Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes

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Have you heard of quinoa? This superfood is one of the world’s most popular health foods.

First, let’s get the name right, for this seed that’s often referred to as a grain.

Quinoa is pronounced “KEEN-wah”. And there are many excellent reasons to include quinoa in your diet.

Need encouragement? Check out these quinoa health benefits and recipes.

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Quinoa Nutritional Facts

Quinoa is grown as a grain crop although technically, it’s a seed. The Inca considered quinoa an important crop, calling it the “mother of all grains”. In South America, quinoa has been eaten for thousands of years. Only recently has the superfood become a trend in the US.

Quinoa comes in three varieties: red, white and black.  It is gluten free, high in protein and one of the few plant based foods that provides all nine essential amino acids that the body needs.

Additionally, quinoa is high in fiber, magnesium, vitamins B and E, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and antioxidants.

Quinoa’s antioxidants help calm inflammation throughout the body and provide anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-depressant properties.

NASA considers quinoa a suitable crop to grow in space, due to its high nutritional content, ease of growing and its simple preparation methods.

Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes uncooked
Quinoa health benefits and recipes – uncooked quinoa

Health Benefits of Quinoa

These important health benefits help give quinoa its superfood status:

  • gluten free means quinoa won’t cause symptoms that those with gluten sensitivities experience such as rashes and digestive disorders
  • provides all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own
  • excellent source of protein, especially beneficial for those on a plant based diet One cup of cooked quinoa provides 8.14 grams of protein.
  • low glycemic index, meaning it does not quickly raise blood sugar levels
  • improves metabolic health by reducing insulin and triglyceride levels
  • high fiber content reduces the risks for constipation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diverticulosis
  • promotes a healthy weight. High fiber foods help people feel full longer
  • vitamin E content helps reduce the risk for heart disease, eye disorders and certain types of cancer
  • high iron content supports blood health, energy and cell function, connective tissue health and muscle metabolism
  • B vitamin folate promotes healthy pregnancies and reduces the risks of certain cancers and depression
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes cooked
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes – cooked quinoa

Adding Quinoa to the Diet

Quinoa is easy to prepare and simple to add to meals.

Prepare quinoa by combining two cups of water with one cup of uncooked quinoa in a sauce pan. Always use a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and leave quinoa covered for five more minutes. Remove cover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Or prepare quinoa in recipes.

Check out what I made this week, all from one box of dried quinoa.

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

This simple to prepare recipe yielded yummy, meatless tacos. While the quinoa and black bean filling simmered, I chopped toppings for the tacos: tomatoes, mixed greens, red, yellow and orange peppers and avocado.

I’m on my second package of gluten free tortillas…and still have leftover quinoa and black bean filling in the fridge. The perfectly seasoned filling reminds me of meat, texture and flavor wise, and they are perfect for Taco Tuesday.

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

Try this meatless taco that's full of flavor
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika may use regular paprika
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 14 oz can black beans
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pkg gluten free taco sized tortillas may use regular taco sized tortillas
  • assorted toppings such as diced tomatoes, shredded greens, salsa and chopped avocado for tacos

Instructions
 

  • Saute onions and garlic in skillet with olive oil 3 - 4 minutes until soft and translucent
  • Add spices, tomato paste, quinoa and vegetable broth. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add black beans. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Remove pan from heat and leave covered for 5 minutes
  • Remove cover, add lime juice and fluff mixture with a spoon or fork

Assemble Tacos

  • Heat tortillas in a lightly greased skillet or griddle, one at a time, until they puff and brown slightly. Move to plates and fold in two.
  • Spoon quinoa and black bean mixture into tortillas. Top with diced tomatoes, shredded greens, avocado and salsa. Makes at least 8 tacos.
Keyword black bean, meatless, quinoa, taco

 

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes – Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Using the quinoa in place of oatmeal, this morning I prepared a tasty breakfast treat. Plus I made enough quinoa to use for dinner tonight.

For a hearty quinoa breakfast bowl, with leftovers, combine one cup uncooked quinoa with two cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and leave the cover on for another five minutes. Use plant based milk, if desired, in place of water.

I combined a healthy portion of cooked quinoa with a cup of fresh blueberries, sliced banana and a tablespoon of chia seeds plus a splash of unsweetened almond milk. If desired, sweeten the breakfast quinoa with a spoonful of pure maple syrup. I left mine unsweetened and it was perfect for me.

A quinoa breakfast bowl is a great change up from oatmeal and packed with nutrients. Try different combos such as raisins and cinnamon, strawberries and bananas, chopped dates and walnuts, bananas and nut butter. The possibilities are endless.

Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes breakfast
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes – breakfast bowl

Quinoa and Chickpea Bowl

With my leftover quinoa from this morning, I created a simple, delicious dinner bowl tonight.

I call these bowls my “clean out the fridge” meals. They are a wonderful way to use up leftover veggies and cooked quinoa or brown rice.

In a skillet, melt two tablespoons plant based butter or use olive oil. Add one chopped yellow onion, 3 garlic cloves, minced, and any other veggies you want. I added diced red, yellow and orange peppers and sliced mushrooms. Stir fry veggies until barely tender.

Add cooked quinoa and combine well. I added a generous sprinkle of sea salt and garlic powder. Reduce heat to simmer and cover, allowing quinoa to heat through.

While quinoa mixture simmered, I warmed up organic chickpeas from a can and sliced an avocado.

