Tips on Adding Healthy Fruit to Your Meals

Breakfast: Use these easy, fun tips to help you eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day!

Stir low-fat or fat-free granola into a bowl of low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Top with sliced apples or berries. bowl of granola with fruit and yogurt
half an orange Have fruit as a mid-morning snack.
Add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, or toast. bowl of cereal with bananas
Top toasted whole-grain bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas.
Add vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes to your egg or egg white omelet.
Canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.
 Strawberry Yogurt Shake

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3/4 cup plain low fat yogurt
1-1/2 cups frozen, unsweetened strawberries

Directions:
Add ingredients, in order listed, to blender container. Puree at medium speed, until thick and smooth.

image of an apple

 

When Yogurt Is All Greek to You

There are a lot of choices in the yogurt world.   It used to be we had two.

Plain or with fruit.  Now, there are endless rows of different brands.


Today,  John Stamos brings his woman the BEST yogurt in the world.

She swoons.  He’s smug.

Yet, Jamie Lee Curtis wants us to get ACTIVA with Probiotics.  Is one BETTER?


The real kind of Greek Yogurt from Greece is typically made of sheep’s milk.

Some people will tell you the healthiest yogurt is to make your own.

Images of Lucy & Ethel stomping on grapes just flashed through my brain.  So, let’s go back to already made.

New York Magazine convened a panel of experts for a blind taste test:

The panel included Turkish chef Orhan Yegen of Sip Sak and Bi Lokma, who, according to the magazine, “considers ‘Greek yogurt’ more a marketing gimmick than a bona fide foodstuff”; Maria Loi, a.k.a. “the Martha Stewart of Greece’; and chef Eric Ripert, who eats nonfat Fage every morning.

The Results

The Non-Fat Winner: Fage. This was the judge’s overall favorite.
The Non-Fat Loser: Chobani. Then unpleasant aroma really turned off the judges.
The Full-Fat Winner: Argyle Cheese Farmer. Generally delicious.

The best Fat-Free Plain Yogurt I’ve tried is a toss-up between Chobani ($1.69 for six ounces) and Fage ($1.89 for six ounces). They’re both creamy and around 100 calories for a six-ounce serving.  High in protein.

Dannon always taste the sweetest, but that’s because if you look at the ingredients you’ll find loads of sugar.  Six tablespoons can be heaped into one cup of yogurt.

The one below looks like GREEK, but it’s sugary sweet DANNON in disguise.  Always check the amount of sugar on the label.

So, if you want to eat yogurt to stay healthy your best bet is Fat-Free Plain Greek Yogurt.

You can toss fresh blueberries or strawberries into it to give it added zest!

Other than the above, what should you look for in a yogurt label?

Chris Dankosky at Science Friday on National Public Radio (NPR) had the same question.  He conducted an interview with Jeffrey Gordon, professor of pathology and immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He’s also director of the school’s Center for Genome Sciences. 

I’m a little concerned about Dannon partially funding this research, but  let’s take a look at what they found.

CHRIS: Well, I had a question about the different types of yogurt. I know when you walk into a yogurt aisle at any Wal-Mart or any kind of big-box store, there’s so much selection. I was wondering if there’s one type of yogurt that’s better for you than another, and really what it is in the yogurt that we should looking for in the label to find out what it is really that gives us these probiotic benefits.

GORDON: Well, that’s a wonderful question and one of the reasons that we embarked on this set of experiments. We really wanted to create an analysis pipeline, where we could use models – in this case, an animal model where we reconstructed a human gut community – to answer some of the questions that you ask.

We do know that individuals vary in terms of their collection of gut microbes. Even genetically identical twins have somewhat different collections of gut microbes. We know that diet plays an important role in shaping the structure and operations of these communities. There are different types of yogurt. There are different types of fermented dairy products.

As I said in the beginning of this episode, there are – a minimum of two types of bacterial strains that are required to be present in a fermented milk product in order for it to be labeled yogurt.

