pearled,” which means the bran and germ have been removed.

Buckwheat

This common pancake whole grain is one of the whole grains many people living with celiac disease can tolerate (others include quinoa, amaranth, and sorghum). And it’s one of the best grain-based sources of magnesium, a wonder mineral that does everything from ease PMS symptoms to improve nerve functioning; and manganese, which boosts brain power. And thank goodness for that, because who doesn’t enjoy a good buckwheat pancake from time to time?

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Bulgur

For all practical purposes, bulgur is considered a whole grain, even though up to 5 percent of its bran may be removed during processing. It’s so good for you, though, we’re putting it on the list. The grain, which is used to make tabbouleh salad, is a great source of iron and magnesium. The fiber and protein powerhouse (a cup contains nearly 75 percent of the dietary fiber you need for the day, and 25 percent of the protein you should get) can be used in salads or tossed in soups. And it cooks in only a few minutes.

TTERSTOCK
Carbs get a negative rap because so many people are eating the bad ones—refined carbohydrates in white bread, candy, cookies, sugary cereals, and all sorts of other junk food and drinks. In fact, research has shown that 95 percent of the grains we eat are refined. Eating too many foods with these adulterated ingredients isn’t just bad for watching your weight; it can also raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes, plus raise your levels of blood fats called triglycerides, putting you on the fast track for a heart attack, stroke, or other health issues.The good news is that working the healthiest grains into your diet can help prevent these health problems. Healthy, whole-grain foods are made from cereal grains that include the whole kernel, and research shows that they can protect you from ticker trouble, diabetes, colon cancer, and possibly asthma and Alzheimer’s disease. These 11 grains are worth keeping at the top of your shopping list.

Whole Wheat

This one is pretty easy, as long as you don’t let food marketers trick you. It can be readily found in bread and pasta products, but make sure the label says “100 percent whole wheat.” Terms like “multigrain” and “wheat” don’t cut it. As when you’re shopping for any whole-grain product, look at the ingredients and make sure the whole grain is at or near the top of the list. Each serving should contain at least 2 or 3 grams of fiber

oats
2/11 THINKSTOCK
Whole Oats

Oats are particularly rich in avenanthramide, an antioxidant that protects the heart. When you’re shopping for this whole grain, whether you see the word “whole” or not doesn’t matter the way it does with wheat products. Oats in the ingredients list mean the product is made from whole oats. But, if you are buying something like instant oatmeal, avoid those that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Studies have found that it was a source of mercury contamination in oatmeal. We suggest sticking to the good old-fashioned unsweetened kind and mixing in a little fruit or honey.

Brown Rice

When you choose white rice over brown, around 75 percent of its nutrients—including nearly all the antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins contained in the healthy bran and germ—are left on the milling-room floor. Always opt for brown rice, which includes brown aromatic varieties like basmati and jasmine. Get even more exotic with red and black rice, both of which are considered whole grains and are high in antioxidants. Though technically a grass, wild rice is also considered a whole grain and is rich in B vitamins, such as niacin and folate.

Whole Rye

According to nutritional research from the nonprofit The Organic Center, rye has more nutrients per 100-calorie serving than any other whole grain. It has four times more fiber than standard whole wheat and provides you with nearly 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of iron. The problem is, most rye and pumpernickel bread in this country is made with refined flours. Be persistent and look for “whole rye” topping the ingredients list to get the healthy benefits.

freekeh grain
5/11 BWFOLSOM/GETTY
Freekeh

Yes, freekeh has a crazy name, but it has very serious benefits. This Arabic grain is a low-carb form of ancient wheat that has up to four times more fiber than brown rice. Freekeh kernels are harvested while they’re young and then roasted. They contain more vitamins and minerals, such as immune-boosting selenium, than other grains. Once in your stomach, freekeh acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria that aid digestion. (This is different than a probiotic, which is a beneficial live bacteria you consume). Look for it in Middle Eastern markets or natural-food stores.

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Whole-Grain Barley

Eating a half-cup of whole barley regularly during a 5-week period cut participants’ cholesterol levels by nearly 10 percent when compared to other participants who went without barley in a USDA study. Add raisins or dried apricots to quick-cooking barley and serve it as a side dish. Just make sure it’s whole-grain barley, not “pearled,” which means the bran and germ have been removed.

bowl of buckwheat groats
7/11 GAMZOVA OLGA/ SHUTTERSTOCK
Buckwheat

This common pancake whole grain is one of the whole grains many people living with celiac disease can tolerate (others include quinoa, amaranth, and sorghum). And it’s one of the best grain-based sources of magnesium, a wonder mineral that does everything from ease PMS symptoms to improve nerve functioning; and manganese, which boosts brain power. And thank goodness for that, because who doesn’t enjoy a good buckwheat pancake from time to time?

8/11
Bulgur

For all practical purposes, bulgur is considered a whole grain, even though up to 5 percent of its bran may be removed during processing. It’s so good for you, though, we’re putting it on the list. The grain, which is used to make tabbouleh salad, is a great source of iron and magnesium. The fiber and protein powerhouse (a cup contains nearly 75 percent of the dietary fiber you need for the day, and 25 percent of the protein you should get) can be used in salads or tossed in soups. And it cooks in only a few minutes.

quinoa
9/11 THINKSTOCK
Quinoa

Though it’s technically a seed and not a grain, this ancient South American power food is packed with more protein than any other grain, and each uncooked cup of the stuff (about three servings) has 522 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. Your family will likely enjoy its light, nutty flavor for a change of pace at the dinner table. And it keeps well, so makes an easy make-ahead lunch to pack to work or school. (See the video below for how to do a one-pan make-ahead meal with quinoa, salmon, and roast veggies.)

