Fibrous Flax Seed

Flax seeds are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. They give your skin and hair a glow, manage weight and cholesterol and even support menopause.

How to Choose and Keep
You can choose to get the flax seeds ground form, usually called flax meal. If choosing in bulk bins at the store, it should be dry and clean, or you can buy them pre-packed. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for a couple months.

Preparation
According to Dr. Axe: "Flaxseeds are best when consumed ground as our bodies cannot access the nutrients if they are eaten whole and they will pass through undigested. Soaking flax seeds and then sprouting them eliminates phytic acid and may greatly increase mineral absorption."

Nutrients
omega 3, fiber, protein, vitamin b1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin b6, iron, potassium, copper, zinc

Action Steps
1. Find ground flax seeds.
2. Add ground seeds to morning smoothies.
2. Dr. Axe also says: "Can be mixed with water and used as an egg substitute."

(Resource: draxe.com, Picture: flaxiemax.com)

Complete Chia Seeds

With more calcium than milk, about the same amount of protein as an egg and similar omega 3 fat as an avocado, these fiber-rich seeds are a great addition to any meal.

How to Choose and Keep
You can choose to get chia seeds in full form or ground form. I prefer full seed form to add as a garnish to foods and ground form for smoothies. Chia seeds in the bulk bins at the store should be dry and clean, or you can buy them pre-packed. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for a couple months.

Preparation
Make sure to rinse them if you bought them in bulk bins. Pre-packed ones should already be cleaned, but you can always rinse again.

Nutrients
fiber, protein, omega 3, omega 6, calcium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, zinc

Action Steps
1. Find grounded and whole chia seeds.
2. Add grounded seeds to morning smoothies.
2. Add whole seeds to stir-fry's, salads, soups and whatever else you enjoy.

(Resource: healthremediesjournal.comdraxe.com)

Helpful Honeydew

Honeydew is a fruit in the melon family. It is jam-packed with so many nutrients for the body. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Its antioxidants are very high on the list of beneficial fruits, as well as having many anti-inflammatory qualities as well.

How to Choose and Keep
The more a honeydew feels fuller and heavy when you pick them up the riper they are. A great way to check ripeness is to knock on the fruit and if you hear a dull deep sound they are ripe. If the sound is hollow it is probably not ripe yet. To make sure it is not over-ripe press your thumb by where the stem was attached. If it sinks in a good amount the fruit is probably over-ripe. If you chose a ripe honeydew it will store in the fridge for 4 days. It is very important to wash the outside of the fruit before you cut it. The cut up honeydew will stay fresh in the fridge for 6 days.

Preparation
Fruit salads are the best way to enjoy honeydew. Find your favorite other fresh fruits and create a fun fruit salad. The mixture should keep in the fridge for 6 days.

Nutrients
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B3, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Vitamin B1.

Action Steps
1. Find a ripe honeydew. Clean and slice in half. Scoop out seeds and use one-half for a basket for fruit salad. Cut the other half up for a snack.
2. Blend a honeydew with peaches and sparkling or seltzer water for a fun drink.

Information and picture thanks to www.whfoods.com

Awesome Apricots

Apricots are a small little fruit, but huge in antioxidant power. Perhaps you know about them, but have never tried them? Read below for reasons to choose apricots next time for a different kind of nutrient-packed fruit.

How to Choose and Keep
Apricot season is in full bloom from May to August, so they are a great summer snack choice. You should choose ones that are rich in color and don't have bruises or dullness. They are best left at room temperature and enjoyed a couple of days after you purchase them. If you are choosing fried apricots it is best to get organic, as commercially grown apricots have dangerous chemicals in them.

Preparation
Rinse thoroughly with cold water and enjoy. Apricots are a perfect on the go snack.

Nutrients
vitamin c, vitamin a, copper, fiber, potassium

Action Steps
1. Enjoy sliced apricots and sliced almond in oatmeal for a sweet and filling breakfast.
2. Apricots are a great grab and go food.
3. Try adding apricots in a great pancake batter for a fun brunch.