My assembled bowl contained the quinoa/stir fry mixture, chickpeas, sliced avocado and a mixed green salad with slivers of carrots and red cabbage. It was the perfect evening meal, ready in about 15 minutes.

Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes bowl
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes – quinoa and chickpea bowl

I’m Sold on Quinoa

I love this superfood! And I’m looking forward to creating more meals with quinoa and discovering new recipes…or creating my own.

Do you love quinoa too? What’s your favorite way to enjoy this highly nutritious food?


 

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Shopping for Nutritious Food

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March is National Nutrition Month, a yearly campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The month presents the perfect opportunity for learning to make better food choices and for developing healthy eating habits. The theme this year is Personalize Your Plate.

I created a month long series around National Nutrition Month. Last week I posted Eat a Variety of Nutritious Foods. It shares the benefits of eating highly nutritious food. Find the list of foods there.

This week is the bridge between knowing what to eat and preparing delicious, highly nutritious meals. I went shopping for nutritious food, using last week’s list as my guide. Next week, you get a peek at those daily meals and snacks. And finally, during week four, I’ll share tips for keeping the nutrition habit going.

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Shopping for Nutritious Food

Using last week’s list of foods as a guide, I created seven days worth of meals. I plotted out breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks for each day. From the meal plan, which I’ll share next week, I wrote out a shopping list.

Although I initially intended to set a budget for groceries, I decided against that idea. I still shopped carefully, choosing my local Aldi store because of low prices yet high standards for produce and products.

I also appreciate that Aldi is dedicated to sustainable business practices while supplying quality foods at affordable prices. They have in place a doable plan for reducing their environmental impact including reducing packaging and moving to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025.

Aldi is eliminating styrofoam from packaging by the end of this year. And they’ve never offered single use plastic shopping bags at checkout. Shoppers may purchase or bring from home reusable bags, purchase brown paper bags or use the assortment of cardboard boxes that the store makes available.

Shopping for Nutritious Food Aldi
Shopping for nutritious food at Aldi.

The Grocery List

Today I shopped from my list and only deviated from it when I found a cream colored ceramic tea cannister for sale in the store. I unsuccessfully looked and looked for one recently and felt such delight today in finding the last one available in the store.

So that my shopping receipt accurately reflected what I spent on nutritious food, I bought the tea cannister separately.

Based on last week’s nutritious foods list, and the meals I planned around that list, here’s exactly what I purchased today:

Veggies

  • yellow onions – one bag of six
  • kale, chopped – one bag
  • leafy lettuce – one bunch
  • grape tomatoes – one package
  • baby portabella mushrooms – one package
  • radishes – one package
  • yellow, red and orange sweet peppers – one package
  • green bell peppers – three
  • sweet potatoes – one 3 lb bag
  • potatoes – one 10 lb bag
  • asparagus – one bunch
  • Brussels sprouts (fresh) – one package
  • celery – two bunches
  • cauliflower – one head
Shopping for Nutritious Food potatoes
Shopping for nutritious food – potatoes and onions

Fruits

  • bananas – one bunch of six bananas
  • apples – one 3 lb bag
  • Cara Cara oranges – one package of six oranges
  • blueberries – one carton
  • strawberries – one carton
  • avocadoes – three
  • frozen mixed fruit – one medium package
  • frozen strawberries and bananas – one large package
Shopping for Nutritious Food peppers
Shopping for nutritious food – peppers

Beans and Grains

  • canned black beans – one
  • brown rice and quinoa pasta – one package

Miscellaneous

  • vegetable broth – one carton
  • tomato paste – one small can
  • diced tomatoes – one can

On Hand at Home

I already had these items at home:

  • broccoli
  • lemon
  • dry navy beans
  • dry red lentils and dry brown lentils
  • brown rice
  • gluten free oats
  • walnuts
  • almond milk
  • sugar free peanut butter
  • olive oil
  • salsa
  • non GMO tortilla chips
  • assortment of spices, herbs, sea salt, black pepper
  • assortment of teas
Shopping for Nutritious Food gluten free pasta
Shopping for nutritious food – gluten free pasta

Amount Spent

The total for my shopping trip today…$63.20, including tax. This nutritious food will sustain and nourish two people for at least a week. The meal planning is for seven days however some of the items will last longer than that.

For seven breakfasts, lunches and dinners, for two people, that’s about $1.50 per meal. It’s actually less than that when I factor in two snacks per day, for two people as well.

Shopping for Nutritious Food amount
Amount spent, shopping for nutritious food

Next Week – Nutritious Meals

I bought everything on my shopping list at Aldi this morning. Typically I shop at three different stores: Natural Grocers, Walmart Market and Aldi. Today other shopping excursions were not required.

Tomorrow is Day One of seven days of nutritious meals. Next Wednesday, which is Day Seven, I’ll share those daily meals in another blog post.

I’m excited to show the variety that is possible when eating highly nutritious food. Stay tuned!

Shopping for Nutritious Food week of food
What a week of nutritious food looks like.

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Heart Healthy Snacks

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During American Heart Month in February, I’ve focused on posts that promote cardiovascular health. Heart Health Tips offers simple and yet important ways to take care of the heart. Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats provides an easy to prepare recipe featuring a food that supports heart health. And Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health shows that practicing kindness is good for health, including the cardiovascular system.

Today’s post lists suggestions for heart healthy snacks. Doctors agree that a plant based lifestyle and the Mediterranean diet both support heart health. These diets…or a combination of the two…decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and offer protection for the heart.

