IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE. IT’S SUPERFOODS!

Ideally, we’d all be able to take some sort of elixir or pill that contained everything we needed to keep us healthy and alive for 120 joy filled years . Keep dreaming, right?

What we do have are superfoods, a variety of edibles that help us maintain weight, battle disease and likely live longer. They’re in their own special category. Found in nature — we cannot make these nutrients — superfoods are calorie-light and nutrient dense.

Besides offering myriad disease-fighting nutrients, these foods fill us up and are easy to use. They don’t include all the nutritious foods that should make up a healthful diet, mind you; you know that we should have a varied diet. And portion sizes matter too, even for the best foods.

But let’s get to what some of these foods are. Making the cut is yogurt, low fat or fat free. It is relatively high in calcium, and contains other nutrients like protein and potassium. It also aids digestion, and is cool in that it can be nutritionally enhanced with foods like fruit, and we can use it in other foods and as a veggie dip.

Next up: eggs. According to experts, the humble orb (actually ellipse) is inexpensive, oh-so versatile and a healthful way to get protein. Eggs also contains about a dozen vitamins and minerals, including choline, which promotes brain development and memory.

Nuts! Yep, although some folks avoid them because of their high fat content. But we don’t need a boat load at a time. They offer protein, heart-healthy fat, high-fiber and antioxidants. We can toss them in salads, cereals, whatever. Delicious too, no?

How about one of the homeliest fruits on the planet? That’s right, the hairy little kiwi is one bad (read: good) nutrition powerhouse, exploding with antioxidants, potassium, fiber and vitamins A and E. (Actually, the fruit is lovely once shorn and sliced). Would go great in some low- or no-fat yogurt.

Then we have quinoa (keen-wa), an ancient grain available at Hiller’s, and one of the best whole grains we can eat, experts say. Like rice it’s easy to make, and is high in protein and iron. It also offers lots of zinc, vitamin E and selenium, paring the risk for diabetes and heart disease. It can be eaten alone or mixed with nuts and veggies. Most of us need to eat more whole grains.

We have been hearing, if not singing, the praises of broccoli forever.  It’s all true. We are talking vitamins A, C and K in spades, and plenty of fiber. Plus it, too, is versatile (take that George Herbert Walker Bush, who truly craved the veggie. Not).

Ah, the lowly sweet potato, once viewed as peasants’ fare. I personally love them however they’re prepared. They’re a member of the dark orange vegetable family, which means a blast of vitamin A, not to mention vitamin C, calcium and potassium.

We know about berries, don’t we?  They are simply packed with nutrition, antioxidants and phytonutrients, are low-cal and high in water and fiber content, which helps control blood sugar and keeps us full longer. Blueberries rule this group.

Couple more. Beans, which actually are good for the heart. Their insoluble fiber helps lower cholesterol, while their soluble fiber fills us up and rids our bodies of waste. They are a low-fat source of protein, carbs, magnesium and potassium, and can easily sub for meat. If you’ve not considered edamame you should; they are tasty and contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

We’ll round this out with salmon, a superfood because of its awesome omega-3 fatty stuff. And we get protein and iron. And, it’s also versatile.

Some experts put other foods in the “super” category, stuff like seeweed, Acai, leafy greens, garlic and onions, hot peppers, bee products and even dark chocolate. Others say mostly every brightly colored fruit or veggie is a true superfood.

Anyway, let’s have some “Superfly,” by Curtis Mayfield:

Darkest of night
With the moon shining bright
There’s a set goin’ strong
Lotta things goin’ on
The man of the hour
Has an air of great power
The dudes have envied him for so long

Oh, superfly
You’re gonna make your fortune by and by
But if you lose, don’t ask no questions why
The only game you know is do or die

Hard to understand
What a hell of a man
This cat of the slum
Had a mind, wasn’t dumb
But a weakness was shown
‘Cause his hustle was wrong
His mind was his own
But the man lived alone

Oh, superfly.


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