The Health Benefits of Cucumbers

Today I want to share with you the health benefits of cucumbers.  This is another one of those vegetables that I don’t care for myself.  I have tried them on numerous occasions, but still can’t make myself like them. IMG_20140428_112005_677 The only way I will eat a cucumber is in the form of a pickle.

My mom loves cucumbers with onions in vinegar, which makes me want to gag.  Everybody likes what they like so I’m not knocking it, just don’t like it myself.

Cucumbers do have a number of health benefits though so I wanted to share them with you if you do like cucumbers.  One interesting fact I learned about cucumbers, while doing research for this blog post is, cucumbers are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world, which means they are very popular even though I don’t like them myself.

Thanks to the website Natural News for the information below.  As always it is much appreciated and I always give credit where credit is due.

Now for the health benefits of cucumbers:

1.  Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins.  B vitamins work as a pick-me-up for the body so put down your sodas and coffee and eat some cucumber slices.

2.  Cucumbers are 95 percent water, which helps to keep the body hydrated while also helping the body eliminate toxins.  Cucumbers have most of the vitamins the body needs in a single day so they are considered a super food.  Don’t forget to leave the skin on because the skin contains a good amount of vitamin C, about 10 percent of the daily-recommended allowance.

3.  Cucumbers help fight cancer.  Cucumber are known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol.  These three lignans, which are chemical compounds, have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and prostate cancer.

4.  Cucumbers help relieve bad breath.  Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

5.  Cucumbers help with hangovers.  To avoid a morning hangover or headache; eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed.  Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish many essential nutrients, reducing the intensity of both hangover and headache.

6.  Cucumber juice contains a hormone which is needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin which has been found to be beneficial to diabetic patients.  Researchers found that a compound called sterols in cucumbers may help reduce cholesterol levels.  Cucumbers contain a lot of potassium, magnesium and fiber.  These work effectively for regulating blood pressure.  This makes cucumbers good for treating both low blood pressure and high blood pressure.

7.  Cucumbers help to promote joint health and help relieve gout and arthritis pain.  Cucumbers are an excellent source of silica, which is known to help promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues.  They are also rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.  When mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering the uric acid levels

8.  Cucumbers are also good for these two things, which I had no idea about.  The things you learn…Eliminates a foggy mirror.  Before taking a shower, rub a cucumber slice along a mirror and it will eliminate the mirror fogging up.  Instead of WD40, take a cucumber slice and rub it along a squeaky hinge and your door will stop squeaking.

As you can see cucumbers have a number of health benefits.  If you like them you should pick some up the next time you’re at the grocery store, or if you have the ability, plant some in your garden.

Check out these recipes using cucumbers.  There are a couple that I’m going to try that look really good.  Like I said I’m trying to like cucumbers 🙂  If you already do, good for you.  Now try out some of these great recipes.  Happy…Healthy eating!

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Picnic Marinated Summer Slaw

Lemon Zucchini and Cucumber Salad

Foods That Cause Heartburn & Acid Reflux

Today I want to share with you some foods and a couple drinks that can cause heartburn.  Heartburn, if left untreated can lead to more serious problems,IMG_20140427_183743_861 so if you have frequent heartburn you may want to make an appointment with your doctor to check to see if it could be something more serious.

Since I’ve been eating better I rarely have heartburn anymore.  Before I changed my eating habits I would have heartburn from time to time and it was quite bothersome.  It would usually flair up at night when I was trying to sleep, and if you know me very well you know not to mess with my sleep…lol.

Thanks to the website www.activebeat.com for the information below about common causes of heartburn and acid reflux.

So lets cover some of the most common foods and drinks that can cause heartburn.

1.  Alcohol can be a massive trigger for heartburn attacks.  Red wine and beer are particularly likely to cause acid reflux.  Alcohol relaxes your esophageal sphincter, allowing for stomach acid to creep up.  Drinking alcohol with a large meal is a recipe for disaster as it increases the risk of acid reflux.  If you enjoy a drink with your meal, eat smaller portions to minimize your risk of heartburn.

