Power foods that boost overall health

Washington: In times of hectic lifestyle and poor eating habits, it is essential to include ‘power foods’ in our diet that keep us energized and focused.

Frances Largeman-Roth, senior food and nutrition editor for Health magazine, shared the benefits of power foods on ‘The Early Show’ on Saturday.

For those who feel tired and groggy throughout the day, Largeman-Roth recommended taking the required dose of iron from red meats, poultry, and fortified cereal.

She suggested that it’s important to avoid the consumption of ‘jittery’ foods such as caffeine and foods high in white flour (cookies, white bread), as these strip us of nutrients and fibre that normally keep your blood sugar stable.

Largeman-Roth warned that a big dose of these foods could cause blood sugar to soar, resulting in anxiety and sluggishness.

Substituting the jittery foods with brown rice, whole-grain bread and whole-grain pasta will do more gain than expected, she said.

Deficiency of brain-boosting nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B-12 leads to forgetfulness and lack of attention. Lack of B-12 has also been linked with confusion, numbness, and fatigue.

Omega-3s are loaded with DHA, a type of fatty acid that makes neurons in the brain fire more effectively.

To beat all these brain-related problems, Largeman-Roth recommended including salmon (rich in omega-3) and eggs (high in vitamin B-12) in the diet.

Even though veggies and legumes are good, certain ones like beans, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower can cause lots of gas and bloating.

Largeman-Roth explained that it might have something to do with their complex sugars being hard to digest. Furthermore, carbonated drinks can also increase bloating because these are bubbly and the artificial sweeteners can be hard for the body to break down.

She suggested halving the amount of bloat-boosting veggies for a week to see if that helps. However, she advised against cutting them out completely, because they still provide crucial nutrients.

Ditch soda and seltzer, but keep drinking flat water, which helps relieve constipation - another cause of bloating. Taking probiotic supplements can also help, Largeman-Roth advised.