Ginger is often used to add flavor to dishes, but it’s also relied on for medicinal purposes in various cultures. India, for example, introduced the Western world to ginger root when Europe was trading it heavily in Asia. In Eastern households, it’s common to use a lot of ginger in dishes to add plenty of flavor and spice. And in Western cultures, ginger is typically used to sweeten foods like ginger ale, gingerbread, and ginger cake. In addition to being incredibly versatile for cooking, ginger is also surprisingly nutritious touting a number of health benefits.
Health benefits: Ancient Chinese medicine men were the first to document the health benefits of ginger root. Several studies found that the roots can help pregnant women lessen symptoms of morning sickness.
Cancer treatment is another benefit of ginger. The University of Michigan conducted a study that linked ginger powder to the death of ovarian cancer cells. In addition to this study, the University of Minnesota found that ginger can slow the growth of colon cancer cells. Ginger root can also help reduce menstrual cramping, migraines, heartburn, and pain and inflammation.
Nutritional statistics: One quarter cup of raw ginger root has approximately 19 calories, 0 g of fat, 3 mg of sodium, 0 g of sugar, and 0 g of protein. (more…)
Bananas have become a household staple in U.S. According to Dole’s website, the average American eats 28 pounds of bananas a year – thats about 112 bananas annually. What people don’t know is that a majority of the bananas in grocery stores are imported from tropical regions such as Latin America and South America. Because bananas make a nutritious and portable breakfast or snack, it’s no mystery why Americans consume as many bananas as they do, especially since they’re packed with vitamins, nutrients and tons of health benefits.
Health Benefits: Bananas are chock-full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, A1, B6, and B12, as well as potassium, magnesium and fiber. Bananas are also filled with fiber, which helps regulate the digestive system. In addition, bananas help lower blood sugar and blood pressure. The potassium in bananas controls the amount of sodium in the body, allowing calcium to be retained and thus promoting healthy bones. Another benefit of potassium is the ease of muscle cramping. Bananas can also help protect the lining of the stomach and neutralize stomach acid, which helps those suffering from ulcers or intestinal disorders. Finally, bananas can reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer among females if consumed four to six times a week. (more…)
Peaches are one food of many that I have an opinion on. The former child in me hated peaches – the fuzzy skin and slimy texture was too much for me to handle. I’d take a pear over a peach any day. But ever since I was in California one summer and my friend’s family made me a peach milkshake with peaches picked straight from a tree in their yard, my opinion on this sweet, juicy fruit has changed.
Since August is National Peach Month, we found it the perfect time to highlight this classic summertime fruit to see just how healthy and versatile a peach really is.
Health benefits: Peaches contain a variety of vitamins, including vitamin A, which supports healthy vision; vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals and help ward off certain cancers; and vitamin K, which supports our body’s blood clotting capabilities. Peaches also provide ample amounts of thiamin, niacin, folate, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, zinc, iron and even calcium, all of which work collectively to help support proper nervous system function, red blood cell production and bone and tissue health.
One of the best characteristics of a peach is its fiber content. One large peach contains approximately 3 grams of fiber which helps promotes proper digestive and keep us full between meals. Plus, with all of the juicy water content of peaches, they keeps you fuller way longer than less nutrient-dense snacks like chips. (more…)
Avocados are a food that I only just came around to in the last five years or so. When I was younger, I would grow weary if guacamole came near my plate, and certainly didn’t go out of my way to get put any on my favorite Mexican dishes. Doing so would’ve been a travesty, or at the very least, a meal fail. But if I would’ve known then what I know now about this nutritionally-dense and versatile fruit, I’d have been eating it by the chip-fulls long before my college days.
Health Benefits: Avocados are incredibly high in vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, and also provide ample amounts of riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. In addition, avocados provide 54 percent of your recommended daily fiber intake. And perhaps the most exciting news about this fruit is that when eaten with other foods, such as blueberries, it doubles the amount of antioxidants your body is able to absorb!
Nutritional statistics: One cup of avocado diced contains approximately 240 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.
Cooking methods: Much to some people’s surprise, avocados can be prepared in many ways, both savory and sweet. Add them fresh to your morning smoothie or blend them up with a banana for a rich and simple vegan dessert. You can also mash them up with peas and put them over toast, or whirl them into a dressing with olive oil, salt and pepper. See our recipes below for just a few ways to use this heart-healthy fruit. (more…)
By now you’ve likely seen goat cheese on salads in fancy restaurants and in the dairy aisle at your local grocery store. But have you ever seen it in ice cream, pizza or on a tart? Perhaps you have, but these were little food discoveries that I was thrilled to stumble upon as I love the tangy flavor and creamy texture of this little-known cheese.
