Full of omega-3s, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, selenium and a plethora of other beneficial nutrients, sardines tops my list for the most convenient, inexpensive, easy-to-find super-food.
Seaweed (Nori sushi wraps, Seaweed snacks, gomasio)
By far the most common kind of seaweed on store shelves is nori, which comes in thin sheets and is used to wrap sushi. Just one sheet of nori has the same amount of omega-3s as two whole avocados. Seaweed also has an impressive amount of nutrients like vitamins A, B-6 and C as well as iodine and fiber. You can find the nori wrappers in the International Food section of the market along with seasoned seaweed snack packs and jars of Gomasio which is a dried condiment containing sea salt, crushed dried seaweed and sesame seeds.
Kale (and Mustard, Turnip, Collard & Beet greens)
One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. Swap out the spinach and cabbage in dishes for the darker, heartier greens like kale to add a blast of nutrients to meals.
Raw in homemade salad dressing or cooked in soups and stews, garlic is rich in vitamins and minerals and is also a potent antibacterial. Garlic is a fantastic source of vitamin B6, as well as a very good source of selenium, manganese and vitamin C. It’s also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and copper.
Shellfish (especially oysters)
Oysters are low in fat, high in protein, and a rich source of several important nutrients like zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. A 3-ounce serving contains 10 to 16 grams of protein and about 3 to 4 grams of total fat. Oysters are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E Oysters also contain more zinc than any other food.
The improved diets of pastured hens [like Zweifel Farms‘] generates higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (about 3 times higher), vitamin E (about 4 times higher), and beta-carotene (about 8 times higher) when compared to conventional eggs laid by confined hens. Pastured eggs also contain about a third less cholesterol than conventional eggs and offer impressive vitamin D content. Many shoppers still associate eggs with poor heart health. Newer research finds that regular egg-eaters (2 eggs per day) have normal blood cholesterol levels.
Tahini (ground sesame seed butter)
Tahini contains all the essential amino acids, making it a high quality protein, plus it is rich in lecithin, vitamin E and calcium. It is easily digestible making it an ideal protein source for people with weak digestive systems, and an excellent source of quick energy.
Shiitaki mushrooms are a somewhat unknown health food. Packed with protein, trace minerals like copper and Selenium, and Vitamins B and D, Shiitake Mushrooms are one of nature’s powerhouses.
Aromatic Herbs (fresh & dried)
Herbs not only add flavor to food but also add nutrition. Herbs (both dried and fresh) are an incredible source of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, but they are also a super-rich source of phytonutrients. (The lycopene in tomatoes and pink grapefruit, the anthocyanins in berries, and the flavanoids in chocolate are all examples of beneficial phytonutrients.)
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 3 gloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- Mix all ingredients together with a fork or using a blender or food processor. Thin with warm water to a consistency that works best for you. We like thicker on steamed or stir-fried veggies (like kale!) and thinner for use as a salad dressing.