Superfoods!

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I’m just returning from an experience called the Indagare Be Retreat. Wow. Wow. Wow. What a Silver Lined, inspirational experience it was! Any time with the HOTY aside, I can’t think of anything better than spending time hiking, eating, learning and growing with a group of amazing women.

One very special aspect of the trip was Shanon B. Smith‘s nutritional lectures. Shanon is  from San Francisco (one of my all time favorite cities filled with my all time favorite people!). She provided us with some amazing and enlightening information, including a list & explanation of Superfoods and the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 (which, of course, I feel compelled to share with you!). Thank you, Shanon!

Superfoods

  • Spinach – excellent source of iron, low in calories and virtually fat free. Also contains at least 13 different flavonoid phytonutrients that function as powerful antioxidants
  • Kale – high in sulfur compounds which increase the liver’s ability to produce enzymes that neutralize toxic substances. High in lutein which is a carotenoid that protects the eyes, low in calories and stands out as a food that protects against cancer.
  •  Swiss Chard – concentrated source of beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals. Also contains many phytonutrients which provide powerful antioxidant protection. It promotes bone, digestive and eye health.
  • Crimini Mushrooms – contain health-promoting polysaccharide phytonutrients which function as powerful antioxidants, protecting against oxidative damage to cells and DNA. Also low in calories.
  • Broccoli – rich in antioxidants A and C and folic acid which is an important nutrient for a healthy heart. It also contains sulfur compounds which help the liver neutralize toxic substances and phytonutrients known to have anti-cancer effects. Also low in calories.
  •  Strawberries & Blueberries (other berries as well) – high in vitamin C and heart healthy antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory protection. Blueberries have long been ranked among the top fruits for antioxidant activity and contain flavonoids, vitamin C, resveratrol and ellagic acid which deliver powerful antioxidant protection from cellular damage caused by free radicals.
  •  Flaxseeds – the most concentrated plant source of the of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha linolenic acid). Omega-3’s are heart healthy nutrients that also have anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain phytoestrogens called lignans which help balance estrogen levels in the body and have antioxidant properties. (From personal experience, they also – Ahem – help keep internal plumbing running smoothly and regularly. What can I say? It’s one of my issues.)
  •  Lentils – rich in dietary fiber and folate, making them an excellent choice for heart health. They also contain antioxidants which provide protection to cellular structures from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Check out my easy peasy lentil salad recipe. YUMMY.
  •  Oatmeal – heath healthy food that contains beta-glucan which is a form of dietary fiber known to help lower cholesterol levels. Also rich in antioxidants. Should stick to slow cook varieties.

Shanon also provided us with information about both the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 both of which, until now, I didn’t really understand.

She believes that by purchasing the organic version of the dirty dozen, we can reduce our exposure to pesticides by up to 80%. Yes, that is 80%! The following list of clean 15 foods have the lowest pesticide load, and therefore are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume from the standpoint of pesticide contamination. She recommends buying as much organic as possible to avoid exposure all together. I’m so into that!

Dirty Dozen

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Domestic blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Spinach, kale and collard greens
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Imported Grapes
  • Lettuce

Clean 15

  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Sweet pea
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi fruig
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Greapefruit
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sweet onions

 

I hope that this information is as helpful to you as it is to me!  Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. Kim C says

    Yes! Great list! I keep a copy of Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 while grocery shopping. It helps to save money too! Try http://www.ewg.org – I think you'll like it!
    Wow! It sounds like a wonderful retreat. Maybe you could blog more about places such as this!?
    Thank you for today's post!