Don’t stress; just eat well with superfoods

Published 11:14 am Sunday, April 15, 2012

Being directed to eat when you are stressed sounds like a not-so-good idea.

However, if you are eating the right foods during the day, you can change the way your body reacts to stress. Any food with a potent source of antioxidants has stress- and inflammation-fighting qualities. But do you have a stockpile of these foods in your kitchen?

Here are a few of my favorites.

 Super Fruit

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•Wild Blueberries: One of the top sources of antioxidants in the fruit world and one of the only naturally blue foods, these little fruits are packed with nutrients to help your body defend against inflammation. Find frozen wild blueberries in the freezer section and add them to yogurt, oatmeal, muffins, salads and side dishes.

 Super Vegetable

•Broccoli: A good source of antioxidants, fiber, electrolytes and phytonutrients. Try it fresh with your favorite hummus, or steam or roast it until crisp-tender. Available year-round in the produce section.

 Super Grain

•Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah): A grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It serves high-quality protein and plenty of fiber. The rice-like granules contain ample magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin E, riboflavin and more iron than true grains. Boil some broth, add quinoa, and in 12 minutes you will have a side dish suitable to partner with any vegetable.

 Super Dairy

•Non-Fat Greek Yogurt: Provides double the protein of most regular yogurts. Also an excellent source of calcium and loaded with friendly bacteria (the probiotics which promote good digestion and boost immunity). Packed in easy-to-go portioned containers for a quick and nutritious burst of afternoon energy.

 Super Legume

•Edamame (green soybeans): Typically low in fat, containing no cholesterol, and high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. Edamame is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber. The only complete protein found in the plant world, edamame can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more cholesterol and saturated fat. Use them like green peas — add them to your favorite salad, side dish or stew.

 Super Protein

•Salmon: You can’t beat the omega-3 content found in salmon. Omega-3s are protective nutrients against inflammation. Consuming at least one 3-ounce portion of fatty fish like salmon has been found to reduce the risk for sudden cardiac arrest by 70 percent. Try salmon on a berry salad with a light vinaigrette, or wrap it up in a heart-healthy, whole grain wrap with a load of veggies.

 Super Spice

•Basil: A common herb used primarily in pasta sauces or pizza, but did you know that basil contains essential oils that function as potent anti-inflammatory agents, which could play a role in reducing inflammatory diseases? Maximize the antioxidant benefits by adding larger amounts of fresh basil to your recipes. Grow some on your windowsill today!

Edamame with cranberries, feta and basil

Serves 4

A seriously delicious recipe; you will want seconds!

 All you need

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen, shelled edamame

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

 All you do

1. Cook edamame in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Pat dry.

2. Toss edamame, cranberries, basil, olive oil and pepper together in a medium bowl. Gently stir in feta cheese. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Nutrition Facts: 323 calories, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 17 mg cholesterol, 26 g carbs, 223 mg sodium, 16 g protein 6 g fiber.