Bananas…The Why — November 26, 2020

Bananas…The Why

Before we move on to much more interesting and fun things to do with bananas—such as which bananas to choose and what to do with them once you get them home, let’s take a look at the health benefits that bananas provide.

Asthma…Bananas help prevent wheezing in children with asthma because of their antioxidant and potassium content.

Athletic Performance…The unique mix of vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic carbohydrates…easy portability…low expense…and great taste have made bananas a favorite fruit among endurance athletes.

Bananas especially provide excellent nutrition before endurance exercise. Distance cyclists have found that eating half of a banana every fifteen minutes of a three-hour race keep their energy levels steady just as well as drinking a processed sports beverage.

Not only that we’ve all been told to eat a banana if we have cramps. This is because of their bananas are a good source of the potassium that can help prevent muscle cramps and soreness cauaws by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Bones…Bananas do not contain high levels of calcium, but they do contain an abundance of a certain carbohydrate, called fructooligosaccharides, that help the body absorb calcium.

Cancer…Bananas contain lectin and vitamin C, two antioxidants that help keep cancer cells—especially lukemia, kidney, and colon cancer cells—from growing. Eating four to six bananas per week can cut your risk of developing kidney cancer in half. Bananas are also fairly rich in fiber and resistant starch…both of which may feed your friendly gut bacteria and safeguard against colon cancer.

Depression…mood…memory…Bananas contain three nutrients that may help preserve memory, boost a person’s ability to learn and remember things, and regulate mood. These nutrients include tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter…vitamin B6 that help you sleep…and magnesium to help your muscles relax.

Diabetes…The American Diabetes Association recommends eating bananas because of their fiber content. Diets that include high levels of fiber can help lower blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and help lower blood sugar in those who are diabetic.

Digestive Health…Bananas contain water and fiber, both of which promote regularity and encourage digestive health. One medium banana provides about three grams of fiber, about 10% of a person’s fiber needs for a day. Fiber found in bananas can also improve bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.

For years, we’ve heard about the BRAT diet…eating only bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast…whenever you have diarrhea. Bananas help replace any water, electrolytes, and potassium that are lost with diarrhea or vomiting.

Gotta Get a Lotta Watermelon — October 24, 2020

Gotta Get a Lotta Watermelon

  •     Watermelon - Citrullus lanatus  
    • Watermelons…those melons with a mid- to dark green rind that is usually mottled or striped…sweet, juicy flesh that is usually deep red to pink…and many black seed…(unless you’re smart enough to be one of the 85% of us who bypass the seeds altogether by buying seedless watermelons)…have been the delight of many happy people for over four thousand years.
    • There is evidence to show that watermelons were cultivated in the Nile Valley as early as 2000BC. 
    • Watermelon seeds have been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian Pharaoahs who would place watermelons in the burial tombs of their kings to nourish them in the afterlife.
    • Thank God for the Japanese scientists that initially developed seedless watermelons…guess they got tired of having their kids spit watermelon seeds at them also.
    • Watermelons vary in size from six pounds to fifty pounds. According to Guinness World Records the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 2005…weighing in at a whopping 268.8 lbs.
    • Surprisingly the Deep South does not lay claim as to being the top producing area of water…surprisingly, it’s China…followed then by Brazil, Turkey, and Iran.
    • The United States ranks fifth in the worldwide production of watermelons….where watermelons are grown in forty-four states…Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona being leaders of the pack.

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Nutritional Value

Although watermelons are 92% water…hence the name, go figure…it still is stocked nutrients such as…

  • Amino acids…these are the basic building block for protein, which is used in virtually every vital function in the body
  • Antioxidants…watermelon is high in antioxidants and amino acids which are important for help to prevent various diseases, including cancer
  • Beta-carotene…an antioxidant found in red-orange fruits and vegetables that helps with immunity, skin, eye and the prevention of cancer
  • Lycopene…the red pigment that gives such fruits as watermelons, grapefruits and guavas their color….and has been linked with heart health, bone health, cancer prevention
  • Vitamin C…21%RDI…important for your immune system and skin
A Poem About Pomes — October 8, 2020

A Poem About Pomes

This is a poem…a poem about pomes…another type of fruit…that I can’t wait to bring home…

Sorry, the words “poem” and “pome” are too similar that I couldn’t resist.

