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5 Delicious Health Benefits Of Pumpkin

The phytonutrients found in pumpkin show a lot of promise when it comes to protecting our noggins.

If you’re like a lot of people, Thanksgiving and Halloween are probably the only times you really give pumpkin a second thought; something to make a pie with and cover it with whipped cream or as a front-porch decoration, carved and lit with a candle. Both a traditional tribute to autumn, but pumpkin is so much more than that!

Rethinking the plump orange fruit

Yup, pumpkin is a fruit, not a vegetable! Pumpkins belong to the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes cucumbers, melons, squash, and gourds. Pumpkin is an extremely nutritious food with lots of health-promoting properties. Going beyond pumpkin pie, there is no shortage of mouth-watering pumpkin recipes, so getting more pumpkin nutrition in your diet is easy, whether it’s in salads, soups, desserts, preserves or baked goods like muffins or quick breads. To make it easier, nothing could be more straightforward than seasoning it with a little butter and cinnamon and baking it like you would a sweet potato.

Pumpkin nutrition. Check it out…

Pumpkin is rich in fibre, iron, vitamin B3/niacin, alpha and beta-carotene, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, and potassium.

One cup of cooked pumpkin [baked, boiled, and roasted] has an impressive:

  • 52 calories (very low)
  • 3 grams of fibre
  • 13 gm of carbohydrate
  • 1.48 milligrams of iron
  • 595 mg potassium
  • 5.4 mg beta-carotene
  • 7 mg alpha-carotene
  • 2.5 mg lutein & zeaxanthin
  • 2 mg vitamin E

 

No doubt the first food that comes to mind when potassium is mentioned is bananas, thank you banana marketing boards, kudos. But there are loads of other potassium-rich foods out there, not the least of which is pumpkin. The same one-cup measure has a whopping 565 mg of potassium, more than a large banana. Potassium is an under-appreciated mineral; more potassium and less sodium = healthy blood pressure and less cardiovascular disease risk. In fact getting more potassium is more important than lowering sodium intake.

Carotenes are awesome in so many ways too. As a group, they give several plants their respective colours, lycopene is red (tomatoes), lutein is yellow (corn, avocado), and alpha and beta-carotene are orange (pumpkin, mango, peaches, carrots etc).

Carotenoids are anti-cancer and anti-inflammation superstars. They help to reduce the risk for several cancers and the carotenoid lutein helps to reduce the risk for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause, and one of the most preventable forms, of blindness in those over 50 years of age.

One cup of pumpkin has a boat-load of these awesome carotenoids: 5.4 mg beta-carotene and 7 mg of alpha-carotene and 2.5 mg lutein & zeaxanthin. Take my word for it — that’s a lot.

5 delicious health benefits of pumpkin

Cardiovascular disease: Eating more plant foods has been shown over and over to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease — high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease — because plant foods provide a plethora of protective compounds like phytonutrients and blood vessel-loving minerals like potassium and magnesium. Get more heart-loving pumpkin with this warming Pumpkin Soup with Almonds and Sage.

Immunity: Plant foods help the immune system stay strong so that it can respond quickly and adequately to fight off invaders like viruses and bacteria. The immune system is even responsible for killing different types of cancer cells as they form, however, to be vigilant, the immune system needs good nutrition to keep it in tip-top shape. Phytonutrients such as beta and alpha-carotene help it do just that. For something different, try this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie for a twist on the classic Thanksgiving dessert.

The phytonutrients found in pumpkin such as alpha & beta-carotene and lutein show a lot of promise when it comes to protecting our noggins.

Eye health: As an antioxidant, beta-carotene appears to protect the lens from oxidation, helping to reduce the risk for cataracts. Lutein, on the other hand, is concentrated at the back of the eye in the macula where it helps to reduce the risk for macular degeneration by filtering out harmful blue light. The more lutein in your diet, the more lutein in the macula and the better protection your eye has. Nourish your eyes with this amazing Pumpkin Lasagna.

Dementia and cognition: Nutrition plays a huge role in the health of the brain. What we eat and drink affects the structure of the brain which, in turn, affects its function and this is no truer than with dementia and cognition. Several nutrients have been shown to nourish the brain and the phytonutrients found in pumpkin such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein show a lot of promise when it comes to protecting our noggins. Loving your brain is easy with this simple Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic side dish (personally, I’d load it up with rosemary as well).

