Posts Tagged ‘healthy foods’

Spotlight on: Plums

  • Plums, and their dried version known as prunes, are very high in phytonutrients, which function as an antioxidant and provide much benefit to the body.
  • Eating plums helps in the production and absorption of iron in the body, thereby leading to better blood circulation leading further to the growth of healthy tissues.
  • Consuming plums on a regular basis will help prevent macular degeneration and other eye infections.
  • Researchers have also found that plums contain anti-cancer agents that prevent the growth of cancerous cells and tumors.

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Recipe: Chicken Breasts with Plum Salsa and Basmati Rice

1 ½ cups of water

1 cup uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained

¾ pound plums, pitted and chopped

½ medium red onion, minced

3 habanero peppers, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place water in medium saucepan and stir in rice. Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and fluff with fork.  In a bowl, mix the plums, peppers, onions, cilantro and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-heat. Place chicken in oil and brown 1 minute per side.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 additional minutes per side.  Serve over rice with plum salsa.

Recipe: Fresh Summer Fruit Salad

½ cup water

2/3 cup sugar

3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb

15 seedless grapes, halved

½ orange, sectioned

10 fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1 apple, cored and diced

1 peach, sliced

1 plum, pitted and sliced

15 pitted Bing cherries

¼ cup fresh blueberries

Bring water and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the rhubarb, turn heat to low, cover and simmer until rhubarb is soft, 10 to 15 minutes.  Mash and chill in the refrigerator about one hour.   To serve, mix the grapes, orange, strawberries, apple, peach, plum, cherries, and blueberries with 2/3 cup of the rhubarb sauce.  Stir gently, but thoroughly to coat.  Refrigerate for at least two hours for all of the flavors to blend well.

Five Great Reasons to Eat a Banana


Considered as one of the world’s miracle fruits, the musa acuminata better known as a banana has a number of known and proven health benefits. In fact, it may even have more health benefits than any other fruit in the market. What makes a banana even better than most healthy fruits like apples, grapes, mangoes or an orange is that fact that it is a lot cheaper and is widely available in most parts of the world.

There have been numerous clinical studies in the past that link banana to various health benefits, some of which are presented below.

Bananas are good for your heart and blood

Potassium is one of the most abundant nutrients packed in a single banana serving. Needless to say, potassium has a lot of known benefits. For starters, potassium helps the heart by promoting better circulation of blood. A single banana serving also has vitamin B6 – an essential vitamin that aids in the production of helpful antibodies.

Likewise, vitamin B6 also helps in the production of hemoglobin, another important nutrient the human body needs.

Banana as a natural mood enhancer

It is also said that banana is a natural mood enhancer. This miracle fruit has tryphotan which can help smoothen and enhance the mood of people. Tryphotan is an amino acid which can help the human body produce serotonin. Serotonin, on the other hand, can produce a calming effect on the human body and is bound to stabilize the mood of the person taking it.

A banana a day is good for your kidney and bones

The old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away may just be it – old. Bananas have already proven its worth many times over. One of its many benefits includes helping your kidneys and bones to become stronger and less vulnerable to complications.

This is due to the high potassium content of a banana fruit. Potassium suppresses calcium excretion in the urine and is therefore minimizing the risk against kidney stones. For that matter, I guess it would be wise to say that a banana a day keeps the doctor away.

Regular intake of bananas is said to make a person smarter

According to a study conducted on 200 students at a Middlesex school, a normal intake of banana after every meal makes pupils more alert and open to learning.

Bananas can promote better bowel movement

Another well known benefit of banana is that this miracle fruit is high in fiber and can restore and promote better bowel movement. That is the reason why people suffering from constipation are almost always given a serving of banana. In addition to that, better bowel movement brought about by a serving of banana is good for one’s overall health.

Apart from the health benefits pointed above, bananas can also help people wanting to quit smoking and serve as a stress reliever for many. Heartburn, anemia and ulcers can also be improved by a daily intake of banana while morning sickness and hangover can be remedied with a single banana serving.

It is important to know and remember that a banana is a great natural remedy for many illnesses. Hence it would be wise to include a serving of banana in your daily diet.

Vitamin C Power-packed Foods

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There’s no shortage of natural supplements and vitamins that seem to contain all the Vitamin C we will ever need in a day. Some of us might ask why we should even go to the trouble of knowing which type of foods would be a good source of this all important vitamin.

First of all, no amount of supplement or vitamin could ever give us the feeling of being satiated or refreshed like good old food. Another good argument would be that vitamin C rich foods do not only contain this in good abundance but they’re also packed with other nutrients that are essential for a healthy body. But if you’re answer is that popping in a pill is simply more convenient then not having the time to appreciate the beauty of eating says a lot about the quality of life you’re living.

Why Take Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is not produced by the body and could only be taken by eating foods that naturally contain this vitamin. It is a water-soluble vitamin and is easily flushed out in our urine. It couldn’t be stored in the body hence a regular supply is required to maintain the recommended amounts in our body.

Boost your Immune System

Taking your recommend dosage of Vitamin C strengthens your immune system. This is not only great way of preventing common ailments but also keeps your body’s natural defenses working in tiptop shape.