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Whole-Wheat Couscous

Most of the couscous you see is a form of pasta, usually made from refined wheat flour. So when you’re eyeing the items in the aisle for the healthiest couscous pick, look for the whole-wheat kind, most easily found in natural-food stores. Skipping the refined version and going with the whole-grain type will gain you 5 additional grams of fiber.

Corn

Corn can be extremely healthy for you when it’s whole. A good source of B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus, whole corn is also thought to increase healthy gut flora, which can ward off diabetes, heart disease, and chronic inflammation. Yellow corn is also high in antioxidants. The easiest way to eat it? Popcorn. Just skip the microwavable kinds that use harmful chemicals in the bags’ nonstick lining. Instead, buy organic popcorn kernels and pop them in a microwave using an ordinary paper bag, or do it the old-fashioned way on the stovetop. Buying organic is important, as about 40 percent of the corn grown in the United States is genetically modified (GMO) to withstand higher doses of pesticides.

Organic Grain is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Rodale’s Organic Life

Korean Food Recipe: – Beef Teriyaki

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Korean Food Recipe: – Beef Teriyaki

Ingredients
– Beef
– Spring Mix
– Egg (1)
– Tomato
– Teriyaki Sauce

Cooking Steps

1. You’ll have to prepare a lot of vegetables because it will make the liver stronger. Please rinse thoroughly and hold the sieve to dry the water. I had a spring mix, and it contained some vegetables like lettuce and chicory. If you do not have it, you can either use regular salad greens or just tear or cut lettuce.

 

2. The core is the source and it looks pretty simple. I made it easy to use the tsuyu without complicating the Gatsu-osushi-yaki, but I am proud that the taste is just as good as any other Japanese-style house. Many people think that teriyaki sauce is sweet if you put soy sauce into sweet soy sauce, but if you feel that something is 2% short, please make sure you make all the ingredients I wrote. Put all the teriyaki sauce ingredients in a pan and boil them.

 

3. Is the amount of meat less than you think? I tried to eat a lot of vegetables and deliberately got less amount of meat. Please cut it off properly.

 

4. Bake in a roasted baking pan with nothing to put on a frying pan.

 

5. Pour the teriyaki sauce that has been boiled and boil it until it becomes sticky like the picture below.

 

6. If possible, spread salad greens broadly with shallow bowls or plates.

 

7. Put rice in the middle, 2/3 scope and 1 scope.

8. I put the beef on teriyaki sauce over rice, but if you put a lot of meat on it, you can make it with any amount of vegetables.

Posting source

Lentil Recipes We Love

HEALTHY HAPPY LIFE

Do you ever wish more foods were reliably cheap, healthy and tasty? Good news — lentils are all three. Overlooked by many a supermarket shopper, protein-rich lentils are faster than other types of dried legumes to prepare, and they easily absorb your favorite flavors from other foods and seasonings. As a result, you can never really run out of ways to make them.

If lentils aren’t a staple ingredient in your pantry, they’re about to be. We’ve put together some incredible lentil recipes to get you started, from salads to stews and everything in between. Twenty-five of them to be exact. Get started.

Organic Lentils is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Huffington Post

Black Beans: Health Benefits, Facts, Research

Black beans are classified as legumes. Also known as turtle beans because of their hard, shell-like appearance, black beans are, in fact, the edible seeds of the plant.

Like other legumes, such as peanuts, peas, and lentils, black beans are prized for their high protein and fiber content. They also contain several other key vitamins and minerals that are known to benefit human health.

This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.

It provides a nutritional profile of the black bean and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate black beans into your diet, and any potential health risks of consuming black beans.

Fast facts on black beans

Here are some key points about black beans. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Among other benefits, black beans may help strengthen bones
  • Black beans contain quercetin and saponins which can protect the heart
  • Black beans contain around 114 kilocalories per half-cup

Possible health benefits of consuming black beans

Let’s examine the potential health benefits of black beans:

1) Maintaining healthy bones

black beans
Black beans are high in protein and fiber.

The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc in black beans all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.

Calcium and phosphorus are important in bone structure, while iron and zinc play crucial roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints.

Roughly 99 percent of the body’s calcium supply, 60 percent of its magnesium, and 80 percent of its phosphorus stores are contained in bone; this means it is extremely important to get sufficient amounts of these nutrients from the diet.

2) Lowering blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential for keeping blood pressure at a normal level. Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Be sure to purchase low sodium canned options and still drain and rinse to further reduce sodium content.

3) Managing diabetes

Studies have shown that individuals with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels; additionally, type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup (172 grams) of cooked black beans contributes 15 grams of fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men.

4) Warding off heart disease

The black bean’s fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. The fiber in black beans helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.

The quercetin and saponins found in black beans also aid in cardioprotection. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Research also indicates that saponins help lower blood lipid and blood cholesterol levels, which prevents damage to the heart and blood vessels.

5) Preventing cancer

  • Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables but can be found in black beans. It plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium prevents inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates.
  • Saponins prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading throughout the body.
  • Fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like black beans are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Black beans are high in folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.

6) Healthy digestion

Because of their fiber content, black beans help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. They also provide fuel for the healthy bacteria in the colon.

7) Weight loss

Dietary fiber is commonly recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by functioning as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. High fiber foods increase satiety (a sense of fullness) and reduce appetite, making an individual feel fuller for longer, thereby lowering overall calorie intake.

Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like black beans decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Nutritional profile of black beans

According to the National Nutrient Database one-half cup (86g) of cooked black beans contains approximately:

  • Energy – 114 kilocalories
  • Protein – 7.62 grams
  • Fat – 0.46 grams
  • Carbohydrate – 20.39 grams
  • Fiber – 7.5 grams
  • Sugars – 0.28 grams
  • Calcium – 23 milligrams
  • Iron – 1.81 milligrams
  • Magnesium – 60 milligrams
  • Phosphorus – 120 milligrams
  • Potassium – 305 milligrams
  • Sodium – 1 milligram
  • Zinc – 0.96 milligrams
  • Thiamin – 0.21 milligrams
  • Niacin – 0.434 milligrams
  • Folate – 128 micrograms
  • Vitamin K – 2.8 micrograms

Black beans also offer a variety of phytonutrients like saponins, anthocyanins, kaempferol, and quercetin, all of which possess antioxidant properties.

As with many beans and legumes, black beans contain starch – a form of complex carbohydrate. Starch acts as a “slow burn” energy store that is slowly digested by the body, preventing a spike in blood sugar levels.

Incorporating black beans into your diet

Black beans are available year-round and are often found in grocery stores either dried and packaged or canned. They have a dense, almost meaty texture that makes them a popular source of protein in vegetarian dishes.

If you are using canned black beans, be sure to select those with no added sodium and to drain and rinse them. When preparing dried black beans, it is important to sort (pick out any small rocks or other debris that may have wound up in the package), wash, and soak them in water for at least 8-10 hours before cooking in order to achieve optimum flavor and texture.

You can tell they are finished soaking when you can split them easily between your fingers. Soaking dried legumes reduces the amount of time needed to cook them, and also helps remove some of the oligosaccharides that cause gastrointestinal distress. Soaking beans for longer periods can help to reduce phytates, which may reduce mineral absorption.

Quick tips:

black bean tacos
Mix black beans with vegetables, cheese, and salsa to create a delicious taco salad.
  • Make a hearty black bean soup by blending cooked black beans with onions, tomatoes, and your favorite spices
  • Add black beans to burritos
  • Blend cooked black beans with garlic, onion, fresh cilantro, and lime juice for a quick and easy bean dip
  • Mix black beans, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sharp cheddar cheese, and salsa together for a simple taco salad

Try these healthy recipes using black beans:

Black bean burgers with chipotle mango guacamole
Poblano chilaquiles
Veggie fajitas
Healthy two-grain southwest salad
Heart-healthy chipotle chili

Potential health risks of consuming black beans

Legumes contain oligosaccharides known as galactans – complex sugars that the body cannot digest because it lacks the necessary enzyme – alpha-galactosidase.

Because of this, the consumption of legumes, including black beans, is known to cause some people intestinal gas and discomfort.

If you experience these symptoms associated with legume intake, you may consider slowly introducing them into your diet. Another option is to soak beans longer, opt for sprouted beans, and/or drain the water used to soak dried legumes. This removes two oligosaccharides, raffinose, and stachyose, and eliminates some of the digestive issues.

It is the total overall eating pattern that is most important in preventing disease and attaining good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Lentils?

Lentils are a rich source of dietary fiber.

Lentils are a rich source of dietary fiber.

Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods like lentils can lessen your risk of many serious medical problems. Lentils are not only one of the oldest commonly consumed legumes in history, but they are also one of the simplest to prepare since they don’t require a lengthy soaking time like other beans. Some people may experience flatulence and abdominal discomfort when initially adding legumes like lentils into their diet. Cookbook author Mark Bittman recommends incorporating lentils into regular meals slowly, over a period of weeks, and using a commercial digestive aid.

Dietary Fiber

A single cup of cooked lentils contains 16 grams of dietary fiber, or 63 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for an adult man or woman on a 2,000-calorie diet. Lentils contain some soluble fiber, but are an outstanding source of insoluble fiber. According to The Cancer Project, a diet that includes plenty of insoluble fiber can regulate bowel movements, promote digestive system health and may significantly decrease the risk of colon, breast, throat and esophageal cancer. Fiber-rich foods like lentils may also help prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.

Lean Protein

Cooked lentils provide 18 grams of protein per cup, with less than 1 gram of fat, negligible saturated fat and no cholesterol. When compared to beef, poultry and fish, all of which are good sources of protein but contain much higher amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, the Harvard School of Public Health names legumes such as lentils a better protein choice. A 2012 study published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine” reported that substituting lean protein sources like beans for red meat could lower your overall risk of dying from most diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Lentils do not contain all of the amino acids required by the body for protein synthesis. Combine them with a grain like rice or whole-wheat bread for a meal providing complete protein.

Folate

Each cup of cooked lentils has 358 micrograms of folate. This amount supplies nearly 100 percent of the 400-microgram daily requirement of folate for adults. Folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B-9, supports nervous system health, aids in energy metabolism and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and red blood cells. If your diet lacks adequate folate, you may be more likely to develop cancer, depression, heart disease and age-related vision or hearing loss. It is especially important for pregnant women to include folate-rich foods like lentils in their diets. Pregnant women who eat at least 600 micrograms of folate daily may lessen the risk of their child being born with a birth defect.

Iron

A cup of lentils provides 87 percent of the iron men need daily and 38 percent of the amount a woman needs. The body uses iron to produce red blood cells and adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. People who are deficient in iron may develop anemia or neurological problems like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The iron in plant-based foods like lentils is nonheme iron, a form of iron that is not absorbed as easily as the heme iron in meat, poultry and fish. You can increase the amount of iron you get from lentils by eating the legumes with meat or with a rich source of vitamin C. Serve lentils in meat-based soups or braises, or toss them into salads featuring dark, leafy greens and orange or grapefruit segments.

