Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nutrition: Fruit and Vegetable Colors

Nutrition: Fruit and Vegetable Colors
Photo Credit Vegetables and Fruits image by Piter Pkruger from
According to the Produce for Better Health, PBH, it is no longer enough to eat your "greens." Nutrition and health researchers are learning that eating your blues, reds, yellows, oranges, purples, and even whites are also important for your health. An easy and fun way to remember to eat your fruits and vegetables is by thinking of eating the different colors of the rainbow. This ensures giving your body a wide range of valuable nutrients like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. In addition to these nutrients, fruits and vegetables are filled with disease-fighting chemicals known as phytochemicals.


Phytochemicals are healthful chemicals found in fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals may be referred to as antioxidants, flavonoids, isoflavones, carotenoids, allyl sulfides, and polyphenols. Phytochemicals are responsible for giving fruits and vegetables their color. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, research has shown that eating these powerful nutrients may strengthen the immune system and decrease the risk of certain cancers, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Phytochemicals often work together, so it is important to choose fruits and vegetables from all the color groups.

Red Fruit and Vegetables

Examples of red fruits and vegetables are red grapes, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, pink or red grapefruit, tomatoes, beets, radishes, red peppers, rhubarb, cherries, cranberries and red apples. Lycopen and anthocyanins are both powerful antioxidants that give the red group their color. These phytochemicals are thought to reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially prostate cancer. They are also linked to heart health and prevention of lung disease. Lycopene and anthocyanins also help to maintain memory function and urinary tract health and fight off infections as well.

Green Fruits and Vegetables

Green fruits and vegetables include foods such as kiwi fruit, honeydew melon, avocado, broccoli, spinach, artichoke, zucchini, lettuce, celery, asparagus, edamame, okra, kale, turnip greens and peas. Phytochemicals found in green foods include lutein, zeaxanthin and indoles and are thought to help prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. They also assist to speed up the action of enzymes that break down carcinogens as well as strengthen bones and teeth.

Orange and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables

This color category contains fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, yellow peppers, corn, pineapple, carrots, butternut squash, peaches, pumpkin, apricots, tangerines and oranges. Phytochemicals found in this group include carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which help maintain the immune system, slow aging, prevent heart disease, protect against cancer and improve vision health.

White and Tan Fruits and Vegetables

This is often the forgotten color group, yet whites are important, too. Examples from this group are bananas, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, jicama, ginger and turnips. Anthoxanthins, which are in the white/tan group, may help lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and prevent heart disease. Allicin, which has been found to have anti-tumor effects and may especially decrease risk of stomach cancer, is also found in this group.

Purple and Blue Fruits and Vegetables

This group includes foods such as purple cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, black grapes, raisins, eggplant, plums, prunes and figs. Anthocyanins, phenolics, resveratrol may reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease, as well as improve memory and promote healthy aging.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Adding Color to Your Diet

A friend who is interested in eating healthier once asked me if he was only going to eat two fruits and one or two vegetables, which are the healthiest. Unfortunately for him and for anyone who was hoping for a definite answer, the reality is eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is the healthiest option. Different varieties supply different nutrients, so by eating as many different kinds as you can, you will be providing your body with more types of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.rainbow-vegetables-and-fruit
This month’s theme is Eat the Rainbow. Each week a list of fruits and vegetables of a certain color will be listed along with their general nutrition highlights and some recipes. The goal is not to have a day where you eat all red fruits or all green vegetables, but to use these lists to create meals that are filled with many colors.
Eat the Rainbow: Red Fruits and Vegetables
Nutrients: The two main pigments in red fruits and vegetables are lycopene and anthocyanins. Found in tomatoes and watermelon, lycopene is an antioxidant that may help protect against several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Anthocyanins are found in foods such as strawberries, raspberries, and red grapes. They are also antioxidants and have protective effects on both cells and the heart.
  • Apples
  • Blood oranges
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Guava
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Pomegranates
  • Watermelon

Friday, May 25, 2012

Vegan Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk, & Roasted Chili Ravioli

Vegan Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk, & Roasted Chili Ravioli 
yield: approximately 2 dozen large ravioli
  • 2 cups of semolina flour
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • a little over 1 cup of water
  • a dash of salt
  • 3 small to medium sweet potatoes
  • around 6 oz. of coconut milk
  • 2 chili peppers (I used red serranos)

Preheat the oven to 450°. Rub the peppers with a little bit of olive oil, then place the potatoes and peppers together in the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the pepper skin begins to blister and blacken. Remove the peppers and place them in a paper bag (an air-tight container also works if you don’t happen to have a paper bag). Close and let peppers rest for at least 10 minutes (they will steam in the bag, making the skins easier to remove). Peel the skin away from the pepper, then remove the seeds from the inside. Mince the pepper and set aside.
While you’re waiting for the potatoes to finish roasting, combine the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour water in the well and stir to combine. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough forms. Divide into two, then cover in plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rest.
When the sweet potatoes are soft, remove them from the oven. Once they’ve cooled, remove them from their skins and mash in a large bowl. Add the minced pepper and the coconut milk, and stir until well combined.
Roll one round of pasta dough into a rectangular shape on a well-floured surface, until thin but not in danger of tearing (about 1/16 of an inch thick). Place evenly-spaced spoonfuls of filling along the surface of the dough. Roll the second half of the dough out, replicating the size and shape of the first. Brush a little bit of water in between the spoonfuls of filling, then place the second rectangle on top and press to seal.
Cut out ravioli with a sharp knife or a pasta wheel. To make extra-sure they are sealed, press all around the edges with a fork. Freeze any ravioli that you won’t eat immediately.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the ravioli. Cook until they begin to float (this should only take a few minutes). If you like your ravioli a little crispy (I know I do!), heat a little olive oil in a pan, then add the cooked ravioli and pan-fry over medium heat for a few minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Top with a little bit of fresh rosemary and sage if you happen to have it, then serve!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Benefits Of Sprouts

