Super Foods

  • Salmon: Super Food for Athletes #10

    by Dietitian Ellen

    Super Food Salmon FiletsFishy, fishy!

    I’m going to be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with seafood. There are times I cannot get enough of it, and other times… well, the smell can ruin my appetite. Fortunately, though, I have not met a salmon filet I do not like. Salmon is packed with nutritional properties that qualify it for the bragging rights associated with our 10th and final spot on our list of super foods for athletes.

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  • Aronia Berries: Super Food for Athletes #9

    by Dietitian Ellen

    Aronia BerriesGet your tissues out… We are nearing the end of this series of super foods for athletes. Sad, I know. Try to hold back your tears. (Don’t worry there will be more articles on other topics!)

    Up until now we have talked about fairly well-known foods. Okay, chia seeds and quinoa may have been new to some, but this week may be a new experience for many readers. Our athlete super food focus for this week is aronia berries.

    Have you ever heard of aronia berries? What about chokeberries? If you haven’t, don’t feel bad. I didn’t learn about these blueberry look-a-like, antioxidant-powerhouse berries until I started my career as a Hy-Vee dietitian.

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  • Sweet Potatoes: Super Food for Athletes #8

    By Dietitian Ellen

    Sweet Potatoes are an athlete's super foodYou know Rihanna’s song, “Where Have You Been”? The one with this chorus: “Where have you been, all my life?” (Don’t make me sing it for you, you don’t deserve that punishment. I do not sing well.)

    This is the chorus I associate with my relationship with sweet potatoes. Where have they been all my life? Why did it take me so long to meet them? Well, I’m pretty sure the reason is that my parents strongly dislike sweet potatoes and we never, ever, had them in the house growing up. (Actually, my sister and I still have to smuggle them in during holiday celebrations at my parent’s house. Such rebels we are!) It took me until college to fully understand what a positive effect sweet potatoes can have on one’s overall happiness.

    Not only are sweet potatoes delicious, they are incredibly nutritious. Why else would they have made our top 10 list of super foods for athletes?

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  • Blueberries: Super Food for Athletes #7

    by Dietitian Ellen

    Blueberries are a super food for athletesRemember when you were young, it was the middle of summer and you were wearing your brand new pressed white shirt to the family picnic? Your mom politely, yet sternly, warned, “Do not get anything on your shirt.” As you made your way through the food line you could not resist adding the fruit pizza studded with rows of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries to your plate. Then remember when the big and juicy blueberry jumped off your plate and landed several inches above your belly button... and proceeded to blaze a bluish purple trail all the way down your shirt until it stopped at your shorts pocket... just as your mom glanced your way to ensure the shirt was still clean and acceptable for the family photo?

    No? You don’t remember that? Well, maybe that's just a memory that haunts me. I didn’t touch another blueberry for years, for fear that just touching the thing would somehow result in a stain on my shirt.

    When I began studying to be a dietitian and learning about the health benefits of blueberries, I figured it was time to face my fears. After all, blueberries are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, beneficial vitamins and minerals for brain health, and water, making them a top contender in our list of super foods for athletes.

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  • Eggs: Super Food for Athletes #6

    by Dietitian Ellen

    Eggs: Super FoodQuestion: Is the egg all that it is cracked up to be?

    Answer: Absolutely. It may be *even more* than it is cracked up to be!

    Just like Greek yogurt, eggs are not complicated. Although they were given a bad reputation in the past for increasing blood cholesterol, research in the past 10 years has shown that one egg per day is not harmful and will not have a negative effect on blood cholesterol levels. It has been found that dietary cholesterol, such as the cholesterol found in eggs, has a negligible effect on cholesterol in the blood (which is what affects your risk for heart disease). It has also been found that, on average, dietary levels of cholesterol in a standard egg have decreased by 14%. These days, a standard large egg contains about 185 mg of cholesterol. (“These days”?! I must have spent too much time on vacation this week and started picking up the locals' dialect. Sorry, y’all. :) )

    So there you have it. Eggs are not as evil as they were once thought to be. (Disclaimer: I am not suggesting to make yourself a 12-egg omelet tomorrow for breakfast. One egg per day, two eggs every other day, or better yet, an egg plus an egg white every day would be a better choice.)

    Enough about defending the egg, let’s talk about the beneficial nutritional qualities that make eggs a super food.

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  • Greek Yogurt: Super Food for Athletes #5

    by Dietitian Ellen

    It's not complicatedBy now you have probably seen the AT&T iPhone 5 commercials:

    "What’s better? Doing two things at once, or just one? It’s not complicated."

    Well, the same is true about Greek yogurt. It’s not complicated.

    You have maybe heard about Greek yogurt and its health benefits. (And if you haven’t heard about Greek yogurt, please come out from under the rock you’ve been living under.) Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about surrounding this not-so-recent food trend?

    Let me tell you what the fuss is about.

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