Posts Tagged ‘vitamin K’

BerriesThis is a great time of year to eat berries. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all in season now.

Berries are sweet, juicy, and delicious! They are low in calories – only 70-100 calories per cup. What other sweet delight can you enjoy that is so tasty and has so few calories? Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries have a low glycemic index which is good news, particularly for type 2 diabetics.

Blueberries are rich in fiber and vitamin K. Their vitamin C helps make collagen,the framework of our bones and skin, as well as helps make neurotransmitters in our brain which can improve cognitive function and memory. Vitamin B6 found in blueberries helps our body process protein, regulate blood sugar, and strengthens the immune system. The anthocyanin in blueberries gives them their blue pigment and helps fight free radicals that damage cells. Blueberries are also one of the healthiest foods for eye health.

Strawberries – what’s not to love! The are rich in vitamin C, help fight inflammation, and contain manganese which helps the body process sugar, cholesterol, and fat. Strawberries protect our skin against damaging ultraviolet light. I would suggest purchasing organic strawberries when possible, as conventionally grown strawberries have higher pesticide residues.

Raspberries are high in manganese which helps with wound healing, fiber needed for v elimination, and copper which plays a role in energy metabolism and helps form red blood cells. They are also high in vitamin C. New research has shown the phytonutrients found in raspberries can increase metabolism in our fat cells and may help in weight loss.

Berries can help you meet the goal of 3-4 servings (1/2 cup) of fruit a day. When not in season, berries can be found in the freezer section at the supermarket.

It is best berries be kept in the refrigerator. They also freeze well. Just put in a zip-lock bag and freeze. Easy!

Berries are nutrient powerhouses offering antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory benefits. Mix berries with plain yogurt, add to salads or as a topping on your breakfast cereal. A quick and simple dessert is to add a bit of balsamic vinegar and honey to berries, mix, and enjoy. Berries are also delicious in smoothies and cobblers, or just eat them plain as a snack.

Want to learn more about how to make better dietary choices that can slow down, stop, and reverse chronic diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and overweight? Enroll in the CHIP program that begins September 15th. www.CHIPhealth.com.
E-mail jody.perrecone@CHIPhealth.com or call 815-975-4523 for more information. Registration deadline is September 4th.


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thanksgiving-cornucopiaThanksgiving – it’s a feeding frenzy and a day of guilty pleasures. We eat more than we should – and oh my – the calories! Here’s how to have an epic Thanksgiving dinner with a nutritional boost, and save on the waistline at the same time.

1.  Serve soup as a first course. A vegetable soup would go nicely with the rest of your Thanksgiving meal. The water and fiber in the soup is satisfying, so we will eat fewer calories.

2. Add parsnips to the mashed potatoes. Two or three parsnips would be fine, depending on how much mashed potatoes you make. Parsnips look like a white carrot and can be prepared the same way. Peel the parsnip, cut in chunks and add to the potatoes when cooking. Whip as usual. Parsnips have vitamin C, folate, and manganese and will add a little sweetness to the potatoes. Use soy milk rather than cow’s milk when making mashed potatoes to forgo the antibiotics and hormones found in cow’s milk. Skip the butter – the parsnips add a subtle sweet flavor everyone will enjoy.

3. Add nuts to your vegetable dish to dress it up. Chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, or pine nuts are all good choices. Your dish will look fancy without much effort. Roasting the nuts before adding to the vegetables will add an additional dimension of flavor. These nuts have healthy monounsaturated fats and minerals. Almonds are a good source of vitamin E. Walnuts contain B6 and thiamin. Pine nuts have vitamin K, E, and niacin.

4. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on the top of your salad. These add a burst of flavor everyone will enjoy. Wear an apron while removing the seeds, as the juice will stain clothing. One way to minimize the squirting juice is to fill a bowl with water. Cut the pomegranate in half. Under water, break open the pomegranate and separate the seeds from the white membrane. The seeds will float to the top of the water. Save time Thanksgiving Day by doing this the day before and refrigerate them. Pomegranates are loaded with vitamins C, K, folate and several minerals.

5. Instead of candied sweet potatoes, serve whipped sweet potatoes. Peel and boil the sweet potatoes in water. Drain and whip them. Since they are sweet, no brown sugar or butter is needed. A sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg is all you need. If they are thicker than you like, just add a little soy milk.

6. Desserts can really do us in! This Pumpkin Tofu Pie is a hit with all my family – vegans and carnivores alike. Don’t let the tofu scare you. This contains the same spices and tastes like a traditional pumpkin pie minus the eggs and cream. The pie crust is Mary McDougall’s recipe. The filling I adapted from several recipes. Use organic pumpkin and apple juice concentrate if possible.

Crust – 1 cup Grape Nuts Cereal, 1/4 cup apple juice concentrate. Preheat oven to 350º. Mix the Grape Nuts and apple juice concentrate. Pat into a 9” pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool before filling.

Filling – 1 1/2 packages Mori-Nu Extra Firm silken tofu, 2 cups cooked pumpkin, 2/3 cups real maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 t. ginger, 1/2 t. nutmeg, 1/8 t. cloves. Preheat oven to 350º. Blend the tofu in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Pour into pie shell and bake for about 1 hour.

7. Finally, spend some good quality time together with family and friends. Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude. After dinner, go for a walk together. (Yes, those of us in the Midwest can bundle up and get outside). Set the DVR before you leave. You can go out for a walk and enjoy each other’s company and not miss one play of the game.

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