Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Posts Tagged ‘antioxidants’

Funny Name For Tea With Oregano

Posted by terrepruitt on October 23, 2014

I was looking around WordPress one day to see what other blogs I could read – besides Nia blogs – in the areas that I am interested in.  To me the way to peek around and search for other blogs used to be much easier.  I used to be able to go to a WordPress home page and the page would come up with options to search.  Now when I go to that URL it takes me to one of my admin pages.  I imagine that if I signed out I might end up at a page I could search, but the whole reason I am searching WordPress blogs is because there has to be ones I would be interested in and when I am signed in it is so easy to comment.  I have to go to a URL that I have bookmarked because it is not one that is easily remembered just to get a search field.  Anyway . . . I was looking at different blogs and I came across a post with a title that caught my eye and made me laugh so I clicked on the blog to check it out.  The post was about tea with oregano in it.  That got me thinking about the benefits of oregano.

First, the title that caught my eye was Sick People Tea.  Ha, ha, ha.  I thought that was very funny.  Sounds pretty accurate to me.  It is tea people drink when they are sick.  Still makes me laugh.  The recipe consists of lemon slices, fresh ginger, fresh or dried oregano, and water.  The instructions are found on Ali Does It Herself (click here).

I have not tried the tea.  I am not a fan of oregano.  But more importantly I have not been sick since I discovered the recipe a few days ago.  If I can remember (one reason I post things) when I do feel under-the-weather I will give this a try.  Even though I don’t really think of oregano as an herb I like.  I like its relation; sweet marjoram.

Oregano contains very high concentration of antioxidants – according to an article published in the Journal of Nutrition about the assessment of “the contribution of culinary and medicinal herbs to the total intake of dietary antioxidants”.  As a reminder, antioxidants help keep other molecules from oxidation (which can produce free radicals).  Further reminder from WebMD: “Free radicals” is a term often used to describe damaged cells that can be problematic.  Because oregano is an antioxidant it can help boost your immune system.

Many sources state the oregano is a good source of Vitamin K (needed for blood and bone health).

WebMD states that Oregano might possibly help lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol).  The site states there was clinical research that showed this occurred after taking oregano after each meal for three months.  The same page states that oregano oil killed parasites in the intestines after taking it for six weeks.

Many sites claim that oregano is helpful in the treatment of  asthma, allergies, bronchitis, colds and flus, coughing, acne, dandruff, toothaches, bloating, indigestion, menstrual cramps, arthritis, headaches, among other things, but more research is needed to prove treatment with oregano and/or its oil is effective.

There are so many variable when using herbs and things, I think it could help for some people for some issues and not others.

You may have seen the “life-hack” that states oregano oil will help deter insects.  I have haven’t tried it but it sounds great if it works.

Do you like oregano?  Do you think of Italian Food when you think of oregano?  Do you cook with oregano?  Doesn’t the Sick People Tea sound interesting?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

My Greens Gone Blue — Finally!

Posted by terrepruitt on August 16, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesOne of the reasons I got a super blender was to consume more vegetables. In addition to more vegetables I also wanted to consume veggies and fruits that I normally wouldn’t eat but that I have come to believe would be a health benefit to me. One food I have come to believe is a healthy benefit to a diet is blueberries. I don’t like blueberries. If you know me and my love for the color blue you might be a bit surprised that I don’t love one of the only blue foods there is. But I don’t. The flavor is not that great to me, but it is really the texture I don’t like. They are mushy and mealy. Not a texture I enjoy. But they are considered a “super food” so something I wouldn’t mind adding to my diet.  But since I won’t just eat them raw and I don’t like baked fruit in desserts, I was hoping to use my Blendtec to get some blueberry goodness into my diet.

According to the website, World’s Healthiest Foods:

“In terms of U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries rank only second to strawberries in popularity of berries. Blueberries are not only popular, but also repeatedly ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. We recommend enjoying raw blueberries — rather than relying upon blueberries incorporated into baked desserts — because, like other fruits, raw blueberries provide you with the best flavor and the greatest nutritional benefits.”

