What Should You Eat?


By Neil Offen  

Now that we’ve made it through Thanksgiving, our thoughts naturally turn to improving our diets. We know we need to eat less pumpkin pie and more of the dietary essentials found in what we now call “superfoods.” We have given them this name because Doritos was already taken.

These foods all have been around for a long time but nobody paid any attention to them because they didn’t go well with barbecue sauce. Then research showed we can use them to scare the daylights out of those of us worried about our creaky knees.

Even if they taste like talcum powder, these clearly are the foods we should be eating to improve our health and lengthen our lives and still be around for the launch of the iPhone 53 Pro.

Apples: Full of soluble fiber, apples help reduce cholesterol. That’s the bad cholesterol, obviously. Well, probably. Or maybe they increase the good cholesterol, which is either HDL, LDL or NHL. Eat at least an apple a day. You know why.

Asparagus: This is a vegetable high in lycopene, which, in a double-blind study, increased carotenoid levels significantly in healthy subjects who consumed shots of unadulterated lycopene for 26 days in a row. Increased carotenoid levels may protect the spleen and pancreas as long as you are willing to waste 26 days of your life drinking unadulterated lycopene. Asparagus can be eaten grilled, steamed, sautéed or put into your food processor and made into a juice that you will never drink because it’s, you know, green.

Blueberries: Rich in antioxidants, blueberries also boast flavonoids, which are particularly attractive because they sound like something that might actually have flavor and so you are more likely to eat them until you discover they can stain your hands and new white pants.

Broccoli: Broccoli is high in vitamins such as A, C, B9, B52 and C3PO. Your eyes, red blood cells, bones and tissues all benefit from this vegetable as long as they don’t ever have to eat it. Broccoli can be served either raw or cooked but will still remain broccoli. However, eating a lot of broccoli will make you appreciate asparagus juice.

Butternut squash: This is a vegetable brimming with potassium, which we need to keep our potassium levels at a brimming level. According to research, if you eat one butternut squash a day for the next six years, you’re going to be really tired of butternut squash.

Fava beans: Low in fat, low in sodium and low in flavor, these beans have plenty of manganese and iron, which is what probably makes them taste so awful. The good news about fava beans? Not as tasteless as lima beans.

Garbanzos: Bursting with protein, copper and zinc, garbanzos—also known as chickpeas after they were placed in a legume protection program—are extremely versatile and can ruin a salad or a stew.

Mangoes: Just a cup of mangoes supplies more than 10 percent of a day’s requirement of Vitamin A and around two-thirds of a day’s requirement of Vitamin C. Researchers are still trying to determine why it just skipped over Vitamin B for apparently no good reason at all.

Nuts: A dense source of nutrients, nuts promote brain and heart health as long as you remember to take the shells off before swallowing. Nuts provide important minerals like vitamin E, calcium and selenium, unless they never get into your digestive system because they are still stuck in your teeth.

And of course, it’s important to remember to always eat and drink all these superfoods in moderation, except, obviously, for fava beans, where one is more than enough.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column appears twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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