Super 8!

In certain cultures, such as Chinese, the number ’8′ has an auspicious meaning and is thought to be lucky.  Then again in India the number ’8′ is seen as conflicting so not necessarily attributed with luck.  Now I don’t really believe in any of this stuff but the ’8′ that stands out in my mind are the ‘Top 8 Allergens’.  Meaning that eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions -  milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Lucky us, huh? :)

Given these food restrictions for over 15 million people in the US, we’re always looking for ways to substitute ingredients while getting the most nutrition and living healthy. Or at least I am.

I love Women’s Health Magazine and they recently wrote an article on ‘The New Superfoods‘ and guess what? They portrayed ’8′ of them (see below).  So I wanted to pass along the info and give you tips on how to incorporate these into your healthy living world, since these are ‘…eight fresh cancer-fighting, age-defying, energy-boosting ingredients..’. Doesn’t get any better than that! Given your allergy or food restrictions, you may be able to use some of these in your cooking and get Super Nutrition at the same time.

So best of luck to you in living healthy!

1. Jicama – full of Inulin, a fiber that acts like a prebiotic to promote helpful bacteria in your stomach, i.e. means good to eat to flatten your belly.  Jicama is a great side dish for something spicy and or just as a snack in the afternoon. Cut them lengthwise like match sticks and place in a bowl.  Add lime juice,  rock salt and even chili powder and voila! Yummy goodness.

2. Kefir – you’ll start seeing this word and products a lot in natural food markets. With less sugar and more protein than yogurt, it’s a great alternative. It’s a little more tart which I do like.  You can use this in baking, for salad dressings or marinating rather than using sour cream, regular yogurt or creme fraiche.

3. Chia - The first thing that came to my mind was ‘Chia Pet’ :) But thank goodness the only resemblance is the seeds. Great source of iron and fiber.  With it’s nutty-like flavor you can add on top of yogurt or salads. Just pop some in your mouth and get a feel for the taste and then experiment.

courtesy www.womenshealthmag.com

- courtesy www.womenshealthmag.com -

4. Sprouts - When I first moved to California I used to laugh that Californaian put sprouts in everything.  As an East Coaster, we don’t put sprouts on our sandwiches – but we should! Because these plants are good source of Vitamins A and C, Folic Acid, Fibre and Potassium. You can add them to any wrap, sandwich or even on top of fish tacos!

courtesy www.womenshealthmag.com

- courtesy www.womenshealthmag.com -

5. Black Garlic – When garlic undergoes fermentation, these elements produce melanoidin, a dark-colored substance that is responsible for the color of black garlic. The compounds help to lower cholesterol and help decrease cancer risk.  For those of you who feel that garlic gives you bad breath or stomach issues, your answer may finally be here.  Replace your regular garlic with this when you cook and see what you think.

courtesy http://blackgarlic.com/

- courtesy http://blackgarlic.com/ -

6. Kelp – Kelp is a large seaweed which is a natural source of iodine, which is important for the thyroid, immune system, and female hormone regulation.  And the fucoidan in kelp works as a possible anti-cancer agent.  You kelp sheets for wraps at lunchtime or try kelp noodles which are super low-cal. It’s defs an acquired taste.

7. Nutritional Yeast – Produced by culturing the yeast with a mixture of sugarcane and beet molasses, this stuff is a great source of and vitamins (B-complex) and is naturally low in fat and sodium and free of  sugar, dairy and gluten. Sprinkle this on top of omelets, pasta and even in spinach or onion dips.

8. Barley – Barley is a supergrain that is great for your hair, skin and cholesterol levels.  There are so many great barley products in natural food markets from pastas to flour.  Check them out!

Enjoy!

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