Health benefits: The health benefits of goat cheese are plenty, the first and most obvious being its calcium content. Health experts suspect that our body uses calcium to burn off fat after meals. And it’s well known that calcium helps maintain the strength and density of our bones. Calcium can play a role in various body functions such as muscle contraction and blood pressure regulation, and it’s even been linked to potentially preventing migraines.
Goat cheese is also high in phosphorus, vitamin B2, potassium and vitamin A. And according to Bellchevre, it contains 27 percent more of the antioxidant selenium than cow’s milk!
In addition, goat cheese is considered the ‘skinnier’ cheese as it’s much lower in fat and calories than other cheeses, such as brie and cheddar. (more…)
Is it just me or was cauliflower the one vegetable I wouldn’t touch as a child? Well, to be fair, I wouldn’t go near creamed corn either; the two repelled me faster than the phrase, “Here are your weekly chores.” But, just as I’ve matured over the years, so has my palette, and cauliflower has grown to become one of my favorite vegetables to prepare and eat. Plus, it’s healthy!
Health benefits: If you can get past the white color and interesting texture of cauliflower, you’ll begin to reap its benefits, which are plenty. For starters, cauliflower is excellent for healthy digestion which is common among cruciferous vegetables because of their high fiber and water content.
Cauliflower is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin K, both of which can help prevent inflammation. It’s also high in folate and several b vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. And last but not least, cauliflower contains one of the highest amounts of glucosinolates, second only to broccoli, which can promote detoxification in the body and even help prevent certain types of cancers. (more…)
Watermelon is one of my all-time favorite fruits. Its sweet flavor and light texture is refreshing every time I bite into it. While I’ve always known that watermelon is a fairly healthy food, especially if it’s taking the place of a heavy dessert, I had no idea how dense it was with good-for-you vitamins and nutrients.
Health benefits: Watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is beneficial for eye health; Vitamin B6, which is beneficial for brain function and turning protein into energy; and Vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system, prevent cell damage and even promote healthy teeth and gums.
Watermelon also contains lycopene, which is an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body and helps prevent heart disease and various types of cancer. It’s also an excellent source of potassium, which we all know helps muscle and nerve function, as well as helps maintain our body’s proper electrolyte level. (more…)
In addition to July being National Blueberry Month, it’s also National Bison Month! Who knew? While blueberries may be a much more common food than bison, the two can be used in equally adventurous ways in the kitchen with a little education on their flavor profiles and versatility.
Bison is seen as a much more health-friendly meat as it’s much leaner than beef. The most common dishes featuring bison are burgers . I had one myself at a restaurant years ago that was topped with bleu cheese crumbles, and the flavor pairing was mind blowing. While some expect it to taste gamey, I found the flavor to be very similar to beef but much richer and higher quality.
Health benefits: For meat lovers, bison is where it’s at when it comes to lean, delicious meat since bisons typically have a healthier lifestyle and diet than that of a cow. Because of this, many people consider it the “better red meat” with one 3-ounce serving of bison steak only running 150 calorie and serving up nearly 25 grams of protein. (more…)
July is national blueberry month – have you been eating them like crazy this summer like I have? They’re such a popular fruit not only in my own home, but also in millions of other American homes as they reportedly rank second only to strawberries as the most consumed fruit in the U.S. And it’s no wonder they’re so popular with countless health benefits, surprising versatility and delicious taste.
One of my favorite ways to eat blueberries – besides fresh from the pint – is in my morning smoothies. I sprinkle half a cup in with some cottage cheese, protein powder, stevia and ice, and feel instantly better about the way I’m starting my day nutritionally.
“Blueberries have been loved in this country since the beginning, really,” explains Scott Jenkins, executive chef at Arlington-based Extra Virgin restaurant. “They are delicious, versatile and healthy, so what’s not to love about a blueberry?” (more…)
Lemongrass is one of those elusive ingredients that I’ve never cooked with myself but have always wanted to. And the best way to get started is to learn where it comes from, how healthy it is, and what kinds of delicious recipes I can add it to.
What is lemongrass? Lemongrass is a unique herb that’s been utilized for its district lemon taste and mild and sweet flavor for hundreds of years – and not just for cooking, but for medicinal purposes as well. The plant is native to south India but is also grown in South East Asia, especially Thailand, Vietnam Malaysia and Indonesia.
Health benefits: Aside from its many medicinal benefits such as treating colds and sore throats, rough or dry skin, acne and even insomnia, it’s also been found to lower cholesterol and help stabilize Type 2 diabetes. Lemongrass oil and tea also been used for relaxation purposes for those who may have trouble sleeping, very similar to the effects of chamomile. Lemongrass also contains many vitamins and minerals including folic acid, vitamin B5, B-6 and B-1, vitamin A and C, as well as zinc, calcium, iron and copper. Lemongrass tea has also commonly been used as a diuretic to help flush toxins and waste from the body. (more…)