Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Dehydration – Danger Signs

Water makes 60 percent of our body’s weight, and this simple fact makes drinking water an essential part of keeping our body healthy. We can survive without food for weeks but it only takes days or even a couple of hours for our body to shut down from dehydration.

It is recommended that we drink eight glasses of water a day and drinking more is better. But we don’t have to strictly follow the eight glasses rule since 20 percent of our water intake comes from solid food such as fruits and vegetables.

Water is essential in our body’s normal functioning. It is a natural lubricant that keeps our joints and muscles moving smoothly. It is also a natural antioxidant that helps flush out body waste. Water also function in regulating body temperature, it helps release internal body heat through perspiration. Drinking a glass of water before meals also helps you lose weight. Just like solid food, water takes stomach space helping you feel fuller even when eating less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs of Dehydration

Prolonged dehydration can lead to serious health problems and even death. And this can be very dangerous for toddlers and infants who are not able to verbally express their condition. Diarrhea especially in infants can be very dangerous and life threatening. Fluids are easily lost through the stool this along with vital nutrients and electrolytes.

Headache, delirium and light headedness

An ominous sign of dehydration especially for athletes or those participating in physical activities are those that affect their mental condition. Long distance runners for example might feel confused when too much water is lost through perspiration.

Other symptoms include dizziness, weakness and even nausea as not enough fluid is circulating in the body. The brain suffers because not enough nutrients or fluids are reaching it. The brain is one of the hungriest organs and when it is not fed our mental condition suffers.

Dry mouth and extreme thirst

We crave for food when we’re hungry and thirsty when there is not enough water in the body. The body sends clear signals when something’s wrong. And the sooner we identify these signals, the quicker we can remedy the condition.

Water can be lost through the skin when exposed to extremely hot temperatures. Drinking water is highly advised during extreme physical activities or prolonged exposure to the sun.

Fatigue or sudden tiredness

Dehydration affects us physically and mentally. With more than half of our body composed of water, the mind and muscles would not work as efficiently. Without the right amounts of water, we become less alert and confused. This holds true even while we’re exercising or resting.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps can also occur with dehydration. Water is not only loss during perspiration, salt and electrolytes are also released. Go the extra mile by drinking sports beverages loaded with electrolytes and sodium. The sodium or salt helps your body retain more water.

Healthy Ways to Cook Vegetables

When it comes to eating healthy, vegetables certainly come on top on our list of must eat foods. It comes as no surprise since this food group are some of the best natural sources of all essential vitamins and nutrients the body needs to function optimally.

But are we getting the most out of our vegetables? Aside from getting our daily dose of vegetables, we should also consider how these are prepared. Cooking food in general creates a chemical reaction which breaks down or even destroys the nutrients contained in our vegetables.

Proper food preparation helps us get the most of the food we eat. While we don’t recommend eating our vegetables raw, we should definitely consider how we cook our vegetables. Cooking actually helps break down the nutrients making it easy for use to digest and take it into our system. And there is no sure fire way to prepare all types of vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sauté versus Frying

Frying causes fat to enter the vegetables and dehydrates it in the process. A healthy way to go around this is to sauté the vegetable and use healthy types of cooking oil such as virgin olive oil. Using virgin oil actually helps increase the absorption of nutrients. Aside from preparing the vegetable for digestion, virgin oil gives an extra kick of flavor.

Baking or Roasting

Baking or roasting involves intense heat over a predetermined amount of time. And how healthy we prepare our vegetables depend on these factors. The amount of available nutrients after baking or roasting also depend on the type of vegetable.

Eggplants, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes and celery for example works great with baking. Tomatoes are best prepared by roasting. The act of cutting tomatoes and heating it makes lycopene more available for digestion. Lycopene is fat-soluble pigment that is found in rich amounts in tomatoes. It is a powerful antioxidant that reduces our risks for cancer. But technically, tomatoes are fruits.

Microwave

Nutrients found in vegetables are often lost through heating and water. Microwaving does not require water to cook and heats the vegetables internally. This is a great way of preserving the Vitamin C content in vegetables. Phytonutrients contained in vegetables such as carrots and beans are also preserved when microwaved.

Superfoods – Spotlight on Avocado

What does it take to be called a superfood? For one, it should be packed with nutrients almost making it a must eat for a healthy body. And if this is one of the yardsticks used for measuring superfoods, it seems that avocado makes a strong case since it is definitely loaded with essential nutrients.

