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Your New Summer Favorite: Watermelon, Tomato, and Feta Salad

WatermelonSalad at Fountain

By Janis Jibrin, RD, Best Life lead nutritionist

Visiting Washington, D.C.? If so, you’ll inevitably wind up in the quaint neighborhood of Georgetown, which is also a bustling shopping mecca. My favorite place to have a bite is Kafe Leopold, a hidden oasis removed from the noise and crowds. The cuisine is loosely Austrian, and it happens to have some of the best salads in D.C. (Although, if you’re in a more decadent mood, the sausage, sauerkraut and spicy mustard is wonderful, as are the pastries).

I’d always loved Leopold’s Watermelon, Tomato, and Feta salad, but it just got even better—and more striking—after brand new executive chef Marcellus Coleman got ahold of it. He let me into the restaurant’s kitchen so I could watch him prepare the salad.

Chef Marcellus Finishing Touches

What to do with the rest of your watermelon? Turn in into yet another salad!


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The Freshest Produce Picks for Early Summer: Here’s What’s Ripe in June

By Team Best Life 

Nothing says summer like a garden full of fresh vegetables or a farmers market bursting with juicy, in-season fruit. It’s hard to beat the taste of a just-picked sweet tomato or a fragrant strawberry. Whether you eat them plain or toss them into a favorite dish, they’re sure to be a real crowd-pleaser.

Ready to kick off the summer? Try one of our four favorite June produce picks:

broccoli

Broccoli.  If you grow your own in a garden, you’ll likely start to see small heads soon. For a more tender and mild taste, try to harvest the heads and leaves before they grow too large. Don’t have a green thumb? Look for small heads of broccoli at your local farmers’ market early in the season. Use them to whip up this Fresh Broccoli Salad, which makes for a healthy barbecue side dish.

 

raspberries

Raspberries.  You can get most berries year-round, but early season raspberries are especially delicious. Look for black raspberries, which are available in many parts of the country in June. In this Raspberry Pistachio Chickenthey make a tasty topping.
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Strength Training and Cardio Effective at Edging Out Stress

happy hiking

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

If you’re like the majority of Americans—67 percent of them, to be exact—then you’re stressed out. And your stress may trigger physical symptoms, like fatigue or upset stomach, as it does in 72 percent of Americans, according to an American Psychological Association survey. These symptoms are bad enough, but stress can be even more destructive, causing chronic inflammation, depression, heart disease, and other conditions.

There are many ways to combat stress, including meditation, social support, building your confidence, and coping skills, but exercise is near the top of the list. Exercise primarily refers to aerobic exercise (cardio), but a few studies also indicate that strength training is a good stress-buster as well.

Getting sweaty is exceptionally effective because it attacks stress from so many angles. When you regularly work out, you’re:

  • Likely to have lower levels of substances that spike stress and depression, such as cortisol and other stress hormones, inflammatory compounds and free radicals.
  • Apt to have a tamer cardiovascular response to stress; your heart rate and blood pressure don’t rise as high, and come back down more quickly.
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Season with Cilantro for an Extra Dose of Good Health

 

cilantro

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

“Do you like cilantro?” was the subject line of an email I recently sent out to a few people coming to my home for dinner. A cilantro-hating ex-boyfriend taught me that when you dislike the herb, it’s with a passion. (To find out why, check out the “I hate cilantro” Facebook page with more than 13,000 likes, and the blog of the same name.)

If you fall into that camp, then you can stop reading now (or, continue, just to see what you’re missing). No matter how you feel about its taste, there’s no denying that nutritionally, it’s a bona fide super food. Here’s why:

  • It’s very rich in carotenoids. This group of antioxidant phytonutrients is important for the skin and eyes, as well as overall health. When tested along with other common herbs (basil, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary), cilantro was the richest in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • It may fight cancer. In test tube research at University of Malaya, ground up stems, leaves, and roots help kill breast cancer cells, a benefit that can be chalked up to cilantro’s plentiful carotenoids and other antioxidants.
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6 Ways to Makeover a Boring and Bland Salad

salad

By Team Best Life

As the weather warms up, you might be looking for easy meal solutions that don’t require turning on the oven. We’ve got a suggestion: Salad! Think your salad has to leave you hungry or dissatisfied? We can help! To create a full-meal salad that really fills you up, use the following tips:

Go green. You may be most familiar with iceberg and romaine lettuce, but why not experiment with other greens that offer different flavors and provide different nutrients? Give these greens a shot: arugula, butterhead, escarole, kale, mache, mizuna, spinach and watercress.

Choose a variety of veggies. The classics, like carrots, radishes and celery, are no-brainers. But if you want to be more adventurous, you can sprinkle on some roasted red peppers, canned artichoke hearts, or hearts of palm. Best Life lead nutritionist Janis JIbrin likes blueberries, beets, pomegranate seeds, butternut squash and fresh mint.

Get your fat fix. Stir in just one high-fat addition, such as 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, 1 tablespoon of nuts, or ¼ cup of sliced avocado. That will help keep you satisfied without adding too many calories to your bowl and help you absorb some of the vitamins from the vegetables.
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