(NewsUSA) - Many of us are looking for fresh ways to lead healthier lifestyles and eat nutritiously, without having to sacrifice flavor. You may already be eating fruits and veggies, like broccoli and bananas, but here are five nutritional superstars you should be piling on your plate if you aren't already:
1. Lentils. Lentils may look like the runt of the legume family, but don't be fooled. These are rich in dietary fiber and are a good source of iron and folate, which collectively help reduce the risk of heart disease, increase your metabolism and improve digestive health. Talk about big things coming in small packages!
2. Cauliflower. Cauliflower is having its turn in the spotlight this year -- and rightfully so. This cruciferous vegetable is rich in vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Try whipped cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes, or grill slices of it for a new side dish. Tip: If the bitter taste of raw cauliflower turns you off, try steaming or sautéing for milder flavor.
3. Sardines. Sardines may not be the first fish to come to mind, but they are certainly one of the healthiest. This petite treat is a lean source of protein, rich in Omega-3s, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, making them a heart-healthy snack worth trying. StarKist's new Gourmet Selects skinless, boneless sardine fillets come packed in delicious gourmet sauces. They are great for a snack right out of the can or a perfect addition to any culinary creation.
4. Pomegranate. Pomegranates have often taken a backseat to other fruits, but these delicious gems pack arguably a bigger nutritional punch than some of the traditional favorites. Not only are the seeds and juice jam-packed with antioxidants, but they are also high in vitamin C and potassium, and the seeds are a great source of fiber. Tip: Avoid the mess by deseeding with the pomegranate submerged in water.
5. Flaxseeds. As a good source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, flaxseeds are often considered nutritional powerhouses. Lucky for us, ground or milled flaxseeds can be easily mixed into almost any recipe, including cereal, baked goods, yogurt and more. Tip: If you buy whole flaxseeds, grind them right before using to reap all the nutritional benefits.
Laura Ali, MS, RDN, LDN Registered Dietitian for StarKist
Note to editors: Particular importance for this story to be puplished in these regions: Texas (Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston), Tennessee (Memphis), Arkansas (Little Rock), Alabama (Birmingham, Mobile), Louisiana (New Orleans), Florida (Jacksonville), Georgia (Atlanta).