Resource: whfoods.com Picture: friza.com

Powerful Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a great fiber-rich alternative to other bean choices. We sometimes get stuck in the rut of eating the same thing over and over, and Pinto beans could be that next new food you're going to love! With their power-packed heart support, you cannot go wrong.

How to Choose and Keep
Some foods, like many vegetables, are not best coming from a can. With pinto beans, that is not the case. For a quicker and easier cooking process feel free to find pintos in a can. A more affordable form is dried, but it will take much longer to cook. Store either dried or canned in a cool dried place.

Preparation
Rinse thoroughly with cold water if canned. If they are dried, make sure there isn't any debris or stones in them before you rinse in a strainer. If cooking dried beans, soak before cooking to help with the process. I like to cook on the stovetop or find slow cooker recipes to cook my beans.

Nutrients
Molybdenum, folate, fiber, copper, manganese, phosphorous, protein, vitamin b1, vitamin b6, magnesium, potassium, iron

Action Steps
1. Create a vegetarian style taco by mixing together pinto beans, taco seasoning, sauteed onions and diced tomatoes. Delicious!
2. Use in place of any recipe that calls for kidney beans.
3. Top pinto beans on cooked rice and enjoy with a steamed vegetable for a quick and light meal.

(Resource: whfoods.com, Picture: cookforyourlife.org)

Beneficial Brown Rice

Brown rice is a great fiber-rich addition to any meal and reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. When you eat brown rice, you get energy, vitamins that aid in lowering cholesterol, and great taste.

How to Choose and Keep

Make sure to find rice that has been stored in a cool dry place. It is best to get raw over the easy cook styles. Store the dry rice in the fridge to keep longer for about 6 months. Once cooked, it should be consumed within 2-3 days. Brown Basmati rice is one of the forms easier to digest.

Preparation
Rinse thoroughly with cold water until the water coming out of the strainer looks clear.

Nutrients
Manganese, selenium, phosphorous, copper, magnesium, vitamin b3

Action Steps
1. Enjoying with some black beans and steamed broccoli for a refreshing meal.
2. Make your own fried rice with cooked brown rice. Sauté with coconut oil, egg, your favorite veggies and some liquid aminos by Bragg's
3. Add cooked rice with veggies for a refreshing salad.

(Resource: whfoods.com, Picture: Alibaba)

Perfect Peanuts

With a high protein content and an affordable price, peanuts are a great choice to help curb cravings and give you an energy lift. Plus, their healthy fats and antioxidants give you the nutritious needed for vitality.

How to Choose and Keep
You can choose shelled or un-shelled peanuts. Un-shelled peanuts should be free of cracks and softness. If you get shelled peanuts, make sure they are kept in a dry place and check for moisture. Shelled peanuts will keep best in the fridge for up to about a year.

Preparation
Just grab and go. It's that easy.

Nutrients
copper, manganese, vitamin b3, molybdenum, folate, biotin, vitamin e, phosphorous, vitamin b1, protein

Action Steps
1. Enjoy as a quick pick me up to stabilize blood sugar and hunger.
2. Try a creak barley vegetable soup in your slow cooker.
3. Add cooked hulled barley with veggies for a refreshing salad.

(Resource and Picture whfoods.com)

Beautiful Barley

A different choice than the typical grains, barley gives you that mineral-rich fiber, while enjoying a nutty and hearty taste. Get a heart warming feel with barley and reduce cholesterol, blood sugar, and inflammation. Barley is a gluten grain.

How to Choose and Keep

When choosing barley, make sure it has been stored in a dry and cool place. There are 3 styles of barley to choose. Pearled, hulled or flaked. Best stored in the fridge for 1 year and 3 days once cooked.

Preparation
Rinse under cold water and for pearled boil and then simmer for 60 minutes. Cooked hulled for 90 minutes.

Nutrients
molybdenum, manganese, fiber, selenium, copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin B3

Action Steps
1. Add barley flour to any baking recipe for a hearty flavor.
2. Try a creak barley vegetable soup in your slow cooker.
3. Add cooked hulled barley with veggies for a refreshing salad.

