BY KRISTIN KIRKPATRICK
TRAVELING THE world is a marvelous
thing; learning new languages and cultures
and encountering new ideas and places can
educate you beyond anything you will learn
in a book. But when it comes to food, you
don’t need to hop on a plane to experience
the cuisine of another land. In fact, many
of the healthiest foods on earth are available right in your backyard. Here are my
India. Turmeric is truly the golden root
of the East, for both its color and the amazing health benefits conferred by curcumin,
its active ingredient. It’s been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine, but
strong scientific evidence is backing up the
validity of its numerous health attributes
and causing Americans to stock up on curry
powder and/or turmeric in their kitchens.
Turmeric has been shown to help slow
the progression of tumors, decrease symptoms of ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel
syndrome, and lower inflammatory markers in patients with arthritis; new research
suggests it may also serve as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Try adding this interesting spice to
marinades, scrambled eggs, soups, stews
and even smoothies.
Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
Coffee is more than just a cup of caffeine to
Costco members will find all of these
items and more at their local Costco.
You don’t have
to travel far to find
FOR YOUR HEALTH
start your day. It provides powerful antioxidants that could prevent disease and
prolong your life. In fact, coffee is perhaps
the greatest source of antioxidants worldwide. Coffee consumption has been linked
to a reduced risk and/or recurrence of some
cancers and may help to prevent Type 2
diabetes, improve liver health and extend
life span (to name a few).
Eliminate the sugar from your cup to
get the most bang from your coffee buck.
Asia, Europe and North America. Have
you ever seen packets of seaweed and wondered how to incorporate it into your diet?
Don’t overthink it. This superfood is great
alone as a snack, simmered in soups or
crumbled and can even be used in place of
Do overthink the benefits to your health,
though. Seaweed has been found to have
anti-allergy effects and may help to boost
heart health by assisting in the reduction
of blood pressure.
Seaweed is also a great source of iodine,
which can be beneficial to individuals with
a deficiency but problematic for those with
thyroid disorders, so check with your physician first if you are among the latter.
Italy. Many people already have tomato
sauce in their pantry, but perhaps fewer
know of tomatoes’ abundant health benefits. Tomatoes contain a potent flavonoid
called lycopene, a major defender against
cancers of the breast, kidney and prostate.
A diet rich in tomato products can also help
in the fight against stroke.
Don’t limit tomato sauce to just a topper
on pasta, though; try adding it to chicken,
meatballs, dips or rice dishes. You can even
add tomato sauce to scrambled eggs to give
them a boost in antioxidants—and flavor.
China. Green tea is a great sip-all-day
drink that boasts many anti-inflammatory
effects, but it also has an incredible impact
from the neck up. Studies show that green
tea can boost brainpower by improving cognitive function and memory. It’s also great
for eyes, reducing the chances of developing
glaucoma and other eye diseases.
Sip green tea in place of sugary sodas
and juices, or try green tea’s powerful cousin,
matcha, as another alternative.
Latin America. Black beans have something that screams, “I’m great for you,” and
that’s their color. Foods that boast deep hues
are often the highest in phytonutrients, and
black beans top the list. In addition to being
chock-full of fiber, black beans have been
shown to help with reducing cholesterol
and increasing a sense of fullness, meaning
they can help you lose weight and ward off
heart disease at the same time.
Add beans to anything and everything,
like soups and salads, or head just one more
aisle over and check out the new bean-based
pastas. Add tomato sauce and some curcumin, mix in crumbled seaweed for saltiness, enjoy with some tea or coffee, and
you’ve got quite a healthy meal. C
Kristin Kirkpatrick is an award-winning
dietitian and author.
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