nutrients

Stay Mentally Focused!

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Don't let sugary and fat laden breakfasts weigh you down - stay light and strong with a nutritious plant based breakfast and be ready for anything mother nature sends your way!!

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Keep Your Brain Focused!

A delicious nutritious breakfast sets the mindset for the day. So when snowy Sunday mornings conjure up images of pancakes topped with sugary syrups, stay on track with a nutritious breakfast.  One of my favorites is  an English muffin with creamy peanut butter and a variety of fruit. A homemade hot chocolate is the perfect beverage to complete my energizing breakfast. What's yours?   

Healthier Protein Sources

 Pasta and Beans an example of a healthier protein choice!

Pasta and Beans an example of a healthier protein choice!

 Most Americans consume substantially more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance  (RDA); these recommended amounts are the average daily requirements for healthy people.  All animal foods and their products, and plant foods such as dry beans, peas, soybeans, nuts and seeds are considered protein sources.  

Too much of a good thing

Eating too much protein has no benefit. Contrary to popular belief, consuming more protein will not result in bigger muscles, stronger bones or increased immunity. Similar to carbohydrates and fats, protein is an energy-yielding nutrient. Such nutrients furnish calories the body needs to carry out its functions. If too many calories are taken in, the extra protein is not stored as protein but rather is converted to and stored as fat.  All excess calories, regardless of the source -- carbohydrate, fat or protein -- are stored as fat.

Consuming high amounts of protein can be bad for your health, especially if you eat a lot of high-fat animal proteins, such as hamburgers and cheese, and few plant proteins. High-fat animal foods contain significant amounts of saturated fat, which raises your level of blood cholesterol and increases your risk of heart disease. Another negative effect when eating too many high protein, high-fat foods is weight gain, from simply consuming too many calories.  

Go for balance

Plant sources of protein (beans, peas, soybeans, nuts and seeds) are a healthier choice. For the most part, they contain less fat and more fiber- although nuts and seeds can be high in fat, it is the healthy kind. Plant foods also contain no cholesterol and are rich in vitamins and minerals. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that the average person consume five and a half ounces of protein foods daily. This intake is based on the premise that individuals consume protein from both animal and plant sources.

 Balance your protein sources and make meals healthier. Several times a week make plant protein, such as beans, the centerpiece of your plate and use animal-based protein in small quantities to embellish. Instead of macaroni and cheese try pasta and beans; make hummus or bean dip spread your sandwich filling in place of deli meats, beans and tuna fish is an combination; when dining out order a complete main dish such as chicken broccoli and ziti.    

Protein is certainly vital for proper growth and to keeping our bodies in good working form. To obtain the benefits of this essential nutrient and minimize the damage of the high-fat sources, balance your choices of protein-rich foods.  Keep protein harmony on your plate and give both lean animal and plant foods equal billing.   

When Choosing Protein

Getting your protein from the right foods goes a long way towards well being.

Lean meats and plant protein are your best choices. You get nutrients you need without the fat you don't need. 

Here are tips, from www.ChooseMyPlate to help you make wise choices from the Protein Foods Group.

Go lean with protein:

  • The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
  • The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
  • Choose lean ground beef. To be considered "lean," the product has to be at least 92% lean/8% fat.
  • Buy skinless chicken parts, or take off the skin before cooking.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices.
  • Choose lean turkey, roast beef, ham, or low-fat luncheon meats for sandwiches instead of luncheon/deli meats with more fat, such as regular bologna or salami.
     

Vary your protein choices:

  • Choose seafood at least twice a week as the main protein food. Look for seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, and herring. Some ideas are:
    • Salmon steak or filet
    • Salmon loaf
    • Grilled or baked trout
  • Choose beans, peas, or soy products as a main dish or part of a meal often. Some choices are:
    • Chili with kidney or pinto beans
    • Stir-fried tofu
    • Split pea, lentil, minestrone, or white bean soups
    • Baked beans
    • Black bean enchiladas
    • Garbanzo or kidney beans on a chef’s salad
    • Rice and beans
    • Veggie burgers
    • Hummus (chickpeas spread) on pita bread
  • Choose unsalted nuts as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes. Use nuts to replace meat or poultry, not in addition to these items:
    • Use pine nuts in pesto sauce for pasta.
    • Add slivered almonds to steamed vegetables.
    • Add toasted peanuts or cashews to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat.
    • Sprinkle a few nuts on top of low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat.

