Spinach is seen both as a life force and a cause for sheer rebellion, depending on whom you ask. The enthusiast might be the token health nut in your friend circle and the pessimist is likely your 7-year-old daughter and most grown men. However, whichever side of the spinach argument you fall on, there’s no denying it’s insanely healthy for you.
Health benefits: Spinach is one of the best foods you can add to your diet as it’s loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients like iron, vitamin C, niacin, calcium and vitamin B. It’s also an excellent source of free-radical fighting antioxidants, and contains folate, fiber, lutein and potassium, which are all essential for maintaining a healthy heart.
Helpful tip: Did you know that microgreens can pack up to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts? For this reason, stick to baby spinach when possible. And if you really want to be an over-achiever, organic is best since the whole green in consumed. (more…)
Besides canned pears and bananas, grapefruit was one of the only fruits my mom could get me to eat as a kid. Back then I covered it in sugar but these days I approach it with a more refined palette, which has made enjoying its natural flavors – and robust health benefits – all the easier.
Health benefits: Grapefruit is an extremely flavorful citrus fruit that’s tangy, tart and sweet enough to please even the pickiest palettes. As a bonus, it also boasts some amazing health benefits. For example, just one fruit provides nearly 25 percent of your recommended amount of vitamin A; and 75 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, ward of colds, fight free radicals, and reduce inflammation.
According to Whole Foods, the pink hue found in grapefruits is not only pretty but also indicator of lycopene, which is a carotenoid phytonutrient that’s been found to help fight tumor activity and cell-damaging free radicals. (more…)
Did you know pistachios are considered the skinny nut? And to think, I always just liked them because they tasted good. Looks like I was missing half the good news about this little green nut.
Although I snack on pistachios often I seldom use them in cooking. However, because of their unique flavor and crunchy texture they make a brilliant addition to dishes like crusted chicken, ice cream and sautees (find recipes below). Who would’ve thought something so naturally healthy could also be so delicious?
Health benefits: As mentioned above, scientists have discovered that pistachios are the ideal snack for weight loss. This is because the nuts’ fat is absorbed into the body making them lower in calories than previously thought.
In addition to being a considerably low-calorie snack, pistachios are also high in vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and E, protein, healthy fats and antioxidants. Other studies have also shown pistachios to help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, increase HDL or “good” cholesterol, and fight inflammation. (more…)
Beets have been on my “don’t ask, don’t tell” produce list for years. Their unsightly appearance and tendency to stain your hands a bright reddish hue has left me less than enthused about including them in my daily diet. Let’s put it this way: I’ve never enthusiastically asked anyone to “Pass the steamed beets, please!”
However, in recent years upon discovering how nutritionally dense they are, I’ve changed my feelings about this winter root veggie and hope you will, too.
Health benefits: Beets – which come in red, gold and white varieties – are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. They’re also extremely high in fiber and nitrates, which are thought to help lower blood pressure and provide cardiovascular benefits.
According to a 2010 study from Queen Mary University of London, a single glass of beet juice can lower blood pressure in a matter of a few hours and is also believed to help boost athletic performance.
Beets also contain betanin and vulgaxanthin – complicated names for phytonutrients referred to as betalains, which have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties; this meaning they can help prevent heart disease and even certain types of cancer. (more…)
I’ll be honest. The first time I cracked open a pomegranate and took a bite of raw seeds was last week. In all my 26 years of foodie adventures I had never tried a pomegranate. Can you believe that? I’d always known pomegranates were extremely healthy for you but I’d just been intimidated by their large round shell and fleshy innards. But upon finding out how easy they are to crack into and the abundant health benefits they provide, I knew I had to purchase them more often. Here are just a few reasons you should consider doing the same.
Health benefits: Pomegranate seeds and juice are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and B5, potassium, fiber and various kinds of polyphenols. In addition, pomegranates can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent both circulatory and dental plaque, help ward off some types of cancers, slow Alzheimer’s, and even reduce joint inflammation. Also, pomegranate oil – which you can find in most health food stores – is extremely beneficial for healthy hair, nails and cuticles. They’re also an excellent source of iron and folic acid.
Nutritional statistics: One pomegranate 4 inches in diameter contains approximately 235 calories, 3 grams fat, 53 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fiber, 39 grams sugar and 5 grams protein. (more…)
Sweet potatoes are one of my absolute favorite foods. I rarely go to the grocery store without picking a few up to have on hand for a quick lunch, side dish or healthy snack throughout the week; but it hasn’t always been that way. Only in recent years have I let the sweet, orange variety reign supreme in my heart over traditional white potatoes. But since making the switch I’ve reaped some serious health benefits, and not to mention satisfied my sweet tooth.
Health benefits: Sweet potatoes are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, B6 and D, which help promote overall health, prevent such serious health risks as heart attacks and bone decay, and also ensure proper immune system function.
