It's Fourth of July weekend and if you're looking for healthy, nutritious foods to serve up to your friends and family, look no further than the colors of the American flag. These nine red, white and blue superfoods are a smart choice for not only the holiday weekend, but all year round.
1. Strawberries -- One serving of strawberries (1 cup) provides more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C to support the immune system as well as tissue health. They also provide fiber for digestive health. We like to top yogurt parfaits with strawberries.
2. Coconut -- Coconut oil is one of our pantry staples because of how versatile it is. Coconut oil is a wonderful source of monounsaturated fatty acids that support the metabolism, among many benefits. You can use coconut oil in place of butter in most recipes.
3. Blueberries -- A rich source of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant, blueberries provide vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin K as well as fiber, which helps promote digestive regularity as well as heart health. Lastly, blueberries provide zinc for cognitive wellness. Start your day with whole-wheat pancakes made with fresh or frozen blueberries.
4. Pomegranates -- Considered one of the original superfoods, pomegranates are abundant in antioxidants, which protect the body's cells from the damage of free radical caused by oxidation. Pomegranates provide B vitamins for energy production and vitamin C as well as fiber. Add the arils from a pomegranate to salad.
5. Cauliflower -- Don't overlook the raw cauliflower on the veggie tray. Cauliflower provides B vitamins as well as minerals to support the central nervous system. You also get protein from eating cauliflower -- about 2 g per serving.
6. Blue Corn -- In addition to protein, blue corn or hopi corn, also provides minerals like zinc and iron which are needed for optimal circulation of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body as well as a strong immune system to fight off illness. You can find blue corn products like tortillas to fill with beans and vegetables.
7. Beets -- The deep color of beets comes from the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C. Beets are also a fantastic source of minerals like potassium which act as electrolytes to keep the body hydrated. Roasted beets make a wonderful substitute for french fries. You can also puree them with chickpeas to make hummus.
8. Garlic -- Stinky, delicious garlic is a wonderful food for the heart thanks to the presence of antioxidants and the ways to use it are endless. If you're planning to grill this weekend, chop up some garlic and add to your marinade first.
9. Mackerel -- Sure, this fish is only blue on the outside, but we wanted to include it for all the healthy fats it provides like omega-3s. A serving of grilled or roasted mackerel also provides protein for proper muscle development and vitamin D for bone health.
Add some, or all, of these foods to your holiday spread for a more nutritious celebration!