2.  Fried foods.  Fatty foods can be brutal for a person suffering from acid reflux.  While fried foods may look crispy, they retain a lot of the oil in the coating.  Foods high in fat take longer to digest, putting pressure on your stomach and esophagus.  This increases the risk of acid reflux due to the time your stomach stays full.  Instead of fried foods try grilling or poaching your meals.  This not only saves calories, but can protect you from heartburn.

3.  Spicy foods.  The effect of spicy food on heartburn is interesting.  Many people complain of massive heartburn after consuming a spicy dish, but other may find spicy food helps calm their chronic heartburn.  Spicy food can affect the acid levels in your stomach creating a more hostile environment that can promote acid reflux.  If you find spicy foods trigger heartburn then try reducing the heat and spiciness of those foods.

4.  Tomatoes, fresh or canned, can be a major trigger for heartburn.  While tomatoes are incredibly healthy vegetables, tomatoes are naturally high in acid.  This can upset your stomach, causing acid reflux as you digest your meal.  Be wary of tomatoes used in cooking.  A delicious pasta sauce could come back to haunt you later in the night.  Also consider condiments high in tomatoes and acid, such as ketchup and salsa.

5.  Oranges and other citrus fruits.  These fruits are high in acid content, which can lead to acid reflux.  Instead of citrus fruit, if you have problems with heartburn or acid reflux, instead go for high alkaline foods.  These include berries, apples, pears, bananas and melons.  If you do eat or drink citrus foods, try to get them in early during the day.  This will minimize the risk of heartburn, as many people experience while laying down in bed.

6.  Mint tea and candies are known to settle upset stomachs, but this herb can worsen heartburn.  The numbing effect of mind can relax your esophageal sphincter, letting stomach acid attack your esophagus.  If you are looking for natural heartburn treatments to replace mint, consider ginger.  Ginger is a natural nausea reducing food.  Enjoy ginger tea before bed to reduce your chance of overnight heartburn.

7.  Beef.  Beef that is higher in fat can cause heartburn.  Expensive cuts such as filet mignon, porterhouse, New York strip, and T-bone steaks are all high fat cuts of beef, so if you have problems with heartburn you may want to avoid these.  Instead try these cuts of beef; sirloin tip, top round, eye of round and top sirloin.  Low fat cuts of beef can be tough so marinate or stew the meats for best results.

8.  Coffee and caffeinated drinks.  Coffee and caffeinated drinks are high in acid, which can exacerbate heartburn and acid reflux.  Caffeine relaxes the esophageal sphincter which allows stomach acid to damage your throat.  If you think you have to drink coffee or caffeinated drinks, moderation is key and cut the caffeine early in the day.

9.  High fat cheeses.  These types of cheeses can relax your stomach and delay digestion.  This puts pressure on your esophageal sphincter and can let acid creep through.  High fat cheeses include cheddar, cream cheese, gouda, parmesan, and stilton.  Better choices for cheese, which are low in fat would be cottage cheese, ricotta, and other types of reduced fat cheeses.

Everybody is different so one of these may not affect you at all, while there may be something not on the list may affect you greatly.  This is by no means a comprehensive list.  These are just some that are more common among people.

I hope you learned something from this post.  I know I did while writing it.  🙂

The Health Benefits of Strawberries

Today I wanted to share with you the health benefits of strawberries.  Boy do I love me some strawberries.  They are another one of my favorite fruits and are great in a fruit salad or just by themselves.

Below are some of the health benefits of strawberries.IMG_20140330_135239_803  I love the fact that not only are the fruits and vegetables I’ve been covering good for you, but they taste good too.

Thanks to the website health.india.com for the information below.  It is much appreciated as always.  Giving credit where credit is due.

1.  Strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, which helps boost your immunity and protects you from infections. Just one cup of strawberries meets 100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. This alone makes it a fruit that you should not miss out on, specially during the strawberry season.

2.  Strawberries are a great source of fiber, which can help with constipation.  Fiber also helps regulate your blood sugar levels, which makes strawberries a great food for diabetics and those who want to prevent diabetes.  Strawberries have a low glycemic index of 40, which means diabetics can consume them without worrying too much, but always consult your doctor before you do just to make sure.

