Little-known fruits contain powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agents

Based on a study conducted by the São Paulo Research Foundation, five fruit trees indigenous to the Atlantic Rainforest have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities.

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According to research, the native Brazilian species e ubajaí (E. Myrcianthes), Bacupari-Miriam (Garcinia Brasiliensis), araçá-Piranga (E. Leitonii), Cereja-do-Rio-Grande (E. involucrata), and Grumixama (E. Brasiliensis), all from the Eugenia genus, have bioactive properties, nutritional value, and act as functional foods. These powerful fruits can combat free radicals, which are highly reactive, unstable, atoms that bind to one another in an organism and cause damage, such as disease and aging. “We knew they could contain a large number of anti-oxidants, just like the well-known berries of the US and Europe, such as the blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry, with which scientists are so familiar,” told Severino Matias Alencar, from the Department of Agroindustry, Food & Nutrition at University of São Paulo’s Luiz de Queiroz Agricultural College (ESALQ-USP). The institution partnered with the University of Campinas’s Piracicaba Dentistry School (FOP-UNICAMP) and the University of the Frontier (UFRO) in Temuco, Chile to conduct the study. “Our native berries proved [to be] even better.” Pedro Rosalen, from FOP-UNICAMP, says that when combating free radicals, diet is tactful. Although neutralization and elimination of free radicals are performed in our bodies, poor alimentation and stress can hinder this natural process. “If so, exogenous elements are required, particularly the intake of foods with anti-oxidant agents, such as flavonoids or anthocyanins from araçá-Piranga, E. Leitonii, and other fruits of the Eugenias,” said Rosalen, coordinator of the project “Bioprospection of novel anti-inflammatory molecules from natural Brazilian native products.” Not only do antioxidants fight signs of aging, but they also work in the prevention of diseases mediated by chronic inflammation, explains Rosalen. “The oxidative action of free radicals leads to the appearance of dependent inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis, obesity and Alzheimer’s. These are silent inflammations, hence the importance of anti-oxidants.”

The researchers evaluated the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of materials extracted from the fruits pulp, seeds, and leaves throughout the study, as well as phenolic compounds. To spur the production of the Chilean native species, guava (Ugni Molinae), researchers spoke in great detail about the fruit throughout the research. Guava produces a vasodilatory action and houses antioxidant properties; both are thought to aid in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. The project also investigated the five fruits anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties for use in the pharmaceutical and food industries. The “most popular” out of the fruits was E. Leitonii, according to Rosalen. “E. Leitonii is an endangered species,” Rosalen said. “Its anti-inflammatory activity far exceeded that of other Eugenias. The action mechanism is also extremely interesting. It occurs spontaneously and right at the start of the inflammation, blocking a specific pathway in the inflammatory process. It also acts on the endothelium of blood vessels, preventing leukocytes from transmigrating to the damaged tissue and reducing exacerbation of the inflammatory process.”

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These species are endangered and extremely rare; therefore, two local farms that strive for plant conservation, and reside in the interior of São Paulo State, provided the study samples. One of the farmers owns Brazil’s most significant indigenous fruit collection, which cultivates over 1,300 species, and according to Rosalen, Brazil has roughly 400 Eugenias including many endemic species. “We have an enormous number of native fruit trees with bioactive compounds that could benefit people’s health. They should be studied,” he states. These fruits have pharmacological and economic potential as evidenced by their essentials oils, edible fruits, wood, and their uses as decorative plants and will soon be considered the next superfoods, according to Alencar. “There wasn’t much scientific knowledge about the properties of these native fruits. The idea now, with the results of our study, is for them to be grown by family farmers, increase production scale and be taken up by retailers. Who knows, they could be the next açaí,” said Alencar, referencing to the success of the Amazonian berry, Euterpe oleracea.

Euterpe Oleracea or açaí also contains significant amounts of anti-oxidants and is exported from Brazil to many other countries as a puree.  “Even before the project with UFRO, Rosalen and I already studied native fruit species because we believed they could be a source of excellent food solutions for society,” Alencar stated.

Adapted from: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo. “Little-known fruits contain powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agents.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171031143708.htm.

And….just one more nutritional tip!

Back to class means after-school snacks! Plan healthy snacks along with your weekly meals. Add them to your shopping list to prep for the week ahead.

And…..a little inspiration

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Peach & Blueberry Cobbler

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Cook time: 20 m; Ready In Time: 1 h 15 m*
*All based on your cooking and oven style.

This new and improved healthier version of cobbler will keep your drawers fitting just right and not too tight. In this recipe, a portion of the butter is substituted for canola oil (1), and whole-wheat flour (2) is used in place of all-purpose flour, but don’t panic ladies, it turns out really good! As the cobbler bakes, the tender batter swells around the fruity additions, to give a peach (3) and blueberry (4) topping instead of the biscuit topping that usually laden this dessert. Go ahead and experiment with different fruits, and if you are a cast iron skillet lover, give yours more love by baking and serving the cobbler straight from it. Frozen fruits can also be used in this recipe, and the last healthy alternative used is reduced-fat milk (5).

