I talk a lot about money these days, and well, so does everyone else. Money is not the most important thing in life, of course, but it does tend to dictate certain decisions like what clothes you buy, type of car, where you go to school, if you go to college, etc.
One thing I refuse to let it dictate is good nutrition. Now that is not to say that in certain circumstances proper nutrition is at risk because of lack of funds, but for most, proper nutrition is affordable.
Here is a list of common foods that are just as rich in antioxidants and phytochemials as higher priced exotic berries and potions that come and go in the nutrition media world. In addition to being lower in cost, they are easier to find than those overpriced gimmick type foods!
Many fall favorites are on this list:
Apples: Polyphenols are the major antioxidant present in apples along with vitamin C. Phenolic compounds are highest in the apple peel. I do encourage eating the peel and therefore encourage organic apples. To help lower pesticide residue on regular apples, rinse apples under running water and wipe thoroughly prior to eating.
Dried beans: I talk about these all the time! They are so inexpensive and so easy to cook. Cook them in batches and freeze for later. Red kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans contain the highest amount of phytochemicals compared to other beans.
Cranberries: Whole berries offer anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and possible anti-cancer properties. Similar to apples, most of the benefit is in the skin. Dried cranberries also provide phytonutrient benefits and are available all year. Also, remember that cranberries freeze well, so while they are in season, grab an extra bag and toss in the freeze for use later.
Sweet potatoes: Rich in anthocyanins, beta-carotene and vitamin C, sweet potatoes are a welcome inexpensive source of valuable nutrients this fall and beyond.
Coffee: Pholyphenols in coffee have proactive effects that help reduce cancer and diabetes risk.
Green tea: Green tea has been shown to have eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in many fruits and vegetables. In fact, a study of regular tea drinkers (two or more cups a day) showed that they had less heart disease, stroke and lower cholesterol than non-tea drinkers.
The July/August 2012 Supermarket Savvy newsletter was used as a source for some of this information.
For recipes using many of these nutrient-rich foods, click here and search the recipe data base.
Until next time: eat well, live well.