3.  Vitamin C and antioxidants present in strawberries can help slow down the aging process and keep your skin wrinkle-free for longer.  

4.  Strawberries are extremely low in calories, with a cup having just 53 calories.  Also, they have fiber, mentioned above, which can leave you feeling fuller if you have them before a meal.  The high vitamin C content also helps boost your metabolism which helps your body burn the calories faster.

5.  Pregnant women are sometimes confused as to what they should eat during pregnancy that’ll both be good for them and the baby.  Folate present in rich quantities in strawberries helps in the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord development.  In addition, strawberries also have folic acid, which can save the child from having certain birth defects. 

6.  Shaped like a heart, strawberries have nutrients like flavonoids and antioxidants that prevent the buildup of bad cholesterol which can clog your arteries.  Additionally, these nutrients have anti-inflammation properties which are good for the heart.

7.  Like most fruits and vegetables, strawberries too are high in antioxidants which help in fighting cancer.  In particular, strawberries have antioxidants like lutein and zeathanacins which suppresses the growth of cancer cells.

8.  Strawberries have nutrients like manganese, potassium and some minerals that not only help promote bone growth, but also helps keep them in mint condition.  These properties also make strawberries a good fruit for growing children.

9.  Strawberries contain folic acid, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and ellagic acid, which helps to prevent your hair from falling out and thinning.  Furthermore, minerals like copper and magnesium found in strawberries helps prevent dandruff and fungal growth on your scalp.

10.  Fisetin, a naturally occurring flavonoid present in strawberries helps enhance memory by stimulating the signaling pathways.  A research study published in “Annals of Neurology” also proved that eating 2 or more servings of strawberries per week can delay memory decline in aging women.

As you can see strawberries have all kinds of great health benefits.  The next time your are at the grocery store I would encourage you to pick some up, or with strawberry season coming up soon, if you have them available, go out and pick some fresh ones from a local strawberry farm or grower.  Fresh is always better than store-bought, in my opinion.

Now check out these recipes that use strawberries.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

Strawberry Avocado Salad

Perfect Summer Fruit Salad

Watermelon Fruit Bowl

The Health Benefits of Blackberries

Today I wanted to share with you the health benefits of blackberries.  Last summer while I was living at my parents house, IMG_20140330_135119_513waiting to move to Russellville to start back to school, I would frequently visit my friends Alicia and Johnny who live way out in the country and out in the woods.

A couple evenings last summer we would hop on their four-wheeler’s and go hunting for blackberries.  We would take a couple plastic bowls with us and off we would ride.  Our trips were always productive and we’d come back with bowls full of blackberries.  Well maybe not bowl’s full since we would eat as we picked, but plenty none the less.  🙂  Good memories for sure.

Thanks to the websites healthyeating.sfgate.com and Health Diaries for the information below on the health benefits of blackberries.  As always I appreciate it very much.

So now for the benefits of blackberries:

1.  A cup of raw blackberries has 62 calories, less than a gram of fat, 2 grams of protein, no cholesterol and only 1 gram of sodium.   Blackberries also gives you 7.6 grams of fiber, more fiber than a cup of bran flakes, which provide 7 grams.  If you are trying to lose weight, blackberries can give you quick energy, and their fiber content can help you stay full until your next meal, preventing you from wanting to snack on more fattening foods.

2.  Blackberry juice may be good for your heart, according to a group of researchers from Policlinico Universitario in Messina, Italy, who published a 2003 study in “Life Sciences,” a scientific journal distributed by Science Direct.  They observed the antioxidant activity of blackberry juice on vascular tissue damaged by free radicals induced by peroxynitrite, an oxidant that can damage or destroy DNA and cells.  Compounds called anthocyanins, they concluded, may increase the juice’s antioxidant activity and protect your cardiovascular system from disease.

3.  A 2009 study published in the medical journal “Nutritional Neuroscience” indicated that blackberry intake may have a positive impact on motor and cognitive skills, which often decline with age.   The researchers believe that the polyphenols in blackberries increase antioxidant levels enough to make them potentially beneficial to aging adults.