I think most fruits that are added to baked goods lose a lot of their nutritional value, if not from the cooking themselves, but it might be considered to be “canceled out” due to the added sugar and fat.  But, as I mentioned I am not a fan of cooked fruit in desserts.

With all of the nutritional benefits in mind I finally bought some blueberries with the sole intent of putting them in a smoothie. I thought I had better go with a mild, yummy green so I would be stacking the deck to help the blueberries. I used spinach.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesI actually made a very yummy smoothie.

I used:

_______________________________

Blueberry Green Smoothie

1 cup water
1/2 container of blueberries
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 (1/2) frozen banana
10 ice moons
1 scoop protein powder

_______________________________

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes

 

 

 

It was very good. My husband is pretty amazing when it comes to tasting the ingredients. He tasted the blueberries right off. I knew they were in there and I didn’t seem to taste them.  He pointed out that you can see them.  Little tiny flecks of blueberries were in the smoothie.  And yes, I know the were in there, I made it.  Silly man!

So now that I have tried blueberries in a smoothie and liked them I can try using other greens.  Now that I know they don’t ruin it.  Tee hee.

What about you?  Do you put blueberries in your green smoothies?  What “recipe” might you have to share?

 

 

Posted in "Recipes", Food, Smoothies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Drink Smart and in Moderation

Posted by terrepruitt on February 20, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaThe various surprising health benefits of wine

For centuries, people have derived pleasure from drinking many different varieties of wine. Whether it’s a sensuously versatile Pinot Noir or a divine Chardonnay, drinking wine in moderate amounts has proven to be one of the more effective ways to unwind, relax and allow the stresses of the day to just slowly fade away into the ether. Various studies have emerged throughout the years espousing the health benefits of drinking a glass or two of high-quality wine.

Experts from the world-renowned Mayo Clinic have stated that there are certain substances in red wine called phytochemicals (specifically, flavonoids and resveratrol) that may help prevent heart disease and failure by performing two critical functions: increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (also known as the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage. It is worth noting that both resveratrol and flavonoids are also recognized as antioxidants (not all phytochemicals are antioxidants, though).

Resveratrol, in particular, is markedly more prevalent in red wine than in white wine; after all, red wine is fermented with grape skins for a longer period of time compared to white wine. Additionally, resveratrol has gotten a lot of attention due to possibly playing an important part in maintaining healthy cardiovascular function. Some of the existing research has linked resveratrol to reduced blood vessel damage, prevention of blood clots, and a decreased amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Dr. Eric Crampton, a highly respected University of Canterbury academic, has also opined that based on his interpretation of the current studies available, moderate drinking reduces mortality risk. Furthermore, according to Paul Jaminet of the Perfect Health Diet, animal studies have shown that the harmful effects of alcohol on the liver – fatty liver disease that inevitably leads to a scarred and damaged liver (cirrhosis) – occur only when it is combined with excessive intake of polyunsaturated fats.

Clearly, judicious consumption of red wine not only calms the senses; it’s also a healthful habit in moderation.

Image courtesy of M&S
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This post is a guest post.  The conclusion reached is that of the guest author.  My approach would be more from a “COULD be” healthful.  Many things we eat, drink, and do have the appearance of being healthful, but it always boils down to moderation AND the individual, so to me it is not so clear.

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

For The Love Of Onions

Posted by terrepruitt on August 29, 2013

Since I recently posted a recipe with Green Beans, Walnuts, and Onions, I have been posting about the three main ingredients separately, for Green Beans click here and for Walnuts click here.  I like onions.  I like sweet onions, red onions, white onions, yellow onions, and green onions.  I have actually grown to like them more as I get older.  When I was younger I liked the flavor, but not the onion itself.  I would pick them out of anything and off of anything.  And I used to never eat them raw.  I still don’t like to eat a lot of cooked onions and will often leave them on my plate if they are cut large enough and it is easy to move them out of the food I am eating, but I do actually eat them now.  Also I will include raw onions in my salad.  It all depends.  When I eat them raw they have to be so teeny tiny you would probably laugh.  Onions, however, are more than just for flavoring.