(Resource and Picture whfoods.com)

King Kidney Beans

High in minerals and fiber, kidney beans are an excellent source of protein and low in saturated fat. This bean is king for all day energy while offering support to your heart, metabolism, and blood sugar levels.

How to Choose and Keep

When choosing dried kidney beans make sure they are being kept in a dry and cool place. If you're choosing them in a can, try to find in a BPA-free can with limited exposure to chemicals. It is also important to check the sodium content in canned beans and make sure to choose the lower option. Store in a cool dry place. Dried beans will last year. Once you cook them it is best to consume within a couple days.

Preparation
When cooking on the stove make sure to pre-soak dried beans and skim the foam off the top to help with digestibility. Do not add anything salty during the cooking process.

Nutrients
Molybdenum, folate, fiber, copper, manganese, phosphorous, protein, vitamin B1, iron, potassium, magnesium

Action Steps
1. Kidney beans are a great alternative to meat, especially red meat. Make a nice vegetarian chili for a hearty and wholesome meal.
2. Keeping beans and diced tomatoes in your cabinet is always a great option to have when looking for a quick and healthy meal. You can do so much with just beans and tomatoes.
3. Look up some cold bean dip recipes for an alternative party food option.

(Resource: whfoods.com, Picture: Authority nutrition)

Fantastic Figs

Being a potassium-rich food, figs help with blood pressure, hypertension, muscle cramps, and even hangovers! Figs also are a high fiber sweet fruit, so it can be a great food addition for anyone trying to stay away from processed sugary snacks.

How to Select and Store
If you are choosing fresh figs, it is best to find ones rich in color and firm. They must be consumed within 2-3 days. If you are choosing dried figs, make sure they are firm yet soft and contain no mold. They can be stored in the fridge and stay fresh for several months.

Preparation
Wash fresh figs properly under cold running water. Try soaking dried figs in water or juice to make them plumper and easier to consume.

Nutrients
Fiber, Vitamin B6, Copper, Manganese, Potassium, Pantothenic Acid

Action Steps
1. Enjoy dried figs rolled in coconut flakes for great sweet fiber rich snack.
2. A great appetizer is fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and chopped almonds.
3. Make your own tarts with this recipe. Just replace with figs where it says dates. 

(Resource: whfoods.com, Picture: food.ndtv.com)

Bountiful Black Beans

Black beans are an excellent plant-based protein source and provide support for the digestive tract with their high fiber content. Though technically a legume, they can be one of the most versatile beans around. Organizations like American Diabetes Association and Heart Association recommend about 3 cups of legumes weekly as an essential food group for preventing disease and optimizing health like heart disease and diabetes.

How to Select and Store
Beans can be bought raw in bulk or canned. They are one of the only food groups that are still as healthy in the canned form. Many other vegetables lose their nutrient content once canned. Making sure to get BPA free cans will help with toxicity.

Preparation
Thoroughly rinse beans under cold water (canned or raw) before you cook. Pre-soak overnight if they are raw to help to digest better. You only need to heat up canned black beans on the stovetop. Boil and reduce to a simmer for about 60-90 minutes if raw. Feel free to skim off any foam during cooking to help with digestibility.

Nutrients
Molybdenum, folate, fiber, copper, manganese, vitamin b1, phosphorous, magnesium, protein, iron

Action Steps
1. Enjoy black beans in a nice salad for a protein packed meal.
2. Try a cold black bean salad as another party option over a jar of salsa. It is super easy!
3. Consistently keep black beans in the cabinet for a healthy and quick meal option.

(Resource: whfoods.com, Picture: food.ndtv.com)

Likeable Limes

Just like lemons, limes are an excellent choice for daily use with their high nutrient quality and low price. Squeezing 1-2 slices in your water gives it a refreshing taste. As a source of vitamin C, limes keep your immune system strong as well.

How to Select and Store

Make sure they are firm and vibrant green. If you're going to consume them within a week, keep them at room temperature. This is the best way to get them to be their juiciest. However, limes will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, if you're storing them for longer periods.

