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Monday, March 3, 2008

The 7 Best Foods We Never Eat


The avocado is high in fat, but most of the fat is the heart-healthy monounsaturated kind. We know the avocado tastes great, but outside of an occasional guacamole dip, few of us reach for this high-fiber food for salads or as a great side dish.

Sweet potato

At Thanksgiving, we dash for sweet potatoes as if they're available just once a year. But you can bake or microwave these tubers anytime for a super dose of vitamin A — five times the daily value (DV) the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends.

Sweet potatoes also offer some vitamin C and a significant helping of important minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and iron. And this tasty fat-free combo of nutrients brightens your plate.


The FDA recently added soy to the list of foods that can make health claims because of its value in reducing the risk of heart disease. Soy is high in protein — one cup of beans can fill 40 percent of the DV for protein — and the bean also serves up generous helpings of fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. How you eat this versatile food is up to you — cooked and mixed in salads or casseroles, roasted for snacks, or in tofu, tempeh or soy milk. Soy has some fat, but very little saturated fat. The use of soy products to treat symptoms of menopause is controversial. While it may improve symptoms for some women, the phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that may help relieve hot flashes may also increase the risk of breast cancer.

Dried figs

Tasty as Fig Newton cookies are, figs stand on their own. They provide high-fiber, topped with some B vitamins and iron, finished off with abundant potassium and calcium. Five figs give you as much calcium as half a glass of milk.
What to do with a fig? Pop a few in your mouth, sneak them into casseroles or replace raisins with them in a salad.


We never think of this legume unless it's in our soup. But put lentils in rice or casseroles and
you've added one of the highest-protein and highest-fiber foods around.
A cup of lentils supplies about 40 percent of the DV for protein and
about 65 percent of the DV for fiber. The lentil is high in potassium, calcium and iron, and a good source of B vitamins, phosphorus and copper. The fat content? Zero.


calcium. Look for kale's healthy but ignored cousins: Swiss chard,

mustard greens and collards.


Here's another soup secret we tend to forget

despite its claim to protein, fiber, potassium,

phosphorus and iron. One cup supplies 25 percent of the DV for fiber.

Eat pearled barley as a side dish instead of rice, use it for a hearty casserole, or boil it to create a unique base for a stir-fry meal. And look at the high nutritional content of some other forgotten but powerful grains, like quinoa and amaranth.

Brief and to the Point:

How about changing some eating habits?

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