But what are pomes?

Pomes are those fruits that have a relatively hard flesh surrounding a central core of seeds, fruits such as apples and pears.

As far as the nutritional value of fruits classified as pomes, pomes provide as much as 15% of the amount of vitamin C and 17% of the amount of fiber that your body needs each day in only one medium-sized apple….Pomes also contain many types of strong antioxidants.

As far as the health benefits of fruits classified as pomes…they can help you lose weight, improve your digestive system,and lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and other chronic health conditions.

Examples of pomes include apples, pears, nashi and quince. We will be looking at more of fruits classified as pomes in future posts. Right now my main goal is to finish a Master List of Clean Food Eating and get you thinking about your next trip to Sprouts or Whole Foods so that you don’t appear lost.

32 Real Reasons Not to Cook Dinner Tonight — September 12, 2020

32 Real Reasons Not to Cook Dinner Tonight

Advocates of the raw foods diet believe that heating food above 104° destroys the natural enzymes needed for proper digestion and reduces the nutritional value of the food. They also believe that cooked foods contain harmful toxins which can cause various chronic diseases….

People who embrace the raw foods lifestyle believe that heating foods over 112 degrees destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes that are necessary for boosting digestion and fighting chronic disease. Many people actually believe that cooking your food makes the food toxic.

Embracing a diet that consists of more raw foods will help prevent the damage caused by environmental pollutants, stress, processed and refined foods, lack of nutrients, and mineral-deficient water.

Benefits of switching to a raw foods diet supposedly can also help prevent or control the following health issues…

  1. allergies
  2. arthritis
  3. autoimmune disorders
  4. blood pressure
  5. cancer 
  6. constipation
  7. diabetes
  8. digestive problems
  9. fatigue
  10. food allergies
  11. gallstones or gall bladder disease
  12. headaches
  13. heart failure
  14. high blood pressure
  15. high cholesterol
  16. hormonal imbalance
  17. immune system
  18. inflammation
  19. joint pain 
  20. kidney disease
  21. liver function
  22. memory
  23. muscle aches and pains
  24. nutritional deficiencies
  25. obesity
  26. osteoporosis
  27. Parkinson’s disease
  28. PMS
  29. skin problems
  30. stomach cancer
  31. stroke
  32. weight

And not only that, you’ll also reap nutritional perks by eating more foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals.

One Apple Up on Top — June 25, 2020

One Apple Up on Top

Okay, so now we know the nutritional value of apples, let’s talk about the different things that eating apples and these nutrients can help prevent or make better, for lack of a better word.

In other words, how apples can keep you on top of your game.

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Cancer

Apples are a good source of antioxidants…which may help lower your risk of getting cancer….as well as prevent new cancer cells from forming and keep existing cancer cells from forming.

 

 

In fact eating apples can lower your risk of getting colorectal and breast cancers by about twenty perfect.

 

 

Adding more apples to your diet may help prevent the oxidative stress that causes cell damage and leads to the development of certain cancers—including lung cancerbreast cancer, colorectal cancer, and cancer of the digestive tract.

Beta-Carotene…The Why — June 13, 2020

Beta-Carotene…The Why

 

 

 

 

Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, an eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults…There has been much debate as to whether or not adding beta-carotene to your diet will help prevent vision loss and lessen the effects of AMD. Some researchers believe that  taking high doses of beta carotene…in addition to other nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and copper…may reduce the risk of advanced AMD by twenty-five percent.

Cancer...According to the National Cancer Institute, the antioxidants found in beta carotene may help lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in post-menopaulsal women.
Cognitive functionBeta carotene also may slow down cognitive decline. Studies have shown that those who have been taking beta carotene supplements regularly, for at least fifteen years, are much less likely to experience cognitive decline.
Lungs…High levels of beta-carotene can also help precent damage to the lungs because of its antioxidant content. Research has shown that those with higher beta carotene blood levels help reduce the decline of FEV1, a measurement how much air you can breathe out at one time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skin…Beta carotene has been shown to help prevent skin damage and contribute to maintenance of skin health and appearance because of its antioxidant properties.

