Sure, you know one of the best ways to improve your diet is to cut back on red meat and sweets.
But what about the things you can add to your diet for improved health? The items on this list might not be popular yet among Americans, but they’re all either good for your health or beneficial for the planet.
Plus, many of them make great additions to a summer meal — either in salads or on the grill.
Breadfruit is found throughout regions with hot, sunny, moist climates, such as the Pacific Islands. The football-sized fruit is covered in prickly, geometric-patterned skin. When hacked open, it resembles a giant kiwi, and the flesh inside is whitish yellow.
Some have called breadfruit “the perfect candidate for tackling world hunger,” and it’s easy to see why. The trees are easy to grow (no seeds are required, merely a root and a pot of soil), and they begin bearing fruit in 3-5 years, according to the Hawaiian Breadfruit Institute.
Plus, it’s good for you: Breadfruit is rich in energy-providing carbs but low in fat, and a single fruit packs about 10 bananas’ worth of potassium.
Instead of adding kale to your next salad, try chicory. It’s a flavorful addition to any food. Chicory is also a good source of fiber, vitamins, folate, and zinc, and it’s very low in calories. In fact, a whole cup of it raw is just seven calories. Chicory was also included on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of “powerhouse” foods. All of the foods on the list pack a lot of key nutrients into each calorie and are linked with a reduced risk of chronic disease. Studies also suggest that people who eat more of them tend to be thinner and live longer than those who rarely or never eat them.
At markets around the world, vendors slice open monstrous yellow orbs called Jackfruit, hack out the fleshy bulbs of the inner part of the fruit, and sell them by the pound. Raw and ripe, the fruit tastes like a cross between a mango and a pineapple.
But young jackfruit can also be shredded, seasoned, cooked, and served up as an alternative to meat. I recently taste-tested some. It was surprisingly tasty — with a texture similar to pulled pork and a flavor that reminded me of a cross between hearts of palm and kimchi.
Some experts call jackfruit a ‘miracle’ crop, since so many parts of the Jackfruit tree can be used and because the fruit itself is so versatile and nutritious. The flesh is high in calcium, iron, and potassium and low in fat. The edible seeds are good sources of protein.