Organic Black Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Medical News Today

What Are the Benefits of Eating Lentils?

Lentils are a rich source of dietary fiber.

Lentils are a rich source of dietary fiber.

Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods like lentils can lessen your risk of many serious medical problems. Lentils are not only one of the oldest commonly consumed legumes in history, but they are also one of the simplest to prepare since they don’t require a lengthy soaking time like other beans. Some people may experience flatulence and abdominal discomfort when initially adding legumes like lentils into their diet. Cookbook author Mark Bittman recommends incorporating lentils into regular meals slowly, over a period of weeks, and using a commercial digestive aid.

Dietary Fiber

A single cup of cooked lentils contains 16 grams of dietary fiber, or 63 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for an adult man or woman on a 2,000-calorie diet. Lentils contain some soluble fiber, but are an outstanding source of insoluble fiber. According to The Cancer Project, a diet that includes plenty of insoluble fiber can regulate bowel movements, promote digestive system health and may significantly decrease the risk of colon, breast, throat and esophageal cancer. Fiber-rich foods like lentils may also help prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.

Lean Protein

Cooked lentils provide 18 grams of protein per cup, with less than 1 gram of fat, negligible saturated fat and no cholesterol. When compared to beef, poultry and fish, all of which are good sources of protein but contain much higher amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, the Harvard School of Public Health names legumes such as lentils a better protein choice. A 2012 study published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine” reported that substituting lean protein sources like beans for red meat could lower your overall risk of dying from most diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Lentils do not contain all of the amino acids required by the body for protein synthesis. Combine them with a grain like rice or whole-wheat bread for a meal providing complete protein.

Folate

Each cup of cooked lentils has 358 micrograms of folate. This amount supplies nearly 100 percent of the 400-microgram daily requirement of folate for adults. Folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B-9, supports nervous system health, aids in energy metabolism and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and red blood cells. If your diet lacks adequate folate, you may be more likely to develop cancer, depression, heart disease and age-related vision or hearing loss. It is especially important for pregnant women to include folate-rich foods like lentils in their diets. Pregnant women who eat at least 600 micrograms of folate daily may lessen the risk of their child being born with a birth defect.

Iron

A cup of lentils provides 87 percent of the iron men need daily and 38 percent of the amount a woman needs. The body uses iron to produce red blood cells and adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. People who are deficient in iron may develop anemia or neurological problems like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The iron in plant-based foods like lentils is nonheme iron, a form of iron that is not absorbed as easily as the heme iron in meat, poultry and fish. You can increase the amount of iron you get from lentils by eating the legumes with meat or with a rich source of vitamin C. Serve lentils in meat-based soups or braises, or toss them into salads featuring dark, leafy greens and orange or grapefruit segments.

Organic Lentils is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on SF Gate

8 Surprisingly Fast and Delicious Lentil Recipes

Food & Wine: 8 Surprisingly Fast and Delicious Lentil Recipes

Spiced Lentils with Mushrooms and Greens © Tina Rupp

When it comes to lentils, there’s a lot to love. Hearty, healthy and delicious, lentils absorb flavors from other foods and seasonings while providing a great source of fiber and protein. While they can take hours of simmering, there are ways to quickly prepare lentils for an easy weeknight dinner. Here are eight surprisingly fast lentil recipes to try now:

When it comes to lentils, there’s a lot to love. Hearty, healthy and delicious, lentils absorb flavors from other foods and seasonings while providing a great source of fiber and protein. While they can take hours of simmering, there are ways to quickly prepare lentils for an easy weeknight dinner. Here are eight surprisingly fast lentil recipes to try now:

1. Spiced Lentils with Mushrooms and Greens
Eat these stewy lentils as a light lunch or serve alongside roasted cauliflower with raisins.

2. Beet and Red Cabbage Salad with Lentils and Blue Cheese
Because there are so many ingredients, including bacon, lentils and cabbage, this salad is dressed very simply with lemon juice and olive oil.

Food & Wine:

3. Red Lentil & Chicken Curry
Spiced with fragrant yellow curry, this stew of rich red lentils and chunks of chicken is the perfect dinner entrée.

Food & Wine:

4. Tortilla Soup with Lentils
This comforting, thick soup is perfect for a cold winter day, and its fun and colorful garnishes will liven up any meal.

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5. Spiced Red Lentils
The heat in this deeply satisfying red lentil dish—called misir wat in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia—comes mainly from berbere, the ground Ethiopian spice blend that includes chile pepper, cardamom, coriander, ajwain and fenugreek.

Food & Wine:

6. Lentils with Smoked Sausage and Carrots
A good-quality, at least slightly hot mustard from France, Germany or England is the perfect accompaniment for this. Put a dollop on your plate and dip each forkful into it.

Food & Wine:

7. Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lentils and Dates
Main-course salads are perfect for light dinners; this one—with nourishing lentils, almonds and plenty of spice-roasted cauliflower—is delicious and satisfying.

Food & Wine:

8. Goat Cheese, Lentil and Potato Salad
This combination of warm potatoes and lentils, tossed with soft, creamy goat cheese and a tangy dressing, is utterly delicious.

Organic Grains and Beans are available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Food and Wine

 

10 Amazing Benefits Of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are extremely beneficial for health, but are often overlooked. They include the ability to prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure, prevent a wide variety of cancers, build strong bones, protect against radiation, increase heart health, help cure sleep disorders, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, boost respiratory health, strengthen your oral health, aid in healthy growth, improve circulation, detoxify the body, and eliminate depression and chronic stress.