Aromatherapy…The Why — March 24, 2020

Aromatherapy…The Why

Chamomile…The Why — March 20, 2020

Chamomile…The Why

She knew about its health because she loved to read and had learned that chamomile tea had been used way before the book Peter Rabbit was written…for thousands of years before…mainly to treat anxiety and digestive problems—such as upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.

So let’s take a look at why she was so smart…and why we all would also be smart if we started drinking chamomile tea more often.

 

 

 

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Cancer

The antioxidants found in chamomile tea serve as an anti-inflamatory and reduce the risk of several types of cancer….particularly the following…

  • breast
  • cancer of the digestive tract
  • skin cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • thyroid cancer
  • uterine cancer

 

 

 

 

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Controlling Your Blood Sugar Level

Drinking chamomile tea daily with meals for at least eight weeks has been shown to lower blood sugar levels significantly….prevent blood sugar spikes…and prevent damage to the pancreas, the organ that is responsible for producing insulin, the hormone responsible for removing sugar from your blood.

 

 

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Digestive Health

Chamomile tea has been shown to reduce the acidity in your stomach and is soothing to the stomach.

Because chamomile tea is both an antispasmodic and an anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile tea relaxes the muscles that line your stomach and intestines and helps keep your digestive system healthy…meaning that you are less likely to get or improve problems related to digestion—such as diarrhea, stomach ulcers, nausea, heartburn, IBS, and gas,

 

 

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Heart

Chamomile tea contains high levels of flavones, a class of antioxidants that is important for lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels…both of which are important for lowering your risk of getting heart disease.

Drinking chamomile tea with meals can greatly improve your total cholesterol, triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.

 

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Skin

When used topically as a wash, lotion, bath agent, or compress, chamomile can speed the healing of certain  skin conditions…such as eczema, minor burns, rashes,  and sunburn.

 

 

 

 

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Sleep

Drinking chamomile tea right before you go to bedtime can help you fall asleep more easily, improve the “quality” of your sleep, and keep you from waking up during the night for at least two reasons…

First of all…as we probably all can figure out from reading Beatrix’s Potter book…is the fact that chamomile has a mildly sedating and muscle-relaxing effect…just what you need when fears of Mr. McGregor or the Big Bad Wolf or life in general keep you awake at night.

Next, chamomile contains certain antioxidants…including apigenin…that are affect your ability to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

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Other Health Issues 

Other health issues that chamomile tea have supposedly had an effect on include…

  • allergies
  • anxiety and restlessness
  • asthma
  • back aches
  • common cold
  • depression
  • morning sickness
  • osteoporosis
  • PMS
  • sore muscles and tight joints
  • sore throats

 

 

Raspberries…The What — March 3, 2020

Raspberries…The What

Now let’s move on to raspberries, a member of the rose (Rosaceae) family of plants— which also inclues apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, loquats, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, and almonds.

Raspberries are the third most popular berry here in the United States…right after strawberries and blueberries.

There are over 200 species of raspberries, but these typically belong to one of three basic groups…

  • Red raspberries
  • Black raspberries
  • Purple raspberries

 

 

Raspberries are “aggregate fruits”…which meas that they are actually composed of many small individual fruits….drupelets, and each one has its own seed….and “brambles” which means that they are prickly or thorny.

The countries that produce the most raspberries are Russia, Mexico (14.8%), Serbia (13.5%), the United States (13.0%), and Poland (12.8%).

Okay, enough is enough…right?!

So let’s now talk about the WHY we should include rasperries in our diet.