The Benefits Of Sprouts

Health is something more and more people are getting serious about these days. Sprouts for the longest time have been considered a health food. Sprouts such as alfalfa, broccoli, and clover have become very popular in recent years. Alfalfa sprouts in recent studies has shown to be very effective helping reducing bad cholesterol. While many products also attack the good HDL fats alfalfa sprouts do not. The one thing that alfalfa sprouts also have is saponins. Besides lowering cholesterol, saponins also stimulate the immune system as well. The benefits of sprouts though do not end there as they have many other great benefits.
Many people also do not realize that sprouts also have a high concentrate of active antioxidants as well. These antioxidants help prevent aging and DNA destruction. Sprouts are also very high in fiber. Fiber helps the digestive system in our bodies and makes us feel fuller making us less likely to over eat and gain weight.
Eating plenty of sprouts also increases our protein count and gives us a good dose of Vitamin B and C. Calorie intake is something many of us worry about especially when we diet.
Sprouts are a low-calorie alternative to those high calorie items we love to digest. Sprouts also contain oxygen, which is essential for healthy cells. Oxygen rich food has been proven to repel viruses and kill bacteria in people. Without a doubt, sprouts have so many benefits they no longer can be ignore as a part of a healthy lifestyle for you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Recently there has been some e-mails circulating online regarding the use of onions for reducing or preventing flu symptoms. I have been asked to comment on this and give my opinion on the validity of this remedy. So here is what I have found.
What centuries of grandmothers have instinctively known is now being confirmed by everyone from modern scientists to naturopathic doctors. Onions may have the ability to ward off and relieve symptoms of the common flu. And in a world where, according to the CDC, many Americans will get the seasonal flu every year, the simple method of boiling onions into a drinkable broth may be a good practice to return to.

Moreover, the outbreak of H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, has caused many people to consider getting flu vaccinations that, in my opinion, will do more harm than good. Prevention is the best method, and the following post will offer some insight into this ancient technique of using onions for flu prevention.

How Onions Help with the Flu

The idea that onions could ward off disease through their potent medicinal properties hails back thousands of years. Ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine revered onions for their anti-inflammatory and congestion-relieving properties. The Ancient Greeks rubbed onions on sore muscles and the Native Americans used them to ward off the common cold and flu.

In fact, the World Health Organization has even recognized the onion for its ability to help relieve symptoms of the flu such as coughs, congestion, respiratory infections and bronchitis. Some traditions have even recommended placing sliced onions beside the bed at night, or even just around the house, to help prevent yourself from getting the flu.
The theory was that the raw onion would absorb germs in the air, preventing them from entering the body. Even though, it must be noted, that one of the most common ways to get the flu, is by contact with contaminated surfaces or people. So remember to wash your hands, especially before eating or scratching your eyes.
In an early 1900′s Los Angeles Times article, the following suggestion was offered to the public:
“In a sickroom you cannot have a better disinfectant than the onion. It has a wonderful capacity for absorbing germs. A dish of sliced onions placed in a sickroom will draw away the disease; they must be removed as soon as they lose their odor and become discolored, and be replaced by fresh ones.”
Onions are known for both their anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in sulfuric compounds such as thiosulfinates, sulfoxides, and other odorous cysteine sulfoxides. These compounds give onions their pungent flavor and are what make you cry when cutting them. Research shows that the thiosulfinates in onions are responsible for their antimicrobial properties. Thiosulfinates have even been shown to kill off salmonella and E. coli. Sulfuric compounds also play a role in cancer and heart disease prevention, and therefore act as a great immune-boosting food for general disease prevention.
Onions are also extremely high in the anti-oxidant quercetin. Quercetin helps the body fight free-radicals, and boosts the immune response. A recent study from the British Journal of Nutrition, showed that individuals who ate foods high in quercetin (onion soup was used in the study), had better immune responses and less likelihood for cardiovascular disease.
The Delmar’s Integrative Herb Guide states that, “Onions help break up or clear mucous and other substances that block the immune system from doing its work.” So this season, if you feel a cold or flu coming on, make yourself a big pot of soup using the simple recipe below.

Onions, leeks, garlic, shallots, and scallions - the Allium vegetables - have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. Their characteristic (and eye-irritating) organosulfur compounds have been shown to have several different anti-cancer effects. Plus, allium vegetables contain a number of other beneficial phytochemicals, including the cancer-fighting flavonoid, quercetin.
 Yours in good health,
 Dr. Fuhrman

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

3 High Protein Fruits to Include in Your Diet

3 High Protein Fruits to Include in Your Diet

High protein fruits are easy to find if you know where to look. Protein is broken down in your stomach during digestion, by enzymes called proteases. The purpose of this process is to give your body amino acids. High protein fruits should appeal to vegetarians in particular since they worry about getting enough protein in their diet. An attractive point to eating high protein fruits is the fact that they are low both in calories and fat. They're also rich in nutrients that are essential to maintenance, growth and body development. Not many people are aware of the presence of good amounts of protein in the following fruits.

1. High Protein Fruit: Avocado

The avocado is the first high protein fruit to include in your diet. Although it's often incorrectly labeled as a vegetable, an avocado is really a fruit. It is a rich source of other nutrients besides protein. It provides zinc, folic acid and fiber. Unlike other fruits, an avocado is a source of fats that are healthy for your heart. If there is one downside to an avocado, it is that its calorie content is relatively high. The amount of protein found in avocados is richer than that found in cow's milk. The protein in an avocado is more useful than that found in cooked steak, because cooked protein is not available to your liver. Your liver is the organ that makes all the protein in your body.