Sesame seeds are derived from an unremarkable plant of the Sesamum genus and bears the scientific name of Sesamum indicum. Sesame seeds are considered the oldest oil seed crop in the world, and have been cultivated for more than 3,500 years. Evidence of their native forms are both in Africa and in India, places where they are still widely cultivated. It is extremely resilient, and grows in places where many other crops fail, which is why it was so heavily relied on throughout the ages.

Although it is a seed, it can still bother people with nut allergies, and it has a distinctly nutty flavor. Many of the health benefits are derived from the oils, which are found in higher concentrations in sesame seeds that in any other oilseed crop in the world. The sesame plant is no more than 3 feet tall, and the seeds are released from small pods along the plants’ axes.

The seeds themselves are very small, only 3-4 mm long and 2 mm wide, yet 3.85 million metric tonnes are produced every year! The seeds comes in a wide variety of colors, depending on the variety or strain of the sesame plant. The seeds can be purchased either shelled or unshelled. They are commonly added to salads, as an ingredient or topping for bread and grain products, crackers, sushi, cakes, soups, breading for fish and meat, and a wide variety of other applications. You can find sesame seeds in almost every cultural cuisine in some way. This wide spread is due to its availability, health benefits, and pleasant flavor.

Nutritional Value Of Sesame Seeds

The many health benefits of sesame seeds are due to its nutritional content, including vitamins, minerals, natural oils, and organic compounds which consist of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc, fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, protein, and tryptophan. The wide range of health benefits are explained in greater detail below.

Health Benefits Of Sesame Seeds

Blood Pressure: The natural oils of sesame seeds have been connected to a reduction in hypertension in a number of research studies, which reduces the strain on your cardiovascular system, and helps prevent various cardiac conditions. Furthermore, magnesium has long been known as a vasodilator (an agent that reduces blood pressure) and sesame seeds are packed with this essential mineral, containing up to 25% of your daily requirement in a single serving.

sesameseedsCancer Prevention: With the wide range of essential vitamins and minerals contained in sesame seeds, it is no surprise that it has been linked to a reduction in the risk of cancer. Beyond the role of these more common minerals, including the powerful anti-carcinogenic effects of magnesium, sesame seeds also contain phytate, an uncommon cancer preventing compound that functions as an antioxidant and reduces the impact and effects of free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that have been connected to many forms of cancer and various other conditions like heart diseases, premature aging, and cognitive malfunctions. Specific cancer prevention that sesame seeds have been linked to include leukemia, breast, lung, pancreatic, colon, and prostate cancers.

Diabetes Management: The components of sesame seeds, including the vital magnesium, have been connected to reducing the chances of diabetes and managing the symptoms in patients having already developed the condition. Furthermore, it has been shown that sesame seed oil can positively effect the impact of various diabetic medications like glibenclamide in patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes. It improves this oral medication’s functionality and further regulates the insulin and glucose levels in the body, thereby helping to manage the symptoms of diabetes.

Bone Health:  The impressive levels of essential minerals like zinc, calcium, and phosphorous that are found in sesame seeds can be a major boost for your body’s bone health. These minerals are integral parts in creating new bone matter, and strengthening/repairing bones that may be weakened by injury or the onset of debilitating bone conditions like osteoporosis.

Digestion: These little seeds pack a significant amount of fiber inside of them, like many other seeds and nuts. Fiber is an important element in healthy digestion, as it bulks up bowel movements and helps them move through the digestive tract, as well as stimulating peristaltic motion as food moves through the smooth intestine. This can reduce conditions like constipation, as well as diarrhea, while simultaneously protecting the health of your colon and reducing the chances of gastrointestinal diseases and cancer. Fiber also works for your heart, by scraping out dangerous LDL cholesterol from arteries and blood vessels, thereby protecting against atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

Anti-Inflammatory Qualities: The high content of copper in sesame seeds has a number of valuable functions, including the reduction of inflammation in joints, bones, and muscles, thereby reducing the associated pain of arthritis. Furthermore, copper is an essential mineral for strengthening blood vessel walls, bones, and joints. Finally, copper is necessary for the proper uptake of iron, a key component of hemoglobin. Therefore, proper copper content in the body maximizes circulation and ensures that the organ systems of the entire body receive enough oxygen to function properly.

sesameseedinfo02Radiation Protection: One of the unusual organic compounds in sesame seeds is called sesamol, and it has been associated with protecting DNA from the harmful effects of radiation. This radiation could come from accidental sources, or from the treatment of cancer with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. By protecting DNA from mutation due to radiation, sesame seeds can boost strength and reduce the chances of contracting other forms of cancer due to cellular mutation.

Oral Health: Perhaps the most notable effects of sesame seeds are its powerful effects on oral health. The process called oil pulling, in which certain amounts of sesame seed oil is swished around the mouth, can have a strong antibacterial and astringent effect on all aspects of oral health. It is also closely associated with reducing the presence of the Streptococcus bacteria, a common bacteria that can wreak havoc on your oral cavities and other parts of your body.

Skin and Hair Health: As mentioned, sesame seeds contain high levels of zinc, a vital component in the formation of collagen, which strengthens muscle tissue, hair, and skin. Also, sesame seed oil has been shown to reduce the appearance of burns and marks on the skin, as well as reducing the signs of premature aging.

Metabolic Function: Sesame seeds contain high amounts of protein, which is broken down and reassembled from its component parts into usable proteins for the human body. This adds to overall strength, healthy cellular growth, mobility, energy levels and metabolic function.

Words of Cautin: Excessive consumption of sesame seeds can cause irritation in the stomach and colon. They can also show up on drug tests due to their small amount of THC. However, both of these things occur when it is consumed in very large amounts.

Where do sesame seeds come from?