When thinking about the best heart healthy snacks, focus on these three vital factors: fiber, unsaturated fatty acids or omega-3s and antioxidants.

Heart Healthy Snacks title meme

Apples + Unsweetened Nut Butter

High fiber fruits like apples, paired with a no sugar added nut butter, checks all the boxes for heart friendly nutrients and antioxidants. Choose a red skinned apple for even more benefits and leave the peeling on.

Apples offer bioactive polyphenols and soluable fiber that’s proven to boost cardiovascular health. Skip nut butters loaded with sugar. Instead, choose a natural peanut butter, such as Crazy Richard’s. Or look for no sugar added almond or cashew butter.

Heart Healthy Snacks apples
Heart healthy snacks – apples with cashew butter

Hummus + Crunchy Veggies

Traditionally made from chickpeas, delicious creamy hummus provides antioxidants that protect the heart and blood vessels.

Create a snack or a meal from hummus and crunchy, fiber rich vegetables such as celery, carrots, red, orange, yellow or green sweet peppers and cucumbers. These veggies add vitamins A and C to the diet along with more antioxidants.

Heart Healthy Snacks hummus
Heart healthy snacks – hummus with crunchy veggies

Avocado Toast + Fruit

Considered a fruit, rather than a vegetable, avocadoes are a rich source of good-for-you fatty acids and anti-inflammatory compounds that help thin the blood naturally.

Top multi-grain, gluten free toast with sliced or mashed avocado. Eat along with fresh berries, apple or orange slices or chunks of melon. Berries are full of antioxidants and plant compounds that protect heart valves and ventricles and dissolve plaque within veins and arteries.

Heart Healthy Snacks avocado toast
Heart healthy snacks – avocado toast with fruit

Non GMO Popcorn + Turmeric

Popcorn is a fiber rich snack option. Just look for non GMO varieties to reduce the risk of inflammation. Create a healthy twist on this traditional snack by sprinkling on the powerful healing spice turmeric.

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric’s curcumin protects the whole cardiovascular system. Plus it lowers bad cholesterol while raising the good.

Heart Healthy Snacks popcorn
Heart healthy snacks – non GMO popcorn and turmeric

Nuts or Seeds + Raisins or Dried Cranberries

Nuts and seeds contain fiber, omega-3s and antioxidants, making them excellent for heart health. Create your own trail mix by combining a variety of unsalted seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, hemp or chia and nuts such as almonds or walnuts with unsweetened dried coconut, raisins or dried cranberries.

Raisins, which are dried grapes, provide iron and polyphenals that benefit the heart. Dried cranberries are high in antioxidants that heal cardiovascular disease and arteriosclerosis.

Heart Healthy Snacks nuts and raisins
Heart healthy snacks – nuts, seeds, raisins and dried cranberries

Frozen Banana Dessert

Also called Banana Nice Dream, create this snack using ripe, frozen bananas. Blend in a high speed blender until the frozen banana chunks become a smooth and creamy “ice cream”. Bananas offer fiber, antioxidants and nutrients that boost heart health.

Add frozen wild blueberries or frozen grapes to create fun variations of this yummy dessert. Or top the treat with fresh berries.

Heart Healthy Snacks banana nice dream
Heart healthy snacks – frozen banana dessert

Chia Pudding + Berries

Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, vitamins E and B complex, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. They are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than any other food and especially beneficial for chronic inflammation and heart disease.

Chia pudding is so simple to make. Combine 1 cup dairy free milk, such as almond milk, with 1/4 cup of chia seeds in a mason jar or container with a lid. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Add berries, nuts or sliced fruit and enjoy.

Heart Healthy Snacks chia pudding
Heart healthy snacks – chia pudding with berries

Oatmeal + Fruit + Nuts

No longer just for breakfast, oatmeal is a fiber rich food long promoted for its heart health benefits. Oats lower bad cholesterol and protect the heart against oxidation.

Make overnight oats and enjoy for breakfast or for an anytime snack. Combine in a small mason jar:

  • 1/3 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/3 cup dairy free milk, such as almond or coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup dairy free plain yogurt, such as coconut milk yogurt
  • fresh fruit of choice…berries make an excellent addition
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • add 1/4 tsp cinnamon if desired

Cover jar and place in the refrigerator the night before. Open and eat right from the jar the next morning.

Heart Healthy Snacks oatmeal
Heart healthy snacks – oatmeal

Sweet Potato Fries + Avocado Dip

This superfood offers an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish the body and protect the heart. Try sweet potatoes as a heart healthy snack by slicing them into a bowl and adding a small amount of olive oil,  a teaspoon of onion powder, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of paprika and dashes of sea salt and black pepper. Coat fries then place in a single layer on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, turning fries halfway through baking time.

Enjoy sweet potato fries with this easy avocado dip. Combine in a blender 1 ripe avocado, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1/4 cup plain non dairy yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Heart Healthy Snack sweet potato fries
Heart healthy snacks – sweet potato fries

Make Snacks Count

The next time you head to the kitchen, hungry for a snack, make the conscious choice to make the snack count. Rather than mindlessly eating, intentionally create snacks that boost heart health and contribute to overall wellness.

Did you discover a new snack to try?

Heart Healthy Snacks smoothie bowl
Heart healthy snack – bonus snack…smoothie bowl with fruit, nuts and chia seeds

Heart Healthy Amazon Finds:

 


 

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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Is It a Fruit?