Onions contain flavonoids.  Flavonoids are what give the plant its pigment and have been linked to terms such as “cancer-fighting” and a lot of “anti-s” – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-biotic, anti-allergic, anti-microbial, and anti-diarrheal activities.  Onions store the flavonoids primarily in their skin.  So the less you peel off the better.  There is the red in a red onion (to me it is actually purple, but whatever) and the yellow in a yellow onion.  The white has flavonoids too, but not as many as the red.

According to PubMed, study was done that concluded the consumption of onions had a “beneficial effect on bone density in perimenopausal and postmenopausal non-Hispanic white women 50 years and older.”  Wow.  So it could be that eating onions helps with bone density . . . who would have thought.

Onions should not be refrigerated, except for the green ones (scallions).  We keep our onions in the fridge.  I should change that.

To me, onions are good in pretty much any type of savory dish.  I don’t think onions go to well with sweet things, but sometimes it works, but usually the onion needs to be a sweet onion or a red onion.  My husband does not mind onions with his sweet.

The following nutritional information is from the National Onion Association’s website:

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaOnion Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cup (160g)  The Percent (%) is for the Daily Values*

*Percent (%) Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.  Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Calories    64    3%
Total Carbs    14.9 g    5%
Total Fat    0    0%
Cholesterol    0    0%
Dietary Fiber    2.7 g    11%
Sugars            6.8 g
Protein         4.9 g
Vitamin A    3.2 IU    0%
Vitamin C    11.8 mg    20%
Vitamin B6    0.2 mg    10%
Folate     30.4 mcg    8%
Calcium   36.8 mg    4%
Iron           .3 mg    2%
Magnesium    16 mg    4%
Phosphorus    46.4 mg    5%
Potassium    234 mg    7%
Sodium    6.4    0%

Many people have strong feelings about onions.  They either LOVE them or HATE them.  Where do you stand?  Do you love them?  Do you hate them?  Do you like them cooked?  Do you like them raw?  Did you know they had such great health benefits?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Cilantro Has Some Good Stuff

Posted by terrepruitt on June 18, 2013

I used to not like cilantro.  Or at least I thought I didn’t like it.  Funny how that happens, isn’t it?  I really thought I didn’t like it then one night I was at someone’s house and they had made a salad . . . a BEAN salad at that and I tried some and I liked it.  I don’t like beans and I don’t like cilantro and I don’t normally eat onions . . . . .well, that is what I would have said all that time, many months ago.  When I tried the salad I decided that I did like beans and cilantro, but only in that particular salad.  I figured it was the combination of all of the ingredients that made it acceptable.  You might have read in some of my other posts though that I will eat kidney beans in a recipe I make called Red Beans and Rice.  It is NOT the typical Red Beans and Rice recipe, click here to see.  Since I do make the bean salad recipe I find myself with left over cilantro.  And since I have discovered I like it, I put it in my green salad.  It is a nice addition to the salad to give it a different flavor.  I actually haven’t tried it in anything else I can think of.  It seems like people either LOVE cilantro or HATE it.  I like it.  I don’t LOVE it, but it is a nice change of flavor. Today while I was making the Bean Salad I decided to give a look at what cilantro has to offer.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaFirst of all cilantro is the leaves of the coriander plant.  Coriander is the little round pellet type seasoning.  Wiki states that all parts of the plant are edible, but it is the leaves and the dried seeds that are most commonly used.  That is cilantro and coriander.  Also, “the leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, fresh coriander, Chinese parsley, or cilantro (particularly in North America).”

