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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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How to Cook Sweet Potatoes Without Losing Nutrients

Few foods are as versatile as they are nutritious, but the humble sweet potato is one exception. Whether you bake, roast, grill, saute, steam or microwave it, the orange-fleshed root vegetable delivers substantial amounts of vitamins A, C and B-6, potassium, iron and dietary fiber. Boiling sweet potatoes is not the most nutritious option because some of the vitamins are lost into the cooking water. You’ll get the most nutritional value from a sweet potato if you eat the whole thing, as its skin is a highly concentrated source of minerals and fiber. You’ll also absorb more of the vegetable’s beta-carotene – which your body converts to vitamin A – by consuming it with a small amount of fat.

In the Oven

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Rinse the sweet potato under cool running water. Use your fingers to brush off any dirt, as a scrubber may strip away some of the vegetable’s thin skin. Pat it dry with a paper towel.

Step 3

Pierce the sweet potato with a fork several times. Not only will this help the flesh cook evenly, but it will also keep the potato from bursting by allowing steam to escape.

Step 4

Place the vegetable in a roasting pan or other shallow baking dish. Because sweet potatoes tend to ooze some of their sticky sugars as they cook, you may want to line the dish with a piece of aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

Step 5

Cook the sweet potato for 35 to 45 minutes, turning it once about halfway through. Baked sweet potatoes are done when their skin becomes papery and their escaping sugars look as though they’re caramelized.

Step 6

Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Use an oven mitt to transfer the hot sweet potato to a plate.

Step 7

Serve it with a drizzle of olive oil, a dollop of plain yogurt or a sprinkling of freshly ground flaxseed.

In the Microwave

Step 1

Prepare the sweet potato as you would for baking — gently rinse it, pat it dry and pierce it with a fork several times.

Step 2

Set it in a microwave-safe dish. While a plate is sufficient, a rimmed dish will help keep your microwave clean. You can also place a paper towel between the dish and the sweet potato to help minimize hard-to-clean residue.

Step 3

Microwave the vegetable on high for about three minutes.

Step 4

Flip it over using an oven mitt. Continue to microwave it for another two to four minutes, depending on its size. As with the baked variety, microwaved sweet potatoes are done when their skin is papery and the sugars they exude begin to brown.

Step 5

Transfer the sweet potato to a plate using an oven mitt. Allow it to cool slightly before you cut into it, as microwaved potatoes tend to release a lot of steam.

Things You’ll Need

Paper towels
Fork
Roasting pan
Aluminum foil (optional)
Oven mitts
Microwave-safe dish
Olive oil, plain yogurt or ground flaxseed, if desired

by MEG CAMPBELL        Oct 13, 2015


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The Healthiest Way to Cook Mushrooms Is Totally Surprising

Scientists have revealed the best way to cook mushrooms — and it’s not in a frying pan.
Mushrooms are healthy because of the significant amount of dietary fiber, protein, amino acids, vitamins (including B1, B2, B12, C, D and E) and trace minerals that they contain, as well as the fact that they’re low in fat and calories.

But, according to researchers from the Mushroom Technological Research Center of La Rioja in Spain, mushrooms’ composition, antioxidant capacity and nutritional content can be negatively affected by the cooking process.

For the study, which was published in the International Journal of Food Sciences, the team evaluated the influence of boiling, microwaving, grilling and frying white button, shiitake, oyster and king oyster mushrooms. After cooking the four types of mushrooms, which were chosen because they are the most widely consumed species of mushroom worldwide, the samples were freeze-dried and analyzed, with the results compared to raw versions.

The researchers concluded that the best way to cook mushrooms while still preserving their nutritional properties is to grill or microwave them, as the fried and boiled mushrooms showed significantly less antioxidant activity. The fried mushrooms in particular revealed a severe loss in protein and carbohydrate content, but an increase in fat.”Frying and boiling treatments produced more severe losses in proteins and antioxidants compounds, probably due to the leaching of soluble substances in the water or in the oil, which may significantly influence the nutritional value of the final product,” said Irene Roncero, one of the study’s authors, in a statement.

Kate Samuelson     May 22, 2017     TIME Health
 
source: time.com


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9 Health Benefits of Kefir

Kefir is all the rage in the natural health community.

It is high in nutrients and probiotics, and is incredibly beneficial for digestion and gut health.

Many people consider it to be a healthier and more powerful version of yogurt.

Here are 9 health benefits of kefir that are supported by research.

1. Kefir is a Fantastic Source of Many Nutrients

Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow’s milk or goat’s milk.

