When it comes to eating right, let’s be honest: We often fall short. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 11 percent of us eat the recommended two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily. But here’s an easy fix: According to licensed nutritionist Teri Rose, owner of Perfectly Produce in Minneapolis, all fresh, whole foods are superfoods. “These foods contain amazing nutrients and come perfectly packaged to ensure they are best absorbed and work efficiently in our bodies,” Rose says. Consuming more of them will increase your energy, libido, brainpower, and skin clarity while decreasing weight. Plus, produce will help you fight diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. You don’t need extra omega-3s to see that’s a no-brainer. Here are some of Rose’s picks for optimal health.
Asparagus contains inulin, which helps increases the good bacteria you need for a healthy intestinal environment—plus, asparagus is full of fiber. Rose says if you also include kefir in your diet, which contains probiotics, you will maximize your digestive health.
Actually, all those kissin’ cousins—shallots, garlic, leeks, and onions—add major flavor to your dishes without much in the way of calories or fat. They also contain antiviral properties, antibiotics, and antifungals. If you crush or dice garlic before you cook it, let it sit for 15 seconds before you add it to other ingredients. According to Rose, the enzymes released to heal the damaged garlic cells are the same ones we need to heal human cells.
Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries all have lovely red and blue hues, which signifies the presence of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins play a role in reducing inflammation and regulating cell cycles. Rose translates: that process reduces the risk of cancer. Anthocyanins also mitigate dementia and heart disease. Don’t be afraid to stock up and freeze your berries, Rose says, because anthocyanins aren’t lost if you freeze them—only if you heat them.
“I always suggest to my clients to make a dish they love, but then add two things to the plate to boost nutrients,” Rose says. “Herbs are a great way to do that.” For example, dill contains calcium, iron, and manganese—a nutrient that regulates metabolism, controls thyroid function, and enhances liver detoxification. Basil has iron, calcium, and vitamin A. Cilantro contains iron, magnesium, and manganese. And rosemary has antibacterial properties.
Kale is not going away, so learn to eat it. It’s a cruciferous vegetable, which goes gangbusters on reducing hormone-related cancers such as breast or prostate. Plus, Rose says, it’s perfect to eat in the summer because it helps remove the negative chemicals that get created when you grill your steak.