Cilantro contains antioxidants.  Coriander does too, but the leaves were found to have a stronger effect.

According an article on the Global Healing Center’s website, consuming large amounts of cilantro regularly can help clear the body of toxic metals.

Cilantro contains potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.  It also has many vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. The website Power Your Diet states that there is 30% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, about 225% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A, and about 258% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K, but in 100 grams.  That seems like a lot of cilantro to eat.  When I put it in my green salads or bean salad I don’t think I put but a small fraction of that.  I think I put about a cup of cilantro in the bean salad today, but I don’t think it weighed near 100 grams.  I still think that health benefits can be received.  I don’t really need 200% of any recommend value.

I believe herbs are a good way to both flavor our food and get nutrients we need to assist our bodies in being healthy.  Do you like cilantro?  Do you cook with it?  

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Beets Have Better Overall Nutrition Than Dirt

Posted by terrepruitt on September 22, 2012

Since I am still busy with my Nia classes and I have my Zumba teaching debut coming up, it really helps to have produce delivered.  I know Nia and Zumba instructors that can learn a routine in an afternoon and teach it that night.  I am not one of those teachers.  It takes me a long time, so something that saves me a trip to the store is awesome.  But then I do spend a little time trying to figure out what to do with the new-to-me produce.  I also like to look up the nutrition.  One thing I didn’t remember when I received my beets is that the beet greens can be eaten.  I forgot about my own post Borscht Is Beets and I just chopped them off and threw them away.  Now I know.  I do have faith that beets have more nutrition than dirt, but I don’t actually know the nutrition value of dirt, so I really am just going off of faith.

As a reminder beets have anti-inflammatory affects along with antioxidant properties.  According to World’s Healthiest Food website here are some numbers on a cup of raw beet:

1.00 cup rawDance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia   workout, Nia, Zumba
136.00 grams
58.48 calories
folate 148.24 mcg
manganese 0.45 mg
fiber 3.81 g
potassium 442.00 mg
vitamin C 6.66 mg
tryptophan 0.03 g
magnesium 31.28 mg
iron 1.09 mg
phosphorus 54.40 mg
copper 0.10 mg

The website states that the phytonutrients in beets are called betalains and the longer the beets are cooked, the less there are in the root.  They “recommend that you keep beet steaming times to 15 minutes or less, and roasting times under an hour.”  So some of the nutritional value is higher the less they are cooked.  I had mentioned something similar in my Borscht post.

The paper that comes with the produce I have delivered states that the beets were gold beets.  Being unfamiliar with beets I say, “Ok.”, but they were not yellow.  They were deep red/purple — as you can see.  And I KNOW, I have seen yellow beets before.  I had a co-worker who loved beets and she would eat them in all the colors.  Maybe the yellow ones aren’t called gold beets and these really were gold beets?  I don’t know.  The red and yellow pigment in beets lose their “super powers” the more the beets are cooked.

Since I have had my first foray into cooking beets and making something with beets I think I can do it again.  I know I just made a salad, but it wasn’t terrible.  I think I need to move onto something my husband just loves.  In fact when I asked him if he liked beets he said yes and he reminded me that he loves borscht.  I forgot he loved borscht and I forgot I posted about it.  So I think I will actually purchase some beets and give it a try.

This is exactly one of the reasons I chose to have a produce box delivered.  I never would have bought beets — obviously since back in January 2011 I talked about them and STILL haven’t done it.  So now it is one of the things I can add to our list of vegetables for us to eat.  I have the tendency to buy the same vegetables over and over even though I know variety is good.  I just don’t buy it if I don’t know what to do with it.  But when it lands on my doorstep, I feel as if I have to find something to do with it.  I am so excited to be expanding my produce horizons.  I also love that so many people have ideas on what to do with these new-to-me items.

Do any of you like Borscht?  Do you have a recipe for it?  

