Superfoods, vegetables, fruit, health, aarp, sisters
Eliana Rodgers
Health

9 Spring Superfoods for Weight Loss and Wellness

Fight fat, mealtime boredom and diseases for which we have a higher risk.

Guess what’s new at your greengrocer, ladies? In-season superfoods that are weight-loss gold! Superfoods helped me weigh in 11 pounds lighter on my recent doctor visit,withoutcounting calories. We already know we need fruits and veggies if we want to whittle that menopause middle. But now that we’re breaking out the sleeveless tops and shopping for swimwear, you need what I’ve learned to help you shed before summer: We trim more calories by choosing foods that have a high nutrient density and a low energy density. And, along with moving more and building healthy habits, calorie reduction is critical for losing stored body fat for those of us over 40.

As we age, we need fewer calories, say experts. Yet our bodies may not absorb nutrients as well as they did when we were 29. High nutrient density means you get more vitamins and minerals for your calorie buck. Low energy density means you get lots of filling food for fewer calories. Plan your meals around foods that have both and get ready to smile as you step off the scale. Trust me!

Oh, and you may smile as you step off the exam table too, since you’ll be fighting hypertension and diabetes — illnesses that hit our families harder. My blood pressure reading was A-OK!

Here are the superfoods that can help shrink that belly (I’m still working on mine) and menu ideas for keeping them in heavy rotation. See you at the farmers market!

Peas
Taste great on the plate: Use them with scallions to flavor your mashed potatoes while reducing fat in the recipe. Add them to sandwiches (smashed as a hummus-like spread) and pastas.
Are a superfood thanks to vitamins A, B1, B6 and C, plus more protein per 2/3 cup serving than a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Help protect us against osteoporosis. Peas are loaded with vitamin K1, which helps maintain bone health.

Artichokes
Taste great on the plate: You’ll love them on pizza instead of fatty pepperoni! Add to salads, dips and pasta dishes. Enjoy whole artichokes steamed to get the most nutrients.
Are a superfood thanks to vitamins C and K, antioxidants, folate and fiber.
Help protect us against inflammation and constipation.

Strawberries
Taste great on the plate: Use in fruit salads, popsicles, pies, spinach salad, smoothies, overnight oats or other whole grain cereal.
Are a superfood thanks to being polyphenol powerhouses, packed with these potent antioxidants. Plus, you get fiber, potassium, manganese and more vitamin C per serving (8 berries) than an orange.
Help protect us against high blood pressure, thanks to the antioxidant properties of its anthocyanins.

Asparagus
Taste great on the plate: Add to pastas, risotto, omelets or stir-fry. Try cooked spears topped with a poached egg or as a side for salmon.
Is a superfood thanks to potassium, folate, vitamin B1 and fiber, plus vitamins A, B6 and C.
Helps protect us against diabetes by helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

Radishes
Taste great on the plate: Use in salads, sandwiches, grain bowls and crudités.
Are a superfood thanks to fiber, vitamins B6 and C, folate, potassium, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese.
Help protect us against cancer. The glucosinolates in this cruciferous vegetable have cancer-fighting properties.

Leeks
Taste great on the plate: I love them in a frittata. Mmmm! (I also put them in my Jamaican oxtail stew—but that’s on a cheat day.) Try them in soups, pasta, braises, stews, omelets and casseroles.
Are a superfood thanks to vitamin K, plus the flavonols kaempferol and quercetin.
Help protect us against vision problems. A one-cup serving also provides 30 percent of our daily value of peeper-protecting vitamin A.

Scallions
Taste great on the plate: I use them to make a heavenly Jerk marinade for chicken and fish. Try them in tacos, veggie bowls, rice, soups, sauces, pizza, chopped salads and braises. Use as a garnish for grilled meat.
Are a superfood thanks to vitamins A, B1, C, E and K, niacin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and zinc.
Help protect us against diabetes. Scallions also contain sulfur-rich compounds called thiosulfinates that may help regulate blood glucose in people with diabetes.

Fava Beans
Taste great on the plate: Fantastic in salads and side dishes. If you’re grilling, try cooking them in their pods, then serving the cooled beans as shuckable finger food, just as you would edamame.
Are a superfood thanks to vitamin B1, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate and manganese.
Help protect us againstobesity. Favas’ fiber fills you up while their protein powers your day.
Arugula
Tastes great on the plate: One of my family’s favorite no-cook meals: I toss the greens with olive oil, garlic, fresh ground pepper and lemon juice, then top them with sliced avocado, canned sardines and a slice of toasted Italian bread. Think beyond salads. Use it to top burgers, sandwiches and pizza.
Is a superfood thanks to vitamins A, K and C, folate and calcium.
Helps protect us against high blood pressure, since it’s a good source of dietary nitrate.

Do you have a favorite superfood? Have you tried the workout willpower tips in our Sisters’ Guide to Weight Loss Success? Want to share what’s working — or not — for you? DropSistersa line and let us know how you’re doing!

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Superfoods, vegetables, fruit, health, aarp, sisters