4.  Eating blackberries may help kill oral bacteria that cause illness.  According to Oregon State University, blackberries contain gallic acid, rutin and ellagic acid, compounds that may have antiviral and antibacterial properties.  In 2012, researchers from the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina examined the effects of blackberry extract’s antibacterial properties on periodontal health.  After testing it on 10 different kinds of bacteria, they concluded that blackberry extract’s ability to kill pathogens, along with its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, make it a promising ingredient in products designed to prevent or treat periodontal infections.

5.   As with all berries, blackberries are a great source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant shown to protect the skin from damage from ultraviolet light.  Studies have also shown that ellagic acid may also repair skin damaged by the sun.  Vitamin C helps heal wounds, and studies also show vitamin C may even lessen the appearance of wrinkles.  Studies of cyanidin-3-glucoside, a compound found in blackberries showed it prevents skin cancer by inhibiting tumors from growing and spreading.

6.  Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant in blackberries and one cup contains half of the daily recommendation of vitamin C.  The body uses vitamin C for protection from immune system deficiencies, and may reduce the chances of macular degeneration, a condition in which fine vision deteriorates, resulting in central vision loss and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50.

7.  Phytoestrogen’s are naturally occurring plant estrogen’s found in blackberries that may help relieve the common symptoms of PMS like bloating, food cravings, and even menopausal symptoms including hot flashes.

8.  Blackberries are a good source of vitamin K, offering 36% of the daily recommended amount of this nutrient used by the body for the clotting of blood and to aid the absorption of calcium.

As you can see blackberries have a number of health benefits.  I would encourage you to pick some up the next time you’re at the grocery store, or if you have the chance to pick your own when blackberry season comes around I would recommend that too.

Check out these recipes below that contain blackberries.  Good stuff!

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Berry Burst Sorbet

Mango Berry Fruit Salad

 

The Health Benefits of Cilantro

Today I wanted to share with you the health benefits of cilantro. IMG_20140330_134732_051 I love cilantro in salads, on pizza, and especially in pasta sauce.

Cilantro is an herb that has many health benefits.  Thanks to the website Raw Living Foods for the information provided below.  As always it is much appreciated.

Now lets get to the health benefits of cilantro:

1.  Cilantro is a natural cleansing agent.  Cilantro has been used effectively to remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body.  The chemical compounds in cilantro actually bind to the heavy metals, loosening them from the tissues, blood and organs.  Cilantro’s chemical compounds then aid to transport these harmful substances out of the body through bowel movements.

2.  Cilantro can help with mercury poisoning.  Many people suffering from excess mercury report that the feeling of disorientation resulting from the poisoning can be greatly reduced through consuming large and regular amounts of cilantro over an extended period.

3.  The rich qualities of cilantro oil have a powerfully positive effect on our inner digestive tract.  The oils aid our digestive system in its production of digestive enzymes, acids and juices.

4.  Cilantro has powerful anti-inflammatory capacities that may help symptoms of arthritis.

5.  Cilantro acts to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).

6.  Cilantro helps to relieve stomach gas and helps prevent flatulence.

7.Cilantro helps ward off urinary tract infections.

8.  Cilantro helps relieve feeling of nausea.

9.  Cilantro has been shown to reduce menstrual cramping in women.

10.  Cilantro helps promote healthy liver functions.

11.  Cilantro if applied topically helps to reduce swelling.

12.  Cilantro if applied topically also acts a natural anti-septic and anti-fungal agent for skin disorders like fungal infections and eczema.

As you can see cilantro not only has internal benefits, but external benefits as well.  I would encourage you to pick some up the next time you’re at the grocery store.

Below are some recipes where cilantro is used.  The first one I am going to try very soon.  It looks so good.  I may substitute ground turkey for the ground chicken.  Cilantro and avocado on a burger.  I say yum!