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Zucchini Has Antioxidants and Vitamins

Posted by terrepruitt on June 23, 2012

I don’t think I really knew that the zucchini is a hybrid of the cucumber.  I do sometimes have trouble telling them apart when they are cut up in a salad, but I never really thought about their relation.  I guess I figured they were related somehow.  Since zucchini and cucumbers are related that makes zucchini a fruit.  Geez louise.  I would be in so much trouble if my life depended upon knowing the difference between what actually is a fruit and what isn’t.  Most of the vegetables I think of as vegetables are actually fruits.  The culinary world and the world of botany doesn’t always match up.  Wiki describes the zucchini in the following appetizing way:  “swollen ovary of the zucchini flower”.  Yeah thanks, I want to eat swollen ovaries. 🙂 I am mostly familiar with the green zucchini, however, it is called a summer squash.  I call yellow zucchini squash, not zucchini.

You might see recipes calling for courgettes . . . that is zucchini.

In regards to nutrition, zucchini are low in calories.  They are a great source of antioxidants.  In about 100 grams of zucchini there is 17 mg of vitamin C.    It seems the best way to get the most antioxidants out of the fruit is to steam them.  I am not sure I’ve tried them that way.  I like to roast them, but the time involved to get them the way I like them usually keeps me from making them that way.  As I mentioned in my Grated Zhuccini is GREAT post I actually like to grate them and mix them into other foods.  I think they go great with linguine and rice.  Not linquine and rice together, but one or the other.  A comment made on that post was asking if they are stringing when they are grated, but they are not, after it is cooked it has the consistency of cheese.  My last mix was turkey . . . . which is yummy too.  I also like them raw, sliced paper-thin, in green salads.

My mom makes them into cheese boats.  That’s a great way to cook them too.  Kind of like the eggplant I did, but she takes a little out from the middle and then puts cheese in them.  I only did that once.  That was really good.

Zucchini has a few of the B vitamins, as you can see below.

Also since the seeds contain Omega 3, zucchini might be one of those anti-inflammatory foods that can help with the inflammation of the body.  So many other foods (sugar, dairy, foods with transfat, refined grains) ADD to chronic inflammation it is always nice to get the foods into our diet that help combat it.  I say “might” because the information I read had said that studies have yet to prove . . . but if the seeds have Omega 3 the might help in the battle.

According to WHFoods, 1 cup (113 grams) of raw zucchini contains:

vitamin C 32%

molybdenum 18%

vitamin B6 12.5%

manganese 10%

vitamin B2 9.4%

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Niapotassium 8.4%

folate 8.1%

fiber 4.9%

magnesium 4.8%

vitamin A 4.5%

phosphorus 4.2%

vitamin K 4.2%

vitamin B1 3.3%

tryptophan3.1%

copper 3%

vitamin B 32.7%

protein 2.7%

omega-3 fats 2.5%

Calories (18) 1%

Since is it summer time here and they call zucchini a summer squash, it’s a good time to post about it.  Especially since I received some in my organic produce box.

How do you prepare zucchini?  Which color do you use?  Which is your favorite?

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Colors And Odors Are Brought To You By Phytochemicals

Posted by terrepruitt on April 5, 2012

Phytochemical are the reasons that fruits and veggies have color and smell.  There are 1000 known phytochemicals, with an estimate of over 10,000 different ones potentially able to affect diseases.  These chemical compounds are thought to have a big affect on health but are not considered as essential nutrients.

Some phytochemicals are antioxidants or have antioxidant activity and they have shown that they may reduce the risk of cancer.  They have been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects.  And now many doctors and scientists are starting to acknowledge the link between chronic inflammation in the body and disease.  So — to me — anything that can safely help with inflammation in the body is a good food to eat. 

The Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon State University has a list of phytochemicals.  Under each type listed there is a further breakdown of names of the specific phytochemical, here are just a few highlights

Carotenoids are found in red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits.  As with a lot of nutrients, fat helps with absorption.  So using a little bit of healthy oil can help with availability of the nutrient to the body.
 
