Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Superfoods

with 2 comments

From today’s WaPo, a list of superfoods:

‘Super Foods’

Here are 16 “super foods,” depending on which authority you choose to believe. I try to work most of these ingredients into my own cooking whenever possible, although I have to admit I don’t use much turkey or chocolate, and my efforts to develop a green tea habit have met with little success.

Black beans
Blueberries
Broccoli
Dark (not milk) chocolate
Oats
Onions
Oranges
Sweet potato (or pumpkin)
Salmon (preferably wild)
Soy
Spinach
Tea (preferably green)
Tomatoes
Turkey
Walnuts
Yogurt

Sources: 12 Best Foods Cookbook, by Dana Jacobi; SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, by Steven G. Pratt and Kathy Matthews

Tomatoes (like spinach) are super only if cooked, as every schoolchild knows. So canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes—all superior to fresh tomatoes in terms of food value. And you get as much lycopene from red watermelon as you do from tomatoes. With beans, the darker the better, in terms of antioxidant content. Oats are most healthful (and tastiest) if cooked in the whole-grain form: oat groats, my regular breakfast. White tea is significantly better for you than green tea, though both are good—and both are brewed at lower temperatures than black tea. Farmed salmon is low in omega-3, the red color is from a dye, and salmon farms are highly destructive of the environment. I would say that wild salmon is infinitely preferable, even canned.

UPDATE: Missing from the above list: pomegranate juice.

UPDATE 2: Here’s a superfoods smoothie.

Written by Leisureguy

19 July 2006 at 1:47 pm

2 Responses

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  1. A friend asked me about the “tomatoes should be cooked” thing. Via Mr. Google:

    Tomato samples were heated to 88 degrees Celsius (190.4 degrees Fahrenheit) for two minutes, a quarter-hour and a half-hour. Consistent with previous studies, vitamin C content decreased by 10, 15 and 29 percent, respectively, when compared to raw, uncooked tomatoes. However, the research revealed that the beneficial trans-lycopene content of the cooked tomatoes increased by 54, 171 and 164 percent, respectively. Levels of cis-lycopene (which the body easily absorbs) rose by 6, 17 and 35 percent, respectively; and antioxidant levels in the heated tomatoes increased by 28, 34 and 62 percent, respectively. Antioxidants protect the human body from cell and tissue damage, which occurs when harmful molecules called free radicals, released as oxygen, are metabolized by the body.

    Lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for the red color in tomatoes and other fruits, has long been known as a powerful antioxidant that decreases cancer and heart-disease risk. Carotenoids, along with phenolic acids and flavonoids, are all phytochemicals, the nutritionally beneficial active compounds found in every fruit and vegetable.

    While the antioxidant activity in tomatoes is enhanced during the cooking process, vitamin C loss occurs when the food’s ascorbic acid is oxidized to dehydroascorbic acid and other forms of nutritionally inactive components. Lycopene is the most-efficient single oxygen quencher, and devours more than 10 times more oxygenated free radicals than vitamin E. “This makes lycopene’s presence in the diet important,” says Liu.

    Like

    leisureguy

    19 July 2006 at 3:55 pm

  2. This is sort of fun: Google “watermelon lycopene” and you find:

    Diets rich in lycopene, the primary pigment in tomatoes, can reduce a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, data suggest. Now Agriculture Department scientists have found that watermelon is a far better source of the so-called carotenoid than tomatoes are and at least as well absorbed by the body.

    New chemical analyses by USDA scientists show that the red part of the watermelon can have about 40 percent more lycopene than an equivalent weight of uncooked tomatoes has. More importantly, a second study finds, raw watermelon’s lycopene is available to the body, whereas little of a tomato’s lycopene is absorbed unless it’s first cooked.

    Like

    leisureguy

    19 July 2006 at 3:57 pm


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