They’re also high in fiber, which helps promote proper digestion and the body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. A lesser known health benefit of sweet potatoes is that they are loaded with iron, which is essential for white blood cell production, stress management, optimum immune health and the metabolizing of protein. They’re also a great source of magnesium, potassium, and carotenoids like beta carotene, which help strengthen eyesight, boost immunity to disease and even ward off cancer.
Nutritional statistics: One cup of cooked sweet potato with skin contains approximately 180 calories, 0 g fat, 41 g carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 13 grams sugar and 4 grams of protein. (more…)
Brussels sprouts often get a bad rap for their peculiar appearance and the way your grandma probably makes them taste at Thanksgiving. But what you probably don’t know is that they’re loaded with good-for-you vitamins and nutrients and when prepared correctly can be extremely delicious. For instance, you know that icky taste broccoli can take on when it’s overcooked? That’s probably the same unpalatable taste you began associating with Brussels sprouts somewhere down the line. But I highly recommend you give them another chance, starting with the five tasty recipes we share below.
Health benefits: For starters, Brussels sprouts are very high in fiber, containing more than 15 percent of our daily recommended amount in just one serving. They can also aid in lowering cholesterol, encouraging proper digestion, and even blocking the activity of harmful enzymes that can do serious damage to the DNA in white blood cells, according to a study shared by healthdiaries.com.
In addition, Brussels sprouts are high in manganese, vitamins A, E, and C, and antioxidants, which naturally fight free radicals in the body to help prevent certain types of cancer. Brussels sprouts are also an anti-inflammatory food thanks to an abundance of vitamin K; and just one half cup serving contains nearly 430 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to help boost heart health, lower triglycerides and even help prevent and treat such serious conditions as arthritis and depression. (more…)
Along with spaghetti and butternut squash, acorn squash is another winter fruit that seems to be popping up everywhere this time of year. I’ve seen it in recipes for soups, pastas, salads, and even pies and it all looks so gorgeous and tasty it’s growing hard to resist. However, similar to my foodie blunder of never trying butternut squash, I’ve also never tried acorn squash – shame on me. But after rounding up some seriously delicious recipes featuring it both in savory and sweet settings (find six below), I’m officially adding it to my “to try” list this holiday season and hope you’ll do the same.
Health benefits: Acorn squash is an extremely healthy winter fruit loaded with vitamins and minerals like vitamins B-12, C and A, and potassium, folic acid and manganese. It’s also considerably high in folic acid, fiber and both alpha-carotene and beta carotene, which help fight free radicals in the body and ward off certain types of cancers.
Just one cup of acorn squash contains 145 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. The same serving size also provides 15 percent of the recommended daily amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which evidence has shown can help boost heart health, lower triglycerides and even help prevent and treat serious conditions such as arthritis and depression. (more…)
Kale was a leafy green that I veered far away from as a kid. But now that I’ve matured and wised up to know that kale is one of the healthiest greens around, I’ve opted to include it in my diet a bit more often. For those only beginning to venture into the world of dark leafy greens, kale is a great place to start and often referred to as the “queen of greens” for its superior health benefits. There is a bounty of delicious recipes to pick from online (we share five below), most grocery stores and markets have it in stock, and it’s so diverse that chances are you’re bound to find at least one way to enjoy this nutritious green.
Health benefits: For starters, kale – also known as borecole – is an amazing source of iron. In fact, it contains more per serving than beef, which is extremely beneficial as iron promotes cell growth, proper liver function, the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, and also transports oxygen throughout the body, according to MindBodyGreen.
Kale is also high in vitamin K and C, fiber, and cancer-fighting antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids. In addition, one cup contains 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect against arthritis, depression and autoimmune disorders, as well as promote heart health. (more…)
Butternut squash: Ever tried it? As a food blogger myself I’m extremely embarrassed to admit that I have not only never cooked butternut squash, I’ve also never even eaten it! This is borderline foodie blasphemy, I say, but that’s all about to change. Today we’re taking a nose dive right into this delectable squash and uncovering its health benefits, cooking methods and just what kinds of savory and and sweet recipes it can be used in. Let’s start with the important stuff: Is it good for you?
Health benefits: To answer the above-asked question in one word, “yes.” Butternut squash is a member of the gourd family, which also includes melons, cucumber, and pumpkin. And just like its seedy siblings, butternut squash is also technically a fruit. Who would’ve thought? In addition, it’s considered the most common among winter fruits, according to Nutrition and You.
When it comes to health benefits, this squash is ripe with vitamins and nutrients: phytonutrients, antioxidants, and plenty of fiber. In addition to these perks, this winter fruit is also rich in potassium, vitamin B6, and folate, which help support bone health, the nervous and immune systems and heart health, respectively. (more…)