Magazine article Sunset

The Top 10 Feel-Good Foods

Magazine article Sunset

The Top 10 Feel-Good Foods

Article excerpt

Add these ingredients to your life for more energy and well-being in the coming year

1 Fresh sardines

THE NEWS As fish shops expand their sustainable-seafood choices, you'll see more of this strongflavored, delicious little fish, caught in well-managed West Coast fisheries. FEEL-GOOD FACTORS Sardines abound in omega- 3 fatty acids. Also, because they're little, they don't accumulate mercury the way that larger fish can. WAYS TO TRY THEM Marinate in olive oil with chiles and herbs, then grill. Marinate as above but skip the chiles; then lay over sliced tomatoes on baguette slices, drizzle with marinade, and broil. Dip in beaten egg, then in seasoned panko (crunchy Japanese-style bread crumbs) and bake.

Sicilian-style pan-fried sardines

Vinegar adds a mouthwatering acidity that balances the oiliness of the fish - and, in pre-refrigeration days, helped preserve it.

Pan-fry flour-dusted sardines briefly in olive oil, then layer in a dish with caramelized vinegared onions and toasted pine nuts. Marinate at least an hour and serve at room temperature, sprinkled with parsley. FOR THE RECIPE, SEE sunset.com/feel-good

2 BLUE CORN

THE NEWS Sweet, flavorful blue com is a staple in the Southwest, but for many of us it's still waiting to be discovered (apart from blue-corn tortilla chips) . FEEL-GOOD FACTORS Blue-corn tortillas have 20 percent more protein than white-corn ones, and often have more zinc and iron too. The corn's blue anthocyanin is an antioxidant. WAYS TO TRY IT Mix a 50-50 ratio of blue-corn flour and allpurpose flour m pancakes; try the commeal in muffins. Use the tortillas for tacos (or huevos rancheros-see page 77).

3 ARTISANAL TOFU

THE News Fresh, flavorful handmade tofu puts the bigbrand stuff to shame. Look for it at farmers' markets and natural-foods stores. FEEL-GOOD FACTORS It has no preservatives and doesn't use genetically modified soybeans. Proteinrich and low-fat, artisanal tofu is a great alternative to meat when eaten in moderation-up to 1 cup daily (it acts like weak estrogen, so avoiding big helpings may be wisest). WAYS TO TRY IT Drizzle soft tofu with soy sauce; top with green onion and grated ginger Add firm tofu to stews, or marinate in soy, chile, ginger, and garlic; grill.

4 Hazelnut butter

THE NEWS Move over, peanut butter. One of our favorite Western nuts is now available in spreadable form. FEEL-GOOD FACTORS Especially high in good-for-you monounsaturated fats, hazelnuts can help lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol. They're also high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. WAYS TO TRY IT Use hazelnut butter in our muffins (right) or spread it on a sandwich or apple slices.

FOR THE RECIPE, see sunset.com/ feel-good

5 CHIOGGIA BEETS

THE NEWS Still found mainly in farmers' markets but starting to show up in specialty grocery stores, these red-and-whitestriped roots are sweeter than other beets-and so beautiful, they might win over any beet doubters. FEEL-GOOD FACTORS Beets have lots of fiber, potassium, iron, and folic acid, a B vitamin. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their color, is a powerful antioxidant. WAYS TO TRY THEM Sauté the greens. Roast beets until just tender,- cut up for salads (they're great with avocados). Slice raw beets paper-thin; add to soup.

6 AMERICAN KIWI

THE NEWS This small, tart-sweet, fuzzy green fruit, long identified with New Zealand, is now being grown in the United States, particularly California (you'll even see it at farmers' markets). …

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