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Favorite Brain-Healthy Foods

Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of a new national TV show, The Dr. Oz Show, recently recommended adding five important foods to your grocery shopping list to help give your brain a boost. The foods are blueberries, eggs, mustard, salmon and kale. Let’s look at each one a little closer to see what they do for our brain and our body.


Blueberries: contain antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, that help protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals. These valuable nutrients are also thought to help stave off several chronic diseases associated with aging. Additionally, blueberries contain anthocyanins and phenolics that can act as antioxidants. Blueberries have one of the highest ratings on antioxidant activity. As for how blueberries help the brain, in laboratory tests, rats experienced slowed rates of age-related loss in mental capacity. This may prove true in humans as well.

Eggs: contain several nutrients that are good for your brain and good for your body. Selenium may make your brain years younger, strengthen your immune system and act as a powerful antioxidant. Choline is needed for healthy cell membranes and it’s good for mental function and memory. Vitamin A is important for good night vision and healthy skin. Vitamin E is that same antioxidant found in blueberries. Folate and riboflavin, two B vitamins, help with energy production. Additionally, folate is important for the prevention of birth defects. Two more powerful nutrients are lutein and zeaxanthin that help to prevent macular degeneration.

Mustard: contains a nutrient called turmeric that may stimulate your immune system. A healthier immune system may have beneficial effects in allergies, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes and heart disease.

Salmon: Seafood is a “heart-healthy” choice high in omega-3 and protein. These omega-3s are thought to have an anti-aging effect on the brain. Seafood is naturally high in essential vitamins like A, E, D and C and minerals like zinc, iron, calcium and selenium. Most health providers recommend that you eat fish twice a week.

Kale: is packed with great nutritional value. Carotenoids and flavonoids can slow mental decline associated with aging and help reduce your risk for cataracts. Other nutrients help fight off several cancers. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, B6 and manganese. It’s also a very good source of fiber, calcium, copper and potassium.

That’s a run-down on Dr. Oz’s favorite brain-healthy foods. Eat them every day for better brain functioning and overall health. Here’s a healthy treat to try for dinner tonight. Ask your Hy-Vee dietitian for more great ideas on how to increase these brainy foods in your everyday life.

Penne with Red Peppers and Kale
Serves 4 (about 1 cup each).

All you need
2 cups uncooked Hy-Vee whole wheat penne
1 tbsp Grand Selections garlic-flavored olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bunch kale (about 1/2 pound), center ribs removed & discarded and leaves roughly chopped
1 tbsp Grand Selections balsamic vinegar
Hy-Vee salt and Hy-Vee pepper, to taste
Hy-Vee shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
Toasted pine nuts, optional

All you do

1. Prepare penne according to package directions. Drain well; set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers and kale to the pan and saute´ until kale is wilted and peppers start to brown, about 10 minutes.
3. Add balsamic vinegar and stir until evaporated. Stir in pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Nutrition facts per serving: 220 calories, 5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 3g sugar, 7g protein.

Daily values: 220% vitamin A, 200% vitamin C, 10% calcium, 15% iron.

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Tags: grocery

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