Chlorophyll & Chlorophyllin are responsible for the green in veggies.

Curcumin is what gives turmeric its deep yellow color.  Turmeric is considered an anti-inflammatory.

Fiber is a group of different compounds.   Different kinds of dietary fiber include: Lignin, Cellulose, Beta-Glucans, Hemicelluloses, Pectins, Gums, Inulin, and Resistant starch. Research is showing that people with diets high in fiber have less risk of disease.  Fiber helps keeps the body’s digestive system moving things out.

Flavonoids in the case of the phytochemicals are thought to be better helpers in cell-signalling then in antioxidants.  While flavonoids have shown to help with curbing the free radicals, they really seem to shine when it comes to the cell signaling pathways.  They’ve shown themselves to be great at regulating the flow of information in the communication pathways of the cells.  There are different classes of flavanoids, they can be found in red wine, green, white, and black tea, berries, apples, chocolate, citrus fruits, yellow onions, soybeans, legumes, scallions, kale, and broccoli.

Garlic is thought to have antioxidant properties.  Garlic and its Organosulfur Compounds are thought to help fight cardiovascular disease and inflammation in the body.  (And some are now saying that it is inflammation that causes cardiovascular disease.)

Indole-3-Carbinol is found in coniferous vegetables.  These types of veggies are thought to help prevent certain types of cancer.  Some of the veggies that this phytochemical can be found in is cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

Isothiocyanates is also found in coniferous veggies.  This one can be found in cabbage, broccoli, and kale.

Lignans (phytoestrogens) are found in plants while Lignan precursors are found in plant-based foods.  Eating a variety of seeds, whole grains, and legume along with broccoli, curly kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, green and red sweet peppers, apricots, strawberries, peaches, pears, and nectaries will net you both.  (according to Livestrong)

Phytosterols can be found in unrefined vegetable oils, whole grains, nuts, and legumes and inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.

Resveratrol was found to increase the lifespan of some living organisms.  It can be found in grapes, red wine, purple grape juice, peanuts, and some berries.

Soy Isoflavones (phytoestrogens) is one of those things that is good for you, but some evidence says that too much is not.  But they are not clear on that or how much “too much” is. 

As with much of our food supply harvesting and processing diminishes the nutrients available to us.  The amount of phytochemicals actually in our fruits and vegetables after commercial harvesting, processing, and cooking is significantly reduced.  Since the nutrients that we actually get from the food we eat seems less than was intended by nature it is a good thing that most fruits and veggies can be eaten in high quantities without adding much fat or many calories to the diet. 

Additional information from wiki states that phytochemicals have been used as drugs for millennia.  The willow tree leaves were used to reduce fevers and later used as aspirin.

There is much research to be done on phytochemicals.  But it is interesting to know that the color and odor causing compound in our fruit and veggies might also protect us or help us combat disease.  Seems like if we eat a large variety in addition to large quantities of fruits and vegetables daily will be get a good amount of phytochemicals.  One thing I like to think about and try to do is “eat the rainbow”.  Sounds silly, but it really is eating all the COLORS in the rainbow.

Do you eat a variety of fruits and veggies?  Do you eat the colors of the rainbow?

Posted in Food, Fruit, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The World’s Healthiest Foods Description of Oats

Posted by terrepruitt on March 27, 2012

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, SF Bay Nia, San Francisco Bay Area Nia, NiaNow.com,Oats are easy to grow because they can grow in soil that other crops cannot grow.  Oats have a lot of health benefits including fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.  Because of the fiber and the nutrients a breakfast of oatmeal is often recommended as great way to start the day.  I do not like oatmeal and realized in writing this oat series that I haven’t bee that found of oats at all.  Since it has been a while since I have not liked them I forgot that I just didn’t like them.  They are really chewy.  But I do believe in the nutritional value and I am happy that I like them now.  I still do not believe that I like oatmeal, but I really don’t need to since there are really so many ways you can eat oats and get the benefit of all the great things they contain.