Preparation

Limes should be rinsed under cold water. It is easy to transfer bacteria on the outside to the inside when you cut them open. It's easiest to cut a lime in half and then slice. Squeezing them on dishes of prepared food like salad or fish, or adding the juice to flavor liquids such as water and tea is the best mode of consumption.

Nutrients
Vitamin C, Folate

Action Steps
1. Enjoy a couple slices in ice cold water on a hot day.
2. Squeeze a slice of lime in a stir-fry for a nice flavor.
3. Juice your limes and put in ice cube trays. Then use in your smoothies with some greens for a great detox smoothie.

(Resources: whfoods.com)

Plentiful Pecans

Keep your heart healthy, reduce your stress response and think clearer with this good fat food. Pecans can keep your cravings at bay while offering a sweet and savory snack.

Plentiful Pecans

How to Select and Store

Make sure they are soft but have a crispness to them when broken. Keeps best in the fridge for 2 months. Can keep at room temperature for about 3-4 weeks.

Preparation
Pecans are best known in Pecan Pie, but another option with pecans is a nice snack to curb cravings. Roast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes for a nice crisp pecan. Check this healthier pecan pie recipe out HERE

Nutrients
Manganese, Copper, Thiamine, Magnesium, Zinc, Phosphorous, Iron, Vitamin B6, Potassium

Action Steps
1. Enjoy some pecans for a snack.
2. Add to salads for added nutrient boost.
3. Try that amazing pecan pie recipe.

(Resources: draxe.com)

Luscious Lemons

At an affordable price and with many nourishing qualities for your body, lemons are an excellent choice for daily use. Squeezing 1-2 slices in warm water in the morning is detoxifying, as well as a boost to your digestive system. As a source of vitamin C, lemons keep your immune system healthy.

How to Choose and Keep
Make sure they are firm and vibrant yellow. If you're going to consume them within a week, keep the lemons at room temperature. This is the best way to get them to be their juiciest. However, lemons will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, if you're storing them for longer periods.

Preparation
Lemons should be rinsed under cold water. It is easy to transfer bacteria on the outside to the inside when you cut them open. It's easiest to cut a lemon in half and then slice. Squeezing them on dishes of prepared food like salad or fish, or adding the juice to flavor liquids such as water and tea is the best mode of consumption.

Nutrients
Vitamin C, Folate

Action Steps
1. Enjoy room temperature water with a slice of lemon right upon arising.
2. Squeeze a slice of lemon on your salad for enhanced flavor.
3. Juice your lemons and put in ice cube trays. Then use in your smoothies with some greens for a great detox smoothie.

(Resources: WHFoods.com)

Jalapeno Pepper

A very versatile spicy pepper. The jalapeno can be canned, cooked, eaten raw, and so much more. It is a great addition to any meal to give it a little spicy kick, while getting the blood purifying and immune boosting benefits of the pepper.

Jolly Jalapeno Pepper

How to Choose and Keep

Jalapeno's are ready to eat when they are firm yet soft and have a nice green color with no soft spots. Keep on the counter and use once ripe to get best flavor. The longer they stay in the fridge (should only keep for 1-2 weeks) the less the flavor.

Preparation

You can grill them and get a spicy kick to your meal. Slicing up and adding to a dish can give a great flavor. Can jalapenos and use on subs and sandwiches.

Nutrients

Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Magnesium, Iron.

Action Steps

1. Find fresh jalapeno and make a fresh salsa or guacamole.

2. Try grilling the jalapeno whole and eating with your favorite grilled item.

3. Have canned jalapenos handy for whenever you need a spice upgrade.

(Resource: whfoods.com)

Cashews

A great unsaturated fat snack that protects your heart, gives you antioxidants and boosts your energy. Cashews also help prevent gallstones, lowers your risk of weight gain and are delicious.

Cool Cashews

How to Choose and Keep

It is best to store in an airtight container in the fridge. They keep in the fridge for 6 months and in the freezer for 1 year.

Preparation

You can roast, salt and eat as a snack on 250 degrees for abut 10 minutes if they are raw. You can also use in a stir-fry for a crunchy kick.

