Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Carrots

  • The beta-carotene in carrots is an antioxidant combating the free radicals that contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and a few other conditions.
  • Cooking carrots actually raises the nutritional benefits of this great vegetable. By cooking them you free the beta-carotene from the fiber, thereby allowing your body to better absorb the beta-carotene.
  • If you eat just a half cup of carrots each day you will get more than the recommended dosage of beta-carotene in your diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Banana Zucchini Carrot Bread

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 extra large egg

1 cup sugar

3 medium bananas

1 cup chopped zucchini

½ cup grated carrots

1/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and pour into large bowl.  Add bananas and mash.  Add grated zucchini and shredded carrots.  Mix well.

Add sugar, vanilla and beaten egg.  Sprinkle in baking soda and salt, and mix.  Add flour and mix well.  Pour in 4×8 loaf pan to two large muffin pans.  (Yields one loaf or 12 large muffins.)

Bake loaf for 60 to 75 minutes.  Bake muffins for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Let cool and serve.

Recipe: Creamy Carrot with Curry Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ pounds peeled carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon butter

1 pinch salt

3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced

2 tablespoons curry powder

3 cups chicken broth

1 ½ cups half-and-half (or whole milk)

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Garnish: Chopped pistachios

Heat oil in sauté pan until shimmering.  Add carrots, then onion, sauté until golden brown (about 7 minutes).  Reduce heat and add butter, sugar, and garlic; continue cooking about 10 minutes longer. Add curry and sauté a minute longer. Add broth and simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.  Using a blender, puree in a blender for about a minute.  Return to pot and add enough half and half so the mixture is soup-like, yet thick enough to float the pistachio garnish.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Oil 101: Choosing the Best Oil for Your Colon

In a recent animal study, it was found that diets that included canola oil rather than corn oil had less of a chance of growing colon tumors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons that gives canola the edge is the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, where corn oil is higher in omega-6 fatty acids.  In the animals tested, researchers charted the size and number of colon tumors and tested their blood for its fatty acid amount.  When comparing animals whose diets contained corn oil verses canola oil, the animals whose diet included canola oil had fewer tumors and much smaller tumors on average.

While researchers will next attempt this same study on humans, researchers and nutritionists alike agree that only good can come from including more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Detoxify your Diet

More and more these days we hear about our foods and how they are becoming laced with synthetic ingredients.  If you want to avoid these synthetic ingredients, you need to learn how to detoxify the foods you are eating and choose healthier foods.

Here are some suggestions to detoxify and eat healthier in the New Year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Your Produce:  Before eating or cooking with any fruits or vegetables be sure to wash them very well.  Washing your fruits and veggies eliminates the chemicals and pathogens from your food’s surface and help to eliminate any harmful ingredients.

Watch Your Animal Fat Intake:  Do you know what’s in your animal fats?  They are loaded with synthetic hormones, antibiotics, organochlorine chemicals, and other harmful pesticides. Look for low-fat options when buying your foods and be sure to trim all of the fat off of poultry and meats when you buy them.  

Avoid Cans:  Cans are lined with a resin that contains bisphenol-A, a hormone-disrupting chemical.  While many companies are working to eliminate these chemicals in their products, in the mean time you can avoid these chemicals by choosing frozen, fresh or dried foods.

Think Organic:  According to a study done by the Environmental Working Group, your pesticide exposure can be eliminated by 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated conventionally grown produce including: peaches, apples, bell peppers, nectarines, celery, cherries, lettuce, strawberries, grapes, carrots and pears. 

Choose Whole Foods:  Whole foods are not processed, therefore they have their own natural ingredients.  Choose whole grains and look for food items that say “whole” on them … but be sure to check the labels, just to be sure.

Adjust Your Lifestyle to Avoid the Flu

With winter comes the holidays, colds, flus and other events that wreak havoc on our immune system.  To boost our immune systems, we need to make some minor adjustments in our diet and lifestyle to help curb the impact the season has on our body.  Try these small adjustments this year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjustment 1:

Get your Essential Fatty Acids

Because essential fatty acids are the key to building super hormones, make sure that you get enough of these fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fish, cold pressed oils and supplements.

Adjustment 2:

Eat Enough Protein

Protein is important for your optimal health no matter what season it is.  Nutritionists suggest .75 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight depending upon your physical activity.  But, because our body can only absorb 30 to 35 grams per meal, we need to spread our protein intake throughout the day.  Be sure to eat some sort of protein in every meal and in every snack.  Getting some of that protein through soy-based products is also recommended by many nutritionalists.

Adjustment 3:

Choose low GI carbohydrates

GI or glycemic index, is the measure of how fast blood sugar rises after eating.  One good example is that white sugar has a glycemic index of 100, where peanuts have a glycemic index of 15.  That means that peanuts raise the blood sugar levels at 15% of the rate of white sugar.  Fast rising blood sugar means the pancreas produces and sometimes overproduces insulin.  These spikes in insulin can weaken the immune system and interferes with the production of super hormones.  By choosing low GI carbohydrates, combined with eating the appropriate levels of protein you can better control your insulin.

Overall, the best way to adjust your immune system this winter is to avoid too much supplementation, get enough protein and essential fatty acids, and avoid those sugary carbohydrates to make your way through these next couple months illness-free.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Salmon

  • Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat.
  • Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat.
  • Salmon is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon

1 scallion, minced

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into four portions

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce. Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.) Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

To toast seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Recipe: Smoked Salmon Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 oz. smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudités or crackers.

Holidays 101: Super Foods to the Rescue

It’s the holiday season and for many people that also means it’s the stressful season.  Instead of sweating every little thing this year, try fighting off your holiday stress with these amazing, stress-fighting superfoods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Avocado – they give you a burst of vitamin B, which will help to keep you alert and awake, while reducing anxiety.
  • Bananas – help to keep you energized and reduce your blood pressure.
  • Brown rice – complex carbohydrates (like those in rice) help to raise your body’s serotonin levels, without the carb crash that is typically associated with eating carbohydrates.
  • Dark chocolate – also increases the levels of serotonin in the body, giving you those feelings of joy and happiness.
  • Fish – the omega-3 fatty acids in fish help to lower adrenaline levels in the body, which can result in a calming effect in your mind and body.

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.