When I am stumped to remember a person’s name, I try to kick it into my brain by going down the alphabet. Ann? Bonnie? Cathy? And so on. Sometimes it works…
Speaking of the alphabet, here is the final round of good foods, starting where we left off last time:
Ricotta. It’s a creamy Italian cheese made from the milk of sheep, cows, goats or Italian water buffaloes. Ricotta is rich in whey protein, which has been shown to be an effective type of protein for muscle strength and maintenance. This cheese is also a great source of calcium, vitamin B12 and a host of other vitamins and minerals. That’s really rather remarkable.
Strawberries. One cup of this red fruit more than meets our vitamin C requirement for the day. Strawberries are also rich in substances that may lower our risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to some studies.
Tea. It can sooth tired minds and adds fluid to tired bodies. Tea drinkers tend to have lower blood pressures and a reduced risk for strokes, according to some studies. Interesting, too, that green, black and oolong teas are made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. They are just processed differently. Cup for cup, black tea has about half the caffeine of coffee while green and oolong varieties have less.
Udon. I turned to Marilyn Uwate, my dietitian friend with Japanese roots, on this one. Udon is a noodle made from wheat flour and widely used in Japan, she said. “It is usually eaten as a soup. Look for whole grain versions for a better boost of nutrients.”
Vegetables! Plants we eat for food are as varied as the nutrients they supply. Think of vegetables as nature’s vitamin, mineral and fiber supplements. For best health, let this group of foods grace your table often.
Walnuts. Besides being the nut with the highest amount of plant-based omega-3 fats (the good-for-you fat), walnuts are certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food. Before you eat the whole bag, remember that a “serving” is considered 12 to 14 walnuts halves or 1⁄4 cup … about a handful.
Xanthan gum. It might not be on your shopping list but is a common ingredient in salad dressings and sauces. According to the International Food Information Council xanthan gum helps stabilize opposing ingredients like oil and water. This food additive is also gluten-free so has become a useful way to mimic the properties of wheat flour in gluten-free breads and pastries.
Yogurt! A staple food in many cultures, yogurt is a great source of essential protein and calcium. And because it is fermented, it helps to keep healthful bacteria in our guts. Scientists now believe that good gut bacteria not only helps fight off infections but may also protect us from intestinal disorders and help with weight control.
Zucchini. Ta-da! Don’t make fun of this incredibly versatile summer squash. It’s considered a non-starchy vegetable with only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbs per cup. I like it roasted or sauteed with a little olive oil and seasonings.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.