Blood pressure: As mentioned above, higher intake of potassium is crucial for a blood pressure-lowering diet. To be specific, the ratio of potassium to sodium appears to be more important than the amount of sodium in your diet, a ratio that is naturally found in diets that include a lot of plant foods and little processed foods. Because most of us don’t get enough potassium, a focus on getting more plant foods is the best place to start and these Pumpkin Bran Muffins make it easy to do so.

by Doug Cook Integrative & Functional Nutritionist, Registered Dietitian       10/06/2017 

Doug Cook RD, MPH is a registered dietitian and integrative and functional nutritionist. Doug’s practice at the Donvalley Integrative Digestive Clinic focuses on digestive and mental health.He is the coauthor of Nutrition for Canadians for Dummies (Wiley, 2008),The Complete Leaky Gut Health & Diet Book(Robert Rose 2015) and 175 Best Superfood Blender Recipes (Robert Rose, 2017). Learn more by checking out his website www.dougcookrd.com

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Fun Fact Friday

  • The world’s quietest room is so quiet it can give you hallucinations. No one has been able to stay in the room longer than 45 minutes.
  • Pumpkin is not a vegetable, scientifically it is a berry.
  • You have a second brain in your gut, called the Enteric Nervous System. This is where the term ‘gut feeling’ comes from.

  • The human brain isn’t fully functional for learning until after 10 AM, science has proved that schools begin way too early.
  • Being in a negative relationship can weaken your immune system.
  • Over thinking can cause hair loss.
  • What you wear has an effect on how you behave.
Happy Friday  🙂
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • North American school buses are yellow because humans see yellow faster than any other color, which is important for avoiding accidents.
  • People fall in love on average 7 times before marriage.
  • Studies have shown that eating food without preservatives can improve I.Q by up to 14%.
  • Psychologists have found that whenever you’re in a bad mood, you can feel better just by forcing yourself to smile.
  • A teaspoon of honey is actually the lifework of 12 bees.
preservatives
  • Washing your hands makes you more optimistic.
  • Shy people tend have great observational skills, making it easier to recognize the core of a problem then solving it.
  • Pineapples are not a single fruit, but a group of berries that have fused together.
  • Pumpkin is not a vegetable, scientifically it is a berry.

Happy Friday  
🙂

 source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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12 Foods to Help You Focus

by: Emily Holland

Staying focused in today’s world can be a challenge. Technology presents countless distractions. The constant ping from your smartphone—alerting you to the latest social media notification or text message—can cause even the most focused individual to become scattered.

But technology isn’t solely to blame. Stress can add to the challenge. Aging can also play a role as your ability to ignore distractions can decline as you get older.

What many people may not realize is that diet can influence their ability to focus. Certain foods provide the brain with the necessary nourishment to help you concentrate. Many people are quick to turn to coffee for a cognitive boost. However, a variety of other options can enhance your ability to focus, while also providing a wealth of other health benefits.

Walnuts

A 2015 study conducted by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA found a positive association between walnut consumption and cognitive functioning in adults, including the ability to concentrate. According to the findings published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, consuming a handful of walnuts per day can lead to cognitive benefits, regardless of age. Walnuts, in comparison to other nuts, contain the highest-level of antioxidants, which help to promote brain function. They also contain alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that is important for brain health and development. Because walnuts are relatively high in fat and calories, no more than an ounce per day is recommended.

Blueberries

Blueberries are also high in antioxidants, particularly anthocyanin, which has been shown to fight inflammation and improve cognitive brain functions. Blueberries make for the perfect snack since they are low in calories, but high in nutrients such as fiber, manganese, vitamin K,  and vitamin C. When they aren’t in season, opt for dried or frozen blueberries.

Salmon

Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fat that may slow cognitive decline and possibly lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2005 study conducted by Rush University in Chicago. It also helps fight inflammation, which has been associated with a decrease in cognitive function.

Avocados

In addition to salmon, avocados are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and also contain monounsaturated fats, which support brain function and healthy blood flow to the brain. Avocados are also high in vitamin E, a necessary nutrient for optimal brain health that may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, studies show. Like walnuts, avocados are fatty and contain a lot of calories. The recommended serving is about 1/5 of a regular-sized avocado (or 1 oz.).

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is loaded with antioxidants, which have been shown in mice to improve memory and learning deficits that occur as a result of aging and disease. EVOO can also reverse damage in the brain caused by oxidative stress, an imbalance between free radicals and the body’s antioxidant defenses, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. EVOO is great to use as a healthy alternative to processed salad dressings.

Olive oil

Pumpkin Seeds

Nutrient-rich pumpkin seeds make for a quick and easy snack while providing proper nutrition to help promote focus and concentration. High in antioxidants and omega-3s, pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of zinc, an essential mineral that promotes brain function and helps prevent neurological diseases, according to research conducted in 2001 by the University of Shizuoka in Japan.