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe, firm peaches (roughly 1 pound) pitted and sliced or sub 3 1/2 cups frozen peaches
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries; the same amount if using frozen berries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place oil and butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9 X 13″ baking pan, and heat until melted and fragrant; about 5-7 minutes.
  3. While the butter and oil are doing its thing, combine salt, baking powder, and flour in a large bowl. Add vanilla, sugar, milk, and stir to combine.
  4. Add the melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Spoon peaches and berries over the batter, and return the pan to the oven.
  5. Bake until the top of the cobbler is browned and the mixture around the fruit is entirely set, approximately 50 min to 1 hour. Remove, and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.

“Nutrition Label:” Serving Size: 1 piece; Per Serving: 196 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat.); 3 g fiber; 29 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 10 mcg folate; 11 mg cholesterol; 18 g sugars; 7 g added sugars ; 317 IU Vitamin A; 6 mg Vitamin C; 80 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 202 mg sodium; 188 mg potassium; Carbohydrate Servings: 2; Exchanges: ½ fruit, 1 ½ other carbohydrate, 1 ½ fat.

Ingredient Healthy Tid-Bits

  1. Canola oil is a monounsaturated oil (which is a healthy oil) that will aid your daily intake of Omega 3s, and these fatty acids are needed for cell growth, maintaining healthy cholesterol, and overall well being. Canola is also a good source of vitamin E, and has less saturated fat than olive oil, although olive is still an excellent choice for helping maintain your healthiness. By substituting 1/2 butter with 1/2 canola oil, you are saving yourself many grams of fat and calories, and you are improving your heart. But, did you know that canola oil is a GMO? Yes, it is a crossbred oil that originates in Canada who developed the oil for means of frying foods, hence its high smoke point.

  2. Wheat-flour has a double whammy! It not only can act as a substitute for all-purpose, but it also throws a much higher nutritional punch, knocking out all-purpose flour! For starters, it houses B vitamins, which are necessary for DNA, energy, fatty acid, and protein synthesis as well as calcium, zinc, vitamin K, and iron, all needed for blood clotting, managing blood sugar, and oxygen transport for blood and tissues. With whole-wheat flour, you will get a good dose of folate, which is crucial for growth and development of tissues, muscles, and organs, and if you need to reduce constipation, bloating, cramping, excess gas and/or diarrhea, look no further than whole-wheat. It contains roughly 30% (7g per 1/2 cup serving) of your daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) goal for fiber.

  3. Who doesn’t love a GA peach??? And I mean the fruit, not the native (because it’s a known fact that everyone loves people from the peach state of GA!). Vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants, phenolic acids, potassium, and I am going to stop there on the benefits of peaches and start elaborating on its health benefits. Vitamin C assists with boosting the immune system, and fiber, we know, aids in digestion and keeping us “regular.” For the ladies and gentlemen looking for the healthy skin and eyesight fountain of youth, look no further than vitamin A. Its antioxidant and phenolic acid properties function in maintaining healthy skin and vision and delaying signs of aging, as well as growth inhibition of some cancers (breast). To top off a peach, just one a day may help prevent cardiovascular and bone disease. So, as Steve Miller Band says “love your peaches, shake your tree.”

  4. And the “God” of all antioxidants is berries! Blueberries are one of the best antioxidant foods, with a trail of studies showing its impact on preventing heart disease, fighting cancer, and improving memory power. These little blue gods are another fountain of youth due to their ability to slow the signs of aging. Blueberries are also low in fat, rich in vitamin C and manganese (functions in the central nervous system), and are an excellent source of fiber.

  5. Finally, we have reduced-fat milk, which still contains the same essential nutrients as whole milk; calcium, protein, iodine, but minus the fat and calories. I’ve mentioned calcium, and I am going to stress it again. This mineral has a busy schedule. Not only does it have the duty of aiding blood clotting, but calcium is also on “the hook” for cardiac function, nerve transmission, and smooth muscle contraction, as well as vitamin D’s assistant for bone absorption. Protein, of course, contributes to muscle growth among many other benefits, and iodine aids cognitive function and posses thyroid hormone responsibilities. So, by opting for reduced-fat over whole milk, you are sparing yourself a few more calories and fat, while still getting the nutrients of whole milk.

Still for the brain-Word of the Day

Onerous: A task or responsibility involving a great deal of effort, trouble, or difficulty

And for a little inspiration….

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So, don’t always rely too much on people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Potato Salad-Sorry for the Delay 😐

Classic Tato SaladCook time: 30 min

Total time (prep + cook): 45 min (depending on your cooking style and methods)

This classic version adds more of a health punch compared to most original classic potato salads. You still get the creaminess this traditional favorite offers, although you are substituting half of the mayo for yogurt (1). And your fiber and potassium intake bumps up because these taters (2) are “skin” on. If you’re trying to save time and cookware, boil the eggs (4) on top of the potatoes while they are steaming in the steaming basket. Depending on your cooked egg preference, you can leave them in the basket the entire steam time or take them out a few minutes before the taters are tender and done.

