5 Healthy Foods You’re Not Eating Yet

Rhubarb Taste

Are you bored of your regular, everyday foods? Looking for something new and nutritious to incorporate into your daily eating habits? Trying new foods can be both adventurous and enjoyable. And you might think that you’ve heard of all the healthy foods out there—we know we should be eating more omega-3s, olive oil, and nuts. That’s why I wanted to show you five uncommon foods that are actually really healthy and can be easily added to your diet. These five superfoods can be found in your local grocery store.

5 Healthy Foods To Add To Your Diet

Healthy Food #1: Jicama

Jicama (pronounced he-ka-ma) is a “yam bean” originating from Mexico. Although it has “starchy” properties, it is actually very low in starch and made up of 90% water. In each cup of jicama, you get six grams of fiber, as well as many essential vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C. It is full of antioxidants and can help protect against cancer and heart disease.

Jicama is best enjoyed raw, as it has a fresh and crispy taste to it. You can steam, boil, or sauté it; however, it loses its appealing characteristics if you overcook it. Peel, slice, and enjoy it on its own, or add it to a salad.

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Healthy Food #2: Freekeh

Freekeh (pronounced free-kah) is an ancient wheat-based grain that has a smoky, nutty flavor. It has been enjoyed in the Middle East for centuries and has recently made its way into the North American market. Not only does freekeh provide four times the amount of fiber than other grains such as brown rice, it is also abundant in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is a good source of prebiotics and a great vegetarian dish, but be aware that is does contain gluten.

Replace rice or pasta with freekeh instead. It can also be used in a pilaf or salad; just cook it for about 20 minutes and flavor it as you wish. It is easily prepared in the same manner you would prepare a rice or quinoa dish.

Healthy Food #3: Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a very versatile vegetable that often gets overlooked. It can be easily grown in your garden and contains an abundance of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and calcium. Rhubarb has high water content, is a good source of fiber, and is very low in calories (only 25 calories per cup). It is also known to have laxative properties and may be beneficial for bowel function.

Rhubarb can be incorporated into numerous delectable dishes such as stews, pies, cakes, or muffins. Since rhubarb has a tart taste, it can be improved by adding sugar. However, this does add additional calories; instead, you can use sweeteners, or even apple sauce. Better yet, try baking or cooking it with sweet fruits, such as apples, to help balance out its tartness.

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Healthy Food #4: Chia Seeds

We can thank the Aztecs for this ancient grain. By consuming only one tablespoon of chia seeds, you get four grams of fiber; an abundance of minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper; vitamins A and K; two grams of protein; and two grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are also a rich source of antioxidants.

Chia seeds have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and help manage diabetes. A review article in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology found a link between chia seed consumption and improved blood lipid levels, a decrease in weight, and lowered blood glucose levels. Chia seeds may also play a role in decreasing blood pressure and inflammation.

Chia seeds can easily be incorporated into many foods. Sprinkle them onto yogurt, smoothies, soups, stews, salads, or sauces. These gluten-free seeds have a very mild taste and don’t require any prep work.

Healthy Food #5: Kohlrabi

This German radish is definitely a healthy vegetable that you should know about. While it’s quite popular in Central and Eastern Europe, it has yet to make much headway in North America—which is a shame, because it’s healthy and easy to use.

When you’re grocery shopping, you might easily walk past kohlrabi because it looks quite different from your average vegetables. Kohlrabi is light green and has a long stem with large leaves, at the end of which is the base.

The base is what most people eat—although the leaves are also edible—and it tastes like a crunchy radish. Many people enjoy eating the leaves or stem, too (if you don’t, about half of the vegetable then ends up in the garbage), which tastes more like cabbage.

Kohlrabi is known for its high vitamin C and vitamin A content. It’s also filled with potassium, folic acid, magnesium, and copper. Avoid freezing to reap all the nutritional benefits.

To eat this vegetable, you need to wash and peel the base well; you can then cut the base into cubes and add to your soups or salads (it might take some time before you get the hang of cutting it up—you need a strong knife, as the vegetable is quite hard). The taste can be a bit plain, so sprinkle some lemon juice, olive oil, and salt over kohlrabi and you have a great appetizer. If you plan on using the stems, either prepare them to be eaten right away or store them separately from the base in the fridge. The vegetable can last for about a week in the fridge—once cut, about a day or two.

Which of these five foods do you want to try?


Sources:
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Beck, L., “Rhubarb – June 2011’s Featured Food” Body Science Medical, June 2011; http://www.lesliebeck.com/ingredients/rhubarb, last accessed May 19, 2013.
“Freekeh? What is that?” Freekeh Foods, 2012; http://www.freekeh-foods.com/, last accessed May 19 2013.
Innocenzi, L., “Freaky about Freekeh: Ancient Grain a Nutrition Powerhouse,” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2013; http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442471327, last accessed May 18, 2013
Mohd Ali, N., et al., “The promising future of chia, Salvia hispanica L.,” Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2012; 2012: 1-9.
United States Department of Agriculture, “USDA National Nutrient Database,” Agricultural Research Service, December 7, 2011; http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list, last accessed May 19, 2013.
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