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The last two years I’ve celebrated my January 9th birthday in a unique way. I write activities on slips of paper, place them in a jar and draw one out each day. The number of activities corresponds to the number of years in my upcoming birthday. I’ll turn 63 on my birthday so I placed 63 activities into the jar.

One activity that I drew out led to interesting research. It read: “Only eat fruit for a day”. I’m plant based, since July of 2016, so eating lots of fruits and veggies is common for me. In planning my menu for the day, however, I wondered which foods were really fruits…and which were really vegetables. I knew, for example, that tomatoes, while eaten as a vegetable, are actually fruit. What else is commonly called a vegetable, when in actuality it is a fruit?

I was intrigued by what I found. You might be too.

Is it a fruit? Check out these foods that might surprise you.

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Food Classifications

What classifies a food as a fruit or vegetable?

A fruit, by definition, is “anything that grows on a plant and is the means by which that plant gets its seeds into the world.” Vegetables, on the other hand, “are any edible part of a plant including stems, leaves or roots.”

The difference, then, are the seeds. Cut open an apple and there are the seeds. The flesh of the apple is a container for them. Cut open a potato and there are no seeds.

The following foods are commonly thought of and consumed as vegetables, when botanically, they are fruits.

Tomatoes

Although we all learned as kids that tomatoes are a fruit, that fact has long been debated.

Back in 1893 a case even went before the Supreme Court to determine which the tomato was. A Manhattan food seller argued that he should not pay a vegetable tariff on imported tomatoes, since they were a fruit and not a vegetable. The tariff fees for fruits were much lower. He lost the case when the court ruled that people prepared and ate tomatoes like a vegetable, not a fruit. The court added that tomatoes, like vegetables, are primarily served as part of the dinner’s main course while fruits, generally, are considered dessert.

Verdict: tomatoes are a fruit most often served as a vegetable.

Is It a Fruit tomatoes
Is is a fruit – tomatoes

Pumpkins

If you’ve ever cut into a pumpkin, to cook one or to create a jack-o-lantern, you’ve seen the seeds. Pumpkins, and all gourds, are fruits. Another common characteristic of fruits is that they begin as a flower. The flowers require pollination and then follows growth, development and ripening of the fruit.

Is It a Fruit pumpkins
Is it a fruit – pumpkins

Peppers

Peppers, from the sweet bell pepper to the spicy jalapeno, are produced on a flowering plant and contain seeds. They are fruits.

Is It a Fruit peppers
Are peppers a fruit or vegetable?

Cucumbers

This easily grown plant is a member of the gourd family, like pumpkins. Their vines produce flowers and the cucumber contains seeds. It is a fruit.

Is It a Fruit cucumber
Is it a fruit – cucumber

Zucchini

This summer squash is also a member of the gourd family, making it a fruit as well. Yellow squash falls into the same category as do winter squashes such as butternut and acorn.

Is It a Fruit zucchini
Is zucchini a fruit?

Eggplant

It surprises some to learn that eggplants are actually considered berries! And that places eggplants in the fruit category.

Is It a Fruit eggplant
Is it a fruit – eggplant

Avocado

The avocado, a primary ingredient in guacamole, is a single seeded berry, not a vegetable. And like berries, avocadoes do well in desserts such as chocolate mousse or as a fat replacement in baked goods.

Is It a Fruit avocado
Is  the avocado a fruit or vegetable?

Peas

Technically, peas are not a vegetable and they aren’t the fruit either. The pods the peas form in are the fruits and the peas are the seeds. Categorically, peas are in the fruit family.

Is It a Fruit peas
Is it a fruit – peas

Green Beans

Similar to peas, the green bean is the pod holding the seeds, making them fruit. In this case, we eat the pod and the seeds.

Is It a Fruit green beans
Are green beans a fruit?

Beans

Beans are a member of the legume family, like peas. They are the seeds tucked within pods, making them fruit. Typically we “shuck” the beans out of the pods and eat them that way.

Is It a Fruit beans
Is it a fruit – beans

Okra

Okra pods are also the fruit, with the seeds contained within. However, we eat the whole fruit, pod and seeds. Okra, excellent fried or in stews and gumbos, is a member of the mallow family.

Is It a Fruit okra
Is okra a fruit?

Olives

Olives grow on trees and they are categorized as fruits. Specifically, they are stone fruits like peaches, mangoes and dates.

Is It a Fruit olives
Is it a fruit – olives

Rhubarb

The only instance I could find of a vegetable mistaken for a fruit is the rhubarb plant. This perennial, often baked into pies due to its sweet flavor, is technically a vegetable. This is because only the plant’s stems are edible.

Rhubarb
It’s NOT a fruit – rhubarb

There Are More Fruits Than I Realized

As I researched fruits and vegetables, I discovered there are more fruits than I realized! This proved good news for my “only eat fruit” day. My options expanded beyond apples, bananas and blueberries.

And while I ate plenty of the usual fruits on that day, I brought in fruits disguised as vegetables. For lunch I enjoyed a healthy and delicious orange, avocado, green olive salad with Thai chili pickles…cucumbers.

Are you surprised to learn that some of your favorite vegetables are actually fruits? Which one surprised you the most?

Fruit Salad
Fruit salad

 


 

 

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Healthiest Root Vegetables

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December is Root Vegetables AND Exotic Fruits Month. That’s quite a culinary combo! Creative writer that I am, I choose to separate the two so as to create more than one blog post.