Leafy Greens

A 2015 study by researchers at Rush University found dark, leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collards, might help slow cognitive decline. Over a five-year span, they examined diet and cognitive abilities in older adults. They saw a significant decrease in the rate of cognitive decline in those who consumed larger amounts of dark, leafy greens. In fact, those who had one to two daily servings were found to have the cognitive abilities of a person 11 years younger. Researchers also found that the nutrients, vitamin K and folate were most likely responsible for keeping the brain healthy and preserving functioning.

Eggs

Eggs are a good source of protein, are rich in omega-3s, and contain choline, a vital nutrient for brain development. A 2011 study published in The American Journal of Clinic Nutrition found a high-level intake of choline improved cognitive performance. Eggs also contain B12, a vitamin that keeps the brain and nervous system healthy. So beat, scramble, poach, and flip to eat those eggs and reap the rewards.

Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics, often referred to as the “good” bacteria that help promote digestive health, which can lead to a healthier brain. A 2013 UCLA study found that women who regularly ate yogurt exhibited improved brain function while at rest or in response to completing a task. Yogurt is also high in B12 and magnesium, two essential nutrients for brain health.

Oatmeal

Whole grains provide energy. Oatmeal—slow-cooked whole oats, not the ready-cook kind from a packet—not only makes for a healthy breakfast, it also leaves you feeling full, which is important as hunger can diminish mental focus. For maximum clarity, try a bowl of oatmeal topped with walnuts and blueberries.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate, which is a stimulant, can provide you with an energy boost similar to a cup of coffee. A 2015 study by researchers at Northern Arizona University found participants who consumed 60 percent cacao content chocolate to be more alert and attentive. Chocolate is also high in antioxidants accounting for many of its health benefits. Just remember to choose dark chocolate over a milk chocolate candy bar filled with sugar.

Peppermint Tea

The herb peppermint may improve cognitive performance and increase alertness as well as calmness, according to a 2012 study by researchers at Northumbria University in the UK. Enjoy the health benefits by brewing a hot cup of peppermint tea or by simply smelling the herb.

Add five drops of peppermint essential oil to a warm bath or rub it lightly into your skin.

About the Author
Emily Holland
Emily is a certified Health Coach with a focus on stress and anxiety management. A combined interest in healthy living and human behavior led Emily to pursue a certification in health coaching at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as well as a master’s degree in General Psychology. She’s a freelance writer; you can find more of her work on her website, http://www.mindfulmotives.com.


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5 Ways to Boost Your Energy with Food

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook    April 1, 2016     Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook

The most common complaint I hear from people is that they are exhausted or have low energy. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can give your energy a significant boost. Here are some of my favorites:

Give Your Mitochondria a Boost: Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally-occurring substance in our bodies and in some foods that is necessary to provide energy to our cells. Inside our cells there is a micro-sized energy manufacturing facility known as the mitochondria. Mitochondria depend on CoQ10, as it is also called, to boost energy for every cellular function, including brain functions. Unfortunately, this nutrient can become depleted as we age or experience health issues. Coenzyme Q10 is primarily found in legumes, nuts, fish and poultry.

Eat Every 2 to 3 Hours: When we’re busy, rushed or on-the-go, it’s easy to skip meals or go long periods of time between meals—the worst thing you can do for your energy levels. To keep energy high you need to prevent blood sugar spikes and drops since the resulting cascade of hormones causes an energy roller coaster ride. You may feel fine one minute and then exhausted the next. The best and easiest way to maintain balanced blood sugar levels is to eat every two or three hours. It doesn’t need to be a lot of food; just a snack will do. But, you must be consistent.

Eat zinc-rich foods: The mineral zinc is involved in dozens of chemical reactions linked to energy creation in the body, so ensuring your diet has enough zinc is critical to experience an energy boost. Zinc is also necessary for healthy blood, bones, brain, heart, liver and muscles, so if you’re lacking this vital nutrient, you can experience a wide range of deficiency symptoms. Some signs of a zinc deficiency include: acne, brittle nails, infertility, frequent colds or flu, low sperm count or slow hair or nail growth. Zinc is also essential to prostate health. For more information check out my blog “9 Simple Ways to Drastically Reduce Your Prostate Cancer Risk.” Eat zinc-rich foods like sprouts, pumpkin seeds, onions, sunflower seeds, nuts, leafy greens, beets, carrots or peas frequently throughout the day.

