Saturday, December 31, 2011

FEEDING BABIES AND TODDLERS

In my opinion, one of the best things you can do for your baby/toddler is to teach them to eat healthy foods.  Are you aware that up to 85% of the brain's development takes place by the age of three?  Include fruits, vegetables, and grains in your young child's diet and he/she will continue to eat them for the rest of his/her life.  That is one of the best, longest-lasting gifts you can give your child.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

WEIGHT AND CANCER

To say that everyone who gets cancer is overweight would be a vast exaggeration.  However, according to research by the ACS, obesity does raise the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, colon, esophageal, kidney, pancreatic, uterine, and other cancers.  Just one more big reason to watch what you eat and to keep your weight under control.  Make changes to your diet gradually and lose that excess weight.  Not only will you feel better, you may be reducing your chances of getting a nasty cancer.  Cut back on fast food, eat more fruits and vegetables, etc. Make a lifestyle change in your diet!  The life you save could be your own!



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MUSTARD SEEDS

From Bible parables to todays table, importance has been placed on mustard seeds.  These tiny little seeds are found inside the seed pods of the mustard plant.  The mustard plant is a cruciferous cousin to broccoli and cabbage.  The brown seeds are pungent with a sharp, spicy-hot flavor and are used in brown mustards and Dijon mustards.  The milder, yellowish-white seeds are used to make the traditional American mustard.  These seeds are widely available and make great seasonings for meats, etc.  They are also great for pickling.  When gently toasted for a few minutes in a dry pan (shake pan constantly during toasting), they get a nutty essence and crunch that makes them a great granish for fish, salads, rice, etc.

Being products of the curciferous family, they contain natural healing components.  In studies the phytonutrients of the mustard seeds have shown to help prevent cancer, especially of the intestinal tract including the colon. 

Mustard seeds have anti-inflammatory poperties ranking high as a source of selenium, a nutrient which that has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer.

They are also a good source of magnesium. Like selenium, magnesium has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, to lower high blood pressure, to restore normal sleep patterns in women having difficulty with the symptoms of menopause, to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, and to prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Other compounds found in mustard seeds are manganese and omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Include mustard and mustard seeds in your diet for their health benefits.  The flavor is an added benefit!  Get rid of the mayonnaise and mayo type sandwich spreads you are currently using and replace them with mustards.  Remember, it is the small changes over time that make the biggest difference in your diet.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FAMILY MEALS

A 2010 survey found that 70% of children agreed they appreciated their parents more when the family took time to eat together.  Folks, that is a large number!  That same survey showed that 65% of parents said they felt less stressed when their family made a habit of eating their dinner/supper meals together.  Do not let today's busy lifestyles cause you to neglect this important family ritual.  Even if it can't be done on a regular basis, just once or twice a week is a good start.

However, the pleasure and peace from such occasions will be null and void if the process creates more stress.  Try these simple ways to get family meals going in your home:
  • Be realistic.  You cannot expect to put a gourmet caliber meal on the table in a matter of minutes.  It is the togetherness that counts, not the quality of the meal.
  • Order in food, if necessary.  Conversation and togetherness can be accomplished over a delivered pizza or Chinese takeout.
  • Make soups, lasagna, casseroles, etc when you can and refrigerate or freeze for warming up later.
  • Get a slow cooker or crockpot.  You can have some really good foods ready when you come home after a hectic day.
  • While home cooking is usually best for one's health, get together at a relaxing restaurant for a family meal from time to time.
Remember less stress and more relaxation is good for the health of mom, dad, and the children.  Make family meals a habit even if it is only a couple of times a week!  Health and happiness go hand-in-hand!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

HEART DISEASE EQUAL FOR SEXES

Heart disease was long thought to be more prevelant in men than women but we know that is not true.  Heart disease is currently the #1 killer of both sexes nationwide.  And would you believe something so simple as sprinkling slivered almonds on your morning cereal can benefit your heart?  As with all good things, don't go overboard.  However, a sprinkling of this healthy nut can lower the risk of heart disease by reducing levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.  Also, the antioxidants and vitamin E that are found in the skins of almonds might prevent plaque from forming on the artery walls.  And make sure that cereal you sprinkle them on is whole-grain which will help keep your blood pressure in check (a big risk for heart disease!).  Have that with low-fat milk!

Friday, December 23, 2011

AN APPLE FOR FLU PREVENTION?

