Tag Archives | leafy greens

Six Superfoods for Women

Nature demands a lot of women. Fluctuating hormones, growing babies, demanding work schedules, managing households, and shuttling children to endless activities requires nearly superhuman powers. However, with the right nutrients on your side you can get through it all with less struggle and greater joy.

Here are six great-tasting superfoods to help you get through is all, while keeping your health intact. For the greatest benefits, include two to three servings of each these foods every week.

1. Leafy greens: Kale, Swiss chard, collards greens, spinach, and their cousins provide bone building calcium. They are also high in folate, the natural form of folic acid, which is important for pregnant women and may also prevent cervical cancer. Leafy greens that are part of the crucifer family (including kale, collards, mustard greens, and turnips) contain a compound that helps the body metabolize estrogen into a safer, more usable form to boost protection against breast and other hormone-related cancers.
How to use: Virtually all leafy greens are a great addition to soups and stews. When sautéed with onions and garlic they make a simple and delicious side dish. Adding lemon to greens helps cut their bitterness and makes their iron content more easily absorbed in the body.

2. Fatty Fish: Wild salmon and sardines provide high-quality protein as well as a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s may help prevent menopause-related depression and mood changes. This healthy fat also reduces LDL (lousy/bad) cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and protects the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.
How to use: If you don’t have time to cook fresh fish, don’t fret. Canned salmon and sardines are an excellent alternative, while still providing the same health benefits. Serve them alongside a salad, on a sandwich or make fish patties. Up to 6 ounces per serving, twice a week is also safe for expecting moms.

3. Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and others, are some of the healthiest, and most beautiful, foods available to us. Berries are an important source of an anthrocyanidins, a chemical that not only gives berries their vibrant colors, but provides us with powerful antioxidant effects that strengthen our blood vessels, helping to protect our hearts, prevent varicose veins (which includes hemorrhoids), improve our eyesight, reduce inflammation, and prevent cancer.
How to use: When berries are not available fresh, frozen organic berries are a great substitute. Use them on yogurt or cottage cheese, in smoothies or salads.

4. Avocados: Avocados are lean green nutrient machines! Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados are loaded in nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, folate and B6. They help keep you satisfied and prevent cravings while also nourishing skin, hair and nails.
How to use: Try having half an avocado alongside your breakfast eggs in the morning, or add it to your lunchtime salad. Avocados also make smoothies nice and creamy.

5. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, compounds that naturally modulate estrogen levels. This can increase protection against breast cancer and promote regular ovulation. They contain omega 3’s for heart health and protein for sustained energy. Plus, flaxseeds high fiber content prevents constipation and improves colon health.
How to use: Buy whole flaxseeds and grind them fresh before using to gain maximum benefits. You can add them to yogurt, smoothies, sprinkle them on salads or use them in baked goods.

6. Dark chocolate: That’s right! Even dark chocolate has superfood health benefits for women, especially for your heart. Heart diseaseßs is the leading cause of death for women in the United State. Cocoa contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and can suppress oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), which can cause cardiovascular disease.
How to use: Choose at least 70% dark chocolate and enjoy one piece per day. They key with chocolate is to take your time and savor it, instead of eating it for emotional reasons. You can also try adding raw cacao to a smoothie for a “healthy-fied” milkshake.

What superfoods do you use to supercharge your health?

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 20, 2015 in General

What can kale do for you?

Wednesday is National Kale Day. And, with cooler weather approaching, this nutritional powerhouse will be popping up at our local farmers markets.

Kale has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. It was popular in Europe during the Roman times and the Middle Ages, it arrived in North America in the 17th century. America plants more acres in Kale than Brussels sprouts. There are over 50 varieties of kale, and there happens to be 50 Shades of Kale as well.

This leafy green vegetable is incredibly nutrient-dense and should be part of your weekly meal rotation.

Just one cup of raw kale…

  • contains just 33 calories
  • provides 134% of your daily vitamin C needs
  • provides 684% of your daily vitamin K needs
  • provides 204% of vitamin A
  • is an excellent source of calcium and iron

Clearly, a little goes a long way!

Click here for my favorite kale recipe – even my husband dives right in!

Kale and cancer

Apart from its impressive vitamin and mineral content, kale also contains over 45 different flavonoids – healing compounds that are found in the pigments and the cell structures of the leaves. These compounds could potentially prevent cancer. According to nutritionist George Mateljan, kale has been associated with lowering the risks of at least five different types of cancer. These include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.

Kale and diabetes

Kale can also be helpful for those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Eating kale and other leafy greens provides a healthy amount of fiber that can play an important role in balancing blood sugar. It also contains some protein, which can help with sustained energy and keep blood sugar stable. 1 cup of raw kale contains 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

Kale and liver health

Kale, and other similar bitter greens like collards, Swiss chard and dandelion greens are incredibly cleansing for the liver due to their high sulfur content. Your liver is your body’s detox organ and keeping it functioning properly will ensure toxins are able to be properly processed.

According to the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list, kale should be organic, when possible. Since kale is a hardy vegetable, inexpensive and easy to grow, it is generally close in price to conventionally grown kale.

Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooking does not damage the nutrients as long it is brief – 10-15 minutes at high heat, or 35 minutes at lower heat or when baking. Kale can be added to soups, stews, salads, and smoothies.

For some, kale can have too bitter of a taste. Simply adding lemon juice to your kale salad or sauté can help cut the bitterness and add a refreshing taste. After a frost, kale becomes sweeter. So, perhaps basing your purchase on the weather will make kale even more appealing for you!

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 6, 2015 in General, Healthy Recipes

Are you missing magnesium?

