Photos by Tina Rupp

Salmon is easy enough to include in your meals. Same with heart-healthy walnuts and cancer-fighting tomatoes. But what about fiber-filled wheat germ? How do you make the most of essential fatty acid–rich flaxseed oil? And if you're not a tea drinker, where can you add more of this antioxidant brew to your daily diet? Here, we highlight six superhealthy foods you may be less familiar with—and simple ways to eat them every day.

>Quick tips: Stock up on frozen broccoli spears to use in a pinch. Because broccoli sprouts deteriorate quickly if they're damp, keep them sealed in the original container and refrigerated for up to a week.

1 Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
Mom was right—broccoli is great for you. One cup of cooked broccoli has twice as much fiber as a slice of whole-wheat bread, along with a substantial dose of calcium. Broccoli also contains glucosinolates (precursors to the potent cancer-fighting compounds isothiocyanates) and antioxidants that can prevent heart disease. Broccoli sprouts, seedlings of the broccoli plant, are especially high in cancer-protective sulforaphane. Studies show that broccoli sprouts contain 10 to 100 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli.

How to eat more broccoli
  • Toss steamed broccoli florets, chopped red peppers, and olive oil with cooked whole-grain penne pasta.
  • Thread broccoli spears on skewers; brush with olive oil and lemon juice and grill.
  • Purée cooked broccoli, vegetable stock, and silken tofu for a creamy, low-fat, dairy-free soup.
  • Use broccoli sprouts in place of lettuce on sandwiches and in wraps.

Broccoli Sprout and Arugula Salad with Blackberries, Papaya, and Almonds
Serves 4 / The blackberry-citrus dressing unites sweet papaya with spicy arugula and broccoli sprouts. For a milder salad, substitute frisée or mesclun for some of the arugula.

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons all-fruit blackberry preserves
2 tablespoons flaxseed oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces broccoli sprouts
6 cups baby arugula leaves (about 3 ounces)
1 cup cubed papaya
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed blackberries

1. In a small bowl, combine grapefruit juice, blackberry preserves, flaxseed oil, and olive oil. Whisk together until well blended and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli sprouts, arugula, papaya, and almonds; toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. Refrigerate remaining dressing.

3. Divide greens among four serving plates. Top with blackberries and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 190 calories
% fat calories: 58
Fat: 13g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 5g
Carbohydrate: 16g
Fiber: 5g
Sodium: 11mg
>Quick tip: Air, light, and moisture adversely affect tea flavor. Store loose tea and tea bags in an airtight glass container in a cool, dark place; use within six months.

2 Tea
Both green and black tea, from the Camellia sinensis plant, are rich in antioxidant polyphenols that can help prevent a variety of conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Green tea is especially rich in epigallocatechin gallate, which can help prevent stomach ulcers and inflammatory diseases. Green tea may also have a protective effect against neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Rooibos, or red tea, isn't a member of the tea family, but it's also rich in healing antioxidants.

How to eat more tea
  • Steam rice in jasmine green tea.
  • Add smoky tea, such as lapsang souchong, to soups in place of some broth.
  • Drink iced black tea with crushed mint leaves for an afternoon refreshment.
  • Take tea as your morning beverage. If you're a hard-core coffee drinker, try a robust black tea, such as Irish breakfast or smoky Russian.

Green Tea–Poached Salmon with Braised Spinach
Serves 2 / Infused with the delicate flavors of green tea, ginger, and sesame oil, salmon takes on an Asian flavor in this simple, colorful meal. Use loose-leaf tea for the richest flavor. Serve with green tea–steamed rice.

4 green tea bags, or 4 heaping teaspoons loose green tea
2 cups boiling water
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 half-pound salmon steaks
5 cups baby spinach leaves (about 5 ounces)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

1. Place tea bags or loose tea in a ceramic teapot or glass container and cover with 2 cups boiling water; steep for 4 minutes. Remove tea bags or strain tea leaves and discard. Add garlic, ginger, tamari, and sesame oil to tea and set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve arrowroot powder in 2 teaspoons water and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add salmon to pan and sear for 1–2 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn salmon over and add tea mixture to skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and poach for 7–10 minutes, until salmon is opaque and flaky.

