“While there are many healthy foods out there, some of them are, well, super because they’re loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that help prolong life,” says Dr. Carm. “These ‘ingredients’ even fight and prevent chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes—all important to consider even as you focus on your waistline.”
Here are the top five superfoods Dr. Carm recommends adding to your grocery list this summer:
Blueberries. Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, blueberries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them a top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory. The darker the berry, the more antioxidants it has. Frozen blueberries are just as good as fresh, so add them to yogurt parfaits, cereal, smoothies, and salads. Dr. Carm recommends a ½ cup serving daily.
Quinoa. Say it with us: keen-wah. Quinoa is full of fiber, and as you might already know, a diet high in fiber will help you maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. As a bonus, because fiber helps you feel full longer, it’s also a great tool in weight management. Since quinoa has more protein than brown rice, start using it as a healthful substitute.
Yogurt. Okay, okay, you know the drill: Calcium helps build strong bones and prevents osteoporosis. So put that knowledge to use and start filling your grocery cart with yogurt. Here’s an added bonus: Some studies even show that calcium helps with weight loss! If you’re age 19 to 50, the USDA recommends 1,000 mg of calcium per day. If you’re 51 or older, that level increases to 1,200 mg daily. Top with fresh-picked berries and enjoy a refreshing summer treat!
Dark Chocolate. That’s right. Dr. Carm is encouraging you to eat dark chocolate! New research has shown that it is packed with antioxidants and can lower blood pressure. Look for chocolate with 60 percent or higher cocoa content—the darker, the better. In addition, the darker the chocolate is, the lower the fat and sugar content. Now that’s our kind of health food!
Tea. Black tea and green tea have the same overall antioxidant power, but green tea also includes ECGC, an especially powerful antioxidant. A recent Japanese study showed that men who regularly drink green tea had lower cholesterol than men who didn’t. Researchers in Spain and the United Kingdom have also shown that ECGC can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. For a double health whammy, replace sugary sodas with tea.
About Dr. Carmella Sebastian:
Dr. Carmella Sebastian (known as Dr. Carm or “The Wellness Whisperer”TM) was born and raised in Pittston, Pennsylvania, and received her MD degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. She earned her master’s degree in healthcare administration from King’s College in Pennsylvania. She is board certified in internal medicine and was in active clinical practice before joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Northeastern Pennsylvania, where she was VP of medical affairs and chief medical officer.
Dr. Carm served as market medical officer with Humana for central and north Florida and joined Florida Blue in 2010. She is a renowned expert in workplace wellness and enjoys WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) certification. At Florida Blue, she oversees the National Committee for Quality Assurance-accredited wellness program “Better You from Blue” and manages over 100 client consultations per year.
Dr. Carm is also a nationally known wellness educator with a special interest in women at mid-life and women’s wellness. She frequently speaks on a range of wellness topics and is admired for giving her audiences practical, achievable wellness strategies and solutions (all of which are served with a liberal dose of humor!). She recently published her first book, Sex and Spaghetti Sauce: My Italian Mother’s Recipe for Getting Healthy and Getting Busy in Your 50s and Beyond.
Dr. Carm lives in Tampa with her husband and two daughters, who are ongoing (and somewhat reluctant) beneficiaries of her wellness wisdom.
For more information, please visit www.drcarm.com.