I begin with root vegetables. After the fall harvest, winter is the perfect time to enjoy these hearty staple foods. They provide complex carbs and fiber and contain essential vitamins and minerals. Some also offer powerful antioxidants that slow aging and even protect against cancer.

Add these healthiest root vegetables to your diet, for the amazing benefits.

Healthiest Root Vegetables title meme

What Are Root Vegetables?

Root vegetables, also known as starch vegetables and tubers, are veggies that grow underground. They are defined as the enlarged edible root of the plant. Root vegetables long served as diet staples in South American and Asian diets. Sweet potatoes were an important food 5000 years ago. They nourished populations through times of scarcity.

Root vegetables are still considered  important crops that not only feed the body but ground it as well. Check out these healthiest root vegetables and select some to include with your meals this week.

Sweet Potatoes

These colorful root vegetables provide many nutrients and health benefits.

Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A and C, manganese and fiber. They are rich with the antioxidants beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins that help protect against skin cancer.

These jewels of the root vegetable family improve immune function, balance blood sugar and promote healthy gut bacteria while starving out unproductive bacteria and mold. This double action helps the body create more vitamin B12. And, according to Anthony William, author of the Medical Medium books, sweet potatoes rid the body of excess estrogen that interferes with hormonal balance.

Enjoy sweet potatoes baked, boiled, roasted, juiced or raw as spiralized noodles.

Healthiest Root Vegetables sweet potatoes
Healthiest root vegetables – sweet potatoes

Onions

Onions rank high on the root vegetable list. So many recipes call for a chopped onion.

This basic veggie is high in fiber, vitamin C, zinc, manganese, iodine, selenium, sulfur compounds and antioxidants.

Onions help prevent bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract. They rid the body of radiation, viruses, DDT and other pesticides and heavy metals. And the sulfur in onions alleviates joint pain, repairs tendons and connective tissue and slows iron loss. Onions also repair lung damage and fight colds and flus that cause bronchitis.

Add onions to many recipes including stir fries, casseroles, soups, rice and pasta dishes, stuff them and bake them or serve raw in salads and veggie bowls.

Healthiest Root Vegetables onions
Healthiest root vegetables – onions

Garlic

Garlic is closely related to the onion and it’s another root vegetable that is used in many recipes and dishes.

This veggie provides important nutrients including vitamins B6 and C and manganese. Plus the compound allicin, released when garlic is crushed, has medicinal properties that help prevent diseases.

Garlic is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic. It kills off unproductive gut bacteria, fights colds, flus, strep throat, pneumonia causing bacteria and viral related cancers. It also pulls heavy metals from the body and boosts the immune system.

Add minced garlic to a variety of dishes, from stir fries to soups to pasta or add to roasted vegetables.

Healthiest Root Vegetables garlic
Healthiest root vegetables – garlic

Turnips

Cultivated for centuries, this root vegetable seems plain yet it possesses an impressive nutrient profile.

Turnips provide vitamin C, fiber, manganese and potassium.

Getting more vitamin C boosts immunity and reduces the symptoms of respiratory infections. Plus turnips lower the risk of stomach, breast, colorectal and lung cancers.

Use turnips in place of potatoes. They are excellent boiled and mashed, cubed and roasted or cut into fries. Or enjoy them with other root vegetables in a veggie bowl.

Healthiest Root Vegetables turnip
Healthiest root vegetables – turnip

Beets

Deeply colored beets are one of the most nutritious of root vegetables.

The veggie contains vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, iron and manganese. They rank high in nitrates, beneficial plant compounds that help dilate blood vessels. This action lowers blood pressure and improves heart health. Beets also improve exercise performance and increase blood flow to the brain. Studies show that beets may even slow the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Try boiling, steaming, pickling, roasting or juicing this powerful root vegetable.

Healthiest Root Vegetables beets
Healthiest Root Vegetables – beets

Radishes

These tiny root veggies pack a lot of nutrition and health benefits.

Radishes provide vitamin C, sulfides and fiber.

This root vegetable supports the immune system. And the sulfur kills off parasites, cleanses arteries and veins, prevents heart disease and raises good cholesterol while lowering the bad. The skin of the radish fights virtually all types of cancer while also restoring the kidneys, liver, pancreas and spleen.

Add these crunchy veggies to salads and slaws. Eat them as a snack. Or try adding them to stir fries.

Healthiest Root Vegetables radishes
Healthiest Root Vegetables – radishes

Carrots

This well known veggie is also high on the list of most nutritious root vegetables.

Carrots offer high amounts of vitamins A and K and they provide the important antioxidant beta-carotene.

Adding carrots to the diet lowers cholesterol levels and protects the eyes against age related macular degeneration. Because of the beta-carotene, carrots lower the risk of certain cancers including breast, prostate, and stomach.

Roast, boil or steam carrots. Add them to salads, stir fries and other vegetables dishes. Include in soups or eat them raw as an extremely healthy snack.

Healthiest Root Vegetables carrots
Healthiest Root Vegetables – carrots

Celeriac

Also called celery root, this versatile root vegetable is highly nutritious.

Celery and celeriac are basically the same plant, however celeriac is cultivated for its bulbous root rather than for the stalks. Both taste like celery although some find celeriac more robust with a slight nutty flavor.

Celeriac contains high levels of vitamins C and K and phosphorous.

Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting and vital for healthy bones.

Boil, roast, bake or mash celeriac. Or add it raw to salads.

Healthiest Root Vegetables celeriac
Healthiest root vegetables – celeriac

Rutabagas

This root vegetable belongs to the mustard family.