I love the website The World’s Healthiest Foods.  Here is what they say about the different types of oats:

“Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and their germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients. Different types of processing are then used to produce the various types of oat products, which are generally used to make breakfast cereals, baked goods and stuffings:
                   
                    • Oat groats: unflattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing 
                    • Steel-cut oats: featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel
                       blades that thinly slices them.
                    • Old-fashioned oats: have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled.
                    • Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling
                    • Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin.      
                        Oftentimes,  sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to make the finished product. 
                    • Oat bran: the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and 
                        steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to     
                        make a hot cereal.
                    • Oat flour: used in baking, it is oftentimes combined with wheat or other gluten-containing flours
                        when making leavened bread.”

I think that fact that oats do remain “whole” even after being processed (harvested and cleaned) is a great testament to the hardiness of this grain.  While I imagine that the least healthy of the oats described above would be the “Instant oatmeal” kind because they might already come with other ingredients added, but since oats sound “superfood”y to me, I would think you would still gain some benefit from them.

So seeing this description of oats might allow you to see how many different ways you can get oats.  It seems with them available in so many different forms it would be easy to add them to your diet even if you don’t like oatmeal.

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Oats – The Incredible Whole Grain

Posted by terrepruitt on March 24, 2012

Since breakfast is so important I have been looking for an easy and healthy thing to eat before I rush off to teach Nia.  I don’t always have a chance to eat before my Nia class, but I have been looking to try to change that.  Oatmeal is always touted as being one of the best breakfast foods.  I do not like oatmeal.  I recently found a recipe for granola that is basically just oats and I started to wonder if oats cooked that way are as good as oatmeal. Here are some nutritional facts on oats:

The fiber contained in oats is known in studies to have a cholesterol lowering effect. Since high cholesterol is associated with buildup of plaque in the blood vessel walls the lowering of cholesterol helps with heart disease. In addition to oats special fiber that helps lower cholesterol scientists have also found an antioxidant compound in oats that help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have also shown that postmenopausal women can greatly benefit from eating oats at least six times a week.  The study showed that the antioxidant slowed the progression of narrowing the arteries.  In addition oats have been shown to improve or enhance the body’s immune system’s response to infection.  They were mentioned in my post Some Foods Can Boost Your Immune System. Oats also help stabilize blood sugar.
 
You have probably heard a lot of talk about flora in the intestinal track and how important it is to keep the guts healthy.  Oats also contain phytochemical the gets converted to friendly flora and a healthy gut contributes to a healthy digestive system which helps the body in so many ways.  If your digestive system is healthy it allows you to absorb the nutrients you need and eliminates the stuff you don’t need.
 
Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, SF Bay Nia, San Francisco Bay Area Nia, NiaNow.com,Oats are also gluten-free which is very helpful since it is a whole-grain and it can be used as a serial and it can also be used ground as a flour.  So it can be a very healthy substitute for gluten containing cereals and flours.
 
The oats I bought show that 1/2 cup of uncooked oats have:
 
Calories 190
Total Fat 3.5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 32 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Protein 7 g
 
Of the Daily Values there is 2% calcuim and 15% iron.
 
A lot of fiber and a lot of protein and the benefits of a whole grain.  I am thinking that I might even just like the oats toasted and eaten as a cereal without adding all the extra stuff as called for in the granola recipe.  Since I have this whole bag I might just try that.  Of course I will also have to use some of this bag for the Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies.
 
Oats do contain tryptophan so if you get sleepy after eating them it could be more than just because you might think of oatmeal as a comfort food.

With the large amount of fiber and protein this is a great food to start the day with, both fiber and protein help keep you full. So you can start the day off energized and satisfied.  Oats are an incredible whole grain!

Are you including this whole grain as part of your breakfast?

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