Nutrients

Copper, Phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, zinc.

Action Steps

1. Find fresh cashews and try in a stir-fry.

2. Try roasting and enjoying in a mixed nut snack with other nuts.

3. Find some cashew butter and enjoy on a celery stick for a healthy snack.

(Resource: whfoods.com)

Plums

A great sweet fruit that helps with iron absorption, and the dried version (prunes) can get the digestive system moving. Plums and prunes have also been shown to help balance blood sugar, lower cholesterol and protect the intestines.

Perfect Plums

How to Choose and Keep

Choose plums that are slightly soft and yet firm and have a rich color. Ripen on counter and store in fridge for a few days. Prunes should be plump and shinny. Store in airtight container in cool dry container for a couple weeks or keep in the fridge for 6 months.

Preparation

Best way to eat plums is to enjoy at room temperature. Prunes can be sliced up in a home-made trail mix.

Nutrients

Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Copper, Fiber, Potassium.

Action Steps

1. Have prunes handy in your fridge for whenever you need to digestive boost.

2. Enjoy some plums as a mid-day snack.

3. Make that home-made trail mix

(Resource: whfoods.com)

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds come from the amazing center of these beautiful flowers. They are a great snack and a huge source of Vitamin E and Magnesium. These seeds are anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering, and great for your digestive and hormonal health.

Splendid Sunflower Seeds

How to Choose and Keep

Sunflower seeds should feel firm and in a clean bin if chosen in bulk. They should be stored in a airtight container in the fridge.

Preparation

You can roast, salt and eat as a snack on 250 degrees for abut 10 minutes. You can also use to garnish dishes or have as a snack.

Nutrients

Vitamin E, Copper, Vitamin B1, Manganese, Selenium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B3.

Action Steps

1. Find fresh sunflower and sprinkle on dishes for a heart healthy addition.

2. Try roasting and enjoying in a mixed nut snack with other nuts.

3. Check out some tuna salad and chicken salad with sunflower seeds to get your heart health in those sweets.

(Resource: whfoods.com)

Pine Nuts

Get a crunchy and smooth texture with pine nuts. They are sweet and a have good source of the heart healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help with high cholesterol. Pine nuts are harvested from the female cones of a pine tree.

Pleasurable Pine Nuts

How to Choose and Keep

Pine nuts should be free from cracks and feel firm, yet soft. Always try to buy fresh nuts from high quality sources. Store in an air-tight plastic bag in the fridge.

Preparation

You can roast, salt and eat as a snack on 250 degrees for abut 10 minutes. Pine nuts are often used in granola, desserts and as salad toppings.

Nutrients

Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic acid, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Selenium, Zinc

Action Steps

1. Find fresh pine nuts and sprinkle on dishes for a heart healthy addition.

2. Try roasting and enjoying in a mixed nut snack with other nuts.

3. Check out some dessert recipes with pine nuts to get your heart health in those sweets.

(Resource: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pine-nuts.html, Picture kill-tiredness-now.com)

 

Cacao (Purest form of Chocolate)

Cacao v.s Cocoa. Your questions are finally answered. According to Navitas Naturals: "Cacao is a top source of antioxidants, and it contains an abundance of magnesium and iron. Cacao powder is a healthy alternative to conventional over-processed “cocoa” used for baking, hot chocolate, desserts and smoothies."

Complete Cacao

How to Choose and Keep

Finding a ground cacao powder that is certified organic and GMO free is your best option. I like Navita's Naturals. Make sure to store in a cool, dark and dry place.

Preparation

Add a spoonful to your morning smoothie for a natural pick me up. You can also use in replacement of cocoa in any recipe. Enjoy in some hot water for some nutritious hot chocolate.

Nutrients

Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, and Protein

Actions Steps

1. Start adding cacao into your smoothie for your daily dose of magnesium, which is the most deficient mineral in the body in the U.S.

2. Next time you make a dessert, use cacao instead of cocoa.

3. Try at least and 80% cacao chocolate bar for a sweet indulgence.

(Resource content and picture: Navita's Naturals)