Rutabagas supply vitamin C, potassium, manganese and antioxidants. They also provide fiber that supports the digestive system and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And like several other root veggies, they contain sulfur compounds that protect against cancer cell formation and growth.

Rutabagas taste like a cross between a turnip and cabbage. One person described them as tasting like Yukon Gold potatoes…with a lot of attitude!

Boil and mash them, bake or roast them. Or add rutabagas to soups or salads.

Healthiest Root Vegetables rutabaga
Healthiest Root Vegetable – rutabaga

Potatoes

The most versatile and readily available root vegetable, potatoes come in 2000 different varieties and grow in 160 countries around the world.

The potato delivers fiber, vitamins B6 and C, potassium and manganese. Plus they provide an important amino acid, lysine. Lysine protects against cancer, liver disease, inflammation and viruses such as Epstein Barr and shingles. Additionally, potatoes strengthen the kidneys and soothe the digestive tract.

Try potatoes baked, boiled, mashed or steamed. Make healthy potato salad. Cut them into wedges or cubes, season with spices and roast in the oven. Create a veggie bowl featuring roasted or mashed potatoes.

Healthiest Root Vegetables potatoes
Healthiest Root Vegetables – potatoes

Create Health with Root Vegetables

Try adding a serving or two of root vegetables to daily meals, to reap the benefits of these nutritious, grounding veggies. Combine with other vegetables or make up a big pot of root vegetable soup.

Practicing a plant based lifestyle, root veggies form the foundation of my diet. Creating this post, however, I realized I’ve never eaten celeriac or rutabaga. I’ve seen both in the produce section of Natural Grocers. I’m excited to experience both in the near future.

What is your favorite root vegetable?

Healthiest Root Vegetables

I Highly Recommend Anthony’s Books

Anthony William’s books are my go to source for health information.

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Healthy Potato Recipes

 

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Today is National Potato Day and what better way to celebrate than with a collection of my favorite healthy potato recipes!

A couple of days ago, my sister asked me to name the vegetable I like the best. Without a doubt, the simple, earthy potato tops my list. I’m grateful for potatoes, actually. They are foundational to my plant based lifestyle.

Potatoes often get a bad rap, blamed for all kinds of health disorders from inflammation to diabetes to cancer, and labeled as a low nutritional food.

Not true!

The entire potato is edible, with the skin high in nutrients. Because they develop underground, potatoes draw trace minerals from the earth. They provide potassium, B6 and amino acids…in particular Lysine in its bioactive form. Lysine fights against cancers, viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles, liver disease and inflammation.

Potatoes strengthen the kidneys and liver, soothe over excited nerves and help the digestive system heal from Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. This antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial vegetable relieves stress, supports the brain and helps us feel centered and grounded.

Healthy Potato Recipes title meme

National Potato Day

Celebrated annually on August 19, National Potato Day recognizes the importance of this versatile and tasty vegetable. Mashed, baked, fried or steamed, potatoes truly are a mainstay of the American diet.

The Incas in Peru first cultivated this vegetable, as early as 8000 BC. Spanish conquistadors carried potatoes from Peru to Europe in 1536. By the early 1800s French fries appeared in the US and NASA and the University of Wisconsin partnered to make potatoes the first vegetable grown in space in 1995.

Currently, more than 4000 varieties of potatoes exist. And potatoes grow in all 50 states, making it easy to enjoy a potato recipe on this special day.

In honor of the day, below are some of my favorite healthy potato recipes. Click on the links for the full recipes.

Healthy Potato Recipes baked potato
Healthy potato recipes – baked

Simple Potatoes

Most often I enjoy a simple baked potato, without dairy products such as butter or sour cream. I use plant based butter if desired. Combined with simple grains such as brown rice, legumes or an assortment of fresh or cooked veggies, a potato bowl is nutritional and satisfying.

It’s also easy to cube potatoes, leaving the skin on, and steam them for four minutes in the instant pot. I season with sprinkles of garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and black pepper.

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Another easy favorite is oven roasted potatoes.

Crispy on the outside and yet tender inside, these potatoes make a great side dish or meatless main meal. Eat alone or create a veggie bowl featuring the oven roasted potatoes and other cooked veggies, a salad or raw veggies such as sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.

Healthy Potato Recipes roasted
Healthy potato recipes – roasted

Deviled Potatoes

These tasty bites offer a great alternative to deviled eggs.

This fun recipe makes a great snack or a satisfying meal! I love the little kick of added mustard. And no silverware needed. Pick these deviled potatoes up with your fingers and eat them!

Healthy Potato Recipes deviled
Healthy potato recipes – deviled

Dairy Free Potato Soup

I grew up loving my mother’s homemade potato soup. Fortunately, it’s easy to create a dairy free version to enjoy today.

This savory soup, adapted from my mom’s recipe and a vegan one I found, is full of other hearty vegetables. The broth gains richness from an easy to make cashew sauce.

Healthy Potato Recipes soup
Healthy potato recipes – soup

Nachos Style Potatoes

This amazing recipe, from Anthony William, substitutes baked potato “chips” for corn chips. It features a wonderful garlic aioli! Nachos style potatoes make the perfect lunch or weekend dinner.

Healthy Potato Recipes nachos
Healthy potato recipes – nachos

Aloo Matar

This fragrant, delicious meal is a Punjabi dish from India. It features potatoes and peas in a spiced tomato base. I absolutely LOVE this quick and easy recipe.