 

 

 

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Per Half Cup Fresh Raspberries

  • Calories…53
  • Dietary fiber…6.5 grams
  • Fat…0.65 g
  • Protein1.2 g
  • Sugar…4.2 grams
  • Calcium…(25mg…3% RDA)
  • Manganese… (62.7mg…32% RDA)
  • Magnesium…(22 mg…6% RDA)
  • Vitamin B1…(.-032 mg…3% RDA)
  • Vitamin B2…Riboflavin….(.038mg…3% RDA)
  • Vitsamin B3…Niacin…(.598mg…4% RDA)
  • Vitamin B5…Pantothenic acid…(.067 mg…% RDA)
  • Vitamin B9…Folate…21 μg…5% RDA)
  • Vitamin C…(26.2mg…32% RDA)
  • Vitamin E…(6%…0.87 mg)

Raspberries also contain biotin and omega-3 fatty acids…and have been proven to help prevent and treat diabetes, obesity, and arthritis….(don’t worry…this gets more exciting the next several posts)…

Grapes…The Why — February 1, 2020

Grapes…The Why

Like all other fruits, grapes contain several beneficial nutrients—such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

For example, one cup of grapes provides more than a fourth of the RDI for vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin vital for blood clotting and healthy bones…as well as vitamin C, necessary for bone and connective tissue health.

Another nutrient that you find in grapes are polyphenols, the antioxidants that give grapes and certain other plants their vibrant colors and give added protection against disease and environmental damage.

Below are some of the ways in which the nutrients in grapes may boost your health.

But before we get started, let’s look at the nutritional value of one cup of grapes…

  • Calories: 104
  • Carbs: 27.3 grams
  • Copper: 10% of the RDI
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Manganese: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 8% of the RDI
  • Protein: 1.1 grams
  • Riboflavin: 6% of the RDI
  • Thiamine: 7% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 27% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K: 28% of the RDI
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Anti-Bacterial

Eating grapes boosts your immune system and protect you from certain diseases—such as the flu, chicken pox and yeast infections—because grapes contain “stuff” that helps fight against harmful bacteria and viral infections.

For example, grapes are a good source of the vitamin C that most of us already know is great for your immune system..

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Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation defends the body against cell injury, irritation, pathogen invasions, and helps rid the body of such damaged cells.

However, having too much inflammation can lead to serious side effects—such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and pulmonary disease,

Grapes are one of the foods containing polyphenols that you can add to your diet to keep this from happening.

Antioxidant

Grapes contain hundreds of antioxidants such as vitamin C, manganese, beta-carotene, melatonin, resveratrol, quercetin, lutein, lycopene and ellagic acid.

These antioxidants are primarily found in the seed and the skin of the grape…and have been shown to do such great things as…

    • helping protect cell membranes from free radical damage
    • increasing our blood levels of glutathione, a critical antioxidant
    • increasing the ratio of reduced-to-oxidized glutathione
    • lowering biomarkers of oxidative stress.
    • lowering the levels of oxygen reactive molecules in our blood
    • preventing certain oxygen-related enzymes—such as xanthine oxidase and catalase—from becoming overactive
    • protecting against chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
    • reducing oxidation of fat
    • repairing the damage to your cells caused by free radicals, harmful molecules that cause the oxidative stress that can lead to several chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease

Red grapes, more specifically contain higher numbers of antioxidants because red grapes contain anthocyanins, the antioxidant that gives them their bright color.

Another important antioxidant found is grapes is resveratrol, another antioxidant, that protects against heart disease, lowers blood sugar and protects against the development of cancer.

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Blood Pressure

Grapes have as a low glycemic index which means that it has great blood sugar benefits—such as helping to control your blood sugar balance, insulin regulation, and insulin sensitivity.

In addition, one cup of grapes contains 288mg of potassium, 6% of the RDI, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and preventing your risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Potassium also help reduce the negative effects of having too much sodium in your diet.

If you’re considering adding grapes to your diet in order to improve your blood pressure, it’s probably best to choose either Concord or red grapes because their rich color indicates that they contain many flavonoids, such as resveratrol, which help lower your blood pressure, improve the fluidity of the blood, and relax the arterial walls.

 

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Bones

Grapes contain many nutrients necessary for maintaining bone health—including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin K, and vitamin C. In fact, one cup of grapes contains over 25% RDI for vitamins C and K.

Vitamin K is important because it increases the effectiveness of osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone mineralization, and promotes healthy calcium balance. One study shows that women who consume at least 110mg vitamin K each day are 30% less likely to break a bone than women who consume a lesser amount.

Copper found in grapes is essential for enzymes involved in the synthesis of bone components.