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High and Dry: The Perks of Dried Fruit

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.

dried fruit

Here’s what I found:

Dried Cherries

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.


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Raisin and Nut Quinoa Bowl – A Mediterranean Meal for Endurance Athlete Foodies

Many endurance athletes, myself included, find ourselves stuck in ruts when it comes to recipes and meals. We tend to have our staples that provide the nutrients we need to sustain our training, but those staples can get boring and overdone. The challenge to seek out new recipes is good, but searching a foreign region’s menu, was an extra, albeit fun, challenge.

With the mission of choosing a recipe from a specific country in the Mediterranean, a small geography lesson was first required. I think many of us don’t realize that the Mediterranean is more than a portion of Italy and the country of Greece. There are 21 countries that comprise the region. They all share similar ingredients in their recipes, yet they all deliver a unique flair to the table. I got the joy of researching the recipes of Egypt.

The first step was just familiarizing myself with the cuisine of the country. True to Mediterranean food, there were many minced meats, shish kabobs with sides of tahini and pita. Some less common foods included grilled pigeon, fried perch and tuna, and stewed beans for breakfast. While runners need protein, pigeon was not a source I was opting for this time.
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McCormick’s Saigon Cinnamon Makes Over Homemade Microwave Popcorn

It finally felt like fall this weekend. I hope it did where you are, too! I spotted patches of red and orange in otherwise bright green trees. We lit a fire inside and even needed hoodies to go outside. For the first time since the official first day of fall, it felt crunchy. That’s my word to describe fall – crunchy. Which is appropriate, because one of my favorite fall snacks is popcorn.

My other favorite fall flavor is cinnamon. I don’t care if it’s on a cinnamon roll, toast, oatmeal, cookies, applesauce, topping my yogurt, or wafting from a candle, my nose simply cannot get enough of this scent. So on a recent trip to the McCormick spice headquarters, as part of the Fitbloggin’ conference, outside of Baltimore, Maryland, I found myself in cinnamon-loving heaven.

We went through some of their consumer research experiments, one of which had us tasting traditional ground cinnamon next to Saigon cinnamon. I would have said cinnamon is cinnamon before that afternoon. But the ground cinnamon that I add to French toast every Saturday morning suddenly tasted like red hots candies compared to the earthy, warm, woodsy flavor that came from the McCormick Saigon cinnamon. I fell in love with cinnamon all over again.

As soon as I returned home, making something with that cinnamon was all I could think about. With the fall season in full swing, and McCormick encouraging us to freshen up one of our recipes, the only logical choice was marrying cinnamon and popcorn. Maybe some raisins, too. Cinnamon Raisin Popcorn sounds like a pretty incredible fall snack, doesn’t it?
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Top 7 Healthy Foods to Keep in Your Tornado Survival Pack

Now that it’s spring, mother nature is reminding us just how much power she can bring by hitting several states with tornados. Officials say this is only the beginning of what looks to be a very busy tornado season.

If you live in an area where tornado activity is possible and if you haven’t already, you must get a tornado survival pack prepared. It doesn’t take a lot of time and most items are around your house already. If you ever do find yourself in a severe storm with the potential of tornados, you’re going to be very thankful you prepared ahead of time.

Your list should include obvious things like a flashlight, radio, batteries and medical supplies. But you should also include nonperishable snacks and food. You may think tossing in some twinkies is good enough, but if you do find yourself dealing with a disaster your body is going to need good nutrition to maintain your immune system and health. So what are some healthy items to keep in your survival pack? I thought you would never ask. I have come up with seven healthy items you must include.
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Eat Right With Color: Blue and Purple Fruits and Veggies

Jane Schwartz Harrison is a registered dietitian and lifestyle writer for www.myOptumHealth.com. She is also the editor of their Nutrition and Healthy Weight, Healthy Kids hubs, and provides nutrition expertise through writing articles, developing menu plans and recipes, and supporting a nutrition column. Working in the nutrition field for the past 20 years, Jane has maintained a successful private practice and lectures regionally.

Feeling blue? In nutrition circles, this would be considered a good thing! Blue and purple fruits and veggies are colored by natural plant pigments called “anthocyanins.” Anthocyanins, part of the flavonoid family, are powerful antioxidants.

A recent survey found that adults who eat purple and blue fruits and vegetables have reduced risk for both high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind); they are also less likely to be overweight.


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