Tag: smart fuel
Smart Fuel for the weekend:
Berries may be class pet in the antioxidant department, but the humble artichoke is one of the most nutritious foods around.
True, you can’t spread it on toast, but this relative of the thistle contains almost as many antioxidants as berries – and loads of other benefits:
– cleanses the liver, urinary tract, and kidneys
– promotes healthy bile production
– can help reduce bad cholesterol
– has therapeutic medicinal properties, especially for IBS and other digestive illnesses
– among the highest levels of flavonoids of any vegetable or fruit
– high in vitamin C, folic acid, essential fatty acids, many beneficial plant chemicals, magnesium, and fiber
The best part about the artichoke is that you can eat the entire thing and it will only set you back about 25 calories.
It takes a good amount of cooking to soften the leaves enough to snack on. Everyone loves the best part – the heart – but I don’t recommend relying on jars of soybean-oil-soaked hearts as your only source of artichoke. They can be expensive to buy fresh, but one of the Bees points out that you can now find baby fresh artichoke hearts in many stores.
Not only can you buy a dozen baby artichokes for the price of one large artichoke, they have the same nutritional value and are more tender – you can pop the entire thing in your mouth, leaves and all. Try it out this weekend – steam or broil (the latter is great with some olive oil, lemon juice and a little parmesan) and dig in!
Here’s your smart fuel, just in time for the weekend!
This chewy grain is not really a grain at all. It’s not even rice, technically speaking. It’s a grass shoot, more akin to bamboo. (Which, incidentally, is grass, not a tree. Imagine mowing that.)
Wild rice is incredibly high in protein, low in sugar, and has more fiber than a cardboard box. This is one of the smartest ways to get an internal “scrub” (hey, it’s true). It also tastes a lot better than cardboard and won’t puff you up like pasta or white rice.
Here’s a great recipe for wild rice from the Bees. I suggest substituting the sausage with organic chicken or turkey.
The Top 10 Smartest Foods…possibly even genius.
Why: Fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, flavor. Broccoli is an internal scrub-brush – and it tastes better than oatmeal.
2. Dark greens
Why: Again with the fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. Greens ought to be the basis of every diet. Low in calories, high in nutrition, and disease-preventing.
3. Red bell peppers
Why: Like tomatoes (another great red veg), red bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants and may be a cancer-fighter.
4. Wild salmon
Why: Rich in protein, brain-boosting fat, and flavor. A cleaner source of protein than regular old chicken and hamburger. Be sure you pick this wild child.
Why: High protein, valuable vitamins, enzymes and fat. An incredibly dense energy source. Buy the Omega-3 enhanced version for a morning boost of good fat!
Why: Fresh garlic (not crushed, peeled or powdered) is a potent cancer-fighter and artery-scrubber. Loaded with antioxidants.
Why: Again with those antioxidants. Berries are one of the most vitamin-rich, free-radical fighting foods on earth. Blueberries are among the best.
8. Olive oil
Why: By now, everyone knows about the heart-healthy benefits of Omega-3 rich olive oil. But avocado oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil are also healthy choices. Use instead of butter, canola oil and corn or soybean oil.
Why: I’m biased. But in fact, apples have more vitamin C than oranges, are high in fiber, and have one of the lowest glycemic index rankings of any fruit.
10. Tie-breaker: tea and almonds
Why: tea is rich in antioxidants and stimulates important immune functions. New evidence suggests that a little morning coffee is beneficial, too. And nuts like almonds are full of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Smart Fuel, Just in Time for the Weekend…
Want skin that Cindy Crawford would be jealous of? Eat fat. That’s right – fat! Many of us, especially women, tend to avoid fat because we’ve been told it’s bad for us. Mark will be posting later today on the fat debate (would you expect anything less than ornery here at Mark’s Daily Apple?), but for now, here’s our suggestion: fat is your friend!
Keep in mind the type of fat you eat is very important. Fried foods and processed items tend to be high in “bad” fats – the kind that clog arteries, release free radicals in your body, and stimulate inflammation. But good fats – heaven be praised – can prevent disease, help you lose weight, and make your skin positively glow. Sound too good to be true? Nope. Good fats really can help with all those health goals.
Here are some “good” fats you can eat to feel great starting this weekend:
Animal fats top the list: think tallow, lard, fish oil.
Other great fats:
Other good fats:
Organic yogurt and cottage cheese. These dairy products are typically easier to digest than cheese or milk. Be sure to get the sugar-free varieties of yogurt. Although dairy isn’t rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish or nuts, there are other valuable fats. And science reveals that the proportions of various fats in the diet are more important than any single fat. Fats work better together than alone.
Now, admittedly, we’ve been on a bit of an Omega-3 tear this week, but that’s because we see people missing out on these fantastic fats. Fat’s not bad. Far from it – so enjoy! You’ll sleep better, your skin will be radiant, your organs will love you, and your waistline might even shrink a bit. Magical things happen when Omega-3 fats come to town: headaches run in fright, bad moods slink away, and spare tires get rolling.