It is made by adding kefir “grains” to milk.

These are not grains in the conventional sense, but cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that resemble a cauliflower in appearance.

Over a period of 24 hours or so, the microorganisms in the kefir grains multiply and ferment the sugars in the milk, turning it into kefir.

Then the grains are removed from the liquid, and can be used again.

So basically, kefir is the drink, but kefir grains are the “starter kit” that you use to produce the drink.

Kefir originated from parts of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. The name is derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good” after eating.

The lactic acid bacteria turn the lactose in the milk into lactic acid, so kefir tastes sour like yogurt, but has a thinner consistency.

A 175 ml (6 oz) serving of milk kefir contains:

  • Protein: 6 grams.
  • Calcium: 20% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B12: 14% of the RDA.
  • Riboflavin (B2): 19% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 5% of the RDA.
  • A decent amount of vitamin D.

This is coming with about 100 calories, 7-8 grams of carbs and 3-6 grams of fat, depending on the type of milk that is used.

Kefir also contains a wide variety of bioactive compounds, including organic acids and peptides that contribute to its health benefits.

Dairy-free versions of kefir can be made with coconut water, coconut milk or other sweet liquids. These will not have the same nutrient profile as dairy-based kefir.

Bottom Line: Kefir is a fermented milk drink, cultured from kefir grains. It is a rich source of calcium, protein and B-vitamins.

2. Kefir is a More Powerful Probiotic Than Yogurt

Some microorganisms can have beneficial effects on health when ingested.

Known as probiotics, these microorganisms can influence health in numerous ways, including digestion, weight management and mental health .

Yogurt is the best known probiotic food in the Western diet, but kefir is actually a much more potent source.

Kefir grains contain about 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very rich and diverse probiotic source.

Other fermented dairy products are made from far fewer strains, and don’t contain any yeasts.

Bottom Line: Kefir contains about 30 different microorganisms, making it a much more potent source of probiotics than other fermented dairy products.

3. Kefir Has Potent Antibacterial Properties

Certain probiotics in kefir are believed to protect against infections.

This includes the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir.

Studies show that this probiotic can inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter Pylori and E. coli.

Kefiran, a type of carbohydrate present in kefir, also has antibacterial properties.

Bottom Line: Kefir contains the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, and the carbohydrate kefiran, both of which can protect against harmful bacteria.

4. Kefir Can Improve Bone Health and Lower The Risk of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis (“porous” bones) is characterized by deterioration of bone tissue, and is a massive problem in Western countries.

It is especially common among elderly women, and dramatically raises the risk of fractures.

Ensuring an adequate calcium intake is one of the most effective ways to improve bone health, and slow the progression of osteoporosis.

Kefir made from full-fat dairy is not only a great source of calcium, but also vitamin K2. This nutrient plays a central role in calcium metabolism, and supplementing with it has been shown to reduce the risk of fractures by as much as 81% .

Recent animal studies have shown that kefir can increase calcium absorption by bone cells. This leads to improved bone density, which should help prevent fractures.

Bottom Line: Kefir made from dairy is an excellent source of calcium. In the case of full-fat dairy, it also contains vitamin K2. These nutrients have major benefits for bone health.

5. Kefir May be Protective Against Cancer

Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death.

It occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body, such as a tumor.

The probiotics in fermented dairy products are believed to inhibit tumor growth by reducing formation of carcinogenic compounds, as well as by stimulating the immune system.

This protective role has been demonstrated in several test tube studies.

One study found that kefir extract reduced the number of human breast cancer cells by 56%, compared with only 14% for yogurt extract.

However, take all of this with a grain of salt, as this is far from being proven in living, breathing humans.

Bottom Line: Some test tube and animal studies have shown that kefir can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. This has not been studied in people.

6. The Probiotics in it May Help With Various Digestive Problems

Probiotics such as kefir can help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut.

This is why they are highly effective for many forms of diarrhea.

There is also a lot of evidence that probiotics and probiotic foods can help with all sorts of digestive problems

This includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers caused by H. pylori infection, and various others.

For this reason, kefir may be useful if you have problems with digestion.

Bottom Line: Probiotics like kefir can treat several forms of diarrhea. They can also lead to major improvements in various digestive diseases.

7. Kefir is Generally Well Tolerated by People Who Are Lactose Intolerant

Regular dairy foods contain a natural sugar called lactose.

Many people, especially adults, are unable to break down and digest lactose properly. This condition is called lactose intolerance.

