It’s summertime and cherries are back in full force in the stores and at the Farmer’s Markets around the city. Take advantage of their short season and grab some today!
Just a few healthy reasons to include cherries in your food regimen today!
1 Cup of cherries has 90 calories and the following:
- This “super fruit” is packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer.
- Cherries are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles
- Cherries are a great source of beta-carotene, vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber
- Cherries enhance the functions of the brain- especially in the prevention of memory loss
- The anthocyanins in cherries can reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis and gout. Their anti-inflammatory benefits also help them reduce joint pain or soreness in athletes
- Including cherries in your diet can reduce the risk of diabetes
Not actually a berry, but called an aggregate fruit due to the individual seeds gathered around a core, the blackberry packs a healthful punch!
3.5 ounces or 100g of blackberries have just 43 calories and a plethora of the following nutritious components:
- Dietary Fiber: 5.3 grams
- Polyunsaturated Fats: although they are low in fat, the small amount they do have comes from the heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat
- Antioxidants: ellagic acid, tannins, ellagitannins, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins, and cyanidins, blackberries have a wide-variety of antioxidants. In fact, their ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, which measures the antioxidant quality of a food) is 5347 per 100 grams, which is at the top of the list of more than 1000 foods
- Vitamin C, K, and Folic Acid (a form of B vitamin): each one of these vitamins is excellent for your health
- Manganese is also in abundance in blackberries and is an essential mineral for us that helps fortify the enzymes that build bones, boosts metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, and helps stabilize blood sugar levels
Grab some blackberries from the local farmer’s market and toss them on a salad or on your oatmeal, pack them as a snack, or have the as desert!
Ok, so these delicious fruits (not veggies) are super healthy! They rank up there the top of the nutrition superstars list due to their phytonutrient content and overall health profile.
In 1 Cup of tomatoes, you will find:
- Vitamin C: contains 38.1% of your recommended daily intake and will boost immunity, help lower blood pressure, loosens blood vessels that may protect against atherosclerosis and cholesterol, acts as an antioxidant, and may help prevent cataracts
- Vitamin A: there is 33% of your recommended daily intake, which boosts the immune system, provides bone, teeth, and eye health benefits, as well as action against oxidative stress that can lead to various diseases in the body
- Vitamin K: 1 cup of tomatoes offer 17.8% of your recommended daily intake of this vitamin and will aid in blood clotting, fortify bone health, act as an anti-inflammatory, and promote better brain function
- Manganese: a great 10.5% of your recommended daily intake is in 1 cup of tomatoes, which helps the metabolism of certain items, helps control sugar levels in the body, aids in vitamin absorption, promotes healthy brain funtion and strong bones
Look up the following phyotochemicals and you will learn even MORE about how healthy tomatoes are for you!
- Esculeoside A, a glucoside found in the highest amount in mature tomatoe’s thin skin, can provide you with several health benefits like: lower LDL cholesterol without lowering HDL and acts as an anti-tumor, anti-menopausal, and anti-osteoporosis due to the cytotoxic activity
- Hydroxycinnamic Acids including:
- caffeic acid- has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties that are said to protect skin cells from UV radiation, especially UVB and UVC
- ferulic acid
- coumaric acid
December 5th, 2011 — Nutrition
Ok, so I know you are asking yourself: “Ugh, why is this chick telling me to eat rabbit food like some health nut?” Move beyond the “veggie freak” connotation that sprouts have and just think of them as baby plants, which is what they really are! Full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and phytochemicals, sprouts like alfalfa, broccoli, clover and mung bean are some of the most nutritional produce around.
Studies say that a package of bean sprouts from the grocery store contain up to 4,000 of these baby plants and each one can have as much as or more of certain miconutrients as an entire mature plant. So an entire head of broccoli can be beaten out in a health profile against a single broccoli sprout…wow! Now that is heavily concentrated nutrition!
Most sprouts contain vitamins A, B, C, E and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, carotene, chlorophyll, amino acids and trace elements in different concentrations depending on the variety. Check out these low-calorie baby plant’s specialties below.
- Alfalfa sprouts are high in antioxidants and phytoestrogens that have been said to stave off menopausal symptoms and help prevent osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease
- Broccoli sprouts have a large amount of sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound
- Clover sprouts are rich in isoflavones; cancer-fighting compounds
- Lentil sprouts are 26% protein! Woo, hoo! And much easier to digest than beans
- Radish sprouts have 29 times more vitamin C than milk and are high in vitamin A-use them to spice up a salad
- Mung Bean sprouts, common in Asian diets, are known to be easy to digest and are high in protein, fiber and vitamin C
- Soybean sprouts are high in protein, fiber, vitamin C and folate
Don’t let the reports of contaminated sprouts scare you away from choosing them as a veggie-they have been found to come from the same crops when there have been outbreaks and they are not from organic farms. Buy organic and clean your sprouts before eating them.
Remember that phrase: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Turns out there is some truth to that cliche rhyme! Apples are in season and can pack a healthy punch when eaten in their whole form.
There is so much to say about this fruit. Apples rank #2 as far as the antioxidant power of fruit, falling just short of the cranberry. These apples have an antioxidant resume that includes phytochemicals, like: quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid. All of these antioxidants help protect you from oxidative stress, which leads to the destruction and changing of cells in the body and leads to diseases of all sorts.
Apples also have thousands of flavanoids, most notable are phenolic compounds which are known for being readily available for absorption in the bloodstream. This availability makes them quick to help fight cancer.
Pectin is another component in the beneficial nutritional value of apples, which helps lower LDL cholesterol, stave off hunger by keeping you fuller longer and helps regulate blood sugar. An apple of fist-size has about 4-5g of fiber.
It isn’t just the fiber in apples that can help stabilize blood sugar, but also the polyphenols in this delicious fruit. They have been shown to lessen the absorption of glucose from the digestive tract, as well as stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin and to help stimulate insulin receptors to increase the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream.
They can prevent weight gain, protect you from cancers, lower your cholesterol and more, bt I bet you never knew that apples also support bone health! Apples contain boron, a mineral that is said to help build your bones, which studies have shown that this helps prevent osteoporosis. Boron is not only beneficial to your bones, but it has been involved in numerous studies that say it has the ability to energize you and prevent drowsiness as well. I’ll take some of that!
If these are not enough reasons to make you grab an apple today, let their yummy taste reel you in!
Lately I have been cooking with red Swiss chard- this girl loves her greens and was getting a wee bit tired of kale and spinach, so I switched it up! Not only does your body appreciate variation, but each veggie has a unique nutrition profile and can bring different benefits to your dinner plate. From the chenopod family, Swiss chard is related to quinoa, spinach and beets, all known as highly beneficial foods to include in your diet. Swiss chard is a green that has 13 different polyphenol antioxidants! Along with these antioxidants, Swiss chard also has high levels of Vitamins A, C and K along with the mineral magnesium.
In 1 Cup of Swiss chard you will receive:
- Kaempferol – the flavanoid in the chard leaves that protects the heart
- Syringic Acid – known to help regulate blood sugar by inhibiting an eznyme that breaks down carbs
- Betalains (in the red chard) & Betaxanthin (in the yellowish chards) – have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties
- Vitamin A – 109.9% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A, hugely important for immune system protection
- Vitamin K – 716% of your recommended daily value of vitamin K, known to promote bone health
- Vitamin C – 52.5% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, which protects us against so many things: cancer, heart disease and stroke as well as fortifying the immune system
- Magnesium – over 35% of your recommended daily value of magnesium, which helps with body temperature regulation, plays a role in detoxification and energy production along with promoting bone and teeth health.
Check out my recent Pork Chop recipe for a great way to incorporate Swiss chard into a meal.
Bet you didn’t know that buckwheat is actually a seed from a flowering plant related to the rhubarb! Ignore the “wheat” in its name because this seed is actually a great food option for wheat-sensitive individuals and the gluten-intolerant.
1/2 cup of Buckwheat has 292 calories, which seems like a lot, but it makes for a full meal. Buckwheat also has the following nutrition & health benefits in just 1/2 of a cup:
- 8.5g Fiber – it is a 5-star fiber food!
- 11.3g Protein
- 34% of the recommended daily value of Manganese
- 22% of the recommended daily value of Magnesium
- 25% of the recommended daily value of Tryptophan
- Buckwheat contains two flavonoids: rutin (known for having anti-inflammatory properties, boosting vitamin C levels in the body and promoting circulation by thinning the blood) and quercitin (said to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties)
August 8th, 2011 — Nutrition
If you have eaten sushi, you have definitely had edamame brought to your table pre-rolls. I bet you have eaten it a thousand times and never knew how good they are for you!
1 Cup of edamame has 189 calories, but is chock full of healthy nutrients and a great ratio of macronutrients:
- 17g of Protein- an amazing secondary protein source
- 8g of Fiber! That’s 32% of your recommended daily allowance of fiber
- 8g of Healthy Fat
- 16g of Carbs
- Great source of Vitamins C, B, and E
- A great source of antioxidants, which fight against free radicals that can cause a variety of diseases
- High levels of Isoflavones; which are phytohormones that may help reduce prostate and breast cancer, diminish the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels lower and ease menopausal symptoms
July 25th, 2011 — Nutrition
Peaches are around everywhere right now, so you should know you are making the best choice by buying them locally and eating them up!
1 Cup of Peach slices has just 60 calories and other great health benefits:
• Peaches have fiber, mostly from the skin, that aids in digestion and staving off weight gain
• Lycopene, which is found in foods with the red-orange pigment, is said to protect against cancer
• Carotenes in peaches, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin, protect the health of your eyes as you age
• The Iron and potassium content of peaches helps ensure cell function, the proper balance of fluid and electrolytes as well as effective nerve signaling
• Peaches also have plenty of vitamin C and A, which are powerful antioxidants and have various well-known health benefits
Make a peach a topping to your salad, a part of a marinade, or a healthy snack today!