There are some types of products that have more than these two strains. You can also, as you know, go to supermarkets and various stores and pick up probiotics that have a variety of different components. We really don’t have sufficient information to answer the question you have asked. We do, we think, have a set of tools in a new toolbox to address this.

How do foods and how do gut bacteria interact with one another? Is the nutritional value of food influenced, in part, by the microbes we normally harbor? Can it be further modified by these live microbes we ingest deliberately? And in the future, if we open up a medicine cabinet in the 21st century, can we find – should we discover a series of new probiotics that can enhance the nutritional value of the particular diets that we consume?

DANKOSKY: Well, you mentioned the off-the-shelf probiotics. I know a lot of people are interested in that. If you take probiotics in capsule form, is it different somehow than eating yogurt in the morning?

GORDON: That also is a great question. And just relating to the episode that preceded this one, it’s going to be very important for the formulation of these products to be carefully validated. Is there a set number or an indicated number of live microbes in that formulation as advertised? Do we know the genome sequences of the bugs that are contained in these products? Is manufacturing such that from lot to lot we have consistency? I know that issue of consistency is taken very seriously by the manufacturers of a number of yogurts. But as you indicate, probiotics are sold widely, they’re advertised having very – a variety of different health effect. And for those claims to be validated, we’d need the types of tools that we described in this study and others.

DANKOSKY: I’m John Dankosky. And this is SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR. The yogurt company Dannon, which partially funded this research that we’re talking about today, recently settled a suit for claiming on its packaging that yogurt can improve digestion and immune system. What do you think of labels like this? Does this study back up these claims?

GORDON: Well, actually, Dannon funded part of our research in order to construct this type of analysis pipeline, to test the types of claims that are being made, not only by themselves but by others. I do think that this particular study indicated that there’s an effect on the digestion of a component of our diet, polysaccharides. There have been other studies in mice, for instance, that shows that certain consortium of bacteria that are found in fermented milk products, including products made by Dannon, may modulate immune function in a way that would be beneficial, at least in the setting of colitis.

So I think that there’s much to learn. I think we have to be very rigorous in terms of testing the claims in order for the public to gain additional trust that we should be equipped to address the complexity of our gut microbial communities in the form of representative animal models, learn from those models, and then design, execute and carefully interpret clinical studies. A lot of public will know.

DANKOSKY: Yeah. Lyle is in Eagle, Michigan. Lyle, a quick question for the doctor?

LYLE: Yeah. After reading the China study, I quit eating dairy and meat. And I was real curious and overjoyed to hear about the billions of bacteria I have in my belly. Good to hear that because I was kind of concerned that because I was not going to eat any more yogurt that maybe there was a challenge. I never really had any issues. I was wondering if your research has gone that way with people that didn’t eat any meat or dairy, and how their bacteria as well as digestions have been affected.

DANKOSKY: Yeah. How is Lyle’s gut, Doctor?

GORDON: Well, I don’t know, Lyle, but thank you for sharing your personal story with me. Lyle, I’ll tell you something. Your thought is a very important one because there is an emerging set of observations, in part, made by our group and others, that diet has a huge effect in shaping the structure and operations of your gut communities. We’ve studied many different mammalian species, including humans, to look at the impact of different diets on how our gut communities are configured. And not billions, Lyle, but trillions of microbes live in our gut. And people on different diets have different gut structures. And when they switch diets, the representation of members of your gut community will change.

It’s part of an important adaptation, part of the fitness. We have to learn how to digest the foods that we eat. As humans, we change what we eat over time. What is the code that relates the nutritional value of what we consume in the structure and operations of our gut communities? That’s going to be a very important issue to address because looking forward, we heard this week that the population of our planet has reached seven billion humans, by 2050, 9 billion humans. What types of crops we plant, what kind of recommendations we make about what to eat in the future will be informed by deeper knowledge of the operations of this vast collection of microbes that live inside of us.