Dark Leafy Greens To The Rescue

 

 Health benefits of dark leafy greens   

With today’s pace and high levels of stress, many of us suffer low energy along with assorted other maladies and health conditions. As we age, we may develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or acid reflux. Even those with no prior weight challenges may notice an expanding waistline. 

Dark leafy greens to the rescue

This spring, make room for some dark leafy greens among your flower gardens. Dark leafy greens – including Swiss chard, dandelion greens, collard greens, arugula, turnip greens, bok choy -- yield an abundance of health benefits you won’t want your body to miss out on. These powerhouse greens offer hefty doses of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

In addition to fiber, dark leafy greens supply nutrients such as folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin E and minerals - magnesium and potassium, nutrients often in short supply in the diet of many individuals. Consuming just 1 ½ cups cooked per week contributes significantly in promoting, and maintaining good health and managing nutrition related conditions.

Here is the rundown on their function in the body and health:

Folate is abundant in  green leafy vegetables. The name folate is derived from the word foliage. A deficiency of this nutrient can result in anemia, diminished immunity, and abnormal digestive function.

Vitamin A plays a major role in eye health, cell reproduction, growth and the immune system. In leafy greens vitamin A is in the beta-carotene form, which the body converts to active vitamin A as needed.  In animal products Vitamin A is already in its active form.  

Vitamin C is often associated with citrus fruits but surprisingly leafy greens offer a substantial amount as well.  Vitamin C protects against infections, is an antioxidant, maintains collagen and helps absorb iron from food.

Vitamin K is essential for the blood clotting mechanism.  Individuals on blood thinner medication need to manage the intake of these vegetables.  

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and guards the body against free radicals that can damage lipids and lipoproteins. This can create inflammation and cell damage associated with the aging process and chronic diseases.

Magnesium has many important functions in the body. It is essential for strong bones and teeth; proper working of muscles and nerves including the heart and a strong immune system. It also works to fight inflammation.

Potassium plays a major role in maintaining fluid balance. Studies show that diets with ample potassium are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.  

Fiber content of dark leafy greens is impressive as well. They contain about 4 -5 grams of fiber per 1 cup cooked. Fiber keeps the intestinal tract healthy.

In addition to their vast array of nutrients, these dark green leafy vegetables are easy to grow and prepare. Enjoy those colorful green leaves from your garden or the supermarket shelf.  Take advantage of the nutritional contribution of these flavorful vegetables and take pride in feeding your body well.

Cooking Tip:

While many leafy greens are fabulous tossed in salads, sautéing them in olive oil, garlic, lemon, and herbs brings out a rich flavor. Check out my version of sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts.  Adapted from my cookbook Delicious Simplicity Recipes for Today’s Busy Life.

  Sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts. Easy, simple and delicious.  

 Sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts. Easy, simple and delicious.  

Bring Eating From Within to your workplace! Contact me to learn more about my corporate wellness programs.

 

Anna Tourkakis is a nutritionist, author and founder of Eating From Within Nutrition. She provides nutrition advisory services and healthy eating programs to companies and individuals to help clients manage health conditions and maintain healthy eating lifestyles.  Anna can be reached at anna@eatingfromwithin.com

T. 781 334-8752; www.eatingfromwithin.com  

Kitchen Wanders!!

 The phytochemical nutrients (plant chemicals) in these ingredients help minimize the  inflammatory processes which are part of daily living (aging).  It's not about body weight it's about taking in nutrients that give health benefits.  Try to include as many as you can in your everyday eating while limiting the inflammatory foods. These anti-inflammatory kitchen wanders add taste, flavor, color and appeal to all your meals. Enjoy!!

The phytochemical nutrients (plant chemicals) in these ingredients help minimize the  inflammatory processes which are part of daily living (aging).

It's not about body weight it's about taking in nutrients that give health benefits.  Try to include as many as you can in your everyday eating while limiting the inflammatory foods. These anti-inflammatory kitchen wanders add taste, flavor, color and appeal to all your meals. Enjoy!!