Once again, they really surprised me on the upside. They announced their list of 10 foods to build muscle, boost immunity, burn fat, and strengthen the heart, and I thought for sure I'd find the likes of salmon, whey, and other animal foods on the list. But no, all 10 were plants! Let's go through them, one by one, but I'll omit numbers because it's not supposed to be a rating scale. They are all equally good.
Cabbage: They emphasize the sulforaphane, which is in all cruciferous vegetables. Actually, headed cabbage is a little like headed lettuce, and just as leaf lettuce is superior because it's greener, the same is true when comparing leafy cabbage (such as collards and kale) to headed cabbage. So, you're better off with the former. But that doesn't mean you can't eat headed cabbage sometimes. For instance, if you're bent on having cole slaw, you wouldn't want to use raw collards or kale because it just wouldn't taste good. So, I am all for making use of cabbage. But personally, I always buy the red headed cabbage rather than the green. I like the way it looks; I like the way it tastes; and I like what it delivers.
Beets: That rich red color is visual proof of the high antioxidant content. And remember that the beet greens are good to eat too, like spinach. My favorite way to eat beets are cooked, skinned, chilled, and diced in a salad. And they keep quite well too- at least for a week. So, you can cook up a bunch and use them up over the course of several days or longer. They definitely add a lot of pizzazz to salads.
Guava: They point out that guava is higher in Vitamin C than oranges and higher in Lycopene than tomatoes or watermelon. I'm all for guava, but it is a bit pricey, and it's not so widely available.
Swiss chard: This leafy green is much more practical and efficient to grow than it's cousin, spinach. It grows bigger and faster, so you get more. It grows more upright, so it doesn't get so soil-ridden. And the flavor of it is milder and goes with everything. And nutritionally, it is just as good as spinach. Hey, I grow swiss chard all winter. I have it growing right now, and I eat it often. When it freezes hard, I throw some hay over it. That's all it takes to keep it alive, even down into the teens.
Cinnamon: They emphasize how it helps to control blood sugar. But, I like cinnamon just for the taste of it, and I use it often. I love it on oatmeal. I even put it on whole grain oat cereal.
Purslane: This is a salad green that I have little experience with. I'm sure I have tried it at least once years ago. Although it's not widely available, I am going to keep my eyes open for it and buy it. They point out two interesting things: One, purslane is the highest green in alpha-linolenic acid- the plant form of Omega 3. Two, it is the vegetable that is highest in melatonin, the hormone. Is it high enough to put you to sleep? I doubt it, but I'll let you know after I try it.
Pomegranite juice: They emphasize the benefits to blood pressure, blood flow, and heart health. Lately, I have been using a pomegranite juice concentrate. Two tablespoons comprise one serving. Pomegranite is still my favorite "super-fruit" and I plan to make use of it yearround.
Goji berries: This is the only food on the list that I have never eaten. They say that it is the highest in antixoidants of any food. They're supposed to be available both fresh and dried, but I've never seen them in the markets near me. Have you?
Prunes: Prune growers are trying to switch the name of their fruit to "dried plums" because they are tired of being associated with nursing homes and bathroom activities. I have nothing against prunes, but frankly, I don't eat them. The reason is that I use raisins and dried figs regularly in various ways, and that's enough dried fruit for me. I don't want to get carried away with it. But if someone else prefers prunes to the others, that's fine with me.
Pumpkin Seeds: Everyone knows that they're high in zinc, but did you know that they are also loaded with magnesium? Pumpkins seeds are also high in omega 3 fatty acid. However, pumpkin seeds are definitely an acquired taste. And, be careful about freshness. The oil in pumpkin seeds goes rancid very easily. I am not inclined to use them much, despite their rich nutritional bounty. But if you like them, go for it.
Thank you, Men's Health, for highlighting the vast nutrition of plant foods. The truth is that there are any number of other plant foods that would have been just as deserving of praise. However, the important thing is that the magazine is moving in the right direction. Plants rule!