DANKOSKY: Jeffrey Gordon, you eat yogurt every day?

GORDON: I don’t eat yogurt every day, but I do eat yogurt intermittently.

DANKOSKY: OK. And it has any health benefits for you?

GORDON: Not noticeable, but I enjoy the experience.

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Stay healthy! 


Health Benefits of Sushi

 
    

 
SushiSushi Nutrition Facts – Health Benefits of Sushi
   

English: Western Sushi found at Wegmans Superm...
Image via Wikipedia

For a person with normal health, sushi has many health benefits. All dishes (excluding eel, and some fusion style sushi) are low in saturated fat and high in protein. There may be a slight load in carbohydrates in thick sushi rolls, but it is negligible for nigiri sushi since they are small in amount.

High content of fish oil is the main health factor which promotes a healthy cardiovascular system. The hikarimono, or shiny fishes (mackerel, Spanish mackerel, sardine, Pacific Saury) contain the highest amounts of EPA and DHA omega3 fats. (Ironically they are the least expensive fishes). These fishes are also high in vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant.

Nori contains a great source of minerals found in the ocean and vinegar acts as an important factor in promoting cell metabolism. People who use vinegar frequently (to dress salads, blend with soy sauce, or drink in small amounts (please refer to rice vinegar in choosing the best ingredients) have lower percentages of body fat.

Unfortunately, people with type I or II diabetes should stay away from sushi, and stick to sashimi. Individuals with high blood pressure must limit their use of soy sauce (see: how to eat sushi).

Source:  sushiencyclopedia.com

Sushi bento, with the sashimi on the top.
Image via Wikipedia

THE 6 BEST LOW-CALORIE SUSHI ROLLS ARE:

1.  VEGGIE ROLLS – 170 CALORIES, 5G FAT

2. MACKEREL – 232 CALORIES, 2G FAT

3. RAINBOW – 330 CALORIES, 8G FAT

4. SALMON – 231 CALORIES, 4G FAT

5. SASHIMI – 33 CALORIES, 1G FAT

6. SHRIMP – 199 CALORIES, OG FAT

FOR DETAILS CLICK HERE:  http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/meal-ideas/6-best-low-calorie-sushi-rolls

Many types of sushi ready to eat.
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a breakdown from Men’s Health on the healthiest and unhealthiest sushi options:

Healthy Sushi

Brown rice
Brown rice is increasingly becoming an option on sushi menus. This deviation from traditional sushi comes with health benefits: Brown rice maintains many of the nutrients lost while processing white rice (iron, vitamins B1 and B3, and magnesium). The bran layer of brown rice grain contains the fiber that lowers cholesterol and helps in keeping you regular. The fact that brown rice takes longer to break down in the body means it has a lower glycemic index, so it stabilizes and maintains blood glucose levels instead of causing rapid spikes.

Nori

The brown rice in sushi will still be wrapped in nori, the black layer that keeps sushi rolls together. Nori is dried seaweed and contains a dictionary’s worth of health benefits: It’s high in many vitamins and minerals including iodine; zinc; calcium; vitamins A, E, C, and K; fiber; and protein.

Wasabi
For those who like spice, wasabi is a healthy sushi condiment. This hot green paste is Japanese horseradish and is usually served alongside sashimi. It is a smart pairing because wasabi may help protect you from food poisoning due to its antimicrobial properties. It may prevent platelets from forming blood clots, asthma and cavities, but contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t “clear the sinuses.”

Ginger
A healthy sushi ingredient that does relieve sinus congestion is ginger. Served in a pickled form, it’s used to cleanse the palate after each piece of sushi. Ginger contains the compounds gingerols and shogaols. These oils stimulate digestive juices and neutralize stomach acids, which is definitely a plus when you ingest raw fish. Maybe you’ve had to fetch a ginger ale for your partner suffering from morning sickness, and that’s because Japanese researchers have found that ginger may be responsible for blocking the body’s reflex to vomit. Ginger can also lower cholesterol levels and limit blood clots in the same way aspirin works in the body.