Growth and Healing

Vitamin C is essential for proper wound healing. It is required for proper tissue repair. It is an essential component in the skin, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments. It also works with protein to build healthy bones, teeth and cartilages.

Anti-oxidants

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent dangerous toxin and chemical buildup. It could block free radicals that can cause cancer and other ailments. This has been found out to be a contributing factor to heart disease and arthritis. Free radical buildup could also hasten the aging process.

The Best Sources of Vitamin C

Plants and even some animals contain Vitamin C. However, the best food sources of Vitamin C remain to be plant foods. Although animals contain Vitamin C these amounts pale in comparison to their plant counterparts.

The first thing that comes into mind whenever rich sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, and grapefruits). These are the most recommended because they are not only rich in Vitamin C but are also refreshing and do not need any preparation. Other excellent non-citrus sources of Vitamin C include strawberries, kiwifruit, raspberries, watermelon, apples, bananas and pears. In fact, almost every fresh fruit could be used as a daily source of vitamin C. Having a wide choice of fruits makes these a healthy snack choice.

Fruits are not the only top sources for Vitamin C vegetables are also contain this vitamin in high amounts.  Vegetables in general contain large concentrations of vitamin C as well as other nutrients making them a well-rounded food choice. Winter squash, green beans and carrots are among the best. Herbs and spices are also rich sources of Vitamin C. With all the wide choices you might end up asking if you’re vitamin C supplements are really necessary.

Keep them fresh!

The amount of nutrients or Vitamin C contained in these food sources takes a drop as soon as it is picked. However, this could be slowed by proper storage techniques such as cooling. Studies have shown that food sources lose more than fifty percent of their Vitamin C content when allowed to sit at room temperature for a few days.

Canning another popular way of long term storage also has a detrimental effect on the amount of Vitamin C. Canned fruits and vegetables stored for more than half a year lose the original amount of Vitamin C contained before canning.

Cooking or the action of heat contributes to the loss of nutrient content. The amount of loss varies on the amount of heat applied and cooking time. Steaming vegetables for example is a good way since this reduces the amount of Vitamin lost. But when food is exposed for prolonged periods to heat even during steaming, its vitamin C content drops significantly. Steaming should be kept to a minimum or never more than 5 minutes.

The best way of maximizing the amount of vitamin C is to eat these as fresh as possible. Enjoy the natural flavor while getting that much needed dose of Vitamin C.

 

How to Curb your Appetite Naturally

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There’s no shortage of miracle pills that promises to instantly cure your food cravings. But isn’t there an easier and safer way to free you from this gastronomical condition? Health experts still believe that the best way to curb your food cravings is sticking to natural treatments. It does not involve using drugs or medications that sometimes have serious side effects.

Though it may not grab the same attention and airtime as most of the commercial treatments available, a lot of people have tried natural food suppressing methods. It has proven itself to be effective and could definitely help you fight your personal battle of the bulge.

Tea

One of the best natural appetite suppressants is tea. A lot of diets want you to stop eating at least three hours before you go to bed. Generally, some people try not to eat any food after dinner. But sometimes, you’ll feel hungry though. Just make a large cup of Earl Grey Tea and sweeten it with a few packets of healthy sugar. You will feel full after drinking this and your appetite is under control without spending money on expensive diet pills.

You also don’t have to worry about any unusual side effects. Hot tea works well with almost every diet out there, that’s the best thing about it. A mug of hot tea is allowed whether you are going the low calories route or the latest low carbohydrate diet. Compared to coffee, tea has lower caffeine. It will not keep you awake at night because you can also find it in herbal varieties that have no caffeine.

Exercise

Your body also releases natural endorphins that suppress your appetite when you exercise although it is meant to make you lose weight. You can walk for about thirty minutes at a brisk pace on the treadmill in the evening after dinner to curb your appetite. You will always sleep better after a little extra exercise and find that your appetite is more under control.

You don’t need to break out in a rolling sweat with an aerobics or heavy weight lifting. All you need to naturally suppress your appetite until the morning is a simple brisk walk for about twenty to thirty minutes.

Water

It is a fabulous natural appetite suppressant. You can drink an entire glass of water before each meal to help lose weight. You can also drink this when you’re preparing lunch or dinner. Your stomach is filled naturally with water and it suppresses your appetite and increases your metabolism at the same time.

To metabolize your body, it needs water. You are getting double duty with this natural appetite suppressant. During winter sometimes, try squeezing a little lemon into some hot water and stir a packet of Splenda. It really does wonders.

Coffee

This is a natural appetite suppressant as well as a diuretic. A hot or cold coffee is a great way to curb your appetite in the morning or afternoon. You can also replace your snack with coffee.

Salad

If you eat a salad with low fat dressing at the start of every meal, you will become full faster although salad may not be naturally appetite suppressing. It can help in keeping you from eating as many calories at a meal as you normally would. It is high in fiber, low in fat and it takes quite a bit of chewing. Your brain is tricked into feeling full with the simple motion of chewing.

