Category Archives: Whole Foods

Green Power Your Day

Most Americans struggle to eat enough fresh vegetables. Dark leafy greens, like kale and spinach, are especially lacking in the Standard American Diet (SAD). According to Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, author of The Veggie Queen, “Greens are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to help improve your health.” These veggie powerhouses are packed with calcium, fiber, folate, vitamins, minerals and they work hard in fighting cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The more immediate effect of these greens is the healing, uplifting hit of energy they provide.

Solution? Get these cancer fighting leafy delights in before you leave the house. All you need is a powerful blender and your imagination! Start with a basic recipe like the one below, or use a resource like www.simplegreensmoothies.com and build from there!

Give your green smoothie routine a week and it will become as addictive as your morning cup of Joe. This green start to your day will also go a long way in fighting overall inflammation.

Cheers!

Green Power Drink from Dr. Andrew Weil

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 3 large kale leaves ribs remove (baby spinach works too)
  • 3 whole dates pitted
  • 1 tablespoon hemp protein powder (optional)

Kiwi

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We LOVE Kiwis in our house! They make it into a smoothie or onto a snack plate almost everyday! Great news is they are #42 out of 48 on the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide which means you don’t HAVE to buy organic, always nice!

Have you ever just picked a kiwi up an bitten into it? Give it a try because you actually can eat the skin! Eating the skin TRIPLES the fiber, and preserves most of the Vitamin C. My kids even like the skin, whole or sliced, and that means less work for me!

Kiwis are also great frozen. Cut into little pieces they are similar to eating frozen grapes. When my kiwis start to turn bad I cut them into fourths and freeze them for smoothies.

This really is a simple, yet powerful fruit, to incorporate into your daily diets! ADDED BONUS, also a great low carb choice with a glycemic index of 52.

Everything you need to know about a kiwi from KiwiFruit.Org:

Kiwifruit is one of nature’s perfect foods: low in calories, high in energy and an excellent source of antioxidants. Each one delivers a world of nutrition benefits, including:

  • Vitamin C: Each serving of kiwifruit has nearly two-and-a-half times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, proven to boost the immune system and fight the effects of stress and aging.
  • No fat: Kiwifruit is fat-free, an important consideration in today’s healthy diets and a rarity among foods containing so many other nutritional benefits.
  • Fiber: Two kiwifruit contain more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal, the tasty way to maintain heart health, regular digestion and lower cholesterol.
  • Potassium: A serving of California Kiwifruit has more potassium than a banana, ideal for maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance and for releasing energy during exercise.
  • Antioxidants: Kiwifruit is an excellent source of antioxidants which are important in reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
  • Low glycemic index: With a glycemic index of 52, kiwifruit is a fat-free, low-carb fruit that’s safe for diabetics and a smart part of any weight-loss diet.
  • Magnesium: Two kiwifruit deliver 30 mg of magnesium, which improves nerve and muscle function while boosting your energy level.
  • Lutein: Kiwifruit contains the phytochemical lutein, which works to prevent age-related blindness and protect eyes from various kinds of damage.
  • Folate: With nearly 10% of the recommended daily value of folate, kiwifruit is a good way to protect the health of mother and baby during pregnancy while helping prevent birth defects.
  • Zinc: Men will appreciate kiwifruit’s zinc content, which helps produce testosterone, while everyone can enjoy its other benefits like healthy hair, skin, teeth and nails.
  • Vitamin E: Kiwifruit is one just a handful of fat-free sources of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps lower cholesterol and boost immunity.

 

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of my favorite vegetables. I realize they are very polarizing, people either love them or hate them, but they one of the most powerful foods you can consume, and they are very low in calories, but high in health benefits!

