Functional Foods Defined by (IFIC): Foods that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition.
- Fish, Fatty fish: salmon, sardines, trout, and herring are lower in mercury and have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids may help lower your risk of heart disease. When consumed throughout pregnancy and or breastfeeding omega 3 fatty acids (like DHA) may improve infant overall health and brain functions. Aim for no more than 8oz per week split into 2 separate days.
- Unsalted Nuts help keep you satiated making them a great on the go perk. Nuts have been shown to promote heart health and some contain magnesium which may play a role in the management of blood pressure. almonds, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts.
- Whole Grains Such as: oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, spelt contain good dietary fiber. They are linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems. This may help lower cholesterol and maintain blood sugar control.
- Beans contain fiber, protein, potassium, and folate (important during spinal fetal development). I have 2 favorites: dry red kidney beans and green lentils. I soak the red kidney beans for 24 hrs in cold water, drain, and rinse before cooking. Lentils do not need to be soaked just rinsed well.
- Black Bean Study Conclusion: “Including black beans with a typical Western-style meal increases content of protein, dietary fiber, and an array of micronutrient and phytochemical components with many of the latter exhibiting the antioxidant property. After controlling for energy, protein, fiber, and antioxidant capacity in comparator meals, the meal with the black beans resulted in reduced postprandial insulin concentrations, suggesting enhanced insulin sensitivity in adults with MetS. These results support regular consumption of black beans with meals to manage postprandial metabolic responses, a strategy that would contribute to the metabolic health and delay of CVD and diabetes mellitus in adults with MetS.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4555112/
- Berries are a powerful snack they are low in calories and contain powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanin which are a type of flavonoid. Anthocyanin is what gives the berries their beautiful color. For a Power snack mix a handful or berries and a handful of mixed unsalted nuts and some grated soft cheese or yogurt. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27170557/
- Avocados offers roughly 10% of the daily protein requirement. They cover a large array of the nutrient spectrum: fiber, vitamins C, E, K, B vitamins (including folate), as well as the minerals potassium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and even some calcium and iron. Have you ever noticed the shape of an avocado looks like a uterus? Well, some research has shown that avocado may improve the homeostasis of reproductive hormones!!
Fun Fact: it takes avocados 9 months from flower to fruit.
How do I like to consume them:
- Make a cocoa avocado smoothie (1 banana + ½ avocado + ¼ yogurt + 1 cup milk of choice + 1 tsp raw honey + 1 tsp cocoa powder.)
- Simple with pink salt and cracked pepper
- In an avocado and cucumber salad
- On the side with some green lentils or soup
- Mashed seasoned and fried topped with uncured bacon.
***Aim for Organic, Non-processed, and low-sodium.