Mackerel
Of all the raw fish you could eat, mackerel sashimi is a healthy sushi choice. Mackerel is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. The small size of the fish means it’s low in mercury. It is also a high-protein fish; there are 25 grams of protein in a 4-ounce serving, and only 160 calories. This healthy sushi choice also contains selenium, which works along with omega-3s to neutralize free radicals.

Unhealthy Sushi

Bluefin tuna
Deep red bluefin tuna is a popular sushi ingredient, but unfortunately it’s one of the unhealthiest fish to eat, raw or otherwise. It has among the highest mercury contents, not to mention chemical PCBs. Eating bluefin tuna is also bad for the environment: Due to overfishing, bluefin is now being replaced on many sushi menus with more common (and inexpensive) yellowfin or albacore tuna.

Tobiko sushi
Tobiko sushi is made full of eggs — fish roe and quail eggs. Those quail eggs, however, are an unhealthy sushi choice. Similar to chicken eggs, quail eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. There is also the risk of salmonella poisoning since the eggs are eaten raw. There is folate in quail eggs, but that won’t do you any good if you get sick.

Tempura
Lovers of deep-fried goodies live by the motto, “if it aint fried, it aint food.” Tempura is the usual sushi menu choice for those averse to raw fish. Both seafood and veggies can be served with tempura, meaning deep-fried in tempura batter. The batter consists of water, flour and eggs. Frying anything raises the total calorie and total fat content.

Soy sauce
Soy sauce is a high-sodium condiment served with sushi, making it an unhealthy sushi ingredient. Anyone with high blood pressure or following a low-sodium diet should not eat soy sauce. Despite the fact that it’s made from soy beans, the sauce does not contain soy isoflavones and has negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals, except sodium (Na+). One tablespoon of soy sauce has 1,006 milligrams of sodium — nearly half the recommended daily value.

sushi sensibility

The next time you head out for sushi, don’t assume you’re doing your body a favor. Although Japanese cuisine is among the healthiest in the world, Western preferences have added all sorts of unhealthy elements to sushi (cream cheese, anyone?), and some of sushi’s most innocent-seeming ingredients, like tuna, can take their toll on you if ingested in large quantities. Remember that the more veggies in your sushi, the better off you’ll be, and when in doubt, order the mackerel, and load up on the wasabi.

Link: http://www.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt_250/259b_healthy-unhealthy-sushi-ingredients.html#ixzz1mgwj2VTV

Registered dietitian Zannat Reza says sushi, like any meal, can be healthy if you choose wisely. Here are some of her Sushi eating tips:

• Many rolls are low in protein, which may bring on hunger pains two hours after eating. Reza suggests augmenting your sushi roll with a small, plain latte or a small yogurt.

• Look for sushi made with minimal ingredients and be wary of the rolls with the yummy extras, such as mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and tempura. These, of course, add extra fat and sodium to the meal.Women who are pregnant and who are breastfeeding and young children should avoid fish high in mercury, including tuna, king mackerel and orange roughy.

• Like all takeout food, sushi can sometimes be high in sodium. Reza points out that even the otherwise healthy brown rice California roll has 750 mg of sodium, about half of what your body needs in a day.

• Soy sauce is laced with sodium. One tablespoon contains about 1,000 mg of sodium, so Reza suggests going light on the soy or skipping it all together.Verdict: Sushi can be a diet delight or a diet disaster — depending on what you pick.

Brown rice California roll

This is the classic Cali roll — that’s imitation crab, rolled with avocado and cucumber and sprinkled with sesame seeds — made with nutty brown rice.  SERVING SIZE 9 pieces CALORIES 310 FAT 6 grams SODIUM 740 mg PROTEIN 7 grams CARBOHYDRATES 58 grams (4 grams fibre)

Verdict: Reza likes this roll’s calorie content and its dose of heart healthy avocado and fibre-rich, whole grain brown rice.