3. While fish is cooking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet. Rinse spinach and shake off excess water. Place in skillet, tossing to coat with oil. Cook for 1–2 minutes, until just wilted and bright green.

4. Divide spinach between two plates and top with salmon; keep warm. Add arrowroot mixture to poaching liquid and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Drizzle over salmon and spinach; sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (with 2 tablespoons sauce):
Calories: 488 calories
% fat calories: 57
Fat: 31g
Saturated Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 125mg
Protein: 48g
Carbohydrate: 4g
Fiber: 2g
Sodium: 226mg
>Quick tip: Keep dried shiitakes on hand so they're always readily available; they have a deeper, more intense flavor than fresh shiitakes. To use, cover with boiling water and soak for 20 minutes; drain, rinse, and use as you would fresh.

3 Shiitake mushrooms
A symbol of longevity, the shiitake mushroom is used for healing in Chinese medicine. Modern research shows shiitakes contain a compound called lentinan that boosts immunity and can help treat people with HIV. Lentinan also exhibits antitumor activity and can reduce the risk of cancer, especially of the colon. Another compound in shiitakes, eritadenine, lowers cholesterol levels.

Shiitake and White Bean Soup with Watercress
Serves 6 / Creamy, delicate white beans are the perfect backdrop for earthy shiitakes and fresh, pungent watercress. Serve with a crisp green salad.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 stalk celery, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small carrot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 6 ounces)
2 15-ounce cans great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch watercress, washed, stems removed
Salt and pepper, to taste

How to eat more shiitake mushrooms
  • Stuff sautéed shiitake mushroom caps with canned crabmeat and minced onion.
  • Use dried, reconstituted shiitakes in brown rice risotto.
  • Sauté fresh or dried shiitakes with chopped kale and garlic.
  • Add finely chopped fresh shiitakes and spinach to scrambled eggs.

1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté celery, onion, carrot, and garlic for 4 minutes. Add mushrooms; toss to coat with oil and cook for 3 minutes longer. Add beans and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

2. Ladle half of the soup into a food processor or blender, and purée until smooth. Return to pan. Stir in watercress and heat through for 1 minute. Season generously with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 200 calories
% fat calories: 19
Fat: 4g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 15g
Carbohydrate: 27g
Fiber: 9g
Sodium: 318mg
>Quick tips: Purchase flaxseed oil in refrigerated, opaque bottles. If you won't use the whole bottle within six to eight weeks, pour some into a small glass jar and freeze the rest for up to 12 months. Flaxseed oil should never be heated; add it to foods after cooking. Always grind whole flaxseeds before eating.

4 Flaxseed
Nutty and flavorful, flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that's a precursor to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the type found in fish oils. Omega-3 fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory actions and can help treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Flaxseeds also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the formation of arterial plaque; plus they're rich in phytoestrogens and may help reduce breast cancer risk.

Grilled Broccoli with Tomato-Basil Flaxseed Oil Dressing
Serves 4 / Perfect for any salad, this flavorful dressing is especially nice on bitter greens. Or drizzle it over braised kale or chard. Top with chopped black olives for added flavor and monounsaturated fats.

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
Boiling water
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves (about 2/3 ounce)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup flaxseed oil
1 pound broccoli spears
Olive oil, for brushing

How to eat more flaxseed
  • Stir a spoonful of flaxseed oil into cooked brown rice.
  • Combine equal parts flaxseed oil, honey, and yogurt for a sweet and creamy dip for vegetable crudités.
  • Sprinkle ground flaxseeds on steamed vegetables or stir into cake and quick-bread batters.

1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Add just enough boiling water to cover tomatoes, and soak for 30 minutes. Drain.

