Groceries are expensive and food choices are overly abundant. Finding, sourcing and determining which foods are worth the splurge (or just a hefty portion of your weekly paycheck) can feel confusing at times. Grocery stores are increasing targeted consumer marketing with high end prepared items, pre-sliced fruits & vegetables, fancy salad bars, and artisanal (sometimes vegan) baked goods. Are these products worth the mark-up?
Here are five foods worth the splurge.
Specialty extra virgin olive oil
We love cold pressed, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil. Floral, unxious, low acidity, and low heating point. The benefits from olive oil continue to appear in the literature as well as through anecdotal evidence. Olive oil is the main fat source in the Mediterranean diet. It is high in MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids) and contains phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Multiple studies have found an inverse association between olive oil consumption and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In addition, regular use of olive oil has been associated with a slightly lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women from the prestigious Nurses’ Health Study. Unfiltered, cold pressed extra virgin olive oils are best used unadulterated. High quality olive oil shines as a salad dressing, vegetable condiment, or blended in homemade dips (hummus), spreads and sauces. We think it’s worth the splurge!
Wild, sustainably caught fish, & ethically and environmentally sound farmed fish
Regular fish consumption provides an important source of omega-3 fatty acids and is considered a nutrient dense dietary choice high in protein and low in saturated fat. Fish and seafoods contain important micronutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. Fatty fish and seafood are the principal dietary sources of EPA and DHA, two fatty acids that the human body is unable to produce endogenously. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in every kind of fish, but are especially high in wild salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel, canned light tuna, and oysters. Start to become comfortable chatting with your local fishmonger. Ask questions about seafood sourcing, proper labeling, ethical fishing and if your supermarket lacks quality wild fish, investigate ‘best’ option farming practices. We suggest the following websites to ensure healthy fish consumption. Check the list to see which types of seafood are worth it.
Organic strawberries and spinach
Strawberries and spinach rank #1 and #2 respectively on the Environmental Working Group’s list of “dirty” produce. Nearly all samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for residue in 2017. We suggest buying the aforementioned produce from organic sources if possible.
Grass fed beef and pasture raised meats
WeCollab firmly believes that protein is key to sustainable weight loss. More importantly, the quality of your protein matters. Research spanning three decades supports the argument that grass-fed and pasture raised meats have a more desirable saturated fatty acid profile compared to grain-fed counterparts. Grass fed beef is higher in omega 3 fatty acids, and lower in omega 6 fatty acids. When animals eat grass, their fat sources become rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a powerful cancer fighting antioxidant which also prevents plaques from developing within arteries. In addition, grass fed meats have higher precursors for the B vitamins, vitamins A and E, and other minerals necessary for metabolic health.
Fair trade dark chocolate with almonds
Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean deprivation. WeCollab believes in indulging in high quality, pure foods in small amounts. One of our favorite choices is high-end artisanal dark chocolate. The health benefits from cocoa are numerous and include:
- Dark chocolate/cocoa is rich in plant flavonols, which protect against heart disease and serve antioxidant functions.
- Cocoa flavonols improve nitric oxide production, improving blood flow to the brain and blood pressure.
- Chocolate with the addition of nuts can induce satiety.
Most importantly, check the label of your chocolate bar. We want you to aim to purchase chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa solids. The best dark chocolate is made from cacao or cocoa that’s organic, and minimally processed. Avoid ingredients such as hydrogenated and/ or palm oil solids.
Bowen, K. J., Harris, W. S., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2016). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Are There Benefits? Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine, 18(11), 69.
Daley, C. A., Abbott, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9, 10.
Guasch-Ferré, M., Hruby, A., Salas-Salvadó, J., Martínez-González, M. A., Sun, Q., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2015). Olive oil consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in US women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(2), 479–486.
Lee, Y., Berryman, C. E., West, S. G., Chen, C. ‐Y. O., Blumberg, J. B., Lapsley, K. G., … Kris‐Etherton, P. M. (2017). Effects of Dark Chocolate and Almonds on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Individuals: A Randomized Controlled‐Feeding Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease, 6(12), e005162.
Peter, S., Chopra, S., & Jacob, J. J. (2013). A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! – A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 17(3), 422–429.