As we head into flu season, the number one tip from the health and medical professionals is to get a flu shot.  However, there are ways we can help our bodies to ward off the flu and other health problems.  We all know the old wives tale of 'An apple a day keeps the Dr. away'.  But is there any truth in it?  The experts tell us there is!  You can prevent health problems by eating a well balanced diet and getting enough exercise and sleep!  That's right, sleep.  Your body rests and reginerates during sleep so don't cut back on sleep!  Apples are one of the important parts of a well balanced diet and should be eaten regularly.  They have many healthy properties (see other articles on this blog) so make them a regular part of your diet.  If not daily, several times a week.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

HAVING SOME CONTROL OVER CANCER WITH DIET

The following is a quote from Jeanne Wallace, PhD, a researcher and expert in cancer nutrition.  "When you get a cancer diagnosis, suddenly you become a very powerless person.  You are traipsing through the hospital as a name and number, people do all kinds of procedures to you, and you have a life-threatening condition, which many doctors maintain you have no control over."  Her advice to patients?  She tells them, "You could make some changes with your diet and it would give you some sense of empowerment."  She continues to say, "Even though patients might not have total control over their cancer, they do have some influence."  There are many posts on this blog about foods that will help you fight cancer.  I believe diet is one of the most overlooked but important pieces of the arsonal in a persons cancer fight.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

AGAVE NECTAR

Agave nectar actually has a lower-glycemic index (sugar content) than many other sweeteners.  That makes it excellent for anyone worried about controlling their blood sugar levels.  It can be especially helpful for people who are on chemotherapy who are worried about their blood sugar levels.  Also helpful as a sweetener for anyone receiving steroids that affect their blood sugar.  Agave nectar also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Note: This picture is not meant to endorse a particular brand of Agave Nectar!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CANNED FISH In OIL OR WATER?

It is better to choose canned fish not packed in oil.  Go for those packed in their own oil, water, mustard or a tomato sauce.  When you drain oil from canned tuna, for example, you lose from 15 to 25 % of the omega-3s that have leached into the oil from the fish while draining water packed tuna only loses 3 % of the omega 3s.

Monday, December 19, 2011

ORGANIC OR CONVENTIONAL FOODS?

If you are torn between buying conventional fruit and vegetables or organic, you need to know that organic and conventional have almost the exact calories, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  Often there is a little more vitamin C and flavonoids (those powerful antioxidants) in organic.  There are other factors to consider such as pesticide use, etc. but for the basic values of the foods, they are almost identical.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

FOLIC ACID AND THE LUNGS

Smokers should eat their green leafy vegetables.  As was mentioned earlier on this blog, these vegetables contain the compound folic acid known as folate.  Studies have shown that smokers who took fairly high doses of folic acid had much less lung cell damage than those who didn't.  Don't wait for the damage to be done.  Make green leafy vegetables a part of your everyday diet!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

WOMEN AND CARBS

Studies show that women who eat diets high in the 'wrong' carbohydrates (white bread, crackers, soda pop and white rice for examples) have double the risk of heart disease than the women who only eat them occasionally.  That is not a good thing!  If you are guilty, promise yourself to change your dietary habits immediately.  Start out with small changes such as no longer buying white bread or white rice.  Only purchase whole-grain breads and start using brown rice.  Add more lean protein to your diet and start out by replacing one soda pop a day with a glass of water.  It really isn't hard to make these potentially life-saving changes to what you eat on a regular basis.  Remember, these changes could save your life later.

Note:  While the studies I used were only done with women, it is much better for men and children to make these changes, too. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

MEDICINE MEASUREMENTS

When taking medicines that call for so many teaspoonsful or tablespoonsful, do not use the spoons in your kitchen drawer.  Those spoons are not official measurements and come in a whole hodgepodge of sizes.  Measure the medicine with a measuring spoon or a measuring cup that comes from your pharmacy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NUTRITIONAL INFO FOR BOK CHOY

In a previous post (below) we discussed the value of green vegetables in a healthy diet.  Since bok choy was one of the vegetables mentioned and it's values are not known to most, here is some information on this Chinese vegetable.  A tasty recipe will follow.

