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Top 10 super foods!!!

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Happy New Year!! Hope that 2012 is a healthy and deliciously nutritious year for all of you. We are so fortunate to live in a land of freedom and plenty and to be surrounded by so much food that can keep us well. So, to start the year on a good note, I'm going to present my top ten list of super foods. It's really hard to pick the top and say these super foods are the best because there are really so many foods that could easily make my list.

But, I've chosen these ten, some are newer and some are old favourites. I encourage all of you to try all of them over the next 12 months.

QUINOA: One of the hot super foods has all the positive properties of whole grains, is gluten free but it's complete protein makes it unique. It's tasty as a side dish, as an alternate to rice or pasta or in a grain salad, in soup, stew and even as a breakfast cereal.

TROUT: Is rich in omega-3 fats which lower heart disease risk, are being studied for their anti inflammatory effects and also for their role in keeping your brain healthy. Baked or grilled it's a tasty alternative to salmon which so many of us eat for our omerga-3's.

KALE: A leafy green vegetable, is rich in folate, calcium, iron, vitamins A, C and K, and plant chemicals linked to eye health. It tastes great stir-fried with olive oil and garlic, added to soups, salads, and stir fries. For a change, try kale chips, made by tearing leaves into bite size pieces, spin dry, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until crisp. Delicious!

BLACK BEANS: Provide protein, soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol, plus magnesium, folate, calcium and protective plant chemicals. Their low glycemic index helps with blood sugar management. If you buy them canned (which is very convenient), drain and rinse before using to reduce sodium. Make a bean salad or salsa, add them to chilli or pasta, try them in soups, burritos, fajitas or tacos.

GREEN TEA: Is loaded with antioxidants that offer protection from heart disease and cancer. Delicious as a no calorie beverage, either hot or iced, you can also use it in a marinade or to sauté vegetables.

POMEGRANATES: The tiny red seeds and their juice provide fibre, vitamin C, potassium and health protective plant chemicals. I love the seeds as is, but I also add them to fruit salad, green salads, yogurt, pilafs or smoothies and I add the juice to marinades or salad dressings..

CLEMENTINES: Are my favourites this time of year. All citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity. I love them whole but also add them to my morning yogurt or put them in both fruit and vegetable salads.

AVOCADOS: Contain heart healthy monounsaturated fats as well as potassium, fibre and more. You can mash and use avocado as a spread on your sandwich, dice into salads and of course make guacamole.

WALNUTS: Along with a variety of other nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts or pecans contain heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats as well as vitamin E, protein, fibre and minerals such as selenium. More than other nuts, walnuts are a source of omega-3 fats.

SWEET POTATOES: Are loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, folate and fibre. I make a sweet potato soup, bake or mash them instead of white potatoes and love them made into fries.

And, don't forget yogurt, tomatoes, berries, dark chocolate, flax, barley, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, oatmeal - the list is endless!

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