Sesame seeds come from the sesame plant, which is native to parts of Asia and East Africa. There are many varieties of sesame seeds, and they remain one of the most widespread and popular seeds in the world. The seeds are initially in a black hull inside a pod, so once those seeds are removed, they must be hulled, stripped of their shell, so they can be added to your hamburger bun!

Are sesame seeds nuts?

Sesame seeds are not nuts, although many people treat them the same way. There is a reason for this occasional fear of sesame seeds, since many of the same allergenic chemicals and proteins found in nuts are also in sesame seeds. Therefore, if you are allergic to some types of nuts, it would be wise to speak to your allergist about sesame seeds. However, scientifically speaking, sesame seeds are just seeds!

What is sesame?

Sesame is the name for both a plant and the seeds of that plant, which we come across in culinary preparations around the world, as well as certain natural health practices. Sesame, as a word, is derived from the Latin sesamum or Arabic semsem. Both of these words provide roots for things meaning “oil” or “liquid fat”. Sesame oil and seeds are highly sought after around the world for their nutrients and components.

How to roast sesame seeds?

You can roast or toast sesame seeds very easily, simply by spreading the seeds out in a pan (no more than 1 cup at a time) and move the pan continuously, ensuring that seeds keep moving and don’t burn. You want a nice even brown color on the seeds, not black, and if you start to smell an acrid or strong smell, they’ve begun to burn. You can also set them on a baking sheet and cook them at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

Are sesame seeds healthy?

Sesame seeds are very healthy, which is one of the reasons they are so popular in culinary preparations. Sesame seeds are packed with unique organic compounds, such as sesamolin, as well as minerals like copper, calcium, iron and manganese, as well as vitamins and fiber. Sesame seeds may be small, but they pack a major health punch, and can help with everything from digestion and circulation to bone strength and inflammation.

Where to buy sesame seeds?

You can buy sesame seeds at all major grocery stores and natural health food stores. Basically, sesame seeds are available everywhere, as they are one of the most popular types of seeds in the world. Ranging from GNC and Walmart to the smallest herbalist and natural health practitioner, sesame seeds are easily sourced.

How to eat black sesame seeds?

You should soak the black sesame seeds in water overnight to make them more easily digestible, and you can then sprinkle them on your salads, in your yogurt, or even blended in a smoothie. They are rich in B vitamins and iron, as well as calcium and zinc.

What are sesame seeds good for?

Sesame seeds are particularly good for optimizing digestion. The fiber they contain can help to ease constipation and improve your nutrient retention. Sesame seeds can help to improve blood pressure, build strong bones and protect the immune system. For oral health, sesame seeds are excellent, and are commonly eaten as a digestive. Finally, they can even detoxify the body and lead to lower stress levels.

How many calories in sesame seeds?

There is a surprisingly high number of calories in sesame seeds – approximately 50 calories in a single tablespoon. However, this is due to the concentrated nature of these seeds, which are overflowing with minerals, vitamins and organic compounds that the body needs. While eating an excessive amount of sesame seeds isn’t suggested, using them sparingly in your meals and adding them to your diet when possible is a very good idea.

How to use sesame seeds?

Sesame seeds can be used in a variety of ways, either added as a sprinkled topping on salads or stews, mixed into bread, ground into a thin paste like hummus, or even blended into a powder and mixed with various smoothies. Sesame oil is also very popular and potent for natural health remedies, ranging from topical applications on the body to using the oil as a digestive or anti-inflammatory substance.

Organic sesame Seed is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Organic Facts

9 Amazing Benefits Of Organic Food

Organic food is extremely popular and everyone wants to know about their benefits. The sweeping public opinion that organic food is healthier than conventional food is quite strong, and is the main reason for increase in its demand in its demand over the past 5-6 years. Organic Facts is a strong proponent of organic food; however, this website also believes in putting across the most accurate facts to its visitors.

This article will explain what organic food is, how it is beneficial and what are the standards for the same. This is to substantiate the public opinion that we have on organic food being good for the health.

First of all, there is a small amount of scientific evidence to show that organic food is better in quality than conventional food. Scientific research conducted thus far on various organic food items has not been able to give strong evidence about the superiority of organic food over non-organic food. This is more so because bulk of the scientific research is based on funding provided by the governments and industry.

As a result, even the FDA and the USDA clearly mention that non-organic food is as healthy as organic food. However, there are some scientific studies that have proved organic milk and organic tomatoes to be better than the non-organic varieties. Studies are also ongoing about a variety of other types of organic food that may have additional health benefits compared to the non-organic varieties.

Organic Milk

organicfood5

Recent research conducted on organic milk has shown that it has more antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and vitamins than non-organic milk. According to the researchers at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Research at the University of Aberdeen and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, organic milk is healthier than non-organic milk, since organic cows are pasture grazed which results in the better quality of milk.

Organic Tomatoes

According to a 10-year study conducted by the University of California, Davis, organic tomatoes are produced in an environment that has a lower nutrient supply since nitrogen-rich chemical fertilizers are not added. This leads to an excessive formation of antioxidants, such as quercetin (79% higher) and kaempferol (97% higher) in organic tomatoes. As we all know, antioxidants are good for health and help in reducing heart disease and the chances of developing cancer.

These studies have increased the hopes of numerous people who strongly believe that mankind should stop using chemical fertilizers and pesticides and shift to more sustainable organic farming practices. There are many studies that prove that there is some pesticide and fertilizer contamination in non-organic food, and there are others which claim that organic food is not healthy because they contain harmful bacteria and viruses because of not using strong chemicals to protect against these toxic substances. However, none of these studies that show chemical contamination or the presence of bacteria/viruses show any direct impact on the overall health of individuals.

