4 Super Foods for Spectacular Health

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Raise your hand if you want to eat healthy.

Healthy eating isn’t just good for cinching your waistline; it’s great for overall health.

From glowing skin, to heart health, to maintaining healthy teeth and bones; eating foods packed with certain nutrients can also protect your immune system and fight infections.  It can boost your libido and decrease that lousy (LDL) cholesterol and boost your good (HDL) cholesterol.

Healthy eating shouldn’t be a struggle.

It’s easy to get sucked into the marketing trap when you’re food shopping and you encounter all those in-store specials.

Sometimes, those specials are just bad for your health.

Whenever possible, hit the local farmers market.  Organic and whole foods stores are also good choices.  If that’s not possible, when entering your local food store, arm yourself with a shopping list to keep yourself on track.

Remember, reading the front food label isn’t enough since labels can be misleading.   It’s important to read the ingredients.

Creating Healthy Foods

My friend, ChefMD, John La Puma, MD,  is a master at creating healthy foods.  (BTW, note to John, I’m still waiting for you to put down your stethoscope and make house-calls as ChefMD, and don’t forget, I’m first on your list.)

With help from John La Puma, MD, NY Times best selling author of A Food Lover’s Road Map to Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Getting Really Healthy, here are four super foods.  [Source:  ChefMD]

The 4 Super Foods for Spectacular Health Include:

  1. Walnuts – Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your skin, blood pressure and weight.
  2. Oatmeal – Eating oatmeal is a wonderful way to feel full, and well-nourished. It’s especially beneficial for people who have high cholesterol, because oatmeal contains beta-glucan, a fiber proven to lower cholesterol by as much as 23 percent.
  3. Avocados – Contain mono-unsaturated fats — the good kind. One of the fats, oleic acid, has been shown to significantly decrease your LDL (“lousy”) cholesterol while promoting the healthier HDL cholesterol.
  4. Salmon – Dose of Vitamin D, Heart Healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids –Omega 3 fatty acids in salmon make it a real brain food.  Vitamin D protects the immune system and helps you fight infection, including less bacterial vaginosis.

Here’s a super spectacular recipe for Sesame Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa. The salmon gives you a good dose of vitamin D, not to mention heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And the mango gives this dish a sweet, fresh, tangy flavor.

Sesame Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 319 per serving

Culinary Technique Tip

The easiest way to remove attractive mango cubes from the mango itself is to slice the mango at an angle and cut cross-hatches. Then, scoop them out with a spoon.


  • One-quarter cup plus 2 tablespoons hot mango chutney, such as Crosse & Blackwell brand
  • One mango chopped
  • 4 (5- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets with skin
  • Three-quarter teaspoon salt, divided into one-half and one-quarter teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon mixed white and black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup diced ripe fresh mango
  • One-half ripe medium avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  • Preheat broiler.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons chutney over skinless side of fish.
  • Sprinkle one-half teaspoon salt and the sesame seeds over fish, patting to coat.
  • Place salmon on rack of broiler pan, skin side down.
  • Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 5 to 6 minutes, or until fish is opaque in the center.
  • Meanwhile, combine remaining one-quarter cup chutney with vinegar and one-quarter teaspoon salt. Stir in mango, avocado, and cilantro. Serve salsa over fish.

This recipe also would work well with halibut fillets.


Chutney and other thick, sweet toppings are great glazes for fish. The fish doesn’t need to marinate, because the flavor is baked right on. Try orange marmalade or whole raspberry preserves. Experimenting in the kitchen is a very good thing.

Nutritional Analysis

Total fat (g) 13.6, Fat calories (kc) 123, Cholesterol (mg) 100, Saturated fat (g) 1.1, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 3.7, Monounsaturated fat (g) 5.4, Fiber (g) 4.0, Carbohydrates (g) 44.4, Sugar (g) 6.2, Protein (g) 25.7, Sodium (mg) 580, Calcium (mg) 157, Magnesium (mg) 76, Zinc (mg) 1.6, Selenium (mcg) 0 , Potassium (mg) 386, Flavonoids (mg) 0, Lycopene (mg) 0, Fish (oz) 5.5, Nuts (oz) 0, Vitamin A (RE) 209, Beta-carotene (RE) 272, Vitamin C (mg) 22, Vitamin E (mg) 4.4, Thiamin B1 (mg) 0.3, Riboflavin B2 (mg) 0.4, Niacin B3 (mg) 7.2, Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.3 , Folic acid (mcg) 49, Vitamin B12 (mcg) 5

For more info on this recipe, you’ll find it here.

Listen to ChefMD on the Health in 30® Radio Show.

For more spectacular recipes from John La Puma, MD, check out ChefMD.

[Image:  iStockPhoto]


Your Turn

What are some of your favorite healthy recipes?

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