2. Peaches

Peaches are the second high protein fruit to include in your diet. One large, raw peach provides 2 grams of protein. Peaches are also high in other nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber. If there is one downside to peaches, it is that intolerance or peach allergy may develop in some people. This is mainly due to the high content of protein found in peaches. People will know they have a peach allergy if they experience local symptoms like contact urticaria or systemic symptoms such as anaphylaxis. If people find themselves allergic, it is due to the freshness of peaches. They can, therefore, solve this problem by eating canned or peeled peaches.

3. Figs

Dried figs are particularly high in protein. It is important to differentiate between fresh figs and dried figs. The content of protein in dried figs can be several times higher than in mere fresh figs. Athletes also know to eat a lot of figs for their nutritional properties. In addition to protein, figs contain fiber, potassium and calcium. Figs are a great snack due to how they taste and because eating them provides you with some of your daily intake requirements of fiber.

Monday, May 21, 2012

10 Seriously Disturbing Facts About Soda

Sugar has been linked to cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, kidney stones and other diseases and it also lowers your immune system.

According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans drink more than 50 gallons per capita of carbonated soft drinks each year. That adds up to thousands of extra calories, sugar, and who knows what else. For example, if Coke Classic is your drink at 96 calories per can, it adds up to 77,300 calories per year and 43,100 mg of caffeine per year.
Other drinks studied included bottled water, coffee, fruit beverages, milk, tea, beer, wine, spirits and carbonated soft drinks. Of the nine, soda made up the largest segment of beverages consumed and the U.S. as the highest per-capita soda consumer in the world. But what is all this soda doing to our bodies? To know exactly what you’re drinking, have a look at these ten seriously disturbing facts about soda.
    Source :
    Source :
    1. The Increased Risk of Osteoporosis : This disease is a serious condition that can result in tremendous pain with fractures caused by thinning of the bones. Those at risk include seniors, women, smokers, and now those who regularly consume soda. Experts speculate that replacing calcium rich drinks, such as milk, with soda is leading to a deficiency and therefore an increase in osteoporosis. WebMD has more in this expert article.
    2. Passing Soda May be Harder Than You Think : According to a study in the “Journal of Clinical Epidemiology,” phosphate-based soft drinks have been proposed as a contributor to kidney stones. It looked at over 1,000 male patients who both formed kidney stones and were consumers of a significant amount of soda to see what effect soda might have on stone recurrence. Those who consumed phosphate-based sodas in the largest quantities had the highest rate of kidney stone recurrence.
    3. Soda-holics on the Rise : Much like alcohol or any other narcotic, soda can become an addiction. In fact, due to its high levels of caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and sodium, it is difficult to tell which consumers become addicted to, if not all three. This addiction can lead to a variety of health problems, including weight gain, diabetes, and tooth erosion. This article at Suite 101 has loads more.
    4. Annual Costs Can be Huge : With a twelve pack of soda averaging three to four dollars, have you ever stopped to think how much that costs per year? If your family drinks three per week, the annual cost is $546. With a soda tax looming, it can easily bloom to approximately $790.
    5. Linked to Tooth Decay : According to a report published in “General Dentistry,” the phosphoric acid in soda causes tooth enamel erosion, even with minimal exposure. In fact, a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry says that the levels of acid found in sodas are comparable to that of a battery. There are also dangers for your teeth associated with the high sugar content of soda.
    6. Mountain Dew Syndrome : Did you know that Central Appalachia is America’s number one spot for tooth decay? This is contributed to by poor diet, lack of access to dental care, and a love of soda, particularly Mountain Dew. The condition has become so common it is referred to as Mountain Dew Syndrome. Another disturbing fact about soda was that it was found to be used as a self-medicated anti-depressant.
    7. Question Phosphorus Content : If you are concerned about the damages phosphorus content can cause, click here. With some sodas containing over 20 times the content as others, it is important to know who the culprits are. According to Belly Bytes, Coca-Cola is the highest offender with 69 mg per can. The lowest offenders were Canada Dry Ginger Ale and A & W Root Beer with three mg each. Diet sodas also ranked fairly high. View for yourself to see the list and get more disturbing facts about soda.

    8. What’s Not on the Label : As if soda didn’t have enough problems with what’s in the can, a disturbing study was done on the soda served from fountains in fast food places and self-serve areas. Hollins University found that 48% of sodas tested from the fast food fountains contain coliform bacteria, which is linked to fecal matter. To make matters worse, the bacteria was found to be resistant to eleven antibiotics.
    9. But Does it Cause Cancer? : In another entry by WebMD, the link between soda and pancreatic cancer was studied. Study details, slideshows, and more are discussed. Because this is such a serious disease, we have also included the original study and a rebuttal to give you both sides of the story.
    10. Seeing is Believing : We all know that soda is infamous for large amounts of sugar but how can we see it? In this video from Science on the Brain, Marshall shows us how much sugar this soda exactly contains by putting it through a scientific process. More disturbing is the fact that the sugar contained in the soda seen in its true form after a spin on the stove is sticky and tar like.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Parsley Health Benefits

