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We've all read about superfoods, edibles that are almost always good for you: salmon, kale, sweet potatoes — and, recently, watercress. In the June issue of Self, dietitian Karen Ansel takes a different turn: She offers a series of tips to make less-than-super foods a little better. Some of the examples are surprising.
Three ways to stave off hunger: Simmer oatmeal in milk instead of water, because the satiation value of protein "more than makes up for the small increase in calories." Eat bananas when they're slightly green, because they contain a "resistant starch" that makes you feel extra full. And cook pasta so it's truly al dente, because its lower glycemic value means carbohydrates are released more slowly, and you don't get hungry until later.
Three ways to look better: Eat more beans, because potassium reduces water retention and "depuffs your eyes." Stir unsweetened cocoa into your coffee, because it contains flavonoids, antioxidants that can give you a rosier complexion. Eat aged cheese, because it raises the pH level in your mouth, reducing the risk of cavities and making your teeth a little whiter.
And furthermore: Don't eat just the whites of eggs; the yolks contain most of the nutrients. Let minced garlic sit for 10 minutes before throwing it in the skillet; allicin, a cancer-fighting compound, becomes more potent several minutes after the cell walls are broken down. Put orange slices in your spinach salad, because vitamin C helps convert plant iron into a form easier for your body to absorb. Who knew?