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Everyday Superfoods You Probably Have at Home Right Now

We hear about so-called Superfood everyday. One week we're supposed to eat blueberries, the next flax, and the week after that Chia and Pomegranates. But, what we don't hear about are the everyday foods that can give us superdoses of important nutrients   These are ingredients with extraordinary nutritional value that most folks eat regularly.  

Everyday superfoods

We'd hazard a bet that you probably have most of these superfoods in your fridge right now. TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), a nonprofit weight-loss support organization, shared ten ‘super foods’ that you already have at home. We added some ideas for easily incorporating them into your daily diet.

Beans

Beans (also known as legumes), including kidney, black, white and red beans, chick peas, and lentils are a powerful source of protein and complex carbohydrates, as well as fiber and important vitamins and minerals.  Eating beans has been proven to help reduce cholesterol levels, body weight, the risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and some instances of cancer.  Add a variety of beans to your meal, whether they are fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. Try 3-Bean Vegetarian Chili or Lentil Soup with Spinach.

Celery

Celery is a simple, yet important vegetable, offering vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can reduce cholesterol and protect against cancer.  Add celery to soups, stews, meats, side dishes, and other meals. Try browsing this NY Times feature on celery

Garlic

With a distinct flavor and fragrance, garlic contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties that protect against heart disease, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and provide anti-clotting features.  It also offers vitamins C and B6, manganese, and selenium. Try Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic.

Onion

Whether they’re sliced, diced, chopped, or pureed, onions have a pungent flavor and a lot of nutrition, containing fiber, minerals, and vitamins C and B6.  There has also been research to learn more about onions’ polyphenol and sulfur compounds, which may reduce the risk of cancer and boost immune function and heart health. Try using Mirefoix: celery, onion and carrot as a base for many recipes or check out 7 ways to eat onions.

Peas

Green and yellow vegetables, including green peas, are often associated with reducing the risk of heart disease.  Garden, snow, snap, dried, and other varieties of peas are also loaded with vitamins A, C, K, and B, minerals, fiber, and protein.  They are a great source for eye-healthy compounds beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  Include peas in a soup or stew, toss them into a salad, or eat them as a snack. Try thinking about spring (even though it's just fall) with these delicious recipes that all use Peas.

Black Pepper

This common spice is a great way to boost a meal’s flavor without adding calories.  Also, capsaicin, the substance that gives pepper its heat, is known for its anti-cancer properties and inflammation reduction, which is the root of chronic disease.  Use ground, cracked, or whole versions of pepper.  Try it in this unique strawberry jam, season steaks, or add to your salads and other favorite foods.

Bell Pepper

Bell peppers come in a variety of vibrant colours – green, red, yellow, orange, and purple.  Peppers offer powerful anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain cancers.  Enjoy cooked or raw peppers and their many health benefits. Try enjoying all the colours of bell peppers together with this Roasted Tri-Colour Peppers recipe. 

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E, which serves as an anti-oxidant and contains anti-inflammatory properties.   They also offer B vitamins, heart-healthy polyunsaturated oil, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and phytosterols, a compound known to reduce blood cholesterol levels.  Add sunflower seeds to a fresh salad, mix them into chicken salad, sprinkle them over meat, or grind them up for a spread. Try a variation on a favorite cookie with these Sunflower-Oatmeal treats.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are a rich source of copper, which can provide arthritis relief.  They also contain calcium and magnesium, which may lower blood pressure, protect against osteoporosis, and more.  Mix them with steamed vegetables, sautéed fish or chicken, or add sesame seeds to homemade bread. Try coating your chicken with sesame seeds for an asian flavour.

Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are not only a versatile ingredient, but they are also a powerhouse of anti-oxidants and nutrients, including lycopene, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and iron.  Keep some in your pantry for pasta and rice dishes, soups, stews, casseroles, ethnic meals, and other concoctions. Try the easiest and most delicious way to eat tomatoes: homemade Tomato Sauce. Or, whip up a quick Tomato Soup.

So, go ahead, try these everyday ingredients with surprising superpowers.  We'll bet your find even more ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.

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What is your favourite superfood recipe? Share your cooking tips in the Comments section below.
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