Before you go overboard and start grabbing avocados every time you have the opportunity you must first understand that a single avocado contains approximately 215 calories. And when you mention calories into the mix, especially with this amount people might start thinking weight gain. Yes, avocados do contain more than the average calorie content for most fruits but this is of the healthier kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recommended daily intake for avocados is 30 grams or a fifth of the fruit. But consuming half the fruit or 68 grams is still considered to be within healthy limits. On average an avocado contains:

Amount per 100 grams

Calories 160
% Daily Value
Total Fat 15 g 23%
Saturated fat 2.1 g 10%
Polyunsaturated fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated fat 10 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 7 mg 0%
Potassium 485 mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 9 g 3%
Dietary fiber 7 g 28%
Sugar 0.7 g
Protein 2 g 4%
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 16%
Calcium 1%
Iron 3%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B-6 15%
Vitamin B-12 0%
Magnesium 7%

 

Avocado Health Benefits

  1. Keeps the heart healthy – avocados do contain a healthy share of fats but most of these are of the healthy kind. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which prevent the development of arteriosclerosis or the hardening of arteries.
  2. Healthy, glowing skin – avocados are nature’s answer to moisturizers. It can be used to keep our skin looking young and healthy. It is also rich in antioxidants which fights against toxins and helps protect our skin against harmful UV light. Avocados are also rich in monounsaturated and fat-soluble vitamins that helps the skin and hair glowing.
  3. Helps you lose weight – diets low in carbohydrate and high in healthy fats actually improve weight loss. Fat rich food helps you feel fuller longer. These make you feel fuller and decreases the frequency of meals.
  4. Lowers your risk for cancer – some studies have suggested the correlation between phytochemicals in avocado and cancer. Phytochemicals in avocado help prevent further growth of cancer cells. Avocado is also rich in antioxidants that prevent unhealthy toxin buildup which reduces further risks for cancers.
  5. Helps improve digestion – avocados are rich in fiber. This helps improve digestion and reduces risk for colon cancer. It also helps get rid of toxins in the intestines keeping them healthy.

Spinach – Muscle Builder and More

Mention the word spinach and images of Popeye chomping down on a can of this vegetable instantly comes into the mind of children. Well, this might not be far from the truth as spinach is definitely one of the healthiest sources of nutrients and protein for building muscles.

But spinach is more than building muscles. This vegetable is also an excellent minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.  Aside from being a rich protein source for building muscles, spinach also helps improve eyesight, keeps the heart healthy, promotes optimum child growth and keeps the skin healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Brain Functioning

Spinach is a potent antioxidant, contains potassium and folate all of which contributes to keep the brain healthy. Folate helps reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Potassium on the other hand helps improve blood flow to the brain. More blood flow means more energy and oxygen is sent to the brain for optimum functioning.

Stronger Bones

Spinach contains Vitamin K which helps the bones retain calcium. Improved calcium retention leads to bone mineralization. Spinach also contains copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese. This keeps our bones strong and healthy and reduces our risk for developing osteoporosis.

Optimum Child Growth

Protein is an important building block of the body. This is why parents are encouraged to include spinach in their growing child’s diet. Spinach is also rich in minerals and phytonutrients all of which is essential for a growing child’s body.

Cancer Prevention

Spinach contains tocopherol, folate and chlorophyllin. These are currently being studied as a possible treatment for prostate, lung, bladder and liver cancers. Spinach is also being studied as a method for reducing tumor activity and preventing the spread of cancer in the body. However, one sure thing is that spinach contains antioxidants which are very effective in eliminating cancer-causing toxins in the body.

Reduces Inflammation

Painful conditions such as arthritis and gout are caused by severe inflammation. Instant relief for these conditions can involve taking anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pressure. Spinach is a rich source of natural anti-inflammatory compounds which helps reduce inflammation in the body. This is not only effective against arthritis and gout but also protect the heart from inflammation.

Ulcer Prevention

Vegetables in general has been proven to keep our digestive system healthy. It helps prevent colon cancer and prevents gastric ulcers by protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach.  Various compounds found in spinach has also been found to strengthen the digestive tract lining. Its anti-inflammatory properties also prevents harmful conditions from developing in this area.

Muscle Builder

Spinach is one the healthiest and riches sources of protein. It helps feed those protein-hungry muscles while keeping almost every part of the body healthy. Spinach is certainly a healthy and cheaper alternative to meat and expensive protein supplements.

Cinnamon – Surprisingly Healthy

Spices has long been used in bringing that much needed flavor to some of the best dishes in the world. But some of these spices were not originally meant for the kitchen. In Ayurvedic medicine for example, some spices were used for treating respiratory and digestive problems.

Cinnamon brings its own unique taste and fragrance to some of the tastiest pastries. And this is something that ancient Egyptians and Romans commonly used in creating essential oils or masking bad odors.  While there’s no contesting how good cinnamon smells, it might come as a surprise to many how this could also have beneficial effects on our health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduce your Risk for Cancer

Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant. It helps reduce the buildup of toxins in the body which can have a degenerative effect on cells. By getting rid of wastes, cinnamon helps keep our cells healthy. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties. Which protects our body against cellular-level damage.

