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…)
By Delia Quigley for Care2.com
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~Albert Einstein
As people strive to improve their health and evolve their food choices to a more plant-based diet, it is easy to get lost along the way. You can happily end up living on chocolate whole-wheat croissants for breakfast, cheese pizza for lunch and a large bowl of fettuccine alfredo for dinner, but the pounds will eventually stack up as your energy declines. When you transition to a more vegetarian way of eating it is important to educate yourself about the nutrients your body will need on a daily basis.
Learn how to create a balance of vegetable protein, carbohydrates and quality fats with each meal. You must also replace the six essential nutrients provided by animal proteins with plant-based foods containing the protein, iron, zinc, calcium, B12, and Essential Fatty Acids that are reduced with the elimination of meat, poultry, pork and fish. The fun part is putting them together into delicious recipes and then chewing slowly for the full satisfying experience.
Although iron is classified as a trace mineral, it’s essential for overall health. Many of the body’s functions rely on iron and if you get too little, your body can’t function properly. On the flip side, getting too much can also be detrimental to your health.
There are two main types of iron; heme and non-heme. Heme iron is the type found in meat, poultry and fish. Non-heme, on the other hand, can be found in both plant and animal sources. The biggest difference between the two types is how well the body absorbs them. Heme iron is much more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron, yet most of our dietary supply comes from non-heme sources. Enriched breads and cereals, lentils, legumes, dark leafy greens, and some dried fruits are foods rich in this type of iron. Although the iron found in these foods is typically harder to absorb, your can improve your body’s absorption rate by pairing your non-heme-rich food sources with a food high in heme iron, vitamin C, citric or lactic acid, and certain sugars.
Most of the body’s iron is found within two proteins: hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is found in the body’s red blood cells while myoglobin is found in the muscle cells. In both, iron helps accept, carry, and release oxygen to the cells of the body. In addition, iron keeps your immune system strong and helps your body produce energy.
By Melissa Breyer for Care2.com
If you are a vegan, what is the first argument you hear from meat-eating advocates? Well the sarcastic ones might say something about plants having feelings too, but the most popular rebuttal usually has something to do with iron. And yes iron is an essential mineral because it contributes to the production of blood cells. The human body needs iron to make the oxygen-carrying proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin. But just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean you’re going to wither away with anemia.
However, anemia is not something to be taken lightly. (Although, I realize I just did.) The World Health Organization considers iron deficiency the number one nutritional disorder in the world. As many as 80 percent of the world’s population may be iron deficient, while 30 percent may have iron deficiency anemia. The human body stores some iron to replace any that is lost. However, low iron levels over a long period of time can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms include lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, irritability, dizziness, or weight loss. So here’s the 411 on iron: how much you need, where you can get it, and tips to maximize its absorption. (more…)
The supplement aisle of any supermarket or natural grocery store can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of products on the shelf, all claiming different benefits. Some are labeled with a letter of the alphabet, others are named after a tree root, and some seem like they belong on the spice aisle.
With an industry so big and so confusing, it’s alarming that there are still no strict regulations for these over the counter products. This has been an on going health frustration, leading doctors and legislators to speak out.
In 1994, President Clinton signed the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA). This placed dietary supplements as a subcategory of food. Therefore supplements can go to market without submitting proof of safety or efficacy to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 17 years later, this law remains despite the stories of harm and the urging of physicians for change.
Here in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food safety. Denmark’s equivalent to that is the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, also known as the DVFA. Stateside, we tend to think of extra vitamins as a positive thing but in Denmark, vitamin fortified food is a diet-don’t. The DVFA has made it clear that their stance on fortifying foods with vitamins and minerals is one of suspicion and concern.
The theory held within the DVFA is that a properly balanced diet negates the necessity for supplementing with extra vitamins. In fact, they believe so strongly in the dangers of vitamin and mineral overdose that fortified foods must first be approved through a pricey application process. Foods found to contain what the DVFA classifies as dangerous levels of fortification are not granted approval.
Among the products recently pulled from the shelves of a small Copenhagen store is Ovaltine. At my home, we use Ovaltine as a chocolate milk treat because it’s nutrient enriched- I feel a lot better about that decision as opposed to pouring a giant glob of chocolate flavored syrup in to my son’s cup. What strikes me as particularly odd is that Ovaltine hasn’t yet been granted shelf-space and yet Red Bull (with its copious amounts of both vitamins and caffeine) has, according to the New York Times.
Whether you’re male or female, healthy nails and hands are typically seen as signs of physical beauty. According to Dr. Ariel Ostad, a Manhattan Board Certified Dermatologist, changes in skin and nails can signify health problems, some of which can be helped or prevented by eating a healthy diet.
“Skin and nail changes should be given the same level of attention and scrutiny as other physical symptoms men and women experience within their body,” said Ostad. “All too often, we only see a doctor for symptoms we can feel such as stomach or back pain. Visible changes to nails and skin can be indicative of conditions such as skin cancer or other systemic issues.”
While a perfectly manicured hand is one where the nails are strong and smooth, with no discoloration or jagged cuticle, most people have less-than-perfect hands. While regular visits to the dermatologist, proper moisturizing and protecting your skin from UV rays are all good practice, what you eat can also help prevent the issues that cause skin damage – and help improve damage that has already been done.
Look at your skin and nails for cues that it’s time to change up your diet. If you suspect there is an underlying issue, be sure to see your doctor or health care professional.
New Mexico is known for cuisine that reflects the combination of the Native American, Mexican, Spanish, and American cultural traditions. A few of the most common foods found in this style of diet are blue corn, enchiladas, sopapillas, and red and green chilies. Green chilies are harvested when they are green and turn to a red color as they ripen. Green chilies are typically known for their somewhat mild, bitter taste and sinus cleansing heat, but the nutritional benefits are often overlooked.
Green chilies are extremely rich in vitamins A and C (the dried version higher in vitamin A while the raw or fresh version is higher in vitamin C). In fact, a single green chili contains six times more vitamin C than an average sized orange. Green chilies are also a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, vitamin B and E, and iron and potassium which allows them to help block the body’s absorption of cholesterol and help promotes normal body functioning.