Parsley Health Benefits

parsley health benefitsToday parsley is a valuable therapy for kidney stones, as a diuretic, for rheumatism, menstrual insufficiency and as a general stimulant. It settles the stomach and improves the appetite. The high content of vitamin C is not only useful in its own right, but also assists the absorption of the valuable quantity of iron.
Parsley juice, being a herbal drink, is quite powerful and is usually taken in quantities of about 2 fl oz (50ml) three times a day and is best mixed with other juices. The leaves can be deep frozen and are easily stored. It is a good idea to use parsley in cooking as well as in the form of juice. Dried parsley is not a very satisfactory alternative to fresh and has a coarser flavor.
Health Benefits of Parsley
Fights cancer. Parsley contains volatile oils that have been found to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, particularly those in the lungs. The oils are not only cancer-fighting, they’re also known to neutralize carcinogens including those found in cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke. Parsley also contains folic acid, which has been found to help prevent colon and cervical cancers.
Antioxidant-rich. Parsley contains beneficial antioxidant compounds called flavonoids. These compounds combine with oxygen-containing molecules and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. Parsley extracts have also been found to increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood in animal studies.
Good for the heart. The folic acid in parsley is a critical nutrient in cardiovascular health. Specifically, folic acid helps convert potentially dangerous homocysteine into harmless molecules, a process that protects blood vessels and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Protects against rheumatoid arthritis. A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that people who ate the least amount of vitamin-C-rich foods (like parsley) had a three times greater chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis than those who ate the most.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Exercise and Your Health

The single most significant factor in improving one's health is exercise. Research strongly indicates that exercise alone can improve your health, decrease the risk of serious illness, and reverse some of the degenerative effects of aging. Here's what exercise does for you:
  • Strengthens your heart. The heart is a muscle, and it benefits from regular cardiovascular exercise, which means aerobics that will boost your heart rate. A stronger heart can avert arteriosclerosis and reduce high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Increases lung capacity. Exercise allows your lungs to increase their capacity to hold more oxygen. Exercise also lets your body use the oxygen it gets more efficiently, which increases your metabolism.
  • Increases bone density. A woman who performs weight-bearing exercises regularly can increase her bone density and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Studies show that even elderly women can benefit from weight-bearing exercise, such as lifting free weights or using the weight machines at the fitness center.
  • Improves insulin utilization. Regular exercise lets your body reduce high levels of insulin, which reduces insulin resistance. High levels can lead to storing more fat, to metabolic syndrome, and ultimately, to Type 2 diabetes.
  • Helps prevent cancer. Yes, you can reduce your risk of cancer by engaging in regular exercise.
  • Reduces the effects of aging. Exercise improves muscle tone and counteracts the decrease in metabolic rate that comes with age.
  • Lessens depression and anxiety. The release of endorphins that occurs after about 20 minutes of cardiovascular or aerobic exercise can lift one's mood for hours, perhaps even days. The endorphins soothe anxiety and reduce depression.
  • Increases mental acuity. Studies indicate that people who exercise regularly have better mental alertness and prowess than those who don't.
  • Helps balance hormones. Hormones are responsible for energy, sex drive, moods, digestion, and many other bodily functions. Having balanced hormones can reduce the effects of aging and boost your energy.
The health benefits of regular exercise will let you enjoy living at your ideal size. We especially like that endorphin-stimulating exercise can reduce depression and lessen anxiety.
Instead of eating to tackle stress, work up a sweat. The endorphins released from 20 minutes of vigorous exercise can help you say good-bye forever to stress eating.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Foods that Help to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Foods that Help to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