From Mushroominfo.com:

  • Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates2. B vitamins also play an important role in the nervous system.
    • Pantothenic acid helps with the production of hormones and also plays an important role in the nervous system2.
    • Riboflavin helps maintain healthy red blood cells2.
    • Niacin promotes healthy skin and makes sure the digestive and nervous systems function properly2.
  • Mushrooms are also a source of important minerals:
    • Selenium is a mineral that works as an antioxidant to protect body cells from damage that might lead to heart disease, some cancers and other diseases of aging2. It also has been found to be important for the immune system and fertility in men3. Many foods of animal origin and grains are good sources of selenium, but mushrooms are among the richest sources of selenium in the produce aisle and provide 8-22 mcg per serving4. This is good news for vegetarians, whose sources of selenium are limited.
    • Ergothioneine is a naturally occurring antioxidant that also may help protect the body’s cells. Mushrooms provide 2.8-4.9 mg of ergothioneine per serving of white, portabella or crimini mushrooms5.
    • Copper helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Copper also helps keep bones and nerves healthy2.
    • Potassium is an important mineral many people do not get enough of. It aids in the maintenance of normal fluid and mineral balance, which helps control blood pressure. It also plays a role in making sure nerves and muscles, including the heart, function properly2. Mushrooms have 98-376 mg of potassium per 84 gram serving, which is 3-11 percent of the Daily Value4.
  • Beta-glucans, found in numerous mushroom species, have shown marked immunity-stimulating effects, contribute to resistance against allergies and may also participate in physiological processes related to the metabolism of fats and sugars in the human body. The beta-glucans contained in oyster, shiitake and split gill mushrooms are considered to be the most effective6.

Read research about the nutrient composition of mushrooms here.

Mushrooms and Cancer

Scientists at City of Hope were some of the first to find a potential link between mushrooms and a decreased likelihood of tumor growth and development in cells and animals. City of Hope researchers now plan to apply this research to human clinical trials.

Read more about research that investigates mushrooms and cancer here.

Mushroom Antioxidants and Immunity

Mushrooms are the leading source of the essential antioxidant selenium in the produce aisle. Antioxidants, like selenium, protect body cells from damage that might lead to chronic diseases. They help to strengthen the immune system, as well2. In addition, mushrooms provide ergothioneine, a naturally occurring antioxidant that may help protect the body’s cells.

Learn more about research that ties mushrooms to supporting a healthy immune system here.

Mushrooms and Weight Management

Mushrooms are hearty and filling. Preliminary research suggests increasing intake of low-energy-density foods (meaning few calories given the volume of food), specifically mushrooms, in place of high-energy-density foods, like lean ground beef, can be an effective method for reducing daily energy and fat intake while still feeling full and satiated after the meal7.

Read about weight management/satiety research here.

Sodium and Umami in Mushrooms

Mushrooms and ground meat blend seamlessly to add an extra serving of vegetable to the plate by enhancing or extending the meat. It works because finely chopped, umami-rich mushrooms look similar and take on the flavor properties of meat and other flavors. Add nutrients to America’s iconic foods without losing taste or satisfying texture.

When building your plate to maximize vitamin D, consider mushrooms – they’re the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle and one of the few non-fortified food sources. In fact, the IOM recognizes them as the exception to the rule that plant foods don’t naturally contain vitamin D.

Read on to learn about vitamin D, or review the research here.

Mushrooms Are Gluten Free

Often grouped with vegetables, mushrooms provide many of the nutritional attributes of produce, as well as attributes more commonly found in meat, beans or grains4. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium, yet they provide several nutrients that are typically found in animal foods or grains4,9.

Like all fruits and vegetables, mushrooms are naturally gluten free, and make a delicious and nutritious addition to a gluten-free diet.

Learn more about the functional properties of mushrooms and their potential role in lipid management through various research studies linked here.

Beets

Easy Prep

Buy them, drop them in a pan of water, boil until a fork can easily poke into the beet. Let cool in a colander. Once cooled use a paper towel to rub off the skin, cut the top & bottom off and prep for your recipe. Easy!

The Benefits of Beets

(from Dr. Mercola)

1.Lower Your Blood Pressure

Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.3

The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

2.Boost Your Stamina

If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.4 The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

3.Fight Inflammation

Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.5 As reported by the World’s Healthiest Foods:6

“[Betaine’s]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”

4.Anti-Cancer Properties

The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.7

5.Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber

Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

6.Detoxification Support

The betalin pigments in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.