The veggie version — carrots replace the ‘crab’ — also gets two thumbs up. The roll contains similar amounts of calories, fat, protein and fibre, but has 240 mg less sodium. Multi-grain salmon avocado rollPink pieces of salmon and wedges of avocado rolled in nori and multi-grain rice.  SERVING SIZE 9 pieces CALORIES 330FAT 7 grams SODIUM 520 mg PROTEIN 15 grams CARBOHYDRATES 51 grams (7 grams fibre) 

Verdict: This is superhealthy sushi. Reza notes the 15 grams of hunger-busting protein is higher than most other rolls, while the 520 mg sodium is lower than many rolls. The avocado and salmon also make it a heart health booster, while the addition of multi-grain rice — and with seven different kinds of grain, including rye berries, purple barley and black japonica rice, it is truly multi-grain — adds an impressive 7 grams of fibre.

Volcano roll.  For those unfamiliar, this is a roll of cucumber, avocado and cream cheese topped with, among other things, spicy tuna, panko and two kinds of mayo. SERVING SIZE 5 piecesCALORIES 560FAT 29 gramsSODIUM 810 mgPROTEIN 16 grams CARBOHYDRATES 60 grams (3 grams fibre)

Verdict: This is sushi at its most decadent. Five bites of food contain one quarter of your daily calories, half the sodium your body needs in a day and more fat than two large chocolate sundaes from Dairy Queen. Yikes.

Chicken udon soup Pieces of chicken and thick udon noodles float in a savory broth with baby bok choy, broccoli, carrot and seaweed. SERVING SIZE 1 bowl, about 200 grams CALORIES 250FAT 1 gramSODIUM 5,970 mgPROTEIN 14 gramsCARBOHYDRATES 15 grams (1 gram fibre)

Verdict: By looking at the ingredient list, the soup’s minimal calories and fat and its 14 grams of belly filling protein, you would probably guess this is a comforting and healthy meal. Unfortunately, the 5,970 mg of sodium quickly renders this meal a dietary danger. The salt-soaked soup — the equivalent of 150 shakes with the salt shaker! — has four times more sodium than your body needs in a day.

RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE

Men/Women Calories: 2,500/2,000 Fat: 60 to 105 grams/45 to 75 grams Sodium: 1,500 to 2,300 mg Carbohydrates: 281-325 grams

(Souce: The Dish, Megan Ogilvie)

 

Sushi Deluxe at Sushi Ten
Image via Wikipedia

10 Metabolism Boosting Foods

Image

This great article from Sheri Strykowski about metabolism boosting foods and how to increase metabolism that is sure to have you nodding your head in agreement but there are a few that will probably be new to you as well.

 How to Increase Metabolism

1. Water! A new study seems to indicate that drinking water actually speeds up weight loss and is a great way how to increase metabolism. Researchers in Germany found that subjects of the study increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Drinking enough water will also help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. So drink up! Make sure that you are starting your day with a big big glass of water and drink throughout the day not just all at one time.

 2. Green Tea! Studies show that green tea extracts boost metabolism and may aid in weight loss. This mood-enhancing tea has also been reported to contain anti-cancer properties and help prevent heart disease. It’s also a trendy drink among weight-conscious celebrities. You may Have already seen my green tea articles but this may be one really fantastic herb and it tastes nice too!

3. Soup! Eat less and burn fat faster by having a bowl of soup as an appetizer or a snack. According to a Penn State University study, soup is a super appetite suppressant because it’s made up of a hunger-satisfying combination of liquids and solids. In the study, women chose one of three 270-calorie snacks before lunch. Women who had chicken and rice soup as a snack consumed a n average of 100 fewer calories than those in the study who opted for a chicken and rice casserole or the casserole and a glass of water. I used to joke that soup is not a meal but it really dies fill you for very few calories and remember that when you eat a food with a lot of taste it really will satisfy.

