Tip Tuesday – Cook With Juice!

A good way to eliminate some calories while adding flavor (and antioxidants!) to your dishes is to cook with juice!

  • Cashew – Made from part of the cashew tree, but not the nut itself, the juice adds a nutty taste. By subbing cashew juice for sauce in a stir fry, you are improving your body’s absorption of the meat’s iron, due to the high vitamin C content!
  • Orange – You can get rid of oil based mixtures and marinate your chicken and fish in this classic breakfast standby! Citrus enhances the natural flavors of poultry AND keeps them super tender.
  • Pomegranate – Loaded with polyphenols – antioxidants that can stave off heart disease and cancer – pomegranate makes a delicious, thick reduction to pour over pork, chicken or beef.
  • Carrot – This beta carotene-laden juice promotes healthy vision and helps protect against heart disease, and it works well in Asian noodle dishes. Spices such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon and cumin enhance the sweet and savory flavor of the juice.

Whole Foods Wednesday – Zucchini

Who likes zucchini? I love it, and its pretty versatile too! We have used it as a base for taco boats, sautéed them, grilled them, and even grown them! Love Zucchini!

Do you know why Zucchini is so widely revered?

Here is a sampling of why!

  • Zucchini is 95% water, low in calories, and high in fiber
  • It’s a good source of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which plays a huge role in keeping your immune system healthy, and aids in fighting respiratory problems. The anti-inflammatory properties help keep your lungs open and clear.
  • The high fiber content also helps lower your cholesterol.
  • It’s good for your heart! Zucchini contains good amounts of potassium that helps reduce blood pressure, and the magnesium content helps keep blood pressure at a steady rhythm.

Oh, and good news for my fellow Diabetics! The abundance of Vitamin B in zucchini benefits us by breaking down the sugar in our bodies, and the fiber and pectin are vital in regulating our blood sugar levels!

In other words, eat more zucchini! 🙂

 

Superfood Saturday – Goji Berries

Goji. Goji berry. That’s fun to say… don’t mind me, I love things with fun names. Anyways…

You have probably heard of today’s superfood, but have you tried them? Goji berries are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • vitamin C
  • fiber
  • iron
  • vitamin A
  • zinc
  • antioxidants

They are also a low sugar nutritional option, making them ideal for Diabetics (but as with anything else, you might wish to discuss this with your medical team!)

goji-berries

Whole Foods Wednesday – Cranberries

Tis the season of the Cranberry! Gorgeous color, tart taste, super versatile… how do you feel about cranberries?

Living in the New England area, cranberries are a huge part of our lives – most of us went to cranberry bogs on field trips, and you can’t take a trip to the Cape without being surrounded by these little beauties!

cranberry

Many recent studies have shown that whole cranberries consumed in dietary form do a better job of protecting our cardiovascular system and our liver.  It’s best to enjoy cranberries raw because this provides you with the best flavor and the greatest benefits from their vast array of nutrients, and may also offer the benefit of digestion-aiding enzymes.

There are at least 5 key categories of health-supportive phytonutrients in cranberries, and they include Phenolic acids, Proanthocyanidins, Anthocyanins, Flavonoids, and Triterpenoids. Many of these phytonutrients offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer health benefits. Cranberries are also a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, and pantothenic acid.

Who’s a fan of cranberries here? Got any great recipes to share?

Whole Foods Wednesday – Sweet Potatoes

Do you like sweet potatoes? I like them in small amounts… a few “fries”, maybe a couple of tots, or about half of a sweet potato is enough for me. But they are very tasty, and certainly hold their own in health benefits!

sweet potato

Benefits of sweet potatoes include:

  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.
  • They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.
  • Their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
  • They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
  • They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.
  • Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
  • They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
  • Plus, Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain, which is very helpful for diabetics!

Got any good sweet potato recipes to share?