By: Rachel MorkMaybe your doctor has encouraged you to change to a diet to lower cholesterol or maybe you're simply looking to make better food choices to support heart health before problems occur. While you may already know that cholesterol occurs naturally in foods like red meat and eggs, there are also foods that help to lower your cholesterol naturally and, not only are they good for you, but they're readily available and easy to add to just about any diet.
HDL and LDL Cholesterol
Cholesterol in our bodies comes from two primary sources: natural production by the liver and animal products like meat, dairy and eggs. Cholesterol plays a vital role in digesting fat, hormone production and the formation of Vitamin D in the skin. Your cholesterol level is an indicator of how much fat is being carried in your blood.
Having high total cholesterol, or low levels of HDL cholesterol (known as good cholesterol) in combination with high levels of LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol), puts people at increased risk for developing heart disease. Technically, HDL and LDL are lipoproteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body; HDL delivers it to the liver for elimination, but LDL sticks to the walls of your arteries, compromising blood flow.
Obvious dietary changes that support healthy cholesterol levels include reducing the amount of animal products you consume, but you can do more than just reduce your intake of cholesterol-you can also consume foods that naturally lower it. The following foods all contain cholesterol-fighting properties that raise your HDL, lower or your LDL or both.
Slow-cooked oatmeal, not instant, is one of the first foods the FDA endorsed for its cholesterol-lowering abilities. While you'll need to eat a sizable portion-3/4 of cup-the fiber content in oatmeal not only helps move cholesterol through the body, it fills you up providing the added benefit of supporting any weight loss goals you may have. Try having a bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal for breakfast with blueberries, almonds or flaxseed to start your day.
Cold-Water Fish
Salmon, sardines and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids (cross link) which are noted for their ability, like aspirin, to thin blood slightly to reduce the risk of clots. The American Heart Association recommends we eat two to three servings of cold-water fish per week, however, omega-3 essential fatty acids are also found in nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds and even some leafy green vegetables. If you must fry your fish, choose canola or olive oil so you don't counteract the benefits of the fish with saturated fats.
While it's true that avocados contain a significant amount of fat, the fat it contains is a healthy fat. Monosaturated fat, which is what avocados contain, provide the body with oleic acid which has been proven to lower your bad cholesterol and help raise your good cholesterol levels. Rich in taste and full of flavor, eating avocados often feels like a treat. Try it spread on toast in place of butter or spritz slices with lime or lemon juice for a guacamole-like snack.
An apple a day, does in fact, help keep the doctor away. In them, you'll find pectin, a antioxidants (cross link) and a healthy dose of fiber, all of which work with your body to lower LDL and raise HDL levels. Pair an apple with an ounce of low-fat cheese, sprinkle slices with cinnamon or tuck one in your bag to eat on the run.
Dark, leafy greens
Everyone can benefit from eating MyPyramid's (cross link) recommended number of fruit and vegetable servings, but you can increase the benefits to your healthy by choosing dark, leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach and even lettuce. These vegetables are power-packed with vitamin A, calcium, iron and provide a good dose of fiber.
Eating salads as part of your daily diet is the easiest way to increase your vegetable intake, but Try incorporating salads into your daily meal plans. If you're not a salad fan, prepare your greens as a side dish or use kale and chard in soups.
Like oatmeal, apples and leafy greens, legumes are full of cholesterol-fighting fiber. Beans, peas and lentils are also excellent sources of protein, so they not only contribute to heart health, but keep you feeling fuller for longer between meals and give your body what it needs to repair muscle tissue. Choose dried beans and soak them yourself or if you must used canned, choose brands that are low in sodium and sugar. Add them to soups, stews, chili and casseroles.
Aside from being a summer favorite, blueberries are a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants believe to reduce the risk of certain cancers. But the good news doesn't end there. In addition to heart-healthy reservatol, which is found in grapes and red wine, blueberries contain a compound called which appears to have similar cholesterol-fighting properties as reservatol. Eat them plain or mix them with oatmeal or low-fat yogurt.
Almonds and walnuts are known to lower cholesterol. These snacks are high calorie (so limit your intake if you are watching your weight) but are packed with protein, good-for-you fat (monounsaturated fat) and can stave off hunger because they are satisfying. Like avocados, nuts are still high in fat and even though it's the good kind, strive to limit your intake to your doctor's recommendations or MyPyramid's guidelines.
Toss a handful of almonds or walnuts on your salad instead of croutons to add a healthy crunch. For the most benefit, eat your nuts raw. When it comes to roasted nuts, choose dry-roasted instead of those roasted in oil.
Raw or minimally processed soy products like edamame, soy milk and soy nuts activate enzymes in the body that help clearbad cholesterol from your system. Heavily process soy, like that used in frozen veggie burger patties, isn't quite as effective. Swap peanuts for soy nuts as a snack, trade cow's milk for soy in smoothies or add some edamame to soups, salads and casseroles.
Flax Seed
With high amounts of omega-3 essential fatty acids, you could easily rely on flax seed in place of salmon to help lower your cholesterol (good news for vegetarians). Set flax seed to lowering your LDL and triglycerides levels by purchasing them whole or ground. Sprinkle them on cereal and salads, add a tablespoon to smoothies, or mix them into pancake or muffin recipes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Did you know that eight ounces of carrot juice can contain as much as 800% of your daily recommended dosage of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential and necessary for tissue growth, especially within the bones. Vitamin A is also very important in maintaining good vision. The old myth that eating carrots will help you see better is true, as vitamin A deficiencies can lead to vision problems such as night blindness. Spinach is also a very rich source of Vitamin A. A little spinach juiced with a few carrots will deliver a vitamin A mega beverage. Vitamin A is also very crucial for expectant mothers and the unborn fetus. Although vitamin A is very important for your body, it is also important to maintain moderate levels of vitamin A intake, as too much can lead to liver toxicity, and other health problems.

Carrot juice is also an excellent source of vitamin C. An eight ounce glass of pure carrot juice can provide your body with up to 35% of your daily recommended dosage of vitamin C. Vitamin C has a wide variety of uses throughout our entire body, such as collagen production of the mucous membranes, skin, bones, and teeth. Vitamin C is also a very crucial antioxidant. A few carrots juiced with blackcurrant berries, oranges, lemons, or kiwi, can easily provide you with your whole daily vitamin C dosage, without the need to take synthetic vitamins supplements.

Carrot juice is an excellent drinkable source of potassium. Potassium is very important in helping to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance and fluid level in the cells of your body. It's also necessary in muscle movement, such as contraction, as well as neurotransmission. Potassium deficiencies are very bad for your body, with such effects as Hypokalemia, acne, muscle spasms, dry skin, and elevated cholesterol levels. Carrots juiced with celery or turnips can provide your body with a large intake level of potassium. An eight ounce glass of pure carrot juice will usually provide up to 10% of the daily recommended intake level of potassium. It should be known that individuals who suffer from kidney disease, should avoid taking in large amounts of potassium, as it can be very harmful on the organs.

Pure carrot juice is a very low calorie juice drink. Eight fluid ounces of the beverage yields usually no more then 80 calories. Carrot juice is an excellent nutritional supplement for dieters, providing you with a rich supply of essential vitamins and minerals, without being accompanied by all of the calories that a health shake might give you. For athletes and weightlifters, the calorie level of carrot juice can be upped by blending it with fruit yogurt, milk, ice cream, or a protein powder supplement. I have even heard of people blending the juice with rolled oats, cereal, or boiled rice to dramatically increase the calorie and nutritional levels.

