As much as I know about eating healthy, I know even more about eating junk food. I didn’t start truly paying attention to the foods I ate and how they affected my body until I was about 22 or 23 (roughly five or six years ago).
Before that (and maybe a bit after that, too), I had a lifetime of eating pizza, burgers, quick-fix meals and everything else you’d expect to see in Peter Griffin’s home, never giving a second thought to the fact that my choices were expanding my waistline, decorating my face with little red dots and shortening my years on this planet.
But, whether you’re in the same place I was in 2012, or where I hope to be in another five years, there are certain things you can do to make any meal healthier. Some are simple changes you probably already know — use olive oil instead of butter, swap out white grains for whole grains, substitute turkey for beef — and some you and I have never thought of.
Thankfully, these few I have heard of and use as often as I can. So, without further adieu, here are four superfoods you can add to any meal to make it healthier.
Avocado – Long avoided for its high fat content, and currently lauded as a millennial luxury, the rational among us can appreciate avocado for what it is: a yummy, healthy source of good fats. This hipster favorite is loaded with fiber, potassium, magnesium and monounsaturated fats. You can easily add diced avocado to some pico de gallo for a quick, healthy guac alternative, and even add it to pancake batter for a thick, creamy carb replacement.
Turmeric – I’ll never forget a retired LSU professor telling me about his colleague’s research that showed turmeric not only slowed the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, but actually reversed them. It also has shown that it can slow the growth of certain types of cancer, specifically colon, and may fend off viral infections. Incorporate it into your diet by mixing a little in your oatmeal, or add a pinch to your daily lemon water.
Matcha – I’ll admit, matcha is an acquired taste, but one that’s well worth acquiring. It’s more potent than average green tea (because you’re ingesting the entire tea leaf) and, therefore, packs a powerful punch of antioxidants. It has been tied to possibly protecting against heart disease and some cancers; lower cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure; as well as aid in weight loss and slow the growth of breast cancer cells. The most common way to consume matcha is in a tea, but you can also add the powder to eggs, soup, guac and whatever else you’d like. I’ve even had some delicious matcha cookies!
Ginger – There is nothing like a glass of ginger ale to calm my upset tummy, but this best friend of sushi is also used to fight osteoarthritis because it as amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that eating a small dose of dried ginger in the morning increased fat burning for 13.5 percent for two hours. Get your ginger in by adding it to stir-fry, eggs, fruit salad, or, really any dish.
What’s your go-to healthy add-in?