Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Every food blog must have an antioxidant post

The antioxidant craze does seem a bit bandwagon-ish to me. Every other day there's a new antioxidant trotted out. Every hear of goji berries? They're the new pomegranate, which was the new blueberry. But I can't argue that these are good foods, and they do good things for the body, whether it's what all the health researchers trot out (cancer prevention, lower blood pressure, slow the effects of aging), or whether these foods are just plain out healthy and if I'm eating them, I'm less likely to be eating something full of sugar and fat.

So here's my list:

1. Berries - blueberries, blackberries, goji berries, strawberries, raspberries (I just inhaled a pint from the farmer's market). This time of year you can just eat them whole because they're so sweet picked off the bush. You could also roll them into yogurt, squirt them with honey, add them to cereal, or best of all, make something like cobbler which can be frozen and trotted out in December when fruit is decidedly less fresh.

2. Spinach/kale - I was slow to come around to this one, but it really is awesome for you. You may feel a bit like popeye when eating it cooked (I do), but it's very tasty wilted down with chicken broth and garlic (or just oil and garlic). Or if you have Jamaican spinach, there's a good recipe here. Speaking of garlic...

3. Garlic - garlic has long been thought to have healthy properties, and is one of the major ingredients in Mediterranean cooking, which is gaining ground as a very healthy eating plan. Added benefit of vampires leaving you alone.

4. Tea - the one of this list that I consume most often. I love tea. I just read a post about poaching salmon in tea. I'll have to try that (though I suppose it would help if I knew what it meant to poach something).

5. Whole grains - my other favorite on the list. I eat multi-grain toast twice a day (well, ok, workday). I try to have a whole grain with every meal (for me, that's usually multi-grain bread or quinoa) because they fill me up better than other kinds of carbs.

6. Nuts - a great source of polunsaturated fats (to help raise good cholesterol). I often put peanut butter on the aforesaid multi-grain toast and I keep plain walnuts and almonds in my cabinet for snacks.

7. Coffee - this one has recently attained antioxidant status, and is still thought to be a great evil by many people (much as people used to think that olive oil was bad for you). A University of Scranton study puts coffee as the highest in antioxidants of everything that Americans eat. It's not going to encourage me to drink more coffee, but I won't feel like it's so bad in the few instances when I do.

8. Dark chocolate - yup, the darker the better. I've had up to 80%, and it's pretty bitter, but it apparently lowers blood pressure, among other things (I certainly feel better whenever I eat it!). Milk, however, interferes with its antioxidants, so milk chocolate doesn't have the same benefits.

9. Herbs - these fly completely under the radar. I never would've included them on my antioxidant list, but then I googled and it was listed and since I love herbs, they're going on my list! A Norwegan study listed the levels of antioxidants in herbs and oregano and sage are coming out on top for fresh herbs, and clove and allspice for dried herbs.

10. Brussels Sprouts - I hated these as a kid. Now I get them whenever they're available locally. They're a huge source of Vitamin C. And very tasty when roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.


Charlotte said...

Ahhh... every day when i have my square of chocolate I tell myself "but it has sooo many antioxidants! It's practically health food!" really I just love chocolate. Actually I love almost everything on your list!

Leah J. Utas said...

Berries are great. I prefer to eat them right off the bush, but it's not so easy now living in town.
I keep dark chocolate in the house. I need it for writing.
Yeah...that's it...writing.

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Charlotte, I tell myself that too! I used to hate dark chocolate (much as I used to hate beer), and I've now trained myself to like it since it's actually good for you (in moderation, damnit!). Too bad beer isn't quite as good for you...

Leah, you're totally right, chocolate is necessary for writing :) I inhaled a quart of blueberries on a long train ride yesterday. Mmmm.