The Richmond Register

October 28, 2012

Three superstar foods

By Dr. Jack Rutherford
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — To get the most nutritional bang for your buck, consider packing three superstar foods into your diet, namely fruits, vegetables and salmon. Fruits and vegetables offer lots of wholesome goodness plus a new study of the dietary habits of more than 80,000 British adults found a surprising relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and enhanced mental well-being. Researchers found that happiness rose in tandem with the number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables consumed and peaked at seven servings a day. So it seems these two superstar foods are good for your body and your mind.

The third superstar food, salmon, is perhaps the healthiest protein on the planet and is conveniently available right from the can. Salmon is a rich source of B vitamins, selenium, magnesium and vitamin D but is most revered for its omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that “naturally occurring” vitamin D is superior to vitamin pills or vitamin D added to foods and salmon is one of a handful of foods with natural vitamin D.

Moreover, a number of studies have found that eating oily fish like salmon is clearly superior to taking fish oil pills.

So how do you pack all this superstar nutrition into your weekly diet? First, aim to get five servings of salmon a week. Try grilled or baked salmon for two dinner entrees and canned salmon for three lunches. Salmon sandwiches on whole wheat or salmon salad are two healthy choices.

Getting seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day might seem like a difficult task but it really isn’t. Here’s how to do it. (Note: one serving of fruit or vegetable is one-half cup unless it’s a raw leafy green like lettuce, where one serving is one cup). For breakfast, have one cup of fruit. Perhaps an orange or one-half cup berries with one-half cup of chopped fresh apple. Include one-half cup of vegetables at lunch. These can be left over dinner vegetables and/or salad. Have a piece of fresh fruit for an afternoon snack. For dinner, include a serving of fresh salad and one cup of steamed vegetables. To keep the calorie count down, avoid flavoring your vegetables with sauces and salads with rich dressing. Make the superstar foods a part of your diet.