Alzheimer and Dementia

Cinnamon contains Cinnamaldehyde, a compound responsible for giving its signature smell and Epicatechin, a powerful anti-oxidant. The exact mechanisms for the development of Alzheimer and Dementia are not clearly known but cinnamon’s anti-oxidant properties can prevent the development of plaques and tangles. Because of its powerful anti-oxidant properties, cinnamon can protect us against oxidative stress which is a major factor in the development of Dementia.

Better Heart Health

Cinnamon can be used to reduce the level of cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol all of have a negative effect on our heart’s health. It helps control the level of bad cholesterol while increasing the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. Cinnamon also help lower blood pressure which combined with healthy levels of cholesterol contributes to a healthier heart.

Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Cinnamon helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. It also helps reduce insulin resistance which is responsible for metabolism and proper energy use. Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels by decreasing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after eating. This is done by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion. Cinnamon also works like insulin by improving the uptake of glucose by the cells.

Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungi Properties

Cinnamon oil based solutions has been proven to kill common bacteria such as E. coli and streptococcus. Cinnamaldehyde, a compound found in cinnamon helps fight infection. It also has a negative effect on the growth of bacteria. Cinnamon oil can also be used to treat fungal infections in the respiratory tract. Cinnamon also helps prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath by fighting bacteria in the mouth.

Ketogenic Diets – Is It For You?

Ever wondered what a Ketogenic Diet is? This type of diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. Its food ratio consists of 60% to 80% total calories from fat, 15% to 35% total calories from protein and 5% or less calories from carbohydrates.

A Ketogenic Diet is similar to other strict low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins or LCHF Diet. However, one major difference is it restricted when it comes to protein. A Ketogenic Diet reduces the levels of insulin thus increasing fat burning dramatically. This in turn makes it easier to burn fat stores helping you lose weight more easily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Upside of a Ketogenic Diet

Several health benefits have been attributed to a Ketogenic Diet. This includes increased energy levels and improved weight loss. A Ketogenic Diet also reduces our risks for some health conditions.

  • Reduced Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

People suffering from pre-diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and are not on insulin medication can reverse their condition by switching to a Ketogenic Diet. Medical research has shown that low-carbohydrate diets that limit the intake of sugar and process grains can have a positive effect on people suffering from diabetes.

  • Reduces Cancer Risks

Studies show that highly-processed, low-nutrient, and pro-inflammatory diets feed cancer cells which makes it easier for them to develop and multiply. Some studies suggest that a Ketogenic Diet may actually starve cancer cells and prevent it from growing rapidly. Generally, diets that encourage us to eat healthy reduce our risks for cancer.

  • Improved Weight Loss

Diets are designed to keep people healthy but one of the most popular reasons is to shed weight. A Ketogenic Diet is highly effective in helping people lose weight. Low-carbohydrate diets keep you feeling fuller longer and speeds up the fat burning process. With less insulin released, the body does not store extra energy in the form of fat. Instead, it focuses on burning existing fat stores for energy.

Foods You Should Eat on a Ketogenic Diet

Vegetables

  • Cabbage (3g)
  • Avocado (2g)
  • Cauliflower (4g)
  • Zucchini (3g)
  • Spinach (1g)
  • Brussels Sprouts (5g)
  • Kale (4g)
  • Green Beans (4g)
  • Broccoli (4g)

Fruits

  • Blackberries (Half a cup which contains 3 grams of carbs)
  • Plum (One medium-size contains 6 grams of carbs)
  • Kiwi (One medium-size contains 8 grams of carbs)
  • Raspberries (Half a cup which contains 3 grams of carbs)
  • Blueberries (Half a cup which contains 6 grams of carbs)
  • Strawberries (Half a cup which contains 6 grams of carbs)
  • Clementine (One medium-size contains 7 grams of carbs)
  • Cantaloupe (One cup contains 11 grams of carbs)
  • Peach (One medium-size contains 13 grams of carbs)
  • Cherries (Half a cup contains 9 grams of carbs

Snacks

  • Zucchini Chips
  • Salami and Cheese Chips
  • Tortilla Pizza
  • Onion Rings
  • Sesame Crispbread
  • Keto Garlic Bread
  • Egg Muffins
  • Cinnamon and Cardamon Fat Bombs
  • Kale Chips

Nuts

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Hazel Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecan Nuts
  • Macadamia
  • Peanuts

Spotlight on: Tomatoes

Besides containing 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, it also contains 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, 8 percent of your daily value of potassium, and 7 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of iron for women and 10 percent for men.