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 pounds yellow or red potatoes, scrubbed and diced (1/2″ to 1″)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, DIVIDED
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (3)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery (5)

Directions:

  1. Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot fitted with a steaming basket. Add potatoes, cover, and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes depending on your stove (while cooking, jump to #2). When done, spread the taters, in a single layer, onto a lined baking sheet (aluminum foil makes an excellent lining and easy for cleanup) and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; let cool 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk mayo, yogurt, onion, mustard, pepper, and remaining salt (1/2 tsp) in a large bowl. Once the potatoes are cooled, add them to the mixture along with the eggs and celery; stir to coat.

Serve at room temp or refrigerate until cold. The salad can be made up to 1 day, covered, and refrigerated.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: ¾ cup; Per Serving: 146 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat.); 2 g fiber; 24 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein; 27 mcg folate; 40 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 1 g added sugar; 109 IU Vitamin A; 7 mg Vitamin C; 48 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 325 mg sodium; 552 mg potassium

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 ½
Exchanges: 1 ½ starch, 1 fat

Health Benefits:

  1. Low-fat plain yogurt (LFPY) adds calcium, which is needed for teeth and bones, and it is a high-quality protein to help build and repair muscles. LFPY also has live, healthy gut bacteria, which aids in digestion and some who are lactose intolerant may be able to intake small amounts of this yogurt. Still, this healthy substitute stimulates the immune system, and if you are looking to add MORE protein and creaminess, substitute with Greek yogurt.
  2. The skin on taters provides whopping values of fiber to keep you regular, potassium to control blood pressure, and many other vitamins and minerals. Most of the fiber, roughly half, is found in the skin, but beyond the skin, you’ll find most of the vitamin C, which is vital for healthy skin and hair. Potato and its skin also house vitamins B1 and B6; B1 assist in the bodies energy system, and Pyroxidene (B6) is vital for the central nervous system. This carbohydrate contains little to no fat, cholesterol, and calories but it does contain iron, magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu). For healthy blood, our bodies require iron, and for wound healing, Mg, Zn, and Cu take on the job. Last tidbit: Compared to bananas, which have 9g Mg, potatoes out win with 20g Mg, and for a greater nutrient powerhouse, go for the red taters.
  3. Have you ever taken a bite out of a raw onion? If not, I dare you to! Similar to potatoes, onions also contain vitamin C and fiber, along with healthy plant “chemicals” that are thought to prevent some types of cancer, based on studies. Onions are low in fat and calories and again, similar to potatoes, red onions pack a higher nutrient punch.
  4. HUMPTY DUMPTY (Eggs) does NOT spike blood cholesterol, but instead, he does the opposite by raising “good” cholesterol or HDL’s (I call this the happy cholesterol and LDL’s the lowsy cholesterol). All 9 essential amino acids (needed to make proteins) can be found in an egg. Essential indicates that your body cannot make them, they must come from diet. Eggs also provide a healthy dose of Omega 3’s to protect the brain and heart, carotenoids to protect our eyes, and vitamin D to protect our bones.
  5. Did you know that CELERY was once prescribed as an anti-hypertensive many centuries ago? Yeah, I didn’t either. I thought the only nutrition in celery was water, but nope, there is so much more. These gorgeous green, crisp stalks provide vitamin C and act as a diuretic to flush out excess fluid. Yes, ladies, we need our celery! If you suffer from inflammation, celeries properties may help. If you have high cholesterol and blood pressure, phthalates in celery may help lower it, and if you are trying to minimize your cancer risk, coumarins found in the stalks may provide some comfort.

These claims are all based on evidence-based studies; however, PLEASE see your dietitian and doctor before making drastic changes in your diet if you have any of the medical conditions stated above.

8 WAYS TO EAT HEALTHY ON THE CHEAP

JUST VISIT YOUR LOCAL HEALTH FOOD STORE, AND THE PROSPECT OF EATING HEALTHIER MAY SEEM WAY, WAY, WAY OUT OF YOUR BUDGET.

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And, at times, it can be. If you trade your favorite packaged foods for healthier versions, you could see your grocery budget go up by at least a 1/3 (it might even double). You can’t stop paying rent, mortgage or bills just so you can eat exotic foods found in the health food store (or I would not suggest you do)…so that dietary change you’re aching to do (and your body might be hurting for it too…) might seem utterly impossible. To start making dietary changes (healthy changes) on a minimal food budget, begin by slowly removing packaged and processed foods from your daily food regimen, and as your willpower and budget allow, incorporate more whole, fresh foods. Before you know it, your grocery cart will be filled to the brim with healthy, whole foods and you will see that the dietary change you were aching to do, has come true!

