Monday, September 14, 2015

Surprises and head-scratchers from "The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time"

Earlier this year, the folks at TIME magazine compiled a list of what they called "The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time."

(NOTE: You see how the title of the article is in orange type above? That means I've conveniently provided a link to it for you. That's probably obvious to some people, but one of my concerns about the templated design I've selected for this blog is the fact that links, rather than being underlined, are just presented in orange type. And sometimes I wonder whether people realize that orange = hyperlink. Am I underestimating readers' intelligence here?)

Anyway, as I said, "The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time." It's an interesting list, and most of the entries are predictable, at least to me. Some come as a surprise, though. And others are going to challenge the palettes of American eaters who are accustomed to the fat- and calorie-filled Standard Western Diet.

Half the items on the list are fruits or vegetables, as you might imagine. Bananas, blueberries, oranges, cauliflower and spinach are all "Yeah, duh" selections. But pomegranates are also on there. While not necessarily surprising, they're not a fruit that people in this country widely eat. A lot of grocery stores probably don't even have them.

On the veggie side, fennel made the list. I like fennel, mind you, and a couple of months ago I even made fennel chicken for dinner. It's just that it never would have entered my mind as a candidate. TIME calls it a "vitamin cocktail" with plenty of antioxidants and "a unique mix of phytonutrients." Who knew? Not me.

Among the four types of fish they recommend you regularly eat, salmon and tuna are no-brainers. But you know what the other two are? Anchovies and sardines. I'm not a regular consumer of either, and I had no idea they could be considered healthy, but I'll give them both a try now.

Other surprises and "Huh?" moments from me as I reviewed the list:

  • Dark meat on poultry. Conventional wisdom holds that you should stick to white meat when it comes to chicken, turkey, etc. And the white meat is good for you. But apparently the dark meat is higher in B vitamin content and contains a hormone that contributes to feeling full (presumably thus making you eat less).
  • Kamut. I didn't even know what kamut was and had to look it up. It's a grain that looks a lot like long-grain brown rice but has a more buttery/sweet/nutty flavor. Yeah, again, who knew?
  • Eggs. Depending on the day of the week, nutritionists either tell us that eggs will kill us or that they're the best thing God created, nutrition-wise. It's Monday, so apparently Monday is an "eggs are great" day.
  • Kefir. Aaaaaand again, I didn't know what this was. It's a fermented milk drink that supports immunity, helps lactose intolerance, builds bone density, and presumably fights crime and saves the whales, too. Sometimes when my family leaves a gallon of skim in our fridge for too long, we create our own fermented milk drink...
  • Rooibos Tea. Do I even have to mention that this was the first time I had ever heard of rooibos tea? But yeah, this is apparently the tea you should be drinking if you want to fend off a wide range of chronic/degenerative diseases. It's a red tea. I think that's cool.

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