By Michelle Hoeing Bauche, MS RDN LD CSOWN
We often hear news about the next new “superfood”, or the best “diet” that everyone should try. Whether or not those specific things work for everyone may be up for debate. But adding the five types of foods listed below is a great idea for those seeking to boost their health. In fact, these foods are staples you shouldn’t live without:
Leafy Greens: These include any type of lettuce, kale, arugula, spinach, etc. and they pack a very nutrient-dense punch, without a lot of calories. Leafy greens contain non-heme iron, which is a little harder to absorb by the body, so consider eating them with some kind of citrus, or even just a squeeze of lemon juice to add some vitamin C and maximize absorption. Leafy greens are also a great source of folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, and several B vitamins.
Protein: Protein is a staple to the bariatric diet, but is also important for a variety of body processes as well as maintaining muscle mass. Protein foods, especially meat, also take longer to digest in the stomach, and tend to keep us full longer between meals. Try to choose good quality sources of protein, ideally from grass-fed animals. Or if you can’t find that, consider choosing leaner cuts of meat. Lean cuts of beef and pork typically will include the words “round” or “loin” in the name. Don’t be afraid of the dark meat in chicken and turkey as well. –The dark meat is a rich source of the most bioavailable form of iron, as well as vitamin B12, zinc, and many fat-soluble vitamins. Consider eating it without the skin, though. That’s where most of the fat resides. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are also a great source of protein, as well as the heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids! If you’re a vegetarian or prefer not to eat meat, be sure to consume a variety of plant-based proteins from things like beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and whole grains such as rice and quinoa.
Vegetables of Color: When vegetables come in a variety of purples, oranges, reds, yellows, greens, and blues, this means that they pack a nutrient-dense punch! Aim to include at least 5 different colors of vegetables and fruit in your diet throughout the day to make sure you are getting a variety of nutrients to support your body and metabolism!
Fermented Foods: Fermented foods include things like sauerkraut and kimchi, and fermented dairy foods like yogurt and kefir. The fermented foods are a great source of probiotics which help to support healthy digestion. Supplying our gut/intestines with beneficial bacteria is helpful for not only digestion, but also for nutrient absorption. Some studies even suggest it may play a role in weight loss as well.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: In the Mediterranean diet, considered one of the healthiest diets, olive oil is a staple. Choosing extra virgin olive oil is less processed or refined as some other forms. This provides our body with a source of healthy fat that is essential for nutrient absorption, brain function, and even heart health. Be sure not to cook at high temperatures with olive oil. When it starts to smoke, that’s the sign you’ve destroyed the healthy fat.