Posts Tagged ‘healthy diet’

Benefits of Acai Berries

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

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: Mangoes

Monday, February 6th, 2017
  • Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and they are also an excellent way to replenish potassium lost through exercise or for those who are constantly “on the go.”
  • An average-sized mango can even contain up to 40 percent of your daily fiber requirement, thereby being a great way to curb constipation and irregularity.
  • Mangoes can also help to prevent certain types of cancer and help to lower blood cholesterol levels, too.

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Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad

  • ½ cup prepared or purchased honey mustard dressing
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 4 chicken breast halves without skin, boneless
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • 2 large fresh mangoes
  • 10 to 12 cups mixed greens

Stir together honey mustard dressing and lime zest.  Cover and chill dressing while preparing chicken.

Rinse chicken and pat dry; sprinkle with Jerk seasoning.  In a large skillet cook the seasoned chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat about 6 minutes on each side until browned and no longer pink.  Thinly slice each chicken breast.

Recipe:  Mango Pork

  • 2 medium ripe mangoes
  • 1 pork tenderloin, about ¾ pound
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce

Put pulp of one mango in food processor or blender. Cut the other mango into small cubes.  Trim pork tenderloin and slice into 1-inch thick medallions.  Flatten slices lightly with hand.  Spray a skillet or medium saucepan with cooking spray or add a small amount of olive oil and heat on medium-high.  Brown pork for one minute on each side. Season each side with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat and cook pork another five minutes to cook through.  Remove to plate and add mango to skillet or saucepan. Cook puree about, scraping

Spotlight on: Cranberries

Saturday, January 7th, 2017
  • Cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and also an excellent source of fiber.
  • Cranberries alone can be particularly tart, but in a sauce, juice, or as an ingredient in cakes, stuffing or casseroles, this fruit becomes tastier.
  • When shopping for cranberries, choose cranberries that are shiny and not shriveled.
  • A deep red or almost brown color actually signals freshness. A good cranberry should be hard.
  • Cranberries will keep up to two weeks in a refrigerator.

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Recipe: Holiday Cranberry Sauce

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups white sugar

Place fresh cranberries and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Wrap cloves, allspice berries and cinnamon sticks in a spice bag. Place in the water with cranberries. Cook until cranberries begin to burst, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Discard spice bag. Chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Recipe:  Cranchick Salad 

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  •  1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 8 leaves spinach – rinsed, stemmed, and dried

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir together the celery, walnuts, cranberries, onion, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Add cooled chicken, and stir until well combined. Cover and chill about 6 hours and serve on top of spinach leaves, if desired.

What do you know about High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

It seems that one of the most asked questions these days is high fructose corn syrup worse for you than regular sugar.  Well, according to studies, last year alone Americans consumed 27 pounds of high fructose corn syrup, after all it can be found nearly everywhere including the fruit on the bottom of your yogurt and in many whole wheat breads.

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While that number is down from the 37.5 pounds consumed per person back in 1999, it seems that most Americans are filling in those remaining calories and pounds by adding in good old fashioned sugar.

Normal table sugar is made up of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose.  But since fructose is sweeter than glucose many manufacturers increased the ratio, to inexpensively hook their consumers.  High fructose corn syrup contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

Because it is sweeter, people who eat foods high in high fructose corn syrup it may cause overeating and weight gain.  Studies have also shown that high fructose corn syrup may also contain varying amounts of mercury.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy stated that “mercury was present in nearly a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverages in which high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label.”

It is important to be a good label reader and avoid foods that list high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient on the label. Even if an item is marked “natural” or in the health food aisle, it still can contain high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient.

Even though table sugar isn’t as bad for you as high fructose corn syrup, it can still wreak havoc on your diet and weight loss goals.  Indulge in sugary items as a treat or only on special occasions, instead of at every meal.

Spotlight on Salmon

Thursday, December 8th, 2016
  • 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.

 

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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.

 

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.

Spotlight on: Spinach

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Eating Healthy

  • 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.
  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, folate and magnesium.

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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.

Non-Dairy Foods that Build Bone Strength

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Food for Thought

Many people are lactose intolerant, or just don’t do dairy, but that doesn’t mean they are doomed to have brittle bones.  There are plenty of non-dairy foods that are chalk full of calcium and great for building bone strength.

We all know that calcium builds strong bones, but it also ensures that your muscles, nerves and cells all work properly.  As adults, we need approximately 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day – or the equivalent of more than three 8 oz. glasses of milk a day.  But if you don’t do dairy, you are still able to get your daily dose of calcium with these calcium-rich foods.

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Broccoli has a calcium content of 86 milligrams in just two cups of raw broccoli.  It also contains nearly twice the vitamin C than an orange.

Collard greens contain 268 milligrams of calcium per one cup cooked.  It is also loaded with three days worth of vitamin A.

Sardines have a calcium content of 351 milligrams in a 3.75 oz. can.  While some people may fear sardines simply on looks alone, they are really quite tasty and are an amazing source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Canned salmon contains 232 milligrams of calcium in just a half of a can.  It also contains 38 grams of “belly-flattening” protein.