I even adapted it to create a flavorful aloo matar soup.

Healthy Potato Recipes aloo matar
Healthy Potato Recipes – aloo matar

Potato and Herb Salad

This fresh take on traditional potato salad comes from Anthony William as well. It features herbs such as chives, parsley, dill and cilantro. It’s the perfect meal for the end of summer.

Healthy Potato Recipes salad
Healthy potato recipes – salad

Shepherd’s Pie

This incredible one dish meal features lentils and vegetables in rich broth, topped with dairy free mashed potatoes. It’s just right for a chilly fall evening.

Healthy Potato Recipes shepherds pie
Healthy potato recipes – shepherd’s pie

Lentils, Potatoes and Brown Rice

This instant pot recipe combines the goodness of lentils and brown rice with cubed potatoes. I love this homey meal, seasoned with thyme, rosemary and garlic.

Healthy Potato Recipes lentils and potatoes
Healthy potato recipes – lentils, potatoes and brown rice

Madras Curried Lentils and Potatoes

And finally, this is one of my all time favorite meals.

This flavorful but not too spicy curry is the perfect make ahead meal that simmers in the slow cooker all day. The tantalizing aroma makes me smile in anticipation!

Healthy Potato Recipes madras curry
Healthy potato recipes – madras curry

Healthy Potato Recipes for Every Day

For National Potato Day…or every day…these potato recipes are sure to please.

Watch this blog for new potato recipes. I’m always looking for fresh healthy ways to prepare my favorite veggie.

What about you? Do you have a potato recipe you prepare again and again?

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Eat the Rainbow

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We’ve heard how important it is to include colorful fruits and vegetables in our diets. Those foods with vibrant colors contain powerful nutrients that sustain a healthy body.

What does it mean, to eat the rainbow?

And which foods pack the most health benefits?

Check out the following info and then have fun, creating colorful meals that boost the immune system and deeply nourish the body.

Eat the Rainbow title meme

Eat the Rainbow

The typical diet consists of fast foods and packaged meals and snacks. These highly processed foods, loaded with fats, sugars and additives, do little to nourish the body. Rather, they contribute to poor health, illnesses and diseases.

A diet built around a variety of fruits and vegetables provides benefits that nurture the body, creating optimal health and wellness. Colorful produce contains healing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Eating the rainbow of fruits and veggies is an easy way to ensure the body remains strong and healthy. And a strong, healthy body is better able to resist illnesses and thrive.

The colors in fruits and vegetables are derived from natural compounds that help protect the plants from harmful bacteria and viruses and the sun’s rays. Those same phytochemicals offer protection to us as well.

Red Fruits & Vegetables

Phytochemicals: lycopene, citrulline and ellagic acid

Benefits: helps fight cancer, reduces risks of heart disease and diabetes, improves skin health and vision

Red fruits and vegetables to include: strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, red skinned apples, cherries, cranberries, red grapes, red onions, pomegranates, red peppers, tomatoes, beets, radishes

Eat the Rainbow - watermelon with mint
Eat the rainbow – watermelon with mint and lime

Orange & Yellow Fruits & Vegetables

Phytochemicals: vitamin C, beta-carotene, hesperidin (in citrus fruits)

Benefits: boosts immune system and cell growth, reduces risks of heart disease and stroke, improves eye health, increases blood flow, protects skin from sun damage, keeps joints healthy

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables to include: oranges, grapefruits, lemons, mangoes, pineapple, papayas, peaches, cantaloupes, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, yellow summer squash, corn, orange and yellow peppers, golden beets

Eat the Rainbow orange salad
Eat the Rainbow – orange, avocado and olive salad

Green Fruits & Vegetables

Phytochemicals: lutein, isoflavones, isothiocyanates, folate, vitamin K

Benefits: boosts the immune system, detoxifies the body, restores energy and vitality, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, improves mood, repairs DNA damage, improves digestion, protects body against colds and viruses and disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and insomnia

Green fruits and veggies to include: green grapes, green apples, kiwi fruit, limes, avocado, cucumber, broccoli, celery, kale, romaine lettuce, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, cilantro, green beans, peas, zucchini

Easy to Make Meals Using 5 Common Staples soup
Eat the rainbow -veggie bowl

 Blue & Purple Fruits & Vegetables

Phytochemicals: anthocyanins, resveratrol, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, vitamin C

Benefits: protects against cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurological diseases, improves brain health and memory, reduces inflammation, repairs damage from oxidative stress, slows the aging process, normalizes blood pressure, supports liver and kidney health, heals urinary tract infections, helps to prevent colds and flu.

Blue and purple fruits and veggies to include: blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, plums, prunes, figs, purple cabbage, eggplant, purple carrots, purple sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, purple cauliflower, purple kale, purple asparagus

Eat the Rainbow Sweet Potato with Purple Cabbage
Eat the Rainbow – baked sweet potato with braised purple cabbage and onions, topped with cilantro

White & Brown Fruits & Vegetables

Phytochemicals: allicin, quercetin, sulforaphane, anthoxanthins

Benefits: protects against cancer, strengthens bones, supports heart health, lowers cholesterol, balances hormones, reduces inflammation

White and brown fruits and vegetables to include: bananas, cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms, parsnips, Daikon radishes, jicama

Eat the Rainbow - veggies
Eat the rainbow – veggies ready to chop

Best Ways to Eat the Rainbow

Chopped salads, veggie bowls, soups and stir fries are great ways to eat the rainbow.