The lactic acid bacteria in fermented dairy foods (like kefir and yogurt) turn the lactose into lactic acid, so these foods are much lower in lactose than milk.

They also contain enzymes that can help break down the lactose even further.

Because of this, kefir is generally well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance, at least when compared to regular milk.

Also keep in mind that it is possible to make kefir that is 100% lactose free, by using coconut water, fruit juice or some other non-dairy fluid.

Bottom Line: The lactic acid bacteria have already pre-digested the lactose in kefir. People with lactose intolerance can often eat kefir without problems.

8. Kefir May Improve Symptoms of Allergy and Asthma

Allergic reactions are caused by inflammatory responses against harmless environmental substances.

People with an over-sensitive immune system are more prone to allergies, which can provoke conditions like asthma.

In animal studies, kefir has been shown to suppress inflammatory responses related to allergy and asthma.

Human studies are need to better explore these effects.

9. Kefir is Easy to Make at Home

The last one is not a health benefit, but important nonetheless.

If you are unsure about the quality of store-bought kefir, then you can easily make it at home yourself.

Combined with some fresh fruit, it makes one of the healthiest and tastiest desserts I have ever come across.

You can buy kefir grains in some health food stores and supermarkets, as well as online.

There are some good blog posts and videos on how to make kefir, but the process is very simple:

  • Put 1-2 tablespoons of kefir grains into a small jar. The more you use, the faster it will culture.
  • Add around 2 cups of milk, preferably organic or even raw. Milk from grass-fed cows is healthiest. Leave one inch of room at the top of the jar.
  • You can add some full-fat cream if you want the kefir to be thicker.
  • Put the lid on and leave it for 12-36 hours, at room temperature. That’s it.

Once it starts to look clumpy, it is ready. Then you gently strain out the liquid, which leaves behind the original kefir grains.

Now put the grains in a new jar with some milk, and the process starts all over again.

Delicious, nutritious and highly sustainable.

By Joe Leech, Dietitian 


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Are Eggs Healthy?

In some ways, eggs are very good for you.

First of all, they are a nutrient-dense food. They contain high-quality protein, meaning eggs offer all nine essential amino acids that can’t be made by humans and therefore must come from our diets. Protein in eggs can help build and preserve muscle as well as boost satiety, both of which are important for weight control.

Eggs are also one of the few food sources of vitamin D and a source of the nutrient choline, which may help protect against birth defects in infants. They contain vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2) and the antioxidant selenium, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help keep our eyes healthy.

Most of an egg’s calories, vitamins and minerals are found in the yolk.

But what about the cholesterol in eggs? It’s true that eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, which is also found in the yolk, but they’re low in saturated fat, which is the bigger culprit when it comes to raising blood cholesterol levels. Because of this, eggs get the green light according to the government’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

In fact, one recent meta-analysis found that higher consumption of eggs (up to one egg per day) is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. And a 2016 Finnish study involving more than 1,000 men concluded that egg or cholesterol intakes are not associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease, even in those who are genetically predisposed to experience a stronger effect of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol.

What is more likely to affect your health is how eggs are prepared, as well as which other foods you combine with them. One large poached egg has 71 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat, and an omelet made with spinach and one yolk is also a lean choice. But a serving of eggs Benedict with bacon and Hollandaise sauce has about 800 calories and 26 grams of saturated fat.

So feel free to enjoy eggs, but watch how you eat them. And balance eggs with other healthy fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

By Lisa Drayer, CNN     Fri April 14, 2017
 
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, author and health journalist.
 
source: www.cnn.com


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Pears: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information

Pears are a mild, sweet fruit with a fibrous center. They are rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber and pack all of these nutrients in a fat-free, cholesterol-free, 100-calorie package.

Consuming pears may help with weight loss and reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, if eaten as part of an overall healthy diet.

This Medical News Today Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown of the pear and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate more pears into your diet and any potential health risks of consuming pears.

Possible health benefits of consuming pears

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of a number of health conditions.

Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like pears decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and a lower weight.

Fiber

Pears are rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Institute of Medicine has developed an AI (Adequate Intake) guideline for fiber.

They recommend that men under the age of 50 consume 38 grams per day and women under the age of 50 consume 25 grams per day.

For adults over 50 years age, the recommendation for men is 30 grams per day and for women is 21 grams per day.

Many people in America do not get even 50 percent of their daily recommendation.

The National Institute of Medicine based its recommendation on a review of the findings from several large studies. They found that diets with 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories were associated with significant reductions in the risk of both coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The easiest way to increase fiber intake is to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Just one medium-sized pear provides 6 grams of fiber, about 24 percent of the daily need for a woman under 50.