Yes, in a perfect world this may happen, but then you wake up from your dream and remember that money doesn’t grow on trees! For a majority of us, we have to live on a budget. Sometimes that budget grows and sometimes, well, it shrinks. Just remember not to continue shopping with the “growing budget” when you are on the “shrinking budget” and drain your bank account. So, when you’re not dreaming, and in the real world, how do you eat healthy while on a teeny weeny budget? Is it possible to buy enough groceries to feed two people for a week for less than $20? If you are conservative enough, then yes, it is, and if you do it for long enough where it becomes a skill when you do get that “dream” budget, you will (or hopefully) continue to shop as you did on the “shrinking budget.” So, what are the frugal ways to eat healthier?

1. Make a grocery list.

This simple task can really help reduce a lot of extraneous spending throughout the week. One missing ingredient or staple can mean a few more take-out lunches or dinners. So make it as easy as possible, and have a notepad on your fridge. As soon as you notice a staple is running low (less than a week left), add it to the list. Therefore, when it’s grocery-time, you don’t have to search through the fridge and cupboards to find what’s needed. You will more than likely only need to add some fresh produce and voila, your list is made.

2. Have important staples on hand.

Meal planning can be challenging. You may do great at planning out the first few days only to find yourself throwing something together by the end of the week, with what’s left in the fridge. And this can work, why? Because you already have certain staples on hand, such as:

  • Good oils: Extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, and sesame oil
  • Frozen veggies: They fill in the gaps if you’re running low at the end of the week
  • Beans: Dried or canned
  • Canned tuna or canned wild salmon
  • Whole grains: Rice, oats, quinoa
  • Condiments: Mustard, soy sauce (low sodium), balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, miso
  • Nut butter’s and hummus (excellent protein options)

Many lovely dinners can be made from these ingredients. So if these are not common staples, you may consider adding them to your new healthy diet repertoire.

3. Buy Seasonally.

A $6 container of strawberries in January or $4/lb for apples in June is not budget friendly. Buying “in season” can really reduce your grocery bill and your body will love it. Buy berries and tomatoes in the summer and freeze for use all year long.

4. Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat.

This will really stretch your budget, and it might also allow you to buy organic or free-range instead of conventionally grown meats. Buy bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or legs instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Buy stewing beef instead of tenderloin and pull out your crockpot that’s collecting dust (or find one at a thrift shop). It will make that tougher cut absolutely delicious.

5. Enjoy More Vegetarian Meals.

This one step can save you SO much money, and it can be better for the planet! Beans and lentils are significantly cheaper sources of protein than meat. If you’re a heavy meat eater, try just 1 or 2 vegetarian lunches or dinners and watch your grocery bill go down!

6. Buy Whole Foods.

Instead of packaged or processed “healthy” foods. The most expensive meals at health food stores are the healthier versions of packaged foods (cereal, mac ‘n’ cheese, pizza, veggie burgers, etc.). Buy whole foods and try some new recipes. Use these packaged foods as an occasional treat.

7. Buy Grains and Beans in Bulk.

Bulk stores or bulk sections at your favorite health food store is a great place to save lots of money on your grocery bill. This is especially true for the more expensive grains like quinoa. Organic spices are also a great find in a bulk section; organic quality for the price of conventional.

8. Cook at Home.

If you’re currently eating out or even just buying coffee a few times per week, keep track of how much you’re spending. $10 here and $30 there can add up over a month, and this extra cash can really go far at the grocery store. Once you know how much you’re spending, you can budget for take-out or coffee treats you really want and put the rest into your grocery budget. If your favorite treat is wine (then we really need to get together for a glass!), enjoy a few glasses a week but ensure to spend any extra money on food quality first, then the booze. Your body undoubtedly prefers a good breakfast omelet over a hangover. And once you have high-quality foods and there is still some “bucks” left, then go ahead and buy that extra bottle!food-plate-morning-breakfast.jpg

If YOU have additional tips and tricks on how to stretch your grocery budget, please send me your ideas and share them in the comments! Happy food budgeting.

Adapted from: Lisa Kilgour, nutritionist

Nutrition Nugget

Make it easy! Keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen table or countertop. It makes it easier to choose a healthy snack when it’s in plain sight!

WOD Nugget

Picayune: A small coin of little value, especially a 5-cent piece.

Inspirational Nugget 

Don't be a beggar of love, be a donor of love, beautiful people are not always good, but good people are always beautiful.

“This path entails uncovering three qualities of being human, three basic qualities that have always been with us but perhaps have gotten buried and been almost forgotten. These qualities are natural intelligence, natural warmth, and natural openness. If we are not obscuring our intelligence with anger, self-pity or craving, we know what will help and what will make things worse. Natural warmth is our shared capacity to love, to have empathy, to have a sense of humor. It is also our capacity to feel gratitude and appreciation and tenderness. The third quality of basic goodness is natural openness, the spaciousness of our skylike minds. We can connect with that openness at any time. For instance, right now, for three seconds, just stop reading and pause.”