4. Grapefruit! The grapefruit diet is not a myth. Researchers at Scripps Clinic found that participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal in a 12-week period lost an average of 3.6 pounds. The study indicates that the unique chemical properties in this vitamin C-packed citrus fruit reduce insulin levels, which promotes weight loss and boost metabolism. NOTE: If you are taking medication, check with your doctor about any potentially adverse interactions with grapefruit. Grapefruit, because of the soft peel is a nice alternative to an apple of orange and study after study of the last 30 years has shown that it can really help burn fat.

5. Apples and Pears! Overweight women who ate the equivalent of three small apples or pears a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn’t add fruit to their diet, according to re searchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Fruit eaters also ate fewer calories overall. So next time you need to satisfy a sugar craving, reach for this low-calorie, high-fiber snack. You’ll feel full longer and eat less.

6. Broccoli! Study after study links calcium and weight loss. Broccoli is not only high in calcium, but also loaded with vitamin C, which boosts calcium absorption. This member of the nutritious cabbage family also has plenty of vitamin A, folate and fiber. And, at just 20-calories per cup, this weight-loss superfood not only fights fat but also contains powerful phytochemicals that boost your immunity and protect against disease.

7. Low-Fat Yogurt! Dairy products can boost weight loss efforts, according to a study in the April issue of Obesity Research. People on a reduced-calorie diet who included three to four servings of dairy foods lost significantly more weight than those who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same number of calories. Low-fat yogurt is a rich source of weight-loss-friendly calcium, providing about 450 mg (about half the recommended daily allowance for women ages 19-50) per 8-ounce serving, as well as 12 grams of protein. As far as superfood go Yogurt is right there. It includes calcium, protein and a ton of other nutrients as well as good bacteria and probiotics for you digestive tract.

8. Lean Turkey! Rev up your fat-burning engine with this bodybuilder favorite. Countless studies have shown that protein can help boost metabolism, lose fat and build lean muscle tissue so you burn more calories. A 3-ounce serving of boneless, skinless lean turkey breast weighs in at 120 calories and provides 26 grams of appetite-curbing protein, 1 gram of fat and 0 grams of saturated fat. With the price of chicken going up and up these days Turkey has become a great alternative. Remember that Turkey is a little tougher than chicken and the taste is a little different but it is not just for Thanksgiving and Christmas anymore.

9. Oatmeal! This heart-healthy favorite ranks high on the good carb list, because it’s a good source of cholesterol-fighting, fat-soluble fiber (7 grams per 3/4-cup serving) that keeps you full and provides you with the energy you need to make the most of your workouts. Just be sure to choose steel cut or rolled oats, not instant oatmeal, to get your full dose of vitamins, minerals and fiber. For many years now Pro Bodybuilders have relied on Oatmeal as a staple of their breakfast, it is amazingly high in nutrients.

10. Hot Peppers! Eating hot peppers can speed up and boost metabolism and cool your cravings, researchers at Laval University in Canada found. Here’s why: Capsaicin (a chemical found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers) temporarily stimulates your body to release more stress hormones, which speeds up your metabolism and causes you to burn more calories.

Here’s how these 10 fat-blasting superstars help you lose weight and how to increase metabolism.

How to Increase MetabolismEach of these healthy weight-loss boosters fills you up and keeps you full longer on fewer calories.

How to Increase MetabolismWater-rich fresh fruits, veggies and soup dilute the calories in your food and allow you to eat more without breaking the calorie bank.

How to Increase MetabolismHigh-fiber fruit, vegetables and nutritious whole grains keep your digestive system on track and steady insulin levels, which prevents fat storage.

How to Increase MetabolismLean meat boosts metabolism and burns calories because it take more energy to digest than other foods.