Treating diverticulosis

Diverticulitis is when bulging sacs in the lining of the large intestine become infected or inflamed. High fiber diets have been shown to decrease the frequency of flare-ups of diverticulitis by absorbing water in the colon and making bowel movements easier to pass. Eating a healthful diet including plenty of fruit, vegetables, and fiber can reduce pressure and inflammation in the colon.

Although the exact cause of diverticular disease is still unknown, it has repeatedly been associated with a low fiber diet.

pears

 

Weight loss

Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and are also low in calories. Increased fiber intake has been shown to enhance weight loss for obese individuals.

Cardiovascular disease and cholesterol

Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A review of 67 separate controlled trials found that even a modest 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake reduced LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol.

Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may even play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation, consequently decreasing the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

Diabetes

A high-fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes and more stable blood sugar levels.

Digestion

The fiber content in pears prevents constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Detox

Regular, adequate bowel movements are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool. Pears are approximately 84 percent water, which helps keep stools soft and flush the digestive system of toxins.

Nutritional breakdown of pears

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one medium pear (approximately 178 grams) contains:

  • 101 calories
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 27 grams of carbohydrate (including 17 grams of sugar and 6 grams of fiber)
  • 1 gram of protein

Eating one medium pear would provide 12 percent of daily vitamin C needs, as well as 10 percent of vitamin K, 6 percent of potassium and smaller amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and folate.

Pears also contain carotenoids, flavonols, and anthocyanins (in red-skinned pears). In the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, pears and apples were found to be among the top contributors of flavonols in the diet.

Possible health risks of consuming pears

Fruits, like apples and pears, contain a higher amount of fructose compared with glucose; they are considered a high FODMAP food. A diet high in FODMAPs may increase gas, bloating, pain, and diarrhea in people suffering from irritable bowel disorders.

FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols;” these are all forms of fermentable short-chain carbohydrates. A diet low in these types of carbohydrates has been shown to decrease common symptoms for people who are FODMAPs sensitive.

It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

 
Written by Megan Ware RDN LD
 
Reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, School of Medicine Knowledge center             Tue 22 November 2016
 


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New Research Finds Organic Food Offers More Superior Health Benefits than Conventional

A one-year research review commissioned by a European Parliament committee has confirmed the benefits of organic food production for human health. The committee has recommended that Parliament give priority to certain organic production practices as a result of these findings.

The committee’s report, entitled “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” analyzed a wide range of other studies on the topic to reach its conclusions. Specifically, the report linked the consumption of organic food to improved early development and reduced pesticide exposure.

Conclusive evidence about the true impact of an organic diet on human health proved difficult to find, however; the study notes that “very few studies have directly addressed the effect of organic food on human health,” and studies that seem to show links between organic food and health have not always had enough scientific controls to be viable. The report cites, for example, the fact that consumers of organic food tend to have healthier general dietary patterns, thus making it difficult to link increased health to the consumption of organic food alone.

organic infographic

Nonetheless, some concrete distinctions in nutrition between organic and conventional crops were highlighted in the study, including a lower cadmium content in organic crops and a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk and meat.

Report coordinator Axel Mie, a professor affiliated with both Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, calls organic agriculture “a laboratory for the development of future healthy food systems.”

The research reviewed included studies on the health effects of organic food in humans, experimental in vitro and animal studies, research on pesticides and antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The report proposed five policy options going forward, ranging from “no action” to the pursuit of more intense EU policies for food safety and the support of organic agriculture by investing in research, development, innovation, and implementation.

Members of European Parliament who met in November to discuss organic agriculture noted that more research would likely be necessary to prove a truly conclusive link between the consumption of organic food and health.

JANUARY 27, 2017            by EMILY MONACO


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Coffee has been found to reverse liver damage caused by alcohol.
  • The brain naturally craves 4 things: Food, Sex, Water and Sleep.
  • Studies show that by eating a big breakfast, you won’t feel as hungry the rest of the day, which can lead to more nutritional food choices.
  • 70% of people pretend to be okay simply because they don’t want to annoy others with their problems.
Tomatoes
Eating tomatoes helps prevent sunburn.
  • The average woman smiles 62 times a day. The average man smiles only 8 times.
  • Self-discipline better predicts success than IQ, according to research.
  • Eating tomatoes helps prevent sunburn.
  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men. This is mostly due to the hormonal changes that women often experience.
Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact