Thursday, 27 March 2014

Celebrating Green Foods!

Food Sources
Alfalfa, Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Avocado, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli rabe, Brussels Sprouts, Celery, Chives, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Dandelion Greens, Edamame, Endive, Fennel, Green apples, Green Beans, Green cabbage, Green Grapes, Green Olives, Green Onion, Green Pears, Green Peas, Green Pepper, Green Tomatoes, Honeydew, Kale, Kiwi, Leeks, Lettuce, Limes, Mint, Okra, Oregano, Parsley, Pistachios, Snow Peas, Spinach, Sugar snap peas, Swiss Chard, Tarragon, Tomatillo, Wasabi, Watercress, Zucchini.

Do you know other foods that are Green?

Ways to increase Green Food Intake:

•Add spinach or broccoli when cooking pasta, rice or soup.

•Freeze green grapes for a sweet snack.

•Add thin slices of green apples or zucchini on a sandwich.

About Green Fruits and Vegetables.

Green in plants signifies the presence of the plant pigment chlorophyll. The nutrients found in these fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol levels, improve vision, enhance the immune system, and fight harmful free radicals.

Green fruits and vegetables are rich in many vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, folate, vitamin C, and beta-carotene (vitamin A). They contain phytochemicals such as luteins and indoles, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They are high in fiber and support a healthy digestive system.

Phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are found in plants. They are part of what gives fruits and vegetables their colors. Phytonutrients help protect plants from diseases found in the environment and protect us in a similar way. 
Studies have linked an increase of fruit and vegetable intake with lowering the risk of specific cancers and heart disease. The following list describes how phytonutrients may also help protect human health.
1. Act as an antioxidant.

2. Improves immune response.

3. Improves cell-to-cell communication.

4. Destroys cancer cells.

5. Repairs DNA damage caused by toxins in the environment.

Antioxidants. As the body uses oxygen, there are by-products (known as “free radicals”) that can cause damage to cells. Antioxidants can prevent or slow down the damage caused by these free radicals and decrease the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants may also improve the immune defense and lower the risk of infection. Some examples of antioxidants include vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, lycopene and flavonoids.

Source: Dietitians-online

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Carrot 'A True Medicinal Food'

Carrots are an excellent source of vitaminA, providing 210% of the average adult's needs for the day. They also provide 6% of vitamin C needs, 2% of calcuim needs and 2% of iron needs per serving.

One medium carrot or ½ cup of chopped carrots is considered a serving size. One serving size of carrots provides 25 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of sugars and 1 gram of protein.

It is the antioxidant betacarotene that gives carrots their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion. carrots come equipped with a generous supply of beta-carotene. In addition to its pivotal role in skin-cell renewal, beta-carotene acts as a potent antioxidant, sopping up damaging free radicals that accelerate skin aging. Fend off wrinkles.

Carrots also contain fiber, vitamin K, potassium, folate, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc.

Carrots contain about 3%, most of which is in form of pectin. This helps regulate the transit of stool and soothes the intestinal mucosa.

Carrots contain essential oil that is active against intestinal parasites.

Carrots are very useful in diseases of the retina and of the eyes in general, skin disorders, gastritis, excess of gastric acid, and in prevention of cancer.

Preparation and Use

- Carrot juice makes a refreshing, delicious, and nutritious beverage. It combines very well with apple juice or lemon juice
- Grate carrots and add them to a leafy green salad, pasta salad or combine with grated cabbage for coleslaw.
- Boil carrots, potatoes, ginger, celery and spices, then puree to make a great soup.
- Roast carrots in the oven on their own or with other root vegetables for a tasty side dish.
- Dip carrot sticks in hummus for an easy snack. 
-The root is also used in the preparation of cakes, tart, pudding, soups, etc. 
-They are also used in the preparation of healthy baby-foods.
-Carrots go well with flavours such as ginger, curry, maple syrup, honey, apple cider, thyme and parsley.  

Most of the carrot’s nutrients are found just below the skin. Instead of peeling your carrots, rinse and scrub with a vegetable brush or just scrape the skin lightly with a peeler.

Good VS Bad Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, carbohydrates, often referred to as “carbs,” are your body's primary energy source, and they're a crucial part of any health diet. Carbs should never be avoided, but it is important to understand that not all carbs are alike. 
Carbs are everywhere! Carbohydrates are not just bread, rice or pasta. All of the following foods are examples of carbohydrates bread and cereals, rice and pastas, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruits, milk and diary, juice and soda, candy and desserts.

Complex Carbs = Good

Good carbs are also referred to as complex carbohydrates. Their chemical structure and fibers require our bodies to work harder to digest, and energy is released over a longer time.
For the most part, good carbs are in their ' Natural' state or very close it (include whole grain breads, cereals and pastas)
E.g  bran cereals, fresh fruits, green vegetables, whole grain breads
Why are they good
-high in fiber and nutrients
-Low in glycemic index
-Help you feel full with fewer calories
-Naturally stimulates metabolism

Simple Carbs = Bad

Simple carbohydrates are smaller molecules of sugar that are digested quickly into our body. The energy stored as glycogen in our cells and if not used immediately gets converted to fat.
Bad carbs are generally "Processed" carb foods that have been stripped of their natural nutrients and fiber to make them more 'consumer friendly' 
E.g candy and desserts, sugared cereals, sodas and sugar drinks, refined breads
Why are they Bad
-Low in fiber and nutrients
-High glycemic index
-Empty calories converted to fats
-High blood glucose levels = feel tired

The Glycemic Index

Carbohydrates are all essentially sugars our body converts to glucose (blood sugar) which is stored for energy. The glycemic index measures how much a particular food raises your blood sugar level when you eat it.

High Glycemic Index = Bad Carbs

High glycemic foods are quickly digested and absorbed. This rapid fluctuation in blood sugar level has often been called a sugar crash, which leaves you feeling tired and hungry faster

Low Glycemic Index = Good Carbs

Low glycemic foods are digested and absorbed slower which produces a gradual rise in blood sugar. They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger.

Below are a few common categories of carbs listed along a G.I scale

Bread/Cereal          Pasta/Rice             Beverages           Vegetables                Fruits               Snacks

Cornflakes(83)      Rice white(58)      Cocacola(63)      Baked potatoes(85) Grape(46)      Popcorn(55)
White bread(71)    Rice Brown(55)   Orange juice(52)  Carrot (16)             Banana(54)    Peanut(15)
Wheat bread(50)   Macaroni(51)        Apple juice(41)   Tomato(15)             Oranges(44)  Snickers(40)

Choose healthier carbs!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Pineapple 'The Stomach's Friend'

  • Fresh pineapple is low in calories. It is a storehouse of several unique health promoting compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.

  • 100 g fruit provides just about 50 calories equivalent to that of apples. Its flesh contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, it is rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber like pectin. Pineapple or fresh pineapple juice consumed before meals reduces appetite and constitutes a good complement to weight-loss diet.

  • Pineapple fruit contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain that digests food by breaking down protein. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that consumption of pineapple regularly helps fight against arthritis, indigestion and worm infestation.

    -Stomach cancer: It has been shown that pineapple is a powerful inhibitor of the formation of nitrosamines. These carcinogenic substances form in the stomach as a chemical reaction between nitrites and certain proteins contained in foods
  • Fresh pineapple is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin; vitamin C. 100 g fruit contains 47.8 or 80% of this vitamin. Vitamin C is required for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

  • It also contains small amount Vitamin A (provides 58 IU per 100 g) and beta-carotene levels. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin and essential for vision. Studies have suggested that consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps the human body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • In addition, this fruit is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like copper, manganese and potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is a helpful cofactor for red blood cell synthesis. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Manganese is also actively involved in the formation of reproductive cells, both male and female. It is therefore recommended for those suffering from sterility due to insufficient production of germinal cells (sperm in men and ova in women).

    1 cup of pineapple chunks contains:
  • Calories: 74 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 19.5 g 
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Glycemic Index: Medium
 How to Include More Pineapple in Your Diet
  • Add to salad or make this easy Pineapple salsa to accompany grilled seafood
  • Include pineapple in your smoothies
  • Top sandwiches or burgers with pineapple slices
  • Serve grilled pineapple slices for dessert: Cut a fresh pineapple into thick rings, lightly brush with canola oil, and grill for 2 minutes on each side

Friday, 14 March 2014

6 Foods That Will Lower Your Cholesterol

High cholesterol puts many at risk for a number of related illnesses including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many factors, including genetics, predispose many people to high cholesterol. However, diet and exercise play a major role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Moreover, there are a few scientifically proven foods that will help to lower LDL levels also known as BAD cholesterol.

 1. Strawberries: This bright red fruit not only tastes great, but now researchers are finding that the antioxidants in strawberries can help to lower cholesterol. According to recent research out of Universit√† Politecnica delle Marche, scientists found that eating strawberries reduced the total overall levels of bad cholesterol. However, the levels of HDL or good cholesterol remained the same. The findings were published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
2.       Fish Oil: The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per day because of its high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. However, when that is not always available, taking fish oil in a concentrated form like a supplement or capsule is more than sufficient. In other research, scientists also found that fish oils also have beneficial effects on patients with preexisting coronary heart diseases.

3.       Tree Nuts: Tree Nuts are low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fatty acids, making them cholesterol’s worst nightmare. “A summary of studies conducted to date shows that tree nuts reduce LDL cholesterol by 3-19 % compared with Western and lower-fat diets,” according to a study published in Medline. The information shows that LDL is lowered from an unsaturated fat source, such as tree nuts. Tree nuts include almonds, cashews, chestnuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.