-Pema ChÖdrÖn

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Beets

These sweet, earthy root veggies are packed with surprising health benefits.

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You can’t beat beets! After years of being relegated to the recesses of the salad bar buffet next to the shredded cheese and buttered croutons, beets are enjoying their much-deserved place at the center stage of a healthy diet. They’re not only chock-full of essential everyday nutrients like B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium, these ruby gems also are a goldmine of health-boosting nutrients that you may not get anywhere else. Check out these great and surprising things that happen to your body when you eat beets.

Blood pressure improves

Beets are rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, turning them into superhighways for your nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood. That means better circulation and possibly lower blood pressure. A very small study from 2012 found that 13 men who drank just one glass of beet juice temporarily lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 to 5 points. (Note: the study was funded by a beet juice manufacturer.) Another study published in Hypertension in 2008 (which didn’t receive funding from beet-juice makers) found that those who drank the red root juice had a 10 mm Hg drop in blood pressure and less blood clotting three hours later, compared to those who drank water.

Your heart disease risk may drop

Beets also have a potentially positive impact on your blood pressure. They are rich in a plant alkaloid called betaine, as well as the B-vitamin folate, which together delivers a one-two punch for lowering blood levels of homocysteine, which in high concentrations increases your risk for artery damage and heart disease.

You may improve your stamina

When elite athletes pee in a cup for a drug test, the color might be crimson. Why? Because lots of athletes eat beets, and beets contain pigments that turn urine pink.  Athletes also know that research has suggested that nitrates boost endurance performance. In one study, cyclists who drank beet juice could pedal 15% longer in a time trial to exhaustion. It takes approximately three to five beets (depending on their size, which varies widely) to get a performance boost, says study author Andy Jones, Ph.D., dean of research in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter. “Peak nitrate levels occur two to three hours after you eat or drink them,” he says. So time your intake accordingly if you want to crush your 5K.

Your brain may work better

Nitric oxide relaxes and dilates your blood vessels, which in turn increases blood flow to the brain, resulting in better brain function. This is particularly important as we age, as research finds that our capacity to generate nitric oxide diminishes as we get older, along with our brain’s energy metabolism and neuron activity, so give your mind a boost with beets. In one small 2010 study, 14 older men and women (average age of 74) who ate a high-nitrate diet, including beet juice, for two days enjoyed more blood flow to the frontal lobe of their brains, than when they ate a low-nitrate diet. The frontal lobe is a region known to be involved with executive functioning skills, such as focus, organization, and attention to detail,

Your liver will be lighter

Your liver does the heavy work of cleaning your blood and “detoxing” your body. You can lighten its load with a daily serving of beets. Research shows that betaine, an amino acid found in beets (as well as spinach and quinoa) can help prevent and reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver. Animal studies show that rats given beet juice have higher levels of detoxifying enzymes in their bloodstream. Research on people with diabetes shows that betaine improves liver function, slightly decreases cholesterol, and reduces liver size.

You may be better at fighting chronic diseasesRelated image

Beets are also rich in betalains, a class of potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that battle free radical-and inflammation-related chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and possibly cancer. Research suggests that betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets its pretty purple hue may help protect against everyday carcinogens. It has also shown promise against laboratory-grown breast cancer cells and is currently being investigated as a cancer-fighter.

You become regular

“One way to beat irregularity and constipation is by eating fiber-rich foods like beets,” says Leslie Bonci, RD, a sports nutritionist at Pittsburgh-based company Active Eating Advice. One cup of beets delivers about 4 grams of dietary fiber, mainly insoluble fiber, which helps reduce the risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis. The betaine found in beets has also been shown to improve digestion. Just take note, your pee isn’t the only thing beets turn pink. Don’t be alarmed if you see crimson-colored stools 24 to 72 hours following a meal heavy in beets.

You can’t beat beets!

Nutrition Nugget

Include veggies for breakfast! Try adding chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, or peppers to scrambled eggs or a breakfast wrap.

WOD Nugget

Eschew: Deliberately avoid using; abstain from

Inspiration Nugget

When my arms can't reach people, who are close to my heart, I always hug them with my prayers.

 

What Are the Benefits of a Raw Foods Diet?

It seems like everywhere you turn, the term “raw” appears on popular food labels. Natural food stores are stocking their shelves with commercial raw vegan products from “raw protein bars” to “raw almond butter,” “raw sugar,” and even “raw chocolate.” By some estimates, the raw foods industry has experienced double-digit growth over the past couple of years, and there are no signs of slowing down.

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The boom for the raw foods industry is not just limited to the grocery store aisles. Juice shops are opening up in cities across the country, promoting the benefits of consuming raw, fresh-pressed fruits and vegetables. Bottled, unpasteurized juices are becoming more readily available at mainstream stores and even coffee shop chains. With this influx of raw food and beverage options in the market, it can be difficult to discern what the optimal foods are if you want to follow a proper raw foods diet. Without adequate information, many consumers are often left wondering “is this diet truly healthy?”

