Rediscover these 5 Super Foods in 2012

Barley, figs, sardines, kale, lentilsThe New Year is a time for exploration and adventure. Experiment with foods that you may have neglected on supermarket shelves. (Re)discover the following super foods, which are loaded with nutrients, easy to prepare and inexpensive.

1.    Barley: This whole grain is packed with soluble and insoluble fiber, selenium and manganese. It helps lower cholesterol, lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and keeps your blood sugar stable.
Uses: Add to soups, stews, cold salads or use cracked barley to make hot cereal. If you don’t like the texture,  use barley flour in baked goods.

2.    Kale: These dark-leafy greens belong to the brassica family, which includes collards, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  They are loaded with vitamin K, A, C, D, folate, potassium, magnesium and calcium.  Kale helps protect against some cancers, helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Uses:  Saute in garlic and crushed red peppers, add to soups and frittatas, or bake into chips.

3.    Lentils: These little gems cook quicker than most other dried beans and are high in fiber, protein, B vitamins, folate and magnesium. They help keep blood sugar stable, keep you regular, help lower cholesterol and are good for your heart.
Uses: Soups, salads, or as a side dish

4.    Sardines:  A can of sardines (packed in water) has only 140 calories and is packed with protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and calcium. These little fish help lower cholesterol, protect the heart and promotes bone health.
Uses: Add it to salads with some lemon juice or spread it on hearty whole grain bread with onions, olives and tomatoes.

5.   Figs: These sweet treats can be enjoyed year-around, fresh when they are in season (California figs can be found June to September) or dried when they’re not.  They are high in fiber, potassium and manganese. Figs can help lower blood pressure and their high fiber content can help manage your weight.  If you eat dried figs, be mindful of the portion size; four figs have about 110 calories.

Uses:  Make a snack size trail mix with dried figs and walnuts, eat fresh as is or add to salads, yogurt or breakfast cereal.





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