The DeLish Bite

Lindsay Evans blogs about food, entertaining and her favourite recipes for Green Living.

Blueberries Sweet and plump blueberries are nutritional stars bursting with vitamins and flavor while being very low in calories. They are without a doubt a powerhouse food. In fact, just 100g (4oz) of blueberries contain the same amount of age-defying antioxidants as FIVE servings of other fruit and vegetables. A great deal of research has shown that a diet rich in blueberries can slow degenerative diseases associated with aging, improve motor skills, improve urinary tract health, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent cancer. They are high in vitamin C, a good source of fiber, and a great source of a compound, pterostilbene, which lowers cholesterol. They are also rich in flavonoids and resveratrol, which has an anti-cancer effect. DeLish Tip: Scatter a handful of blueberries over your morning cereal or whirl frozen blueberries in a blender with other berries, yogurt, milk and banana for a delicious smoothie. Oatmeal Oatmeal is no longer a food that should be only on the top of your kids meal list. There have been immense health benefits proven to consuming a diet high in oat fiber. One of the optimal kinds of oatmeal that you should consume is Steel Cut Oats. It has been proven that a diet high in oat fiber reduces the amount of cholesterol in the body. Or more specifically, the fiber in oats lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, or the bad type of cholesterol. Oats also contain plant chemicals that have antioxidant properties. Finally, oats are a good source of many nutrients including vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium and they are a good source of protein. DeLish Tip: Whip up a batch of oatmeal and eat along with yogurt, fresh berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon and flax seed. Spinach Beautiful jade green spinach leaves should be a staple in your diet. This delicate green is not only extremely low in calories, but it is rich in many vital nutrients essential for maintaining good health. In fact, researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents. Research has shown that spinach aids in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, some cancers and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and many other diseases. DeLish Tip: Instead of romaine or iceberg lettuce in your side salad, try adding a handful of fresh and buttery baby spinach leaves! Salmon The lovely pink-hued salmon is a rich and flavorful fish that should absolutely be a part of your diet. Salmon is not only low in calories and saturated fat, but it is high in protein, and a unique type of health-promoting fat, the omega-3 essential fatty acids which are essential for human health but because they cannot be made by the body, they must be obtained from foods. Additionally, salmon is an excellent source of selenium, niacin and vitamin B12, and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B6. DeLish Tip: Choose wild over farmed salmon, which has been shown to contain elevated levels of contaminants and is artificially colored. Almonds Almonds are a bit of an oxymoron – they are a high fat food that is extremely heart healthy. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. In addition to their cholesterol-lowering effects, almonds' ability to reduce heart disease risk may also be partly due to the antioxidant action of the vitamin E found in the almonds. In addition to healthy fats and vitamin E, almonds are a rich source of potassium and magnesium. DeLish Tip: Eat them by the handful, toss them over your salads or cereal in the morning or add them to your baked good Chocolate There is excellent news for all of us chocolate lovers: Chocolate is a potent antioxidant which can help reduce blood pressure and assist in maintaining cardiovascular health. However all chocolate is not created equal. The health benefits are associated with the dark version of chocolate so you can forget consuming that mars bar everyday in hopes of staying heart healthy. Studies have found that dark chocolate contains flavonoids similar to those found in green tea and red wine. According to preliminary studies, these antioxidants have been found to decrease blood pressure, improve circulation, lower heart disease, defend against destructive molecules called free radicals, which trigger cancer, heart disease and stroke, and improve digestion and kidney function. DeLish Tip: Eat a small square of your favorite dark chocolate everyday – not only will your heart thank you, but you might fight off other cravings at the same time! Red Wine Many people want to know the answer to this question – is red wine really healthy? Many studies have investigated this question exactly and I am happy to say that the results are in the favor of wine lovers! It has been suggested that a moderate amount of red wine lowers the risk of heart attack for people in middle age by ~ 30 to 50 percent. It is also suggested that alcohol, such as red wine, may prevent additional heart attacks if you have already suffered from one. Other studies also indicated that red wine raises HDL cholesterol (the positive cholesterol) and prevents LDL cholesterol. Red wine may also help prevent blood clots and reduce the blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits. Additionally, red wine is a particularly rich source of the antioxidants, flavonoid phenolics. DeLish Tip: Don’t think this news is a freebie to drinking as much wine as you like – studies indicate that drinking red wine in moderation is key – that means approximately one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.