1 serving = 1 cup cooked
1 serving = over 100% of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin A
1 serving = almost 2/3s of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C
1 serving = vitually no fat
1 serving = 58 mg sodium
1 serving = 158 mg calcium (high for a member of the cabbage family)
1 serving = 631 mg potassium
1 serving = 69 mcg of folate  (Bok Choy is a good source of folic acid, also called folate, or vitamin B9, essential to digestive and cardiovascular health.)
1 serving = 20 calories
1 serving = 3 g carbohydrates

BOK CHOY SALAD
3 cups thinly sliced bok choy
1 cup chopped Napa cabbage
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
1/2 cup snow peas, blanched
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup crushed unsalted peanuts

Place above ingredients into a large bowl and toss to mix well.

Dressing:
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil

Place in a bowl and whisk until blended.  Drizzle over the salad and toss gently to coat.

Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 229 calories, 9 g protein, 22 g carbs, 14 g (1 saturated) fat, 6 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 348 mg sodium



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

IMPORTANCE OF GREENS

It has been said that the greening of the diet may be much more important to survival than the greening of the planet!  Green vegetables are packed with a variety of compounds, ie carotenoids, cholrophyll, glutathione, folic acid, vitamin C, etc that are known to protect our cells from a whole list of damages.  So be sure you include green vegetables in your diet daily.  That doesn't mean you have to sit down and eat a bowl of greens everyday.  Toss some greens into soups, stir-frys, etc.  And a few salads a week is a good idea. 

As an example we will look at cabbage which along with its other cruciferous kin such as kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, etc, is extremely high in phytochemicals which are great protectors from cancer, etc.  Cabbage also works as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.  One of the properties of cabbage and its kin is indole-3-carbinol, known as IC3 for short.  IC3 nearly doubles how quickly the liver can break down estrogen so it doesn't remain in the body.  (Estrogen is known to feed some cancers.)  Do not overcook as you will lose some of the important chemicals in doing so.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

HEALTHY CAREGIVERS

If you are the main caregiver for someone who is aging, ill, injured or disabled, there is one thing you must remember and it is this:  The healthier you are the better caregiver you will be!  Often we become so concerned for the person in our care that we neglect taking care of ourselves.  I remember many years ago when my teenage daughter was quite ill and in a coma.  I was making myself sick sitting by her bedside, not eating properly (mainly because I had no appetite), not getting enough rest, etc.  I will never forget her doctor walking into her room one day taking one look at me and saying, "Go home, eat, and get some sleep."  Of course I said, "Oh no.  I need to be here."  He quickly reminded me that I was doing nothing for her except making myself sick.  He then reminded me that as she got better, she would need me then.  I was shocked when he left the room and came back with a nurse.  He pointed to me and said, "I'm sending her home.  She is not to be back in this room during the next 24 hours unless we call for her.  Understood?"  I was furious!  But that was the biggest favor he could have done for me that day.  I had a sick headache and was simply worn out.  A week later she was out of the coma and needed me.  Thankfully, I was able to be there for her when she needed me.

So remember this, eat properly - not fast food or vending machine junk.  Get the rest you need and seek out help if needed.  Let someone prepare you a healthy meal, allow someone to give you a break, etc.  Remember you are no good as a caregiver, if you need care yourself!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies

I often have folks ask for gluten free desserts.  This cookie recipe is perfect for those of you who must pursue a 'gluten-free' diet.  Since today is National Cocoa Day, I thought it would be appropriate to give all my friends who must avoid gluten a tasty recipe using cocoa.  I hope you enjoy these cookies!
Today is national cocoa day. For anyone, but especially our friends who must eat "gluten free", here is a recipe that uses cocoa.

   Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the confectioners' sugar with the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually add in the egg whites, stirring with a spoon until mixture forms into a dough. The mixture should be thick enough that you can form it into small balls; if not add a little more confectioners' sugar and cocoa. Add the nuts and mix in well.

Form the dough into 15 equal size balls. Place balls on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 19 minutes until balls are glossy and have a crackled appearance. Cool completely.

Per cookie: 110 calories, 16 g carbs, 1 g protein, 7 g fat, 45 mg sodium

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oranges and Cholesterol

Did you know that oranges may help to lower blood cholesterol? They contain terpenes that reduce serum cholesterol levels and they are high in LDL-lowering fiber.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

SHREDDED CARROTS

Many nutrionists and experts on nutrion and health suggest grating carrots.  They say that when carrots are grated or shredded our bodies are able to get the most theraputic benefits.  Grating or shredding the carrots breaks down cell walls which enables the body to absorb more beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is the compound in carrots that is believed to help protect against cancer and some of the effects of aging.