Can I really survive on just vegetables?

Two of the very first questions curious minds may ask about a raw foods diet is, “What can I eat?” and “Can I really survive on just vegetables?” It is important to note that a healthy raw vegan diet consists of a wide variety of plant-based foods. This includes fresh vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, grains, and fruits. These living foods are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant-based proteins. They supply the oxygen, alkalinity, and bioelectrical charges vital for cellular health, detoxifying the body, and for overall well-being.

The juicing benefits of wheatgrass, discovered by Ann Wigmore, have been popping up in many health facilities and institutes. These organizations are taking the raw foods diet a step further by incorporating wheatgrass as a central component of their living foods program, as well as using wheatgrass as a dietary supplement and healing tool.

Wheatgrass: Nature’s greatest healer

Wheatgrass is considered nature’s ”greatest healer” and is a complete food with an ideal alkaline-acid balance. Just one ounce of wheatgrass contains 103 vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Wheatgrass is also a powerful detoxifier and cleanses the blood due to its high chlorophyll content (your liver; however, is you BEST detoxifier). It helps rid the body of heavy metals, pollutants, and other toxins that become stored in the body’s tissues and organs over the years. Those who are proponents will often drink daily shots of wheatgrass, taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, in addition to eating a rich raw vegan diet.

Raw foods are prepared using cold-pressed oils and are heated or dehydrated at low temperatures, if at all. You may also find them made using organic oils such as olive, hemp, and raw sesame. Instead of vinegar – lemon, limes, and herbs may also be used. As a rule, for foods to be raw, they must be “cooked” at temperatures lower than 115 degrees. Our bodies need all the enzymes available in the food we eat, and heating food above 115 degrees destroys most of the plant’s nutrients and causes the food to be unrecognizable to our bodies.

Reversing disease with a raw foods diet

A living foods diet may provide enormous health benefits for those looking to improve their general health and for those who want to prevent premature aging or help reverse certain diseases. Living foods are so beneficial because they contain four essential elements that support the immune system: Hormones, oxygen, phytochemicals, and enzymes. By nourishing your body with these immune-boosting elements, instead of toxins and chemicals, people who adopt a proper raw vegan diet often experience increased vitality, energy, and mental clarity, to name just a few benefits. A living-foods diet may also help reverse some ailments and diseases.

While the benefits of a raw foods diet are numerous, getting started can be overwhelming at first, so below are some tips for transitioning to a raw foods diet. No matter where you are on your health journey, everyone can begin with these easy steps: Follow them and your life may begin to transform.

First Tip: Find a local juice bar where you can get a big dose of veggie nutrition (or purchase a juicer for home use).

Juicing is the fastest and best way for the body to get all the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs. Within 20 minutes of drinking fresh vegetable juice, your body begins to absorb all the nutrients it just consumed, meaning you can start feeling better immediately. You may choose to sip on a gallon of green juice throughout the day or start with a shot a day (or half a shot a day) and work yourself up to four ounces each day.  One signature drink that has shown promise for its health benefits is a green juice containing five ounces each of sunflower sprouts, pea sprouts, cucumber, and celery. If you visit the local juice bar, make sure to include that shot of wheatgrass. It provides the full range of vitamins and minerals and is also a complete source of protein.

Second Tip: Stay away from freeze-dried and powered alternatives.

Some research shows that wheatgrass supplements and freeze-dried powders are only two percent as efficient as fresh-juiced wheatgrass consumed within 15 minutes of juicing. The nutrients in wheatgrass begin to oxidize or break down, very quickly after that 15-minute period.

Third Tip: Try and make at least one meal each day a big salad full of fresh vegetables.

The benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed vegetables are many. Make sure to add plenty of green vegetables to your salad, as they are the foods most commonly missing in our modern diet. Greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, as well as fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll, and other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Try experimenting with greens such as bok choy, kale, mustard greens, broccoli rabé, or dandelion root.

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you may also want to try adding sprouted lentils, sprouted broccoli rabé, or sprouted alfalfa to your salad. Sprouts contain a super concentration of natural enzymes that are easily digestible, making them up to 30 times more nutritious than even organic vegetables.

Take it slow

Transitioning to a raw vegan diet can be challenging; the critical thing to remember is to take it slow. Try one thing at a time and continue to build on each success.

Adapted from: Brian Clement Ph.D., NMD, CN

Nutrition Nugget

Make it a combo! Combine food groups for a satisfying snack— low-fat yogurt and berries, apple with peanut butter, whole-grain crackers with turkey and avocado.

WOD Nugget

Gesellschaft: Social relations based on impersonal ties, such as a duty to a society or organization (an example of society).

Inspiration Nugget

Common sense is a flower that doesn't grow in everyone's garden.