White beans have a calcium content of 63 milligrams in ½ cup cooked.  They are also very rich in fiber, protein, potassium and iron.

Tofu contains 434 milligrams of calcium in just a half of a cup.  It is typically a vegetarian’s source of protein and takes on the taste of whatever it is cooked with.

Edamame contains 98 milligrams of calcium in one cup cooked.  It is also one of the few non-animal foods that is a complete protein – meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. And 8 grams of fiber per serving isn’t too shabby, either.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Zucchini

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
  • Zucchini are made up of more than 95 percent water and are very low in calories – only 13 calories in a half cup of raw zucchini and only 5 calories more when cooked.
  • Zucchini contains very useful amounts of folate, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin A.
  • The skin color of zucchini squash varies from very light to very dark and the darker the skin the more nutrients the zucchini contains.
  • And speaking of the skin, you shouldn’t remove the skin from a zucchini squash because the nutrients are contained in the skin.

 

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Recipe: Baked Zucchini Fries

  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced into skinny sticks
  • 2 large egg whites, beaten
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 T grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside. In a small bowl, beat egg whites with a fork until frothy. Put the breadcrumbs, basil, oregano, garlic powder and cheese on a plate. Mix well. Dip the zucchini sticks in the egg whites and then into the bread crumb mixture, make sure all sides get coated well. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 425° for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a little crispy. Turn over the fries half way through. Serve warm. Dip in marinara sauce.

Recipe: Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake

2 medium-sized zucchini, cut in slices or half-moon slices
2 medium-sized yellow squash, cut in slices or half-moon slices
2-4 T chopped fresh basil (or even less, depending on how much you like the flavor of basil)
2 T thinly sliced green onion
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup low-fat white cheese (I used Pizza Cheese, which is a low-fat blend of Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, and Parmesan)
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan (I would use a little less if you only have the very finely grated Parmesan from a can)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with non-stick spray. Wash the squash and cut in slices or half-moon slices. Wash basil, spin dry or dry with paper towels and finely chop. Slice green onions.Combine the sliced squash, chopped basil, sliced green onions, dried thyme, garlic powder, and both kinds of cheese and stir together until the veggies are coated with cheese and the herbs are well-distributed. Season with salt and pepper. Put the mixture in the baking dish and bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes.When the zucchini is nearly cooked through, take the casserole dish out of the oven and sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese. Put the dish back in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted and nicely browned and zucchini is fully cooked. Serve hot.

 

Health Food Hacks

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

No one ever wants to admit that their breath may not be the best smelling or even worse that they have some pretty stinky flatulence… but they are both issues that many people have to deal with, among other pesky health problems.

Fortunately there are some easy “food hacks” that will tackle bad breath, smelly gas and much more! Food is your “best weapon” when it comes to helping your body deal with some of these not-so-pleasant situations.

 

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Here are some foods that can help:

Have bad breath?  Try eating some yogurt.  According to experts, eating unsweetened yogurt can reduce the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide bacteria in your mouth.  Good bacteria found in yogurt, like streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus, overpowered the hydrogen sulfide and helped lower levels by more than half – helping to eliminate the smelly mouth odor.

Have acne? Indulge in some salmon.

Skip the expensive creams and treatments that say they can reduce your pimples and acne and have yourself a big plate of salmon instead!  Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which decreases inflammation.  Studies show that inflammation is one of the underlying causes of acne and pimples.

Gassy? Have some peppermint.

If you find yourself in a situation where flatulence is coming on, find a piece of peppermint and you will be in the clear – instead of clearing out a room!  Peppermint soothes inflammation and pain in the gastrointestinal tract, helping to reduce the amount of flatulence as well as the odors associated with your gas.

Can’t sleep? Try some kiwi.

Because of the high levels of antioxidants and serotonin in kiwi, many people with sleep disorders have found that eating kiwi one hour before bed will help with their insomnia.  Peoplhave increased levels of oxidative stress and low levels of serotonin can cause insomnia.  Eating kiwi counteracts this process and can help people catch their ZZZZ’s.

Eat Your Way to Better Sleep

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

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According to Men’s Health Magazine, good old mom may have had it all wrong when she offered us a glass of warm milk to help aide our sleeping.  The protein in milk could actually boost alertness rather than calm it.

Instead the magazine’s experts offer the following snacks to induce “feel-good relaxation chemicals” thereby calming your nerves and slowing your brain down towards relaxation: nonfat popcorn, oatmeal with sliced bananas, one cup of plain yogurt with two tablespoons mixed nuts, sesame seeds, pretzels, 4-oz. glass of unsweetened cherry juice, and red bell peppers.

Not only is a good night’s rest good for your overall well-being, but it is also helpful to keep a youthful appearance and will it will also help you to feel younger, too.

So, pass on the glass of warm milk tonight and opt for any of the above snacks for that peaceful night’s sleep.   Good night!