The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating …

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


(This post was originally published on June 30, 2008, and recently appeared on The New York Times’s list of most-viewed stories for 2009.)
Nutritionist and author Jonny Bowden has created several lists of healthful foods people should be eating but aren’t. But some of his favorites, like purslane, guava and goji berries, aren’t always available at regular grocery stores. I asked Dr. Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” to update his list with some favorite foods that are easy to find but don’t always find their way into our shopping carts. Here’s his advice.

emoticon Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
emoticon Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
emoticon Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.
emoticon Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.
emoticon Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
How to eat: Just drink it.
emoticon Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
emoticon Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
emoticon Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.” They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.
emoticon Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,” it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.
emoticon Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
How to eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.
emoticon Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Cinnamon, tumeric and blueberries are more or less a staple in my household. The others with the exception of Swiss Chard, I use more than occasionally but not often enough.
How about you? Have any of these foods found their way into your shopping cart?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Last year I had loads of beets in my garden - too much to eat. So I juiced them raw with some apple: absolutely delicious!
    2804 days ago
    Thanks for this post... I don't really like beets, but I am looking for ways to include them in my diet... I went to Whole Foods awhile back and they had a sample of beet chips... they were delicious, but they cost so much and of course they were made with too much fat... but I am going back WF's this weekend and see if I can find something that I like... all the other things you mentioned I love...

    Regarding the Turmeric, I have a northern Indian recipe called Chana Masala if you would like it... I will post it on my blog later today ...

    Keep up the good work... ~ Dee ~
    2848 days ago
    Canned Pumpkin is soooo good in Oatmeal. Make sure to get pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
    2870 days ago
  • NOME__
    Every year I grow Swiss Chard and let most of it go to waste!! I really need to find some more ways to eat it!

    Pumpkin is one of my favourites (also homegrown) - I make a wicked Pumpkin stew!
    2870 days ago
  • _VALEO_
    Great article!
    I cooked a fresh pumpkin last night (not canned pumpkin, I have never seen canned pumpkin here, anyway.). Sardines will never be in my shopping cart--I'm a vegetarian. Pomegranate neither, they don't grow near where I live, and I don't buy food which has traveled way too many miles.
    I love spices, cinnamon and tumeric are very often used.
    Beets make excellent juices too.

    2870 days ago
  • LUCKY-13
    What a great article! I can see why a lot of people have been reading it.

    Most of them aren't even expensive, so I need to start eating more of them (with the exception of the cabbage and Swiss chard - dietary issues). I was really delighted to see beets on the list also, even though I prefer them pickled! lol

    Thanks for sharing this info with us!
    2871 days ago
  • FITKAT2010
    My client has this list. You are right, for the most part THESE are not on my eating program. Perhaps I'll add some of them. I don't bake so the pumpkin will have to wait a long time! LOL
    2871 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! Those are great!

    Hugs! Beverly
    2871 days ago
    I love canned pumpkin, but up where I live there is a shortage so it has been difficult to find a can since Thanksgiving! It breaks my heart on a weekly basis when the shelf at the supermarket is still empty!
    2871 days ago

    WOW! Thx for sharing!!

    Have a great week!!!
    2871 days ago
    LOVE this post! I had heard about the power of beets and have added some fresh beets to my salad. I also made a soup of cabgage and beets. YUM. THanks for this great info!
    2871 days ago
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