2. In a food processor, combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, and flaxseed oil. Purée until smooth. Set aside.

3. Preheat grill or broiler to medium-hot. On stovetop, steam broccoli spears for 3–5 minutes, until bright green and just tender. Remove from pot, thread on skewers, brush lightly with olive oil, and grill or broil for 3–4 minutes, turning once. Place on a serving platter and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (4 ounces broccoli, 1 tablespoon dressing):
Calories: 162 calories
% fat calories: 72
Fat: 14g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 4g
Carbohydrate: 9g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 64mg
>Quick tip: Because it's high in oils, wheat germ should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent oxidation and rancidity. Buy wheat germ that's packaged in sealed or vacuum-packed containers, rather than in bulk.

5 Wheat germ
Long the darling of the health food scene, wheat germ is now getting some well-deserved recognition as a superfood. The embryo of a wheat kernel, wheat germ is rich in vitamin E,a potent antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects and helps protect against heart disease. Wheat germ oil is also high in octacosanol, a compound that helps lower total and LDL cholesterol levels and raises good HDL levels. Octacosanol has also been shown to improve reaction time, suggesting it has a neurological effect.

How to eat more wheat germ
  • Replace up to half a cup of flour with wheat germ in bread and muffin recipes; stir 1/4 cup into pancake batter.
  • Sprinkle wheat germ on hot or cold cereals.
  • Stir a tablespoon of wheat germ into smoothies or yogurt.

Blueberry-Walnut Wheat Germ Muffins
Makes 16 / Serve these hearty, slightly sweet muffins with cubes of papaya, fresh strawberries, and vanilla yogurt. For an extra health boost, add 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds to the dry ingredients before baking.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 egg, well beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup nonfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries or frozen wild blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine flours, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt. Stir in walnuts. In a medium bowl, beat together egg, oil, honey, and molasses. Beat in milk and vanilla extract. Add liquid ingredients to dry, stirring just until mixed. Gently fold in blueberries.

2. Line muffin cups with paper liners, and divide batter among cups. Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before turning out of muffin tin onto a cooking rack.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 171 calories
% fat calories: 36
Fat: 7g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 14mg
Protein: 5g
Carbohydrate: 24g
Fiber: 2g
Sodium: 207mg
>Quick tip: To remove some of the sodium, place olives in a glass jar filled with distilled water and soak overnight. Drain, rinse, and store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

6 Olives
With their rich, bold flavor, olives are a healthy, guilt-free snack and recipe enhancer. Olives are loaded with monounsaturated fats, which help lower LDL cholesterol and protect against atherosclerosis. Olives and olive oil also contain squalene, a compound that boosts immune function and helps reduce the risk of cancer, especially breast and stomach cancers.

How to eat more olives
  • Add finely chopped olives and minced rosemary to brown rice.
  • Purée olives with garlic and capers for a quick tapenade; spread on whole-grain bread.
  • Toss whole olives into salads; add minced black olives to pasta sauces.

Black Olive–Sweet Potato Hummus
Makes about 2 cups / Sweet potato adds a creamy richness and a dose of healthy antioxidants to this unusual hummus. Serve with broccoli florets, baby carrots, and pepper strips for dipping; or spread on a whole-grain tortilla, top with broccoli sprouts, and roll up for a healthy wrap.

1 small sweet potato (about 6 ounces)
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
Minced sun-dried tomatoes, for garnish
Basil leaves, for garnish

More superfoods to eat every week
Sweet potatoes

1. Wrap sweet potato in foil and bake at 400° for about 1 hour, or until soft.

2. Remove potato from oven, unwrap, and let cool. Scoop out insides of sweet potato and place in a food processor. Add garbanzos, olive oil, olives, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Purée until smooth. Add 1/3 cup basil leaves and pulse for 10 seconds. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with sun-dried tomatoes and whole basil leaves.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (1/4 cup):
Calories: 109 calories
% fat calories: 42
Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrate: 13g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 140mg