This is a great time to be teaching and involved in nutrition education. Foods and beverages are being shown to help our bodies fend off certain diseases and boost our bodies’ immune system beyond just providing calories and energy. A balanced diet can help lower cholesterol which may reduce the risk of heart disease. The foods often known as powerhouse food can also help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
Below are just a few of those powerhouse foods with their benefits:
The first of these foods would be beans. This would include pinto, kidney, white, and black beans.They contain soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fibers help lower cholesterol while the insoluble type helps aid the body of waste. Beans are low fat and a good source of protein, carbohydrate, magnesium, and potassium.
Another powerhouse food is the tomato. Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene which is an antioxidant. Consider tomatoes in many forms such as sauce, soup, and catsup too. They may reduce the risk of breast, lung, and prostrate cancer. They may also help protect the heart.
The next food is the berry. Berries are packed with antioxidants. They are high in both Potassium and Vitamin C. They have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and act as an anti-inflammatory. This includes all types of berries.
Tea, both black and green, is another powerhouse item. Tea has polyphenols and antioxidants that may help with premature aging.
Although this is only a partial listing of a few of the powerhouse foods, it gives one a place to start when shopping and planning meals. Consider purchasing these foods and beverages while improving your health with every purchase.
Author: Liz Smith, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.