pumpkin seeds

To B or Not to B: There are many vitamins found within the B-Complex, including B1, B2, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, folic acid, B12, B13, B15, B17, choline, inositol, biotin and PABA. It’s not necessary to remember all of their names, but it is important to ensure adequate B vitamin intake to experience more energy. B vitamins are essential for energy production. And, the more stressful your life is, the more your body depletes these vital nutrients. Additionally, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, that’s an additional stressor to your body. Because B vitamins are not manufactured or stored by the body, it’s imperative to get B vitamin-rich foods every day. Some of the best food sources of these nutrients include: brown rice, root vegetables, pumpkin seeds, citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, kale, green vegetables and legumes. For an added boost, take a B complex supplement (50 or 100 mg) once or twice a day.  Keeping your gut healthy is also essential to proper nutrient absorption. To learn more about keeping your gut healthy, check out my blog “5 Reasons Why Your Gut is the Key to Great Health.”

Ensure that every meal or snack has some protein in it: While many diet programs would have you believe that protein equals meat, the reality is that meat takes a lot of energy to digest and tends to sit in the digestive tract for many hours. There are many other excellent sources of protein, including: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, legumes like chickpeas or lentils, avocado, nuts like raw walnuts or almonds and coconut milk. The protein causes a consistent release of energy over time and helps to avoid the blood sugar energy crashes most people experience. Did you notice that pumpkin seeds and legumes keep showing up in the foods that help boost energy? When you need a quick energy boost, these foods will help supply numerous vital nutrients.  Check out “Top Vegan Sources of Protein” for more information.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast!


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9 Seeds You Should Be Eating

Chia Seeds

Chia has come a long way since it first sprouted out of funny pottery in TV commercials. Today, these seeds are best known as a super food, and with good reason. Just 1 ounce (that’s 2 tablespoons) has nearly 10 grams of fiber. Ground in a blender, chia seeds make the perfect crunchy topping for yogurt or vegetables. When you soak them in a liquid, such as juice or almond milk, they get soft and spoonable: a smart swap for pudding.

Wild Rice

Surprise! Wild rice isn’t rice at all — it’s actually a grass seed. It’s higher in protein than other whole grains and has 30 times more antioxidants than white rice. It also provides folate, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B6, and niacin. It cooks up tender and fluffy in a rice pilaf, and the warm grains are a hearty addition to green salads.

Pumpkin Seeds

If you’ve ever roasted a batch of these after carving your annual jack-o’-lantern, you know they make a great snack. And a healthy one, too. Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, an important mineral that boosts your heart health, helps your body make energy, and powers your muscles. Eat them year-round as a soup or salad topper, with cereal, or in homemade trail mix.

Pomegranate Seeds

Also called arils, these are the sweet, jewel-like beads you strip from the inside of the fruit. They’re high in vitamin C and antioxidants. A full cup of pomegranate seeds has fewer than 150 calories, making it good for a light snack. Tossed in a salad or whole-grain dish, they add a juicy pop of flavor and color to your dinner plate.

Quinoa

If you’re looking for healthy sources of protein, quinoa has you covered. The grain-like seed packs 8 grams per cup. It cooks up like rice and can fill in for pasta and other grains in many of your favorite dishes. You can also use it as a gluten-free breading for dishes like chicken fingers. Make a batch instead of oatmeal for a breakfast porridge that will start your day with more protein, fiber, and iron.

Flax Seeds

Humans have been eating these for good health as far back as 9,000 B.C. If you don’t eat enough fish, adding flax to your diet can help you get omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats that are good for your heart. It’s the best plant source of this important nutrient, and it gives you a good dose of fiber, too. When the seeds are ground into flax meal, they may help lower blood pressure. Flax has a nice, nutty flavor. Add a scoop to oatmeal, your pancake batter, or salads.

Hemp Seeds

Their mild, nutty flavor pairs well with savory dishes. They also have plenty of protein: 2 tablespoons has 10 grams, even more than flax or chia seeds. Hemp is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. You can use the seeds whole, sprinkled on salads or whole-grain dishes, or look for hemp milk to replace your usual dairy.

Sunflower Seeds

These tender kernels are every bit as good for you as they are tasty. A 1-ounce serving has about half your daily vitamin E. They’re also high in healthy fats. Add them to your next batch of veggie burgers for extra flavor and nutrition. Sunflower seeds also make a great addition to your morning smoothie. And, of course, you can just keep snacking on them right out of the bag.