Protein

This is a fabulous way to suppress appetite naturally. It takes longer to digest and it does not affect blood sugar in the way that carbohydrates do. A stable blood sugar will help speed weight loss. It will also help you feel full longer.

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Improving Brain Functioning through Healthy Eating

Healthy food
You can’t deny the fact that as we age, our body ages right along with us. Research shows that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain if you add “smart” foods to your daily regimen.

Blueberries

Studies shows that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Diets rich in blueberries also improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to younger rats, as shown in some studies. Researchers also recommend adding at least 1 cup of blueberries a day in any form.

Wild salmon

Salmon, a deep-water fish is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. Wild salmon is recommended for its “cleanliness” and it is in plentiful supply. Anti-inflammatory substances are also found in omega-3s. Sardines and herring also provide the benefits of omega-3. A 4-ounce serving, two to three times a week is recommended.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are foods rich in vitamin E. Higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. An additional ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower needs, sesame seeds, flax seed and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini.

Avocados

In promoting brain health, avocados are almost as good as blueberries. Avocado is a fatty fruit, a monounsaturated fat that contributes to healthy blood flow. It also lowers blood pressure. Add ¼ to ½ of an avocado to one daily meal as a side dish because avocadoes are high in calories.

Whole grains

Whole grains like oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk for heart disease. Whole grains release glucose slowly into bloodstream that keeps you mentally alert throughout the day.

Beans

Beans stabilize glucose levels. The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel and it can’t store the glucose as it relies on a steady stream of energy that beans can provide. Add ½ cup of lentils and black beans every day.

Pomegranate juice

This fruit offer potent antioxidant benefits that protect the brain from the damage of free radicals. Citrus fruits and colorful vegetables are on the list of the “brainy” foods because of their anti oxidant properties. Approximately 2 ounces is recommended daily diluted with spring water or seltzer.

Freshly brewed tea

Hot or iced, two to three cups a day of freshly brewed tea contains a modest amount of caffeine. It can boost brain power by enhancing memory, focus and mood. It also has potent antioxidants, which promotes healthy blood flow. Tea bags do count too.

Dark chocolate

This food has a powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants that includes caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration and it stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. To provide all the benefits you need, take one-half ounce to 1 ounce a day. You have to do this in moderation.

Healthy Foods that Keeps Hair Strong and Shiny

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Having healthy glowing skin and a swimsuit perfect figure are one of the top priorities when it comes to keeping ourselves looking young and healthy. But having a healthy body does not stop with this, equally important is how we keep our hair shining especially during those harsh summer days. If you feel that your hair is a bit dull or dry then you should start taking better care of them. Our hair plays an important role in our overall look just like our skin or figure. You don’t have to go to the hair salon just to keep it shining. Below are some must have foods to keep our hair looking shiny and fit.

Meat and Eggs

Meats and eggs play an important role in maintaining our hair’s health. These are rich sources of protein which is essential in hair growth and decreases hair fall. Those suffering from weak and brittle hair could also improve their hair condition by increasing their protein intake. The hair is also a good indicator of poor nutrition especially protein deficiency. Increasing our intake of eggs, chicken and dairy products can have a significant effect in addressing hair problems such as fall and breakage.

Green Vegetables

Here’s another good reason to eat green vegetables. The benefits of eating vegetables go beyond disease prevention. It is also essential for keeping our skin and hair shiny and healthy. You can never go wrong with eating green vegetables. It is rich in iron, calcium and Vitamins A and C. Green vegetables are vital for sebum production, cell growth and hair regeneration. It also keeps our hair glowing and shiny.

Whole grain foods

Whole grain foods are rich sources of Vitamin B1, B2 and B6, zinc and fiber. Whole grain foods include flour, rice, cereals and bread. This type of food is essential in providing nourishment vital for the scalp and follicles. If you’re having problems bringing back that shiny glow to your hair then including whole grains in your diet could improve its looks. Whole grain foods also promote healthy digestion. This means more nutrients for your skin and hair to keep them healthy.

Fish

Fish is an excellent source of Vitamins D and E and of course omega 3 acids. Many of today’s hair products contain omega-3 which has been proven to be effective in promoting hair growth and regeneration. It keeps the scalp healthy and makes hair shiny. A healthy scalp is important in maintaining hair quality. A diet that includes fish keeps the scalp clean and healthy.

Legumes

Some people suffer from brittle hair. This makes it hard to comb and prone to breakages. This is probably a sign that you are suffering from biotin deficiency. Legumes could quickly help this condition and increase your body’s supply of biotin. Legumes which include soy, lentils and beans contain large amounts of biotin for maintaining health strength. This is also rich in zinc and iron for hair strength and flexibility.

Avocados

Here’s one secret to having shiny, healthy hair. Avocados mixed with eggs make an excellent hair treatment potion. Including avocados in your regular diet ensures that you enjoy healthy shiny hair all the time.

Nuts

Nuts make excellent snacks. Cashews, almonds, walnuts are rich in zinc and selenium that prevents hair loss and breakage. This is great for people who might be suffering from thin and brittle hair. Keep your hair healthy by making nuts your favorite snack.

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