Few things are as satisfying, or good for you, as a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. It’s a powerhouse breakfast food with satiating fiber and protein. But would you believe there’s a grain that can fuel you longer with more fiber and protein? It’s quinoa.
Sound too freaky? I used to think the same thing, until I started experimenting with the neutral-flavored grain that ranks amongst the best super foods. The opportunity to have an even stronger start to my day was all the encouragement I needed to try this grain outside of dinner. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
I just dotted my opened-faced peanut butter sandwich with dried cherries (and a little bit of honey) and wondered, “How much nutrition is left in these cherries, or other dried fruit, for that matter?” Quite a lot, I discovered after consulting recent studies. While vitamins, like vitamin C, may dwindle with drying, phytonutrients—beneficial plant compounds—remain.
Here’s what I found:
I buy “sour” or “tart” cherries, and a study in the Journal of Food Science found that these dried fruits are rich in compounds that clobber two types of free radicals, harmful molecules that promote heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders.
Believe it or not, I tried my very first fig just this year. While I didn’t know what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised at the subtle sweet flavor and delicate texture. Since discovering I enjoy this fruit so much, I’ve since realized how incredibly nutritious and versatile they are. For instance, figs can be enjoyed fresh or dried, roasted or baked, savory or sweet. Plus, a 1-cup serving contains nearly 15 grams of fiber! I think I’ve found a new favorite fruit to cycle into my daily snack line-up.
Health benefits: Figs are extremely healthy for you, containing a variety of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, fiber, flavonoids, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium and copper. Figs are also considered a healthy low-calorie, low-fat food with the ability to boost mood and improve both digestive and cardiovascular health. Additionally, they contain antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body to combat and prevent certain types of cancer, and have also been found to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Nutrition statistics: 1 cup dried figs contains approximately 371 calories, 1 gram fat, 15 mg sodium, 95 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fiber, 71 grams sugar, 5 grams protein.
Cooking methods: When choosing a fig, make sure it’s soft but not mushy. It should smell slightly sweet and never sour. Once washed and removed of the stem, you can eat the entire fig as is. Perhaps the most popular way to eat figs besides dried is fresh in salads, over yogurt or on toast with honey. (more…)
Matthew Kaplan is the Editor for FaveDiets.com, a free online resource featuring hundreds of free healthy recipes, healthy cooking tips and loads more. Be sure to check out FaveDiets on Facebook and on Twitter.
In the fruit world, few fruits are as overlooked as figs. Outside of the ubiquitous Fig Newton, few of us consume figs with any regularity. This is too bad, as figs are bursting with flavor and nutritional value. Whether from fresh figs and dried figs to fig recipes, reconsider adding figs to your healthy eating routine. Here are five reasons why you should be eating figs.
Fresh figs are a seasonal delight
If you have never had a fresh fig before, then you are in for a real treat. They taste very similar to dates or raisins, and are overflowing with sweetness. Prime season for fresh figs is during the tail end of summer and early fall, so be sure to snap up some fresh figs the next time you see them in stores.
Dried figs are always an ideal treat
If you can’t find fresh figs near you, then reach for some dried figs. Available just about everywhere year round, dried figs are like a much more flavorful version of a raisin; Or like a less sweet version of a date. I love keeping some dried figs on hand as a quick afternoon snack, as it cures my sweet tooth better than most other dried fruit varieties. (more…)
The fig is thought to be the oldest cultivated fruit known to man. Many centuries ago, they were native to Asia and the Mediterranean, although they’ve been introduced to places all over the world with similar climates. The Mediterranean diet has become very popular in the U.S. but an essential part of it, the fig, is often forgotten. Since ancient times, figs have been prized for their sweetness and nutritional profile. If you’ve never experienced the fig beyond a chewy newton, I highly suggest you do. (more…)