 

 

 

10 Nutrition Myths Dietitians Hate The Most

The pros say it’s time to stop believing these misconceptions about healthy eating and weight loss.

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When it comes to hot-button topics, proper nutrition is near the top of the list. Regularly, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN’s) hear clients continuously tell them they’re fed up with hearing conflicting nutrition information and don’t know what to believe. Dietitians are with you on this one! Everyone seems to think they are a nutrition expert these days, which results in widespread nutrition confusion. Here are the top 10 nutrition myths that dietitians cannot stand, and the truths they want you to know.

Myth #1: Superfoods are exotic and expensive.

This myth is a pet peeve for many RDN’s. While most dietitians love learning about nutrient-packed foods from around the world, they want people to know that local, everyday foods are superfoods, too, and are far less expensive! Eating a diet that’s high in processed foods but then adding in some goji berries and spirulina doesn’t mean you have a healthy diet. You’ll save money and be much more robust if you focus on eating more whole foods and “everyday superfoods” like spinach, mushrooms, squash, blueberries, oranges, apples, lentils, whole grains, and nuts. These familiar foods are packed with antioxidants and fiber and won’t blow your budget like that small bag of acai powder will.

When a new exotic superfood comes on the market and becomes super popular, keep in mind that it’s probably just a fad. There will never be one food that’s better than all the others. Remember: Variety is essential when it comes to eating well. Ask yourself if spending money on the superfood of the moment is the best way to enhance your health, or if other parts of your diet could use a tune-up.

Myth #2: Being slim means you’re healthy.

This myth is a tough one to let go of because our society is so focused on body size. Everywhere we look, society seems to tell us that being slender is more desirable. Luckily, this myth is starting to dissolve. “We really have very little control over the size and shape of our bodies, and these things don’t determine our health,” says Kaleigh McMordie, RDN, of Lively Table. Research suggests that overweight people who are active can be healthier and live longer than slimmer people who don’t exercise. We all have different body types, and it’s about time we stopped focusing on size and shifted our focus to developing healthier habits.

Dietitians want to see people choosing foods based on their nutritional benefits, not just thinking about calories. For example, having salmon on a salad is a more nutritious choice than having processed chicken breast strips loaded with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Myth #3: Vegetarians and vegans don’t get enough protein.

This one has been around for a long time, and plant-based dietitians have had enough. There is no substantial evidence that people must have meat to survive. “A well-balanced plant-based diet with a variety of plant foods is healthful and nourishing to the body,” says Jennifer Rodriguez, RDN, of Food Is Vida. “It can provide all amino acids needed when caloric needs are met for an individual.” As Amy Gorin, RDN, a dietitian in New York City, explains, “You have to plan out your meals and make sure to incorporate good sources of protein. Pulses such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and dried peas are a good source of protein, offering about 8 grams per ½ cup cooked serving. I like to pair them with sautéed veggies and brown rice or even use them as a pizza topping.”

A well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and some types of cancer. However, if you want to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s a great idea to meet with a dietitian to make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need.

Myth #4: You should avoid all sugar—even fruit.

Sugar-free diets are all the rage right now, but there’s a difference between sugar found in whole foods such as fruit and vegetables and the refined sugar found in processed foods. Those whole foods naturally come with fiber to help slow down your body’s absorption of their natural sugars. “The 2015 Dietary Guidelines explicitly calls for limiting added sugars, the type of sweeteners found in cookies, cake, candy, and sweet beverages, to 10% of your daily calories or less,” explains Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, of Better Is The New Perfect. “That recommendation doesn’t include naturally sweet foods, which are sources of important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.”

If you want to cut back on sugar, it makes far more sense to limit added sugars instead of cutting nutrient-packed foods out of your diet. Food companies disguise added sugars under many different names so be cautious when at the grocery. (See Here are 56—yikes!—to recognize.) Clearly, fruit, vegetables, yogurt, and kefir are in a different category than soda and baked goods. The latter are high in added sugars and calories and low in nutrients.

Myth #5: Soy is full of female hormones.

Are you worried that eating soy foods or soy protein will make men grow breasts or increase your cancer risk? The research on soy says these are myths. “What I want people to know is that there is a huge difference between estrogen (the hormone in your body) and phytoestrogen (the much weaker type found in soy),” stresses Nita Sharda, RDN, of Carrots & Cake. “When we review the literature, there is no significant effect on human health when soy is consumed. In fact, eating 2-3 servings of whole soy foods a day can have a protective effect.”

Ginger Hultin, dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, states, “Soy will not cause feminizing effects in men, it is safe and healthy for children to eat, and it does not cause or promote cancer. There is evidence that it is good for bone health and the cardiovascular system and it is a nutritionally dense, protein-rich food source.” It is best to choose whole soy foods like soybeans (edamame) and fermented soy such as tempeh and miso for gut health. These types of soy are the least processed and will be highest in nutrients.

Myth #6: You need to ban carbs to lose weight.

Ok, this one is my pet peeve! This nutrition myth has been around for years, and it drives myself and dietitians like Kristen Smith, RDN, founder of 360FamilyNutrition, nuts. “Don’t be afraid to eat carbohydrate-containing foods, but try to keep the portions in check,” Smith says. “One of the best options for keeping portions of carbohydrates in check is to follow the USDA’s MyPlate method: Fill 1/2 of your plate with fruits and vegetables, 1/4 with whole grains, and 1/4 with a lean protein source.” Christina Fitzgerald, RD, owner of Fitzgerald Nutrition, agrees: “When thinking about nutrition and weight, the bigger picture of overall quality and quantity of food choices is much more important. Eating more than your body needs will cause weight gain, not one nutrient alone.”

Swapping out refined grains like white bread for carbs that provide slow-burning energy, such as steel-cut oats, sweet potatoes, and quinoa is a healthy move, but banning all carbs from your diet is not necessary. At worst, it could lead to more carb cravings, and weight regains once you go off your low-carb plan.

Myth #7: The diet that works for models and celebrities will work for you.

So your favorite celebrity drank nothing but tuna water and asparagus juice and lost 15 pounds in two days. Does that mean you should try the same thing and expect to get the same results? Of course not! Thinking that celebrity diets will work for you is a myth dietitians hate. First of all, consider the source of this extreme diet information. Is it helping to sell magazines or get more page views? As The Plant-Powered Dietitian Sharon Palmer, RDN, says, “You have no idea if the purported diet is really what the celebrity consumes.”

Celebrities are usually chosen based on their good looks and slender body types, which are genetic gifts. Palmer notes, “People have tremendous genetic variability in body type and metabolism, making it very difficult for many people to achieve the magazines’ portrayal of what they consider beauty.” I like to remind myself and my clients that models and other celebrities have tons of help running their lives. That means they’re okay to spend a couple of days not functioning well thanks to a crash diet. You probably don’t have the same luxury, or a full-time doctor at your beck and call when things go wrong. Not to mention the negative impacts on your health and metabolism over time. Get your nutrition and diet advice from people who are experts, not celebrities.

Myth #8: Natural sugar isn’t sugar.

So you’re trying to cut down on added sugars, and you’ve switched out your white sugar for honey, agave, or maple syrup. You may be getting a few antioxidant benefits from the honey or maple syrup, but otherwise, your body similarly metabolizes them and other sugars. Rebecca Clyde, RDN, owner of Nourish Nutrition, has had people tell her they’re following a sugar-free diet, but they still have agave or honey. “Honey, agave, and other types of sugar are not sugar-free, and they are still processed to some degree,” she points out. “They aren’t healthier than cane sugar. Let’s stop villainizing sugar and honoring honey and other sweeteners and just count them all as equal.”

Myth #9: High-fat foods are bad for you.

Think eating fat makes you fat? Research suggests this is a myth. A lower calorie eating plan that includes healthy fats can help people lose more weight than a similar diet that’s low in fat, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity. That’s because fat helps you enjoy your food more and prevents you from going hungry. Both of these are key to losing weight and keeping it off.

“While fat definitely has more calories per gram than protein and carbs (9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram), it’s not the enemy,” assures Natalie Rizzo, RDN, a registered dietitian in New York City. “An observational study suggests that replacing 5% of your total calories from saturated fat with unsaturated fat actually decreases death rates by 27%. In other words, don’t be scared of the healthy fats found in foods like walnuts, olive oil, and avocados.” Include some healthy fats at each meal to help you feel satisfied and stay full longer. Add avocado to smoothies, wraps, oatmeal, and salads along with nuts and seeds. You can also use it in salad dressings combined with extra virgin olive oil.

Myth #10: Mixing carbs with protein and fat is bad for digestion.

The myth that mixing different types of foods is hard on our digestive system has been around for decades. Initially, it was referred to as “food combining,” and it’s now experiencing a resurgence as “the Dissociated Diet.” The idea is that you need to eat protein-rich foods such as eggs at one meal and carbohydrate-rich foods such as toast at another meal, but never together. “This myth makes no scientific sense because once food reaches your stomach, your stomach acid begins breaking down all types of food.,” says Lindsey Pine, RDN, owner of TastyBalance Nutrition. “In fact, it’s beneficial to mix carbs, protein, and fat in the same meal or snack because you’ll get a wide range of nutrients, avoid insulin spikes, and the protein and fat will help with satiety.” Could you imagine never having berries with your yogurt or cheese with crackers ever again? Your digestive system is designed to handle a variety of foods.

Eat what you enjoy and what makes you feel good. Do not base your eating regimen on the latest fad diet!

Adapted from: 

Nutritional Nugget

Create a work of art! Add color to salads with baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or green beans. Include seasonal veggies for variety throughout the year.

WOD Nugget

Patria: One’s native country or homeland

Inspirational Nugget

When thinking about life, remember this: No amount of guilt can solve the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future.