Cilantro Chicken Burgers with Avocado 

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

Grilled Cilantro Salmon 

Orange Cilantro Rice

 

The Health Benefits of Cashews

Today I wanted to share with you the health benefits of cashews, which are another favorite nut of mine along with almonds.

Cashew fruit

Picture found online, not my original photo. Looks just like an apple, but with an upside down cashew nut stem 🙂

Now for some interesting facts that I didn’t know.  Did you?  The cashew tree is native to Brazil, where its fruit is considered a delicacy.  Yes I said fruit.  The cashew tree produces a fruit known as the cashew apple.  What we know as the cashew nut is actually the seed from this fruit.  I found a picture of the fruit with the cashew nut inside a shell attached to the bottom of the fruit.

They say you learn something new everyday: right?  After reading this I now want to try a cashew apple.  I’m so curious now about what it taste like.  I’ll have to keep a lookout for some, although I am in Arkansas so it could be a challenge.

So now back to the cashew nut, which has many health benefits that I’d like to share with you today.  Thanks goes to the website Health Diaries for the information below.  As always it is much appreciated.

Now the health benefits of cashews:

1.  Cashews are ripe with proanthocyanidins, a class of flavanols that actually starve tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing.  Studies have also shown that cashews can reduce your risk of colon cancer.

2.  Cashews also have a high copper content, which help to eliminate free radicals. Copper found is cashews is also vital for the function of enzymes involved in combining collagen and elsatin, providing substance and flexibility in bones and joints.  Cashews are also a good source of phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect us from heart disease and cancer.

3.  Cashews are wonderfully cholesterol free and their high antioxidant content helps lower the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.

4.  The magnesium in cashews helps lower blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.  It’s a well-known fact that calcium is necessary for strong bones, but magnesium is as well.  Most of the magnesium in the body is in our bones.  Some of it helps lend bones their physical structure, and the remainder is located on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to use at it needs it.  Insufficient magnesium leads to higher blood pressure, muscle tension, migraine headaches, soreness and fatigue. IMG_20140330_131648_090 Not surprisingly, studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps diminish the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.

5.  Data collected on 80,718 women from the Nurses’ Health Study demonstrates that women who eat at least an ounce of nuts each week, such as cashews, have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones.

6.  People who eat nuts twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who rarely eat nuts.  Cashew nuts are indeed relatively high in fat, but it is considered “good fat.”  This is attributable to the ideal fat ratio in the nut, 1:2:1 for saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, respectively, which is recommended by scientists for tip-top health.  Cashew nuts contain less fat than most other popular nuts, including peanuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts.  They are dense in energy and high in dietary fiber, making them a very valuable snack for managing weight gain.

As you can see cashews are one healthy nut.  I would encourage you to pick up some cashews the next time you are at the grocery store and eat a serving a couple times a week.  Here’s to your health.

Check out these recipes containing cashews:

Chicken with Cashews

Mango Cashew Salad

Ginger Cashew Chicken

Karli’s Ultimate Trail Mix

The Health Benefits of Bell Peppers

Today I wanted to share with you the health benefits of bell peppers.  Personally I do not like bell peppers. IMG_20140330_135451_455 When something has bell pepper in it, or is cooked with bell peppers, such as stuffed bell peppers, which my mom absolutely loves, all I can taste is bell pepper.  My taste buds have not taken a liking to them and I don’t know if they ever will.

I do not discriminate though when it comes to something I don’t like.  There are still health benefits of bell peppers and I’d like to share those benefits with you today.

Thanks to the website www.care2.com for the information listed below.  It is greatly appreciated.

Here are the health benefits of bell peppers.

1.  Bell peppers are low in calories.  So, even if you eat one full cup of them, you get just about 45 calories.  Bonus: that one cup will give you more than your daily quota of Vitamin A and C.

2.  Bell peppers contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful.  The highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper is concentrated in the red variety.

3.  Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids,  particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

4.  Bell peppers contain capsaicin, which helps to reduce bad cholesterol, controls diabetes, brings relief from pain and eases inflammation.

5.  The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.

6.  The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E, which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful.

7.  Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for the health of the nervous system and helps renew cells.