Pure carrot juice in an eight ounce serving can provide up to 6% percent of your daily recommended intake level of calcium. It is very important to receive a healthy level of calcium in your daily diet. Bones and teeth are dependent on calcium for growth and formation, especially the skeletal structure and development of children. Calcium absorption should also be accompanied by vitamin D, which helps aid your body's intake of the mineral. Like potassium, calcium is important for neurotransmission, and muscle movement and contraction. Carrots juiced with broccoli can provide an excellent vegetable calcium drink. For a calcium shake, you may also choose to juice your carrots and then blend it with yogurt for a carrot juice smoothie, which makes for a healthy breakfast shake, or evening dessert.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Benefits of Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit is among the most nutritious and wonderful exotic fruits. It is a favorite to many, particularly people of Asian origin. It features a mouth watering light sweet taste, an intense shape and color, not forgetting its outstanding flowers. In addition to being tasty and refreshing, this beautiful fruit boasts of a lot of water and other vital minerals with varied nutritional ingredients. Due to its vital nutrients, the Pitaya fruit is suitable for all diets as it supplements fiber which is best for laxative and the liver. Similarly, people who have high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity have attested to the fruit’s goodness. Recent findings show that if an obese person eats a Pitahaya fruit on a regular basis, it naturally reduces the weight considerably, creating a well balanced body without compromising on the individual’s health.
Dragon fruit is a beautiful fruit grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, and Israel. The plant is actually a type of cactus, and the fruit comes in 3 colors: 2 have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, the other red), while another type is yellow with white flesh. Dragon fruit is low in calories and offers numerous nutrients, including Vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, plus fiber and antioxidants.
Dragon fruit tastes wonderful! - sweet and crunchy, with a flavor that's like a cross between kiwi and pear.
Step #1 - To choose a ripe dragon fruit: look for bright, even-colored skin. If the fruit has a lot of blotches, it may be over-ripe (a few is normal). Another sign of over-ripe dragon fruit is a very dry, brittle brown stem, or brown on the tips of the "leaves". Hold the dragon fruit in your palm and try pressing the skin with your thumb or fingers - it should give a little (like a ripe kiwi), but shouldn't be too soft or mushy. If it's very firm, it will need to ripen for a few days.
Placing the dragon fruit over a cutting board or other clean surface, cut the fruit straight down the middle with a sharp knife. It will cut quite easily.
Cut through to the other side, so that you can separate the fruit into 2 sections. Inside the flesh may be white or red - both will have tiny black edible seeds, just like kiwi fruit.
There are various ways to prepare dragon fruit for eating - this is just one way. Run a tablespoon around the circumference of the first section to separate the flesh from the skin.
Now lift the flesh out of the skin and place it on the cutting board. Reserve the skin for serving (as in step 8), if desired. Note that the skin is NOT edible. Do the same for the other half.
Turn the mound of flesh over, checking for any residual pink skin. Slice this off, as the skin isn't healthy to ingest.
Now you can slice up the flesh. Cubes work well for eating the fruit fresh.
If desired, return the cubes of fruit to the skin to serve, or transfer to a serving dish and enjoy! Note that leftovers can be refrigerated, like any other fruit, in a covered container. Personally, I love combining cubes of dragon fruit into a fresh fruit salad. See my dragon fruit recipes below. ENJOY!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Disease-Fighting Parsley

Disease-Fighting Parsley Health Benefits for the Heart and Body

parsley health benefitsThe parsley health benefits are both impressive and undeniable. Parsley has been proven to slow tumor growth, strengthen the heart and relieve a wide variety of health problems. The benefits of parsley are so great that this ancient herb is still used in medicine today.

The Use of Parsley Health Benefits in Modern Medicine

Parsley health benefits have been used in Greek and Roman medicine long before parsley became a popular spice. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, used parsley to treat people who were exposed to poison, suffered from kidney problems or were simply feeling unwell. Parsley is such an effective treatment that the herb is still used for many of the same purposes today. Fortunately, modern scientists have found several additional parsley health benefits that ancient healers were unaware of.
Many of the benefits of parsley are due to the herb’s vitamin and mineral content. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, E and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and potassium. Parsley also contains antioxidants, works as a diuretic, increases energy and possesses antiseptic properties. Parsley benefits the body so greatly that it is not surprising that this herb has made the transition from ancient to modern medicine.

Tumor-Fighting Parsley Health Benefits

In addition to its many vitamins and minerals, the benefits of parsley are also due to its myristicin and apigenin content. Myristicin is a compound that has been found to prevent tumor formation, act as an antioxidant and neutralize certain carcinogens, specifically benzopyrene. Research has found that myristicin is effective in preventing the spread of cancer in the lungs and other areas of the body, which is one of the most important parsley health benefits.
Apigenin is another cancer-fighting compound partially responsible for the benefits of parsley. A recent study conducted at the University of Missouri found that apigenin slowed the growth of breast cancer cells in rats. Rats that were exposed to apigenin also developed fewer tumors than those who were not exposed to the substance. Researchers concluded that parsley might be effective in helping women fight and prevent breast cancer.

Pain Relief and Other Benefits of Parsley

Parsley does not just fight tumors, it also relieves pain, inflammation and infection. Parsley can be used to treat toothaches, arthritis pain, bruises, insect bites and chapped skin. This herb can even be used to kill parasites, including lice, while reducing discomfort.
When consumed as a tea, parsley helps to restore the body’s natural acid/alkaline balance and reduce inflammation. Certain types of pain, like arthritis pain, are caused by acid building up around the joints. This causes the joints to become swollen, painful and stiff. Parsley benefits the joints by breaking up acid and reducing inflammation, which alleviates joint pain. People who make parsley a part of their daily diet are less likely to experience rheumatic disease, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
People who are suffering from painful bruising, piles and broken veins can also benefit from using parsley. When applied to the skin, parsley benefits the body by shrinking small blood vessels. This helps the skin heal, stops bleeding and reduces pain. Applying parsley to the skin is also believed to stimulate hair growth, increase collagen production, diminish the appearance of wrinkles and firm the skin.

The Benefits of Parsley on the Heart, Blood and Immune System

When eaten or consumed as a tea, parsley benefits the heart, improves the quality of the blood and strengthens the immune system. Parsley strengthens the heart by supplying the body with folate, or vitamin B9. Folate neutralizes an amino acid known as homocysteine, which can damage the blood vessels in large amounts. Regularly consuming parsley will protect against cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis.
In addition to protecting the heart, parsley benefits the body by regulating blood sugar, lowering blood pressure and stimulating the production of red blood cells. This herb also supports immune system function and provides the body with several powerful antioxidants. Since parsley increases immunity, it is often used to combat the common cold, bronchitis and the flu. Parsley is also effective at drying mucous, which reduces congestion and helps to control allergies.

