Friday, January 14, 2011

Power Fruits - Part 2

Studies have shown that the antioxidants in blueberries make it a potent protector against heart, brain and age-related maladies. Blueberries are one of the most potent antidotes to oxidative stress, a process that ages you. Blueberries also help your brain produce dopamine, a chemical that enhances memory, coordination, and feelings of well-being.

Cherries are a top source of perillyl alcohol, which kills cancer cells but spares healthy cells. Cherries are also believed to reduce inflammation. Tart cherries (particularly Montmorency) contain significant amounts of melatonin, a hormone that helps normalize your sleep cycles. Melatonin also scavenges free radicals (molecules that attack healthy cells), and having low levels of this hormone has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
Oregon-Chocolate Cherry Cookies 
Fresh Cherry Tart 
Tiny Cherry and Almond Tea Cakes 
Cranberry-Cherry Crumble

The STRAWBERRY ! (my favorite) 
Strawberries have many nutrients, such as: vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. They also have added benefits of fighting cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis -- and they keep you in optimum health for decades to come

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Power Fruits - Part 1

More than half of Americans don’t eat enough fruit. (As a fruit lover, I can say with certainty that I am not in the 60 percent). But many people do find it hard to have the recommended amount of two to three cups of fruit per day.

Eating fresh fruit will deliver the best nutritional value compared to many fruit products that claim “made with real fruit.” These so called fruit products such as: pop tarts, fruit juice, sorbet, fruit leather, chocolate-covered fruit, fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, and even dried fruit have added sugars and calories and can skimp on other nutritional values when compared to the fruit in its pure form. Fresh fruit, canned and frozen fruits that don’t have any added sugars or syrups offer the best nutrients. Keeping a variety of fruit is best since each kind offers different benefits.

See below for descriptions of the powerful benefits of fruit. For those of you who find it too hard to have a fresh piece of fruit, I have included some fun recipes that go along with each fruit.

Pomegranates are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and have cancer-fighting antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. One glass of pomegranate juice has the same polyphenol content as two glasses of red wine, four glasses of cranberry juice, or 10 cups of green tea. 

Apples contain an ample dose of fiber (two-thirds of which is in the peel), some potassium, and a modest amount of vitamin C. Eating apples regularly reduces the risk of stroke and chances of dying from a heart attack. Studies have shown that apple’s antioxidant flavonoids and fiber can help lower cholesterol & that apples are the best fruit source of catechins (cancer preventive substances). An apple a day CAN keep the doctor away!

Cranberries have moderate levels of vitamin C, dietary fiber as well as other micronutrients. Cranberries are also a good source of polyphenol antioxidants, which can help reduce cholesterol. Drinking 100% concentrate cranberry juice can help fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. Cranberry juice can also prevent bacteria from adhering to teeth.   

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year's Resolution = Ice Cream Substitution

Who doesn't like ice cream?... and what better way to derail any diet than by indulging in this creamy dessert. Most New Year’s resolutions start with the desire to lose weight. I’m guessing it's on most of your lists. It definitely is on the top of my list since I need to get in wedding shape (which would mean that I actually need to use my gym membership!).

So then, why am I talking about ice cream? I want you to begin to think of yogurt as a new substitution for an ice cream sundae...think yogurt parfait. 

The power of yogurt may actually surprise you. Having a daily dose of yogurt has many health benefits. These benefits include: a ton of vitamins, probiotics, high protein, bone-building calcium, the ability to prevent high blood pressure, and healthy bacteria that can help ward off the common cold. It is recommended to choose plain or Greek yogurt, as they are more nutritious than flavored varieties. You may be thinking that plain yogurt is flavorless (I don't blame you, I once had the same view) but a little honey, cinnamon, and/or frozen fruit can go a long way. Parfaits are a creative and fun way to get both yogurt & fruit into your diet. A delicious way to enjoy a daily dessert completely guilt-free.
Mango parfait

For those of you on the go, make a healthier choice at fast food restaurants (should they even be called a restaurant?) and get a small parfait (without the granola) at McDonald's for 130 calories. 

PS – If your dog gets an upset stomach, add some plain yogurt to their food… this has been tried and tested many times in my house with very good results. My dogs absolutely love yogurt probably because they know it has such wonderful health benefits =)