Here is a recipe for a tasty grated carrot salad.
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup canned, crushed pineapple in its own juice (no added sugar)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (a very healthy nut)

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.  No dressing needed as the pinepple juice works as a dressing.  Let your imagination go wild with the combinations you can come up with.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

MALNOURISHED CANCER PATIENTS

One of the biggest problems many cancer patients face is a lack of appetite and the foods they do eat not tasting so good.  Ironically, good nourishment is one of the things they need most.  The body simply cannot fight cancer (or other illnesses) without proper nourishment.  It is one of the most important overlooked areas in so many patients cancer treatments.  If someone you know is fighting this horrific disease, one of  the most important things you can do to help is to see that they eat and eat properly.  They do not have to eat a big meal.  In fact small meals are preferable.  But something as important as the proper broth or soup can do wonders to help the body heal.   Often these patients are too sick to cook for themselves so make sure that have soups, broths, fruits, etc available at all times.  There are several articles on this site to help you with that. Rebecca Katz, a chef who works with oncologists, nutritionists, and cancer wellness professionals says, "As many as 80% of cancer patients are malnourished, often leaving them too weakened to withstand ongoing treatment.  Keeping them nourished with healthy foods gives patients a better chance of making the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor."  Dr. Keith I. Block, MD has said, "Eating a plant based diet is fundamental to a successful cancer fight."  Something as simple as a handful of blueberries can be very helpful to patients.

FIBER NEEDS

No one seems to know exactly what makes fiber work so well in our bodies.  But all the experts seem to agree that the average American needs to eat two or three times the amount of fiber they are currently eating.  High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains.  Be sure you are including these foods in your diet everyday! 

You will increase your daily fiber intake by eating more whole fruit and less fruit juice, green vegetables instead of or with french fries, legumes daily which is not hard as they can be included in salads, soups, etc.  You do not have to eat a bowl of beans everyday!  And change out the white bread in your home for whole-grain breads.

You don't have to make a lot of big changes at once.  Make gradual changes and see how easy it is.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CRANBERRIES AND CANCER

Liver cancer is one of the most difficult to fight.  But did you know the simple little cranberry is a potent fighter of this horrendous disease?  According to the experts, no fruit is better at inhibiting the growth of liver cancer cells in humans.  Many of the compounds in cranberries appear to be toxic to many cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.  These cancers include not only liver but lung, prostate, cervical, breast, and leukemia.  Newer studies show that whole cranberries may also target skin and brain cancer.

If you or a loved one are battling any of these cancers, add cranberries to your/their diet.  Including them in our diets on a routine basis just might be a good idea.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

VITAMIN E FOODS

Vitamin E is a crucial vitamin in protecting cell membranes.  According to Dr. Joseph McCord, an antioxidant researcher and leading authority of the subject, different antioxidants perform their roles in protecting us from free radicals in different ways.  Vitamin E defends the membranes of the cells from becoming attacked by those out-of-control free radicals.  Without such defenses, free radicals literally tear apart cell membranes causing the cell to leak out its vital fluids and die.  Vitamin E is fat-soluble and is concentrated in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, legumes, and some brans. Protect your body by including the following foods, high in Vitamin E, to your diet on a regular basis.  This is not to say you should sit down and eat a pound of walnuts for example.  A few a day, several times a week is all you need.

These foods are listed in order of the most milligrams of Vitamin E per 3 1/2 ounces:
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Wheat Germ
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Dried Lima Beans

Saturday, December 3, 2011

FOOD AS A DRUG?

The following is a quote from The Food Pharmacy Guide to Good Eating:  "Food is definitely a drug.  Every time you put food in your mouth you experience hidden pharmacological and biological reactions.  Indeed, it can be a wonder drug."

It is important to eat foods that will keep our bodies healthy.  Eating the wrong foods, such as too many sugars, fats, etc. can be like taking a bad drug.  Don't eat things that are harmful to your body.  Put healthy foods into your body for positive results.  Even if you don't like some of them, consider them as taking your medicine and eat them occasionally but regularly.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

VITAMIN C FOODS

Studies have found that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and one of the most potent in warding off atherosclerosis (clogged and stiffened arteries).  Following is a list (in order) of some of the foods that are the highest in this potent antioxidant, vitamin C:
  • Bell peppers, red and green
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
Interesting isn't it?  Look at all the green vegetables ahead of Oranges.  Most of us tend to think of oranges as so high in Vitamin C.  Actually, bell peppers have 128 mg of vitamin C per 3.5 ounces while oranges have only 50!  Your mother was right! Eat your vegetables.