How Parsley Helps the Body Fight Infection and Disease

Parsley can also be used to treat people who suffer from certain digestive disorders, kidney problems and frequent urinary infections. Parsley treats digestive disorders by increasing circulation in the digestive tract. People who regularly eat parsley or drink parsley tea are less likely to suffer from upset stomach, flatulence and other digestive problems. Parsley benefits the body by preventing kidney stones and helps to tone the urinary tract, which reduces the risk of infection.
Drinking parsley tea will not only prevent kidney stones, it will also treat gallstones. People who suffer from gallstones can eliminate their stones by drinking approximately one pint of parsley tea each day. Additionally, parsley benefits the body by improving adrenal gland function, nerve function and supporting the entire nervous system.

How Parsley Benefits Women Before, After and During Pregnancy

For women, parsley can be especially beneficial. Not only can parsley possibly prevent breast cancer, but it can also relieve menstrual pain. When consumed internally, parsley relieves pain, reduces bloating and causes uterine contractions. This tones the uterus, stimulates menstruation and can even induce labor in pregnant women. Some doctors believe that parsley is also beneficial in toning the male prostate. This makes the prostate stronger and less prone to infection.
Parsley is an herb that benefits the body so many different ways. This herb can be used externally to fight infection, improve the appearance of the skin and naturally relieve pain. Internally, parsley benefits almost every bodily system. Not only does this herb protect the heart and boost immunity, but it might even be an effective natural anticancer treatment.

Friday, May 4, 2012

7 Health Foods That Aren’t

The truth about supposedly “better-for-you” options

Fake. Phony. Scam artist. No matter what you call it, being at the wrong end of a health hoax is never fun. You might expect sneaky marketing claims from fast-food chains, but these seven foods are more along the lines of a sucker punch.
The latest case: Nutella. Sure, their commercials make the spread sound like a wholesome mix of hazelnuts, skim milk, and a touch of cocoa, but it turns out Nutella’s about as healthy as a Milky Way. One woman was so appalled when she realized that two tablespoons of her go-to breakfast spread packed in 200 calories, 21 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of fat, that she took the company to court…and won. (In fact, if you bought a jar of Nutella between January 2008 and Feb 3, 2012, you’re entitled to a refund.
But Nutella isn’t the only nutrition sham at the grocery store. No matter how you slice it, a number of “healthy” foods fall seriously short on their promises. How many of these fast-talkers are fooling you?
“All-Natural” breakfast cereals Kashi, Kellogg’s “natural” brand, is currently under fire from consumers over the fact that the ingredients used in their cereals aren’t completely natural as their marketing implies. In fact, scientists from the Cornucopia Institute recently detected GMO material in 100 percent of the soy in Kashi GoLean.
Sports drinks While Gatorade may be beneficial if you’re putting in an extremely hard workout—like marathon hard—most of us are just getting an unwelcome dose of sugar, salt, and loads of sketchy artificial food coloring. Plus, a new study in the journal General Dentistry suggests that sports and energy drinks are responsible for serious tooth enamel damage and decay.
damage and decay.
4 Foods To Avoid At All Costs  
Energy bars The reason you feel a boost from your bar is most likely due to the copious amounts of sweetener added to it. Many companies disguise just how much sugar is hidden inside by using various types of sugar—like high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, and cane juice—to try and fool you. Case in point: PowerBar ProteinPlus Chocolate Brownie bar, which offers up 30 grams of sugar from at least three different sugar sources.
“No artificial preservatives” meats Oscar Mayer recently announced that it will no longer be using artificial preservatives in their “Selects” line of hot dogs and deli slices. While we applaud the weiner company for taking out nasty chemicals like potassium chloride and sodium nitrate, that doesn’t mean that these foods are now healthy. Processed meat is still processed meat, and a daily serving of bacon or salami can up your risk of death 20%, according to research from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Bottled green tea We’ve touted the benefits of green tea for years, but those sweetened, bottled beverages aren't what we’ve been talking about. Some mass-produced bottles have only a miniscule amount of the powerful catechins, and they're loaded with sugar. SoBe Energize Green Tea, for example, offers up more than 50 grams of sugar in one 20-ounce bottle.
Egg substitute We’re not saying that egg substitute is necessarily bad for you, but they’re not necessarily better for your cholesterol than the real thing—something most of us assume. A new study from the University of Connecticut found that people who ate whole eggs actually increased their HDL (the healthy cholesterol) more than those who ate egg substitutes.

My opinion: Stick to eating foods without labels, organic, simple and fresh, these are better for you and give you the energy and nutrition your body needs.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Setting the record straight about Protein

Beans of all kinds, lentils, asparagus, broccoli, seaweeds; variety is important and quantity. You should always eat more veggies, fruits and grains than anything else. High Protein is not healthier by the way. Too much protein depletes the body of calcium, (re: osteoporosis) thanks to the meat and dairy industry through self promotion has Americans confused about real health versus P.R. for slaughter houses.
Common vegetables have much more protein than you need, and contrary to popular myth, they're complete proteins as well.  The reason you've heard otherwise is that the people spouting protein myths haven't bothered to look up the actual numbers.  So let's look at what the science actually says — as well as what doctors and nutritionists who are actually familiar with protein say.