4.       Fenugreek: It’s a common ingredient in the Indian subcontinent used in many dishes that comes in varying forms, such as a seed or leaf sprouts. CNN Health reported that, “Several studies from the 1990s have reported that, in high doses, various fenugreek seed preparations can lower total cholesterol and LDL, in some cases dramatically.”

5.       Onions: Researchers at the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service found that people who ate at least one half of a raw onion per day saw a 30 percent increase in their good cholesterol. They also noted that onions increase circulation, lower blood pressure, and prevent clotting.

6.       Turmeric: This deep orange-yellow spice, known for coloring many South Asian cuisines, does more than add color to many dishes. In animal studies, University of Michigan researchers found that turmeric extract lowered cholesterol levels and “prevented bad cholesterol from building up in blood vessels because it stops platelets from clumping together."   
Source: Medical daily

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Pear "Effective blood pressure controller"

Pears are a juicy, sweet fruit with soft flesh and a grainy-textured skin. Their characteristic shape makes them readily identifiable; they most often have a large, rounded bottom that tapers toward the top. The skin varies in color and may be yellow, light green, brown, red or a combination of these colors. They have a seeded core and are rich in dietary fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals. Many varieties of pears are available; the fruit is usually available in one more varieties year-round.

Pears are noted for their content of sugars while they are lacking in proteins and fats. The most abundant of these sugars is fructose and levulose, which makes them well tolerated by diabetics.

Pears contain small amounts of vitamin C, E, B. The most important of the minerals they contain are potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of trace elements such as copper and manganese, and a lower proportion, zinc. The pear's vitamin and mineral content is slightly greater than that of apples

Pear is also a good source of vegetable fiber. The pear is diuretic, remineralizing, a mild astringent and refreshing. 

Pear has the capacity to lower blood pressure, this is attributed to its diuretic effect, they contain no sodium, a mineral that tends to retain water within the body, thus increasing blood pressure. Additionally, the pear is very rich in potassium, a mineral with the opposite effect of sodium.

The pear also stimulates renal function, thus it is recommended fruit in cases of renal failure due to nephritis or nephrosis.

Pear consumption promotes elimination of uric acid and nitrogenated substances through the urine. it has an alkalizing effect on the blood, which is of benefit in detoxifying diets used to neutralize excess acid residues produced by high-meat diet.

The pear should be included in weight loss diets because of its mild diuretic action and its depurative effect.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Vitamin D May Double Chances of Surviving Breast Cancer

In a new study, researchers found that breast-cancer patients who had high levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to survive than women with low levels. They reviewed five studies that observed more than 4,440 women

Vitamin D may be saving women with breast cancer.

In a new study published in Anticancer Research, researchers found that breast cancer patients that had high levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to survive than women with low levels. They reviewed five studies that observed more than 4,440 women with breast cancer.

“The study has implications for including vitamin D as an adjuvant to conventional breast cancer therapy,” study co-author Dr. Heather Hofflich, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Diego, said in a press release.

The researchers recommend that vitamin D should be added to the various treatments given to women fighting breast cancer. The body naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but milk, fatty fish and other foods can also boost production.      Patients could also take vitamin D supplements.

Source: TIME

Monday, 3 March 2014

Make exercise a daily habit – 10 tips

Staying_active_shoesWhether you’re looking for motivation to start exercising, or are interested in changing up your current routine, here are 10 tips for making exercise a daily habit. 
  1. Piece your workout together. You don’t need to get all your exercise at one time. Ten minutes morning, noon, and night can give much of the same benefit as 30 minutes all at once.
  2. Exercise with a friend. Finding a workout partner can help keep you on track and motivate you to get out the door.
  3. Keep it brisk. When you walk, make it brisk, since this may help control weight better than walking at a leisurely pace. What is brisk enough? Walk as though you are meeting someone for lunch and you are a little late.
  4. Move your feet before you eat. Hit the gym or go for a 20-minute walk with coworkers, and have lunch afterward.
  5. Try a pedometer. Step-counters (pedometers) are an easy, inexpensive way to motivate yourself to be active. Work up to 10,000 steps per day.
  6. Turn off the TV, computer, and smart phone. Cutting back on screen time is a great way to curb your “sit time.” Move around instead, by visiting the gym or even cleaning the house.
  7. Turn sit time into fit time. Try to combine cardiovascular exercise with a sedentary activity that you already do. For example, try doing simple exercises while watching TV, or set a reminder at work to get up and walk a few minutes every hour.
  8. Sign up for a class. Check out the fitness course schedule at your local gym or community center, or the dance or yoga class schedule at a nearby studio. You may find that having the structure of a class helps you learn a new activity and keeps you on track.
  9. Plan exercise into your day. Set aside a specific time in your schedule to exercise and put it in your planner.
  10. Reward yourself. Set short-term goals—and reward yourself for achieving them. Try targeting a specific event, such as a road race or a walk-for-charity, to participate in—this can help keep you motivated.                                                                      Source: The nutrition source