Sesame Seeds

Those little white dots on your hamburger bun aren’t just there for decoration. The sesame seed is one of the most versatile ingredients out there. Sesame oil, a smart pick for salad dressing, is high in a kind of fatty acid that may lower the bad type of cholesterol. Ground to a paste, they turn into tahini, a peanut butter sub for those with nut allergies. (It’s also a main ingredient in hummus.) The whole seeds are rich in fiber and protein. They add crunch and flavor to vegetable stir fries.

source: www.webmd.com


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Top 10 Plant-Based Proteins To Add To Your Daily Routine

BY MEGHAN TELPNER    JANUARY 10, 2015

We all know protein is important. But even if we’re vaguely aware that we need to watch our protein intake, it’s easy to write it off as something only body builders or people on strict diets need to worry about. For women especially, it’s not uncommon to go without a good source of protein until the evening meal.

Protein is about more than building muscle. Each and every body part requires protein to function, from red and white blood cells to hair and skin (all made of protein.) Eating protein at every meal stabilizes our blood sugar levels, helping with everything from mood to weight management to nervous system health.

So how do we boost our protein intake without resorting to a big hunk o’ steak? It’s easy to get more protein in your diet without sacrificing your favorite meals. Power up your existing favourites with these easy-to-use plant-based sources of protein.

1. Fermented Protein Powder

Health Benefits: While regular vegan protein powders can sometimes be difficult to digest, the fermented variety supports healthy gut bacteria.

How To Use: Blend it in with your morning smoothie.

2. Ground Flaxseeds

Health Benefits: On top of being high in protein, flaxseeds are also a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Their fiber content and mucilaginous nature also make them great for gut health.

How To Use: Sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto oatmeal or cooked veggies for a nutty flavour. You can also add ground flaxseeds to homemade baked goods. Recent studies have found that cooking flaxseeds leaves the omega-3 content intact.

3. Chia Seeds

Health Benefits: Like flaxseeds, chia seeds are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Because they can absorb so much liquid (becoming a chia “gel”), they can also help prevent dehydration.

How To Use: Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on porridge, used to make puddings, or even as a grain-free “breading” for chicken or fish (if you eat it!).

4. Sunflower Seeds

Health Benefits: High in protein, sunflower seeds are also anti-inflammatory, which can help with symptoms of conditions like asthma and arthritis.

How To Use: Sunflower seeds can be sprinkled on salads and porridge. Ground sunflower seeds can also be used in place of flour to dust meats or added to grain-free baking recipes.

Sesame Seeds – Ten Amazing Health Benefits Of This Super-Seed

5. Nut Butters

Health Benefits: High in healthy fats and protein, nuts are wonderful for balancing your blood sugar levels, and using all-natural nut butters is a great way to get them in your diet.

How To Use: Add a scoop of almond butter to your green smoothies, spread some cashew butter on a homemade gluten-free muffin or replace the maple syrup on your oatmeal with a spoonful of your favourite nut butter variety.

6. Spirulina

Health Benefits: While “green” isn’t normally the color you’d think of when it comes to protein, this algae is actually a 65% highly-digestible protein. It’s also incredibly high in calcium, making it great for bone health.

How To Use: Spirulina makes for awesome addition to a green smoothie. It can be strong-tasting, so start slow!

7. Hemp Seeds

Health Benefits: Hemp seeds are packed with protein. They also contain the ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

How To Use: Hemp seeds can be added to smoothies or sprinkled on top of salads. They are soft and don’t need straining, so they’re great for making dairy-free seed milk, too.

8. Alfalfa Sprouts

Health Benefits: Sprouts are rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, and alfalfa sprouts are made up of as much as 35% highly-digestible protein.

How To Use: Sprouts are an awesome salad-topper or great addition to any green smoothie. These are an easy one to grow yourself. Check out this handy sprouting tutorial.

9. Chickpea Flour

Health Benefits: Baked goods aren’t exactly the first thing protein source you’d think of, but swapping your usual flour for a high-protein, gluten-free one is a great way to add a protein boost to your day. Since chickpea flour is made of dried, ground chickpeas, it contains all the health benefits of these nutrient-packed beans, including antioxdiants, digestive support and blood sugar regulation.

How To Use: Chickpea flour works best in gluten-free baking recipes when it makes up no more than 25% of the total flour content, so mix and match it with other flours for best results.

10. Pumpkin Seeds

Health Benefits: Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, which key to nervous system health and is necessary for more than 300 chemical reactions in the human body. They’re also high in, you guessed it, protein!

How To Use: Pumpkin seeds can be added to your morning smoothie (use pumpkin seed butter if you don’t have a high-speed blender), used in baked goods or sprinkled on porridge. Lightly toasted pumpkin seeds also make an awesome salad topper!