We need only 2.5 to 10% of our calories from protein, according to official sources.1,2,3  And all vegetables have more than that.4 Not some vegetables, all of them. Vegetables average around 22% protein, beans 28%, and grains 13%.4  Have a look at the chart at right.
Professional estimates suggest we need as little 2.5% of our calories from protein.1 The World Health Organization recommends about 5% to 10%, depending on various factors.2 The U.S. government's recommendation is about 9%, depending on calorie intake.3  And the official recommendations are padded with generous safety margins, to account for differences in bioavailability, and to cover even people who need more protein than average.
In any event, whether you think our needs are closer to 2.5% or 10%, you can see from the chart that it's nearly impossible to fail to get enough protein, provided that you make sure to eat food.  Every single whole plant food has more than 2.5% protein, and every group averages more than 10% except for fruit.  Protein is one of the easiest nutrients to get.
The figures for food are from the bible of nutrition data, the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. (I averaged the numbers for several foods in each category.4 To find the percentage of protein for a sample, multiply the protein grams by 4 and divide by the number of calories.)
So plant foods easily supply our protein needs.  In fact, when just about every single food has more than you need, how exactly could you not get enough?  The truth is that if you're eating food, you're eating protein.  And you're eating more than enough.
It's meaningless to talk about a "source of protein", since all foods have plentiful protein.  In other words, every whole food is a "source of protein". You don't have to eat certain, special foods to get protein. You just have to eat any food. That's it.
Any well-read health professional will tell you the same thing.  Take Marion Nestle, Ph.D, chair of the Department of Nutrition at New York University:

"We never talk about protein anymore, because it's absolutely not an issue, even among children.  If anything, we talk about the dangers of high-protein diets. Getting enough is simply a matter of getting enough calories."4.3
Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't bothered to look up the actual numbers.  The reason you've heard that plants are protein-deficient is because everyone is simply repeating that misinformation without looking at what the science actually says.  The science itself is clear and consistent, for anyone who cares to look. 
It's true that meat has more protein than vegetables, but the amount in vegetables is already much more than you need.  The extra protein in meat isn't better, it's actually useless.  If you're shopping for a car and one goes 200 miles an hour and the other goes 400, it doesn't matter, since the maximum speed limit in the U.S. is 80 mph.  Two hundred mph is more than enough for a car, and 22% protein from vegetables is more than enough when your protein needs are only 2.5 to 10%.

Oh, but you've heard that plant protein is "incomplete", right?  Well, that's not true either Read more:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Health Benefits of Beans

Health Benefits of Beans
Beans have proven to provide many health benefits that include lowering cholesterol and preventing spikes in blood sugar. This makes beans even more appealing for diabetics, those suffering from hypoglycemia and a resistance to insulin. Furthermore, the soluble fiber in beans helps reduce your risk of coronary disease and heart attacks.
In addition to satisfying your appetite, the fiber in beans also aids in digestion, a key factor in fat burning. If you’re worried about aromatic side effects of beans, use dry beans and rinse thoroughly.
Beans, black beans in particular, have antioxidant properties that have can reduce your risk of many types of cancer. Strangely enough, beans have been the most successful reducing risk of colon cancer. Another health benefit of beans is their ability to help you fight illnesses, again through the many antioxidants consumed in a serving of beans.
Maximizing Health Benefits of Beans
Grab an old or new favorite and give these healthy bean recipes a try!
  • Combine black, pinto and kidney beans with crushed tomatoes, chili powder, garlic and onion for a tasty 3-bean chili!
  • Enjoy black beans and brown rice for a nutritious and meat-free meal.
  • Warm black beans, corn and scallions. Place inside small corn tortilla shells and top with fat free sour cream and tomatoes for black bean tacos. Or lay on a bed of lettuce for a lower calorie alternative.
  • Combine garbanzo beans, garlic, ½ roasted red pepper, tahini and olive oil for a fat burning hummus. Use carrots, celery and bell peppers to dip.
Beans are finally recovering from an undeserved bad reputation, and it is in your best interest to take full advantage of the health benefits that beans are offering!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Benefits of Wheatgrass


Increases red blood-cell count and lowers blood pressure. It cleanses the blood, organs and gastrointestinal tract of debris. Wheatgrass also stimulates metabolism and the body’s enzyme systems by enriching the blood. It also aids in reducing blood pressure by dilating the blood pathways throughout the body.
Stimulates the thyroid gland, correcting obesity, indigestion, and a host of other complaints.
Restores alkalinity to the blood. The juice's abundance of alkaline minerals helps reduce over-acidity in the blood. It can be used to relieve many internal pains, and has been used successfully to treat peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract.
Is a powerful detoxifier, and liver and blood protector. The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, and chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants.
Fights tumors and neutralizes toxins. Recent studies show that wheatgrass juice has a powerful ability to fight tumors without the usual toxicity of drugs that also inhibit cell-destroying agents. The many active compounds found in grass juice cleanse the blood and neutralize and digest toxins in our cells.
Contains beneficial enzymes. Whether you have a cut finger you want to heal or you desire to lose five pounds...enzymes must do the actual work. The life and abilities of the enzymes found naturally in our bodies can be extended if we help them from the outside by adding exogenous enzymes, like the ones found in wheatgrass juice. Don't cook it. We can only get the benefits of the many enzymes found in grass by eating it uncooked. Cooking destroys 100 percent of the enzymes in food.
Has remarkable similarity to our own blood. The second important nutritional aspect of chlorophyll is its remarkable similarity to hemoglobin, the compound that carries oxygen in the blood. Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, president of the Hagiwara Institute of Health in Japan, is a leading advocate for the use of grass as food and medicine. He reasons that since chlorophyll is soluble in fat particles, and fat particles are absorbed directly into the blood via the lymphatic system, that chlorophyll can also be absorbed in this way. In other words, when the "blood" of plants is absorbed in humans it is transformed into human blood, which transports nutrients to every cell of the body.
Can double your red blood cell count just by soaking in it. Renowned nutritionist Dr. Bernard Jensen found that no other blood builders are superior to green juices and wheatgrass. In his book Health Magic Through Chlorophyll from Living Plant Life he mentions several cases where he was able to double the red blood cell count in a matter of days merely by having patients soak in a chlorophyll-water bath. Blood building results occur even more rapidly when patients drink green juices and wheatgrass regularly.
 Read more: