Your Questions Answered: Keri Glassman Talks "Superfoods" and Nutrient Preservation

Today we are thrilled to have author and nutrition expert Keri Glassman answer nutrition questions submitted by our amazing fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Fresh off the release of her new book, The O2 Diet, Keri dishes with us on nutrition, superfoods and her tips for maintaining a healthy diet. And we can’t help but notice she’s a big fan of mushrooms. We had some really excellent questions come through- too many for one post.  Keep an eye out for Part II next week!

Q: It feels like everyone is talking about “superfoods.” What are some examples, and what makes them special? Stephanie (Los Angeles, CA)

A: I like to think of superfoods as nutrient-rich foods that provide incredible health benefits and should be included in a balanced diet. Personally, I focus on those that are high in antioxidants. When you consume nutrient-rich foods, you feel good, you look better, and as a result, you are more likely to live a healthier lifestyle.

When I hit the grocery store, the following must-have foods are always in my shopping cart:

  • Mushrooms are a best-kept secret to make any diet possible thanks to their flavor, value, nutrition and versatility. I toss a handful into whatever I’m cooking; they are low in fat and calories, but will fill you up. Mushrooms are also the only source of vitamin D in the produce section
  • Olive oil, avocados and nuts are a great way to add healthy fat into your diet.
  • Berries! On their own, in a smoothie, for a snack or dessert – you can’t go wrong.
  • Spices go a long way when you’re cooking. They add flavor without adding calories, and can help you feel more satisfied as a result. Chile pepper, cinnamon, cumin, rosemary – go nuts and reap the benefits, they’re usually heart healthy and full of antioxidants!
  • Green tea is always at the top of my list. It’s rich in antioxidants called catechins, which stimulate the body to burn calories and decrease body fat.

Q: I’m always afraid that I’m cooking the nutrients out of my mushrooms. What is the best way to preserve the nutrients in veggies when I’m cooking? Do mushrooms lose their nutritional value when dried? — Linda (San Jose, CA) & Kathi (Kennett Square, PA)

A: Before you step into the kitchen, check out some easy tips on how to prepare mushrooms to ensure you’re cooking them properly. When it comes to drying foods, this process usually increases the nutrient count because by removing water you increase the concentration of other nutrients per gram. So when considering the same volume of fresh or dried mushrooms, the dried mushrooms will have more nutrients than their raw counterparts because the water weight has been removed.

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