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Queens Chronicle

Give Meals a Nutrient Boost

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Posted: Monday, August 11, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 4:37 am, Wed Aug 13, 2014.

(Family Features) Feeding your family with nutrient dense foods can be as simple as making a few better-for-you choices. By definition, superfoods are calorie sparse and packed with beneficial nutrients that add health and flavor to meals. Because the human body cannot create these nourishing elements alone, the addition of these foods is essential for regular function and to defend against certain diseases and conditions.

The next time you visit the grocery store, stock up on some of these delicious foods.

Super Nutrients

Many of the foods labeled as superfoods contain one or more of the following nutrients, which can be beneficial when added to your family's diet:

  • Antioxidants: These compounds have been linked with helping memory function, reducing the signs of aging and battling diseases, such as cancer.
  • Calcium: This important mineral is necessary for muscle function and to keep bones and teeth healthy and strong.
  • Fiber: An essential part of a healthy diet, fiber aids the body with food digestion. It has also been linked to maintaining a healthy weight, as well as a lowered risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Protein: The human body requires protein to build and maintain skin, muscles and bones.
  • Potassium: A diet lacking this important mineral may increase the risk of high blood pressure, cancer, stroke and infertility.
  • Omega-3s: These essential fatty acids are necessary for many body functions and can also reduce the risk of arthritis, decrease the symptoms of ADHD and lower levels of depression.
  • Vitamin C: As an antioxidant, vitamin C can reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis and cancer. It is also a popular remedy for the common cold.

Omega-3s, Please

The edible skin and soft bones give Alaska canned pink salmon four times the omega-3s EPA and DHA, twelve times the vitamin D as many popular canned meats and fish, 25 percent of adult RDA for calcium and nearly the daily reference amount for selenium. Stir them in and enjoy. Buy any brand - look for Alaska on the lid or label. For more information, visit www.wildalaskaseafood.com.

A Powerhouse of Nutrients and Fiber

California Figs are supercharged with flavor and nutrition. A natural powerhouse of essential nutrients and fiber, Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid Figs are a healthy, versatile recipe ingredient and tasty, convenient snack. Fat-, cholesterol-, sodium- and gluten-free, these non-genetically modified Mission and Golden figs are sweet, chewy and available all year round. A handful of five little figs provides five grams of fiber and 20 percent of the daily value for fiber. Enjoy the taste of good health with California Figs. For more information, visit www.valleyfig.com.

High-Quality Plant-Based Protein

Having a simple, but nutritious on-the-go snack can sure come in handy. All-natural and certified gluten-free, SOYJOY snack bars are baked with pieces of real fruit and non-genetically modified ground whole soybeans. The protein in soybeans provides all nine essential amino acids, making them a source of high-quality, complete protein. Available in seven flavors, at only 130-140 calories, SOYJOY is easy, tasty and wholesome - perfect for any snack occasion. For more information, visit www.soyjoy.com.

Packed with Potassium

Not only are potatoes delicious and versatile, but they also pack a nutritional punch. One medium potato has 110 calories and is free of fat, sodium, cholesterol and gluten. Potatoes provide more potassium than a banana and almost half of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. They're also a good source of vitamins and minerals like B6, iron and fiber, which can aid in weight loss and lower cholesterol. For more information, visit www.eatwisconsinpotatoes.com.

Creamy and Calcium Rich

With a rich, creamy taste and a wide variety of uses, Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze Almondmilk is a super food staple in kitchens everywhere. Almond Breeze can be enjoyed alone, over cereal, in smoothies and in cooked dishes - making it as versatile as it is delicious. Almondmilk is low in calories and high in calcium - plus, it is gluten and cholesterol-free. The unsweetened version of Almond Breeze Original provides a touch of the almond's natural sweetness, but eliminates added sugar. For more information, visit www.AlmondBreeze.com.

(family in grocery store)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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