Lycopene, what gives tomatoes their red pigment, acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells in the body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

  • 3 to 4 small ears of corn
  • 1 can (15 to 16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 large tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely minced jalapeno or poblano pepper
  • Juice of one lime, about 3 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
  • Dash salt and pepper, to taste

Grill or broil corn to char slightly; let cool. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Cut corn from cobs and add to the mixture.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving time.Great alternative to sauces, and is especially tasty on grilled fish, chicken or pork!

Recipe: Tomato Casserole with Sweet Onions

  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 large Vidalia onion or other sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, or scant ½ teaspoon dried dillweed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or scant ½ teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Place peeled tomato wedges on paper towels to drain.  Peel onions and slice into ¼-inch rings.  In separate bowl combine dill, thyme, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.  Layer half of the tomatoes and onions in a lightly buttered baking dish and top with half of the minced garlic.  Sprinkle with half of the bread crumb and seasoning mixture, half of mozzarella cheese, and drizzle with half olive oil.  Repeat layers.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until bubbly.  The onion should still be a little crisp, but somewhat tender.

Summer 101: Great Summertime Fruits

Summer is a great season to partake in the numerous delicious seasonal fruits.  Not only do these summertime fruits taste great, but they also give you many nutritional benefits.Some fruits to enjoy before the season ends include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berries: the phytochemicals in blueberries, strawberries and blackberries all boost immunity, and protect against heart diseases and circulatory problems.

Peaches and plums: full of vitamin C and beta carotene, peaches and plums help to eliminate free radicals from the body.

Pineapples: being packed with the most vitamins and minerals, pineapples are also a great digestive aid.

Papayas and mangoes: both are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene and fiber.

Spotlight on: Watermelon

  • Watermelons are made up of 90% water.
  • Watermelons are chock full of a considerable amount of vitamins A and C.
  • They contain thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate and niacin in small amounts.
  • They are a great source of potassium, and also contain magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and iron in trace amounts.
  • Watermelons are also very low in calories, free of fats and cholesterol and are rich in carotenoids.

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Recipe: Grilled Scallop and Watermelon Kebabs

  • 12 sea scallops
  • 4 cups boiling vegetable or chicken broth
  • 24- 1”x1” watermelon cubes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

Cut the scallops into halves across the diameter to create half-moon shapes.  Place them in a heatproof casserole dish in a single layer.  Pour the boiling clear broth over the scallops and let them poach for 5 minutes.  Drain and cool the scallops.  On each skewer alternate one half-moon scallop, then two watermelon cubes, then one half-moon scallop.  Mix together the remaining ingredients and brush the kebabs as they are grilled over a medium-hot grill for 90 seconds per side, turning only once.  Serve warm.

Recipe: Cajun Chicken with Watermelon Mint Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets

Mix together the spices.  Coat the chicken cutlets with the spice mixture.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat and place chicken in pan.  Blacken on both sides and sauté just until cooked through.  Top with Watermelon Mint Salsa and serve immediately.

Watermelon Mint Salsa

  • 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup diced seeded tomato
  • Minced seeded jalapeno to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • ½ cup chopped fresh scallion

Toss ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spring Clean Your Diet

Now that the long, cold, endless winter is over it’s time to give up those comfort foods and trade them in for a spring cleaning of your diet!

The good news is it is possible to rid your body of harmful toxins that you may have indulged in during the winter months, just by eating better and right this spring.

These foods will help hydrate, refresh and detoxify your way into a healthier season and give you the energy you need to gear up for summer, too!

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  • Berry green smoothie – Get started with a healthy smoothie blending together a cup of greens like spinach, kale and celery with a handful of fresh berries.  The greens contain chlorophyll that eliminates toxins that can contribute to liver damage and other illnesses.  The berries are packed with antioxidants and enzymes that fight free-radical damage, plus their sweetness combat the bitterness in the greens.
  • Curry powder – Popular in Indian foods, curry gets its yellow color from a compound called curcumin.  According to holistic medicine, curcumin is used to help aid with liver issues and digestive disorders.  And because curry powder is also an anti-inflammatory it also contributes to the production of glutathione, a liver-protecting antioxidant.  You can add curry powder as an accent to almost any food including eggs, chicken, and vegetables.
  • Cabbage – Made up of nearly 92 percent water, cabbage is a natural diuretic that will help your body get rid of excess fluids. It is also jam packed with glucosinolates, organic compounds that contain nitrogen and sulfur, that help to flush out unwanted toxins in the body.  Cabbage also is loaded with many essential vitamins like C, K, E and A, plus minerals, dietary fiber and folic acid.

Water – Always start your day with a big glass of water and stay hydrated all day long by carrying around with you a reusable water bottle.  Drinking water before a meal can help curb hunger and overeating.