Health Benefits Of Organic Food

In general, organic food consumers, manufacturers, and farmers strongly believe that organic food has the following benefits compared to conventional food.
Antioxidant Capacity

A number of studies have been completed regarding the effects of antioxidants derived from organic foods on your overall health, and the predominant results have shown that antioxidants tend to have more of an impact when they come from organic foods. This may be due to the fact that foreign chemicals are not negatively interacting with the different vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that are so essential for the positive impact of fruits and vegetables in the prevention of things like cancer, heart disease, premature aging, vision problems, and cognitive malfunction. Recent research suggests that choosing organic food can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals.

Pesticide Reduction

One of the major complaints that organic food consumers cite when choosing organic over non-organic is the presence of pesticides. In order to keep crops from being attacked by the natural world, including bugs, pesticides are required. Although they do a good job keeping certain pests away from the crops, they also are composed of powerful chemicals like organophosphorus. This is an unnatural mineral compound that is not required by humans, but more than 80% of this material in our bodies comes from eating pesticide-coated foods. Organophosphorus has been connected to a number of developmental problems, including autism and ADHD, so those organic food lovers do have a pretty strong argument in this case. To be fair, many people do choose to go organic to make sure that their children grow up healthy and unaffected by the toxins of the world during their developmental years.

Heart Health

Increased amount of time grazing on grass also increases the amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) that can be found in the animal products. CLA is a heart-healthy fatty acid that can boost cardiovascular protection, and it is found in higher quantities in breast milk and in meatfor animals that have been raised free range or cage-free.

Immune System

In recent decades, one of the biggest projects for farmers and food growers has been genetic modification. Making tomatoes six times larger might sound like a possible option for solving some world hunger issues, but there is another side to it. Genetic modification is still in its early stages, so the long-term effects of it on human health aren’t understood as well as we would like. In animal testing genetically modified food showed a major reduction in immune system strength, an increase in birth mortality, as well as in certain sexual dysfunctions, cancers, and sensitivity to allergens. Although there are some good things about genetically modified food, organic food advocates point to the lack of concrete details about the long-term effects.

Antibiotic Resistance

People are very sensitive to issues of their health, and they often take precautions to make sure they remain healthy, like getting various vaccines and taking antibiotics as soon as a new strain of bacteria makes them ill. However, non-organic food sources, particularly livestock and feed houses, also use antibiotics to feed their animals. This extra dose of antibiotics may actually be weakening our immune system by basically overdosing on antibiotics, thereby reshaping our immune system so many times that it will eventually be unable to defend itself. Organic food growers and dairy farmers do not use antibiotics in their processes.

Overall Health

Since organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers, it does not contain any traces of these strong chemicals and might not affect the human body in negative ways. Natural fertilizers, like manure, work perfectly fine, and organic farmers are happy to use this smellier, yet safer, form of fertilizer.

Better Taste

Some people strongly believe that organic food tastes better than conventional food. The prominent reason for this belief is that it is produced using organic means of production. Furthermore, organic food is often sold locally, resulting in availability of fresh produce in the market, which usually does taste better than produce that has been frozen, shipped, and transported across long distances.Environmental Safety

As harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air and water pollution; thus ensuring a safer and healthier world for future generations to live in.

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is an important aspect of producing organic milk, organic meat, organic poultry, and organic fish. People feel happy that the animals are not confined to a miserable caged life when they eat organic animal products.

The below FAQs will help you understand organic food and its benefits in a better way

organicfoodinfo0What is Organic Food?

Organic food refers to food items that are prepared according to the norms set by an organic certifying body. On an overall basis, organic food is food prepared and processed without using any chemicals. That is, organic food production does not involve the use of chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides, or chemical preservatives.

The USDA categories food products into the following sections:

100% organic: Must contain 100% organically produced ingredients.

Organic: Must contain at least 95% organic ingredients.

Made of organic ingredients: Must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.

Have some organic ingredients: May contain less than 70% organic ingredients.

Is It Good for Health?

Normally people believe that organic food is better for your health than conventional food. However, the USDA and the FDA clearly state that conventional food is as healthy as organic food. Scientific research has also not been able to conclusively prove that organic food is healthier than conventional food because there has been counter research too to prove conventional food is better than organic one. The exceptions are organic milk and organic tomatoes. Recent studies on organic milk and organic tomatoes have shown that these food products are healthier than non-organic milk and non-organic tomatoes, respectively.

Where Can I Buy Organic Food?

Some of the best avenues for buying it are given below:

Directly from an organic farm

Local organic food markets

Health food stores

Retail chains such as Walmart or Whole Foods

Conventional stores that also stock organic food

Online

How Do I Know Something is Organic?

Organic food can be identified with the help of an organic logo on the packet. Companies, farmers, manufacturers, and suppliers, which follow all the norms set by a certifying body of their region, can put a logo of that certifying body on their food items.

Are Standards the Same for All Organic Food Products?

No, since the mode of production and processing is different for different food items, the standards are also different. For example, the standards for organic honey production are different from the standards for organic milk production or organic coconut oil production. Note that the standards vary from region to region. Some countries may follow a uniform set of codes. For example, about 18 countries follow the rules set by the International Olive Oil Council for organic olive oil production. However, there are some countries such as the US, which have their own standards for organic olive oil production.

Should I look for the word organic on the food item?

Yes, you should look for the word “Organic”. However, you should also check the logo of the certifying body.

It is illegal to sell non-organic food with an organic label. However, there have been cases of fraud before, which when brought to the attention of the authorities, have been dealt with strongly. Therefore, you should always check the logo of the certifying body properly and you should buy organic food items that have an authentic label on them.

