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Sick of being told what not to eat, Elmhurst-based nutritionist David Grotto decided to write a book about foods that do the body good. The best parts of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life ($14; Bantam) are the recipes—approved by Grotto’s three daughters—that incorporate oddities such as flaxseed into a meal. Here are five of his smartest finds.
What it is: A member of the pea family
Secret benefit: “Give it to kids to help stop diarrhea,” Grotto says.
Sneak it into supper: Use carob powder instead of cocoa powder; they have a similar taste. Stir into milk and serve to unsuspecting children.
What it is: A jam, jelly, or syrup extract.
Secret benefit: The berries contain a tremendous amount of vitamin C, particularly useful during cold and flu season.
Sneak it into supper: Use it as a pie filling.
What it is: A utilitarian plant; the base, stalk, and leaves can all be used for cooking.
Secret benefit: Fennel can be used to treat snakebite. It’s also handy for reducing gas and abdominal pain.
Sneak it into supper: “Chew on [the seeds] after a meal to help with digestion,” Grotto says.
What it is: A seed. Flax oil is more commonly called linseed oil.
Secret benefit: Studies show flax slows tumor growth in cancer patients. It can also help ease symptoms of ADHD.
Sneak it into supper: Send the seeds through a coffee grinder and sprinkle them on cereal, soup, or bread (before baking).
What it is: A leafy green vegetable
Secret benefit: A solid source of vitamin C and potassium.
Sneak it into supper: “Raw, it’s not very good,” Grotto says. “But kale in lentil soup is absolutely fantastic.”
Photography: (Carob) Blackbox Studios, Inc; (Elderberries, fennel, flax, kale) iStockphoto.comEdit Module