Comedian George Burns once said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” Aging gracefully requires healthy habits such as getting at least seven hours of sleep most nights, exercising regularly, proper skin care, and most importantly, healthy food choices.
We need a wide variety of foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which minimize cell damage that may lead to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. “Superfoods” can restore your glow and enhance vitality helping you feel more vibrant. Berries, dark green veggies, sweet potatoes, tea/coffee, dark chocolate, nuts, whole grains, and fish are examples of superfoods.
STUFFED PEPPERS WITH TURKEY AND VEGETABLES
Red bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants called carotenoids. Plant pigments found in bright red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, carotenoids have anti-inflammatory properties and also stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which prevents calories from being converted into fat.
Watercress is a spicy, peppery herb that is remarkably nutrient-dense. It is a good source of calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and Vitamins A, C, K, B-1, and B-2. It increases circulation and delivers minerals to all cells of the body: all that vitamin A and C helps to keep fine lines and wrinkles away! Add a handful to your green salads, or toss some on a stuffed pepper for a little brightness and crunch.
4 seeded red bell peppers, with tops removed and reserved for filling
1 pound ground turkey
2 T olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1–2 cloves minced garlic
1 c sliced mushrooms
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 c fresh spinach
1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 T tomato paste
2 t Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan and/or Mozzarella cheese to taste
1 large handful of watercress
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the red peppers in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
While peppers are baking, cook the turkey in a skillet over medium heat until brown. Remove the turkey from the pan. Heat the olive oil in the same skillet and then add the onion, mushrooms, zucchini, green pepper, and reserved red pepper tops which have been diced. Cook until vegetables are softened—about 5-7 minutes. Add spinach and saute until it begins to wilt.
Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.
Stuff peppers with the turkey/vegetable mixture. Top with cheese of your choice. Return peppers to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. Top with watercress.
SAUTEED BROCCOLI WITH PINE NUTS
SERVES 4-6 AS A SIDE DISH
Broccoli is a good source of lutein, vitamin K and calcium, all of which improve memory function and as bone health, and help prevent osteoporosis.
1 head broccoli
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 T olive oil
1/4 c pine nuts
1 t crushed red pepper
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 t salt
Finely chop the broccoli florets and stems.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat and when it’s hot, add olive oil and the pine nuts and garlic. Stir constantly until lightly toasted—watch carefully as they can burn easily. Add the crushed red pepper and the chopped broccoli. Sauté on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until broccoli is bright green and barely softened.
Transfer to a serving bowl and add the juice of 1/2 lemon and salt. Stir and serve warm (adapted from Genius Kitchen.com).
MANGO PAPAYA SALSA
2-3 CUPS SALSA
Papaya is a superfood that shares many of the health benefit and nutrition profile of watercress. Its antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals help to improve skin elasticity and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Enjoy papaya in a fruit salad, smoothie, or salsa that complements grilled chicken, fish, or Mexican dishes.
1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced
1 papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
1 large red bell pepper seeded and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 sweet onion, peeled and diced
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, mix mango, papaya, red bell pepper, avocado, sweet onion, cilantro, and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
BERRY AND SPINACH SMOOTHIE
Blueberries help prevent premature aging in many ways. They are rich in antioxidants and help the body eliminate toxins. This smoothie combines sweet berries with spinach, another superfood that promotes strong, shiny hair and firm skin.
2/3 c frozen blueberries
2 large frozen strawberries
1 small ripe banana (or 1/2 large)
1 c spinach
1/2 c milk (dairy, coconut, soy, almond) or unsweetened Greek yogurt
2 t protein powder or collagen powder
1 T honey or sweetener if desired
Blend all ingredients on high in a blender. Add ice, more milk or sweetener if desired. Pour into two glasses. ✦