Does organic food cost more than conventional food?

Yes, organic food normally costs 20% to 100% more than conventional food. Organic food production is generally labour-intentsive and involves the use of organic fertilizers and organic pesticides, which are more expensive than chemical fertilizers and pesticides. That is why it costs more.

Can I produce it in my garden or farm

You can also produce organic food in your garden, organic gardening is a very common hobby for many people. you do not need any permission to produce it. However, if you intend to sell organic food, you need to follow the guidelines set by a certifying agency and get approval from them for using their logo.

Is organic food the same as natural food?

No, organic food refers to food items prepared without using chemicals. Natural food refers to food items that are only minimally processed.

Is it safe for children?

Many parents believe that organic food is safer for their children, since it does not contain any chemical pesticides and fertilizers. However, there is no scientific research to prove this.

Does it contain more nutrients?

So far, scientific research has proven this only for organic milk and organic tomatoes. Organic milk has more omega-3, CLA, vitamins, and antioxidants than non-organic milk. Similarly, organic tomatoes have more antioxidants than non-organic tomatoes. Recent research suggests that choosing organic food can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals.

Organic Grains & Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Organic Facts

Make a Great Grocery List in Minutes

Having a well-planned grocery list gets you in and out of the store quickly and helps you stick to your healthy eating plan.

Use these tips and in just a few minutes, you’ll have a blueprint for a cart full of groceries that won’t bust your budget or diet.

Organize your grocery shopping list by aisle. Follow these tips for filling that list with the healthiest foods from each aisle.

1. Bakery and Bread

On Your List:

  • Whole wheat bread, pita pockets, and English muffins
  • Whole-grain flour tortillas

Look for the words “whole wheat” or “whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient on the label.

Choose whole-grain breads that contain at least 3 to 4 grams of fiber and have fewer than 100 calories per slice.

2. Meat and Seafood

On Your List:

  • Skinless chicken or turkey breasts
  • Ground turkey or chicken
  • Salmon, halibut, trout, mackerel, or your favorite seafood
  • Reduced-sodium lunchmeat (turkey, roast beef)

If you buy red meat, choose the leanest cuts — ones with very little marbling.

Eat ground chicken or ground turkey breast instead of ground beef. These are much lower in fat. Get creative with the condiments and you’ll get flavor without the fat.

3. Pasta and Rice

On Your List:

  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat or whole-grain pasta

Again, favor whole grains whenever possible.

4. Oils, Sauces, Salad Dressings, and Condiments

On Your List:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Mustard
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Red-wine vinegar
  • Salsa
  • Extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, nonfat cooking spray
  • Jarred capers and olives
  • Hot pepper sauce

Many sauces and condiments are surprisingly high in sodium and sugar. Look for sugar-free varieties. Keep track of sodium levels, especially if you’re cutting back on salt.

Replace mayonnaise and other high-fat condiments with options like salsa and hot sauce, or choose light mayonnaise.

5. Cereals and Breakfast Foods

On Your List:

  • Whole-grain or multigrain cereals
  • Steel-cut or instant oatmeal
  • Whole-grain cereal bars

Buy cereals and cereal bars that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Use berries, dried fruit, or nuts to add sweetness to your cereal.

6. Soups and Canned Goods

On Your List:

  • Diced or whole peeled tomatoes
  • Tuna or salmon packed in water
  • Low-sodium soups and broths
  • Black, kidney, soy, or garbanzo beans; lentils, split peas
  • Diced green chilies

Check the label to see how much sodium is in canned vegetables and soups. Look for lower-sodium varieties.

When buying canned fruits, choose brands that are packed in juice rather than syrup.

7. Frozen Foods

On Your List:

  • Frozen vegetables: broccoli, spinach, peas, and carrots (no sauce)
  • Frozen fruit: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries (without added sugar)
  • Frozen shrimp
  • Pre-portioned, low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Whole-grain waffles
  • Whole-grain vegetable pizza

Buy frozen vegetables to throw into soups, casseroles, and stews.

Low-fat frozen yogurt blended with frozen fruit makes a quick, healthy smoothie.

8. Dairy, Cheese, and Eggs

On Your List:

  • Skim or low-fat milk or soymilk
  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat cheese or string cheese snacks
  • Eggs or egg substitutes
  • Firm tofu
  • Butter or spread (a variety that doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils)

    If you like whole-fat cheeses and butter, you don’t have to deprive yourself. Just use smaller portions.

    Buy strong-flavored cheeses like Parmesan or goat cheese, so that you can use a smaller amount without sacrificing taste.

    Don’t buy pre-sweetened or flavored yogurts, which can be very high in sugar and calories. Instead, buy plain yogurt and add your own flavor with a tablespoon of fresh fruit or jam.

    9. Snacks and Crackers

    On Your List:

    • Whole-grain crackers
    • Dried fruit: apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, cranberries
    • Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios (roasted and unsalted)
    • Seeds: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, whole or ground flaxseeds
    • Peanut butter, almond, or soy butter
    • Hummus
    • Dark chocolate pieces (containing more than 70% cocoa)

    10. Produce

    On Your List:

    • Fruit: bananas, apples, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries
    • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, baby spinach, broccoli, carrot sticks

    Look for a large variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. They have the most nutrients.

    Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and locally grown. They taste better and cost less.

    Precut fruits and vegetables save you prep time.

    11. Drinks

    On Your List:

    • Unsweetened green and flavored teas
    • Calcium-fortified orange juice
    • Sparkling water

    If you buy juice, make sure it’s 100% fruit juice and not a “juice drink,” or “-ade.”

    An easy at-home recipe is to add fruit juice to sparkling water.