8.  Certain enzymes in bell peppers, such as lutein, protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

As you can see bell peppers have many health benefits.  I will try again to like them, but I can’t promise anything.  🙂  In my defense I have to say, not everybody likes everything and bell peppers happen to be one of those things I just can’t seem to make myself like them.  Maybe my taste buds will change some more and someday I will.

If you enjoy bell peppers here are some recipes containing bell peppers.  Give them a try and enjoy.

Healthier Stuffed Peppers

Kielbasa with Peppers and Potatoes

Scarlett’s Chicken Cacciatori 

The Health Benefits of Butternut Squash

Today I wanted to share the health benefits of butternut squash.  I have to admit I don’t eat them that often.  I always seem to forget about them when I’m at the grocery store, or like most people think about them in the fall more than I do in the spring or summer.IMG_20140330_135733_553

I plan on trying to fit them into my meals more often since they do have great health benefits.  If you’ve never tried butternut squash I would encourage you to do so.  Like always I will include recipes at the end.  Give one or all of them a try.

Thanks to healthyeating.sfgate.com for the information below.  I really appreciate it as always and give them all the credit.

Here are the health benefits of butternut squash.

1.  A 1/2-cup serving of cubed, cooked butternut squash contains 3.3 grams of dietary fiber.  This amount supplies approximately 12 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for a healthy adult adhering to a 2,000-calorie diet.  Butternut squash provides both soluble and insoluble fiber, but is especially high in soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber may help decrease the risk of diabetes and high blood cholesterol.  In a 2008 “Today’s Dietitian” article, registered dietitian Sharon Palmer added that consuming high-fiber foods like winter squash may also help prevent heart disease, obesity, cancer, diverticulitis and hemorrhoids.

2.  Cooked butternut squash provides 40 percent of the RDA of vitamin C in each 1/2-cup serving.  Vitamin C is required for the health of the immune system and to synthesize, maintain and repair skin, blood vessels, cellular tissue and bones.  It acts as an antioxidant by inhibiting the ability of free radical compounds to damage DNA.  A diet that includes plenty of vitamin C may prevent heart disease, age-related macular degeneration, osteoarthritis, cancer and hypertension.

3.  Every 1/2 cup of cooked butternut squash contains 11,434 international units of vitamin A, or 260 percent of the RDA of the vitamin.  Vitamin A is essential for eye, skin and immune system health.  It also plays a vital role in the formation of bones and in cellular reproduction and differentiation.  A diet that lacks vitamin A-rich foods like butternut squash may put you at greater risk of developing cancer or eye disorders like cataracts.  Vitamin A is fat soluble, meaning that the amount absorbed in the intestines is higher if foods that contain the vitamin are eaten at the same time as a source of fat.

4.  The American Dietetic Association reports that winter squashes such as butternut squash are one of the richest sources of the carotenoid compound beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is the pigment that is responsible for the deep orange color of butternut squash.  It is a powerful antioxidant that may prevent the free radical damage that can lead to diabetes, infections, heart disease, cancer and degenerative neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

As you can see butternut squash is packed with all kinds of goodness.  Next time you’re at the grocery store you should pick one up, or if you grown your own garden you should plant a couple butternut squash plants.

Here are some recipes using butternut squash.  Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Fries

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

Turkey Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Zucchini and Spinach

 

The Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash

Today I wanted to share with you the health benefits of spaghetti squash.  My parents planted some spaghetti squash when I was a kid.  IMG_20140330_135719_269My mom would boil them and prepare spaghetti sauce and use the squash in place of pasta.  It was really good.

Here a few weeks ago I picked one up at the grocery store and did the same thing, and it was as good as I remember.  If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash you should give them a try.  They are delicious.

Thanks to the website healthyeating.sfgate.com for the information provided below.  As always it is much appreciated.

So here are the health benefits of spaghetti squash.

