Posts Tagged ‘eating 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.

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.

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.

Healthy Picnic Food 101

It’s getting warmer and it’s almost time for picnics, barbecues, and outdoor parties! But just because you aren’t choosing all of your meals, that doesn’t mean that you have to pack on the pounds this summer. Keep these tips in mind at your next picnic:

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• Choose lean ground meat when making burgers. You should also try low-fat hot dogs, sausages and bratwurst and other grilled favorites.
• Seafood and chicken are great grilled foods and are both still healthy picnic options.
• Don’t forget your greens and mix in a salad to your picnic or party menu.
• Remember your veggies as they are also great on the grill and in side dishes, especially summer time veggies like squash and zucchini.
• Instead of chocolate desserts, think fruity desserts instead, and take advantage of a season when fruits are plenty.

Spotlight on: Spinach

  • Leafy, green vegetables, like spinach, provide more nutrients than any other food.
  • Researchers have found at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that have been known to act as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents, combating specific cancers like ovarian and prostate cancer.
  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.

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Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 egg whites
  • 26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 24 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
  • ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9-in. by 13-in.baking dish for lasagna. Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes.

Spring Eating 101: Get the Freshest Produce

Before hitting the grocery store or produce stands this season, check out what fruits and veggies you should be getting:

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  • Apricots – slightly soft, not bruised
  • Artichoke – compact head, bright green color
  • Asparagus – closed and compact tips, bright green stalks
  • Avocado – should be a little “give” when squeezed
  • Carrots – crisp, healthy tops
  • Collard Greens – dark green, vibrant color
  • Mango – more orange/red than green
  • New Potatoes – last only a few days
  • Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness
  • Rhubarb – check for bright, crisp stalks
  • Spinach – avoid dried out or yellow stems
  • Strawberries – pick fragrant, slightly soft ones
  • Sugar Snap/Snow Peas – bright green, should feel like they have a snap (not limp)

 

Foods that are Making you Sick

Every year, more than 9 million people come down with a food borne illness and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it is more than likely the foods that you are eating every day that are making you sick and not something out of the ordinary.

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While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working hard to enforce higher safety standards on farms, they have linked many of these illnesses to three major areas.

Here are some examples of foods that may in fact be making you sick.

Green leafy vegetables – various strains of E.Coli have been found on green leafy vegetables and according to the CDC study resulted in the highest percentage of illness.

Poultry – diseases in poultry killed the highest number of people in the CDC study, with listeria being the cause.

Dairy – 14 percent of all food borne illnesses were the result of contaminated dairy products, including ice cream and cheese.

Benefits of Acai Berries

The acai berry represents a new trend in weight loss efforts, but its pound-dropping effectiveness may be questionable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although some claim that drinking the berry juice can stimulate weight loss, few studies can actually justify this theory according to www.webmd.com.

Although the acai berry may not actually help you lose weight, it is beneficial to you.  Like other berries in the same family, the acai berry has many antioxidants and is a good part of any diet.

Any fruit with high antioxidant content can help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Those with allergies to pollen, however, should be cautious.  Some allergy sufferers have been sensitive to this berry and should avoid it.

In conclusion, should you incorporate the acai berry into your diet?  Of course!  It has a place there, just like all fruits.

Should you base your weight loss regimen solely on this fruit?  Probably not.

Spotlight on: Dates

  • The history of date eating can be traced back to almost 6000 B.C.
  • There are various forms and kinds of dates, and the ways to eat dates are endless.
  • The fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals essential for daily intake, and is linked to preventing abdominal cancer, constipation, heart problems and even sexual problems.
  • The date also is ideal for daily intake because it helps digest food and prevent overeating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Date and Banana Cookies 

  • 3 oz. dried dates
  • 3 oz. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 6 oz. oats
  • ¼ pint liver or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix everything together really well and put tablespoons of the mixture onto an oiled baking sheet.

Flatten them down a bit and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden.

Recipe:  Date and Egg Breakfast 

  • 3 Tbsp corn oil
  • 1 medium (1/2 cup) onion, chopped
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Heat oil in skillet and stir-fry onions until golden. Add dates, pepper and stir-fry over low heat for 3 minutes.

Make four depressions in date/onion mixture and add one whole egg to each depression. Sprinkle with salt and fry for 3 minutes to cook eggs.

Serve warm.