Avocados are at the tail end of their season right now, so you can scoop up these deliciously fatty treats for a great price. The best part about this rich fruit? The fat is good for you! Especially in winter, when skin is prone to dryness, an extra daily dose of beneficial fatty acids can be all it takes to stay comfortable in your skin.
Slice, score, or mash your avo, drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice, add a dash of kosher salt, and you’ve got yourself a really nutritious snack. Keep in mind that, like nuts, avocados are very high in calories, so enjoy in moderation.
Fuel up with this smart pick before the weekend hits!
[tags] good fats, avocados, low-carb snack, omega-3 [/tags]
Why eat “I’ll have diabetes with that” spuds when you can eat mellow, healthy butternut squash?
This delicately-flavored squash typically comes cubed in the produce section. It’s also a popular soup puree. And it sure beats other starchy vegetables in the nutrition department. One serving gives you half your daily vitamin C requirement and 450% of your vitamin A requirement! At 80 calories per cup (compared to 100 for a small potato), with little impact on your blood sugar, butternuts are just better! You can mash, bake, puree, slice, and dice to your heart’s content.
[tags] butternut squash, low-carb pasta, glycemic index [/tags]
Just like our beloved eggs (oh, what a nutritional ball of goodness), nuts are victimized by painful puns: Get Nutty! We’re Nuts about Nuts! You’re Nuts if You Don’t Eat Them!
We don’t do that here. Nuts are a Smart Fuel deserving of some smart words. Here’s why we think nuts are great for your health. Just don’t go…crazy…with the portions. (Whew – that was close!)
– Excellent fats that boost mental clarity, love your liver, and help your heart.
– Protein and fiber
– Selenium. This handy mineral activates an antioxidant called glutathione peroxidase. You don’t have to remember that, just know it’s really, really good at helping fight free radical oxidation in the body. Some studies suggest selenium might even help fight cancer.
– Antioxidant E and vitamin A. Since these are fat-soluble vitamins (meaning they only work with fat), nuts are nature’s perfectly engineered delivery systems.
The best nuts:
– Hazelnuts, filberts, walnuts, almonds
Less-nutritious (but sort of decent) nuts:
– Peanuts (not actually a nut), pine nuts, cashews
About an ounce a day is a reasonable portion size – think one small handful.
More Smart Fuel
[tags] fat soluble vitamins, antioxidants, peanuts, almonds, filberts, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, nutritional value of nuts, selenium, vitamin E, glutathione peroxidase, nut portion size recommendation, best nuts [/tags]
You’re still here? Go eat these foods!
Okay, we cringe a little bit at the word “superfood”. No food wears a cape. Still, there are foods that pack major nutritional punch.
A few of our top picks:
1. Berries, because…
– Blueberries are best, but blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, strawberries and bilberries are all excellent
– They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins
– They fight infections (especially urinary tract infections)
– How much: 1/2 cup whenever you like
2. Fish, because…
– Choose deep-‘n-cold-water fish like salmon and red tuna
– Northern Pacific is better than Atlantic (less pollution)
– You can’t get enough Omega-3 fatty acids
– How much: twice a week, or more, plus an Omega supplement
– Remember: Don’t fry or bread it!
3. Dark, Leafy Greens, because…
– Pick spinach, kale, bok choy, chard, dark lettuce
– Greens contain beta-carotene, C, folate, iron, magnesium, carotenoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
– Greens reduce your risk of diabetes because they’re easy on your insulin response mechanism. In other words, they won’t give you a sugar rush, jelly belly, or mood swing.
Look for more heroic foods soon. No spandex tights – we promise.
[tags] greens, spinach, kale, bok choy, chard, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals, nutrients, magnesium, iron, folate, beta-carotene, omega-3’s, fish, salmon, red tuna, berries, anthocyanins, superfoods [/tags]
Don’t let the spinach scare stop you from getting copious greens in your diet. I recommend trying out chard in replacement of spinach, regardless of the current health scare.
Chard is actually a member of the spinach family, but it is more substantial and greater in nutritional value than regular spinach. I’m always amazed at how inexpensive chard is, too – even the organic variety. For recipes, you’ll find chard’s texture is better than spinach, too – it doesn’t get stringy or mushy.
Chard packs a lot of nutritional density for bone health, so it’s appropriate given our osteoporosis discussion. Chop it up, throw it in any sauces, risottos or stir fries, and enjoy high levels of vitamin K, A, C, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese and magnesium. Chard is also the most fibrous leaf you can eat. Try it out this weekend.
[tags] manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, sources of vitamins and minerals, plant sources of iron, swiss chard, fiber, green vegetables [/tags]