While vitamin D, fish oil and other supplements get a lot of attention, it is important not to forget about magnesium. It is neglected mineral that we cannot live without and chances are you’re deficient. Increasing your magnesium intake can have profound effects on your mood, energy and overall well-being while preventing serious illness and disease.

What does magnesium do?

Magnesium is second to potassium in terms of concentration within the body’s cells and responsible for over 300 functions. Most magnesium in the body is found in the bones and teeth with the rest being stored in muscle tissues and cells. In addition to bone health, magnesium is important for normalizing blood pressure, easing muscle cramps, preventing migraines, increasing circulation, promoting restful sleep, proper calcium and vitamin D absorption and aids in healthy elimination. According the National Institute of Health “some observational surveys have associated higher blood levels of magnesium with lower risk of coronary disease.”

Are you magnesium deficient?

Because of modern farming practices much of our soil has been depleted of it’s natural magnesium. Therefore, much of our food is getting less magnesium and we in turn have become deficient.

Over 80% of adults tested show a magnesium deficiency. Those at most risk are people with gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, celiac disease or other intestinal inflammation and people with type 2 diabetes. Studies have also found that elderly people have low dietary intake of magnesium and decreased absorption. Women can also experience magnesium deficiency during the premenstrual period.

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

Blood testing for magnesium deficiency is not reliable since most of the body’s magnesium store lies within the cells, not in the blood. Therefore, magnesium deficiency is often suspected when someone exhibits deficiency symptoms. These include; anxiety, lack of appetite, PMS, poor sleep, confusion, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, weakness and poor nail growth.

How can you get more magnesium?

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for magnesium is 350 milligrams for men and 300 milligrams for women. According to Dr. Michael Murray, the average magnesium intake of healthy adults in the United States ranges between 143 and 266 milligrams per day. Far below the RDA. There are two things you can do right away to help increase your magnesium levels:

1)   Use kombu: Kombu (aka kelp) is a type of seaweed that can be easily integrated into cooking. It is rich in magnesium and other nutrients such as potassium, iodine and calcium. You can buy dried kombu at your local health food store. To use it simply cut 1-2 inches of the kombu with scissors and toss it into soups, stews or stocks. It can also be added when cooking grains. Simply remove after cooking and discard. I like Maine Coast Sea Vegetables brand which can be found at most health food stores.

2)   Eat leafy greens: In plants, magnesium is found in every chlorophyll molecule. So, it’s no surprise that leafy greens are a great source of this mineral. Incorporate kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula and other leafy greens at least 4-5 days a week. Try my Raw Kale Salad or my salad staple Cabbage and Greens Salad. Both are BIG winners!

3)   Try transdermal magnesium: Magnesium can be used topically. In this way the body absorbs as much magnesium as it needs. Enjoy regular Epsom salt baths or add magnesium oil to your daily lotion. Check your local health food store or online for these products. I like to make my own body butter lotion and add essential oils and liquid magnesium. Here are two great recipes that I’ve played around with – How to Make Body Butter by Healthy Living How To and Magnesium Body Butter from The Coconut Mama. Give them a try!

Article originally published in the Sentinel newspaper and on Cumberlink.com

Comments { 2 } · Posted on December 16, 2014 in General

Raw Kale Salad with Toasted Nuts

Spinach and broccoli were the sweethearts of the green vegetable world for quite a while. But, there’s a new kid in town, and you need to make some room for him in your fridge.

It’s kale — that shriveled and slightly archaic looking, leafy green veggie all over the market right now. Kale is incredibly nutrient-dense with a long list of powerful health-promoting properties.

Here are three (of like 3,000!) reasons to get more of this glorious green on your plate:

  1. Cancer killer: Kale contains more than 45 different antioxidants, which put up a big fight against cancer. So fill up to promote breast, ovarian, gastric and prostate health.
  2. Beautiful bones: One cup of kale delivers an amazing 1,367 percent of your RDA for vitamin K. This vitamin strengthens bone and is important for bone clotting. Now, here’s the kicker….calorie for calorie kale contains more calcium than milk! Plus, the calcium from kale and other leafy greens is more easily absorbed and utilized in the body.
  3. Delicious detox: Kale is a great source of fiber, aiding in healthy digestion and elimination. Plus, it helps your liver detoxify so you can better clear toxins from your body.

Now that you’ve jumped on the kale train, visit your local market and pick up some kale and a bunch of fresh radishes. Then, make this ridiculously simple salad for dinner tonight. If you have leftovers, don’t worry, it’s even better the next day!

Raw Kale Salad with Toasted Nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 large head kale
1 bunch of radishes, sliced
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 tablespoons extra virgin, olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ tablespoon of tamari (San-J brand preferred)
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
pinch of salt to taste
¼ cup hazelnuts or filberts, roughly chopped (any toasted nut or seed of your choice will do!)

Instructions

  1. Wash the kale leaves thoroughly and blot dry with a paper towel. Cut tough middle rib out of each leaf. Stack 3-4 leaves on top of each other, roll longwise and cut into thin strips. Then cut those strips in half.
  2. Place kale in a large bowl and pour in the olive oil, lemon juice and tamari. Massage the greens with your hands until evenly coated, about 5-6 minutes. Get those muscles working! Cover and place in the fridge and let marinate for between 2 hours and over night. This will tenderize the kale. It can be eaten fresh as well. It will be more crunchy, but super delicious!
  3. To toast the hazelnuts heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add the chopped nuts and toast, tossing every 30-45 seconds so they don’t burn. Toast for a total of about 3-5 minutes. They should just start to get some color and become fragrant.
  4. When ready to serve, add in the sliced radishes, shredded carrot and top with the toasted nuts. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on June 10, 2014 in Healthy Recipes