1.  If you’re looking to restrict your caloric intake, eating spaghetti squash will help fill up your plate without adding lots of calories.  Each cup of the cooked squash contains only 42 calories – 2 percent of the daily calorie intake on a 1,500-calorie diet, or 1.5 percent of a 2,000-calorie diet.  Due to the squash’s low calorie content, substituting spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti pasta dramatically reduces the calorie content of your meal; substituting a cup of squash in place of pasta saves you 179 calories.  If you normally eat spaghetti once a week, the calorie difference in switching to spaghetti squash translates to 2.5 pounds of weight loss over the course of a year.

2.  Spaghetti squash serves as a source of beneficial carbohydrates.  Each cup of cooked squash contains approximately 10 grams of total carbohydrates, including 2.2 grams of fiber.  Consuming fiber-containing foods like spaghetti squash offers a number of health benefits – the fiber forms a gel in your digestive tract that helps remove cholesterol from your body, helps your body regulate blood sugar and also helps you feel full for longer after your meal.  Fiber also adds bulk to your stool, which helps to prevent constipation.  The 8 grams of sugars and starch found in spaghetti squash also benefit your health, providing a source of energy for your cells.

3.  Consuming spaghetti squash also boosts your intake of essential vitamins and minerals.  One cup of squash contains 170 international units of vitamin A, which is almost 6 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 7 percent of the recommended intake for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.  The squash also contains several B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K.  In addition, spaghetti squash provides a source of the essential minerals calcium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.

As you can see spaghetti squash is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals.  I would encourage you to pick one up the next time you’re at the grocery store and give it a try in place of pasta.  It’s good stuff.

Below are some recipes using spaghetti squash.

Spinach and Spaghetti Squash Quiche

Baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Style

Spaghetti Squash Tacos

Roasted Vegetables with Spaghetti Squash

 

The Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Today I wanted to share with you the health benefits of mushrooms.  Mushrooms are something I wasn’t exposed to as a child because my parents don’t like them.  As an adult I discovered them, and I love them.

I love mushrooms in salads, pasta sauce, IMG_20140330_134909_046on pizza and sauteed in a little olive oil and put on a turkey burger with some sauteed onions.  Mushrooms are yummy, in my opinion.  My mom would disagree.  🙂

There are many varieties of mushrooms out on the market.  The ones I eat the most often are portabella mushrooms, but I’ve had other varieties and like them too.

Thanks goes to the website mushroominfo.com for the information below.  As always it’s much appreciated.

1.  Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. B vitamins also play an important role in the nervous system.

2.  Mushrooms contain pantothenic acid, which helps with the production of hormones and also plays an important role in the nervous system.

3.  Mushrooms contain riboflavin, which helps maintain healthy red blood cells.

4.  Mushrooms contain niacin, which promotes healthy skin and makes sure the digestive and nervous systems function properly.

5.  Mushrooms contain selenium, which is a mineral that works as an antioxidant to protect body cells from damage that might lead to heart disease, some cancers and other diseases of aging.  It also has been found to be important for the immune system and fertility in men.  Many foods of animal origin and grains are good sources of selenium, but mushrooms are among the richest sources of selenium in the produce aisle and provide 8-22 micrograms per serving.  This is good news for vegetarians, whose sources of selenium are limited.

6.  Mushroom contain ergothioneine, which is a naturally occurring antioxidant that also may help protect the body’s cells.  Mushrooms provide 2.8-4.9 mg of ergothioneine per serving of white, portabella or crimini mushrooms.

7.  Mushrooms contain copper.  Copper helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.  Copper also helps keep bones and nerves healthy.

8.  Mushrooms contain potassium.  Potassium aids in the maintenance of normal fluid and mineral balance, which helps control blood pressure.  It also plays a role in making sure nerves and muscles, including the heart, function properly.  Mushrooms have 98-376 mg of potassium per 84 gram serving, which is 3-11 percent of the Daily Value.

As you can see mushrooms have many health benefits.  I would encourage you to pick some up the next time you’re at the grocery store.

Below are some recipes containing mushrooms.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Stuffed Mushrooms with Breadcrumbs and Cheese

Mushroom Turkey Burgers

Mushroom and Chicken Fajita Wraps

Baked Spaghetti with Mushrooms