Combine fresh fruits together for a refreshing salad. Include berries, chopped mangoes, pineapples, oranges, sliced bananas…all of your favorite fruits.

One of my favorite meals is a chopped veggie salad. Tear dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce and arugula into small, bite sized pieces. Don’t fill a bowl with greens and then sprinkle on veggies. Make the greens part of the chopped salad without allowing them to dominate it.

Add a variety of veggies, chopped in a mini food processor. I like to include tomatoes, red, orange and green peppers, red onion, radishes, mushrooms, avocado, carrots, celery, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, yellow squash, broccoli and cauliflower. Whatever fresh produce I have on hand in the fridge or pantry, goes into the salad. After combining well, I pop the salad into the fridge and let it chill for at least a couple of hours. This combines the flavors. It is SUCH a tasty meal.

For stir fry chop or slice veggies, quickly fry in vegetable broth or a small amount of coconut oil and serve over brown rice or riced cauliflower. Or create a big pot of vegetable soup.

Eat the Rainbow and Improve Health

Have fun adding as many colorful foods to your diet as possible. Not only do these foods create a beautiful, nutritious meal, they feed the body at a cellular level. Use as many fresh, organic non GMO fruits and vegetables as possible, leaving the skins on when you can, for the best nutritional value.

Make salads, run fruits and veggies through the juicer, combine fruits in smoothies, stir fry vegetables, steam them in the instant pot, cut fruits and vegetables up and eat them as a snack with sugar free peanut butter or dairy free yogurt.

I challenge you, in a playful way, to go beyond the occasional apple or banana. Get creative in adding more and more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Trust me, your body will thank you by responding with increased health and vitality.

You are what you eat, the saying goes. Be a rainbow.

Eat the Rainbow chopped salad
Eat the rainbow – chopped veggie salad

Make chopping veggies easy with this mini chopper:

 

Click on photo to order

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Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

 

Cooking With Chayote

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During my 62 Outrageous Things to do for My 62nd Birthday, one of my activities read: try a new vegetable. I noticed bright green gourds in the produce section of my local supermarket. And I wondered about them. Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? They are a bit of both! Chayote squash is a fruit that is prepared and eaten like a vegetable.

Cooking with chayote became an interesting first experience. And I love the simple Chayote Mexican Skillet that I created.

Cooking with Chayote title meme

What Are Chayotes?

Chayote are a type of squash, originally grown in central Mexico and parts of Latin America. Also known as the mirliton squash or chocho, it is now grown around the world. Technically considered a fruit, chayote tastes like a vegetable. It is delicious raw or cooked.

The squash is full of nutrients including vitamins B6, B9, C and K, manganese, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium and fiber. It is rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation, lower stress in the body and protect against cellular damage.

Benefits of chayote include:

  • promotes heart health
  • controls blood sugar
  • supports a healthy pregnancy
  • provides anticancer properties
  • slows aging
  • supports liver health
  • promotes digestive health
Cooking With Chayote Squash
Cooking with chayote squash. Look for these pear shaped fruits in the produce section.

Cooking With Chayote

After purchasing this new-to-me fruit, I felt inspired to create a Mexican themed recipe. Versatile and easy to prepare, the squash has a mild flavor that pairs well with other foods. Peel and dice chayote to add raw to salads. Add to soups or stir fries or steam alone for a cooked treat.

This festive Chayote Mexican Skillet came together in minutes.

Chayote Mexican Skillet

Chayote Mexican Skillet

This festive, easy to prepare recipe using chayote squash as a main ingredient.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large chayote, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can non GMO corn, drained
  • 1 small can chopped green chile peppers, mild or hot
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions
 

  • In a large non stick skillet, saute onion, garlic and chayote in coconut oil, until onions are softened and chayote crisp tender.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with sea salt, if desired, and serve over cooked brown rice. Makes 4 - 6 servings.
Keyword Chayote, Mexican Skillet

 

Cooking with Chayote Saute
Onions, garlic and chayote sauteed in coconut oil.
Chayote Mexican Skillet
Cooking with Chayote Mexican Skillet

How Did Chayote Taste?

While chopping up the chayote, I sampled a sliver. It reminds me in texture of a cucumber, however the flavor is much more mild. I peeled the squash using my favorite knife, as I would a potato. Some chayote are extemely wrinkled with deep folds, making peel removal more difficult. I deliberately chose smoother fruit.

The Chayote Mexican Skillet was excellent! Greg is my taste tester. Chayote is new to him as well however he trusts my creations and sampled this recipe without fear. He declared the meal delicious. I served the completed skillet dinner over cooked brown rice. (Prepare the rice in this easy to make vegetable broth for a rich flavor.)

I loved this chayote dinner. The recipe is quick and easy to prepare, making it a wonderful meal after a busy day. And clean up is a breeze, using only one skillet.

I think cooking with chayote will become a regular occurrence in my kitchen. I’ll try adding it to a chopped veggie salad next.

Have you tried chayote? If so, do you have a favorite recipe?

Cooking with Chayote Ready to Eat

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Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, some people find that their moods darken as well. It’s not uncommon, during fall and winter, to feel sluggish, however those winter blues can become a depression that lasts for months.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that begins in fall and peaks mid winter. By spring, when longer days bring more sunshine, the symptoms ease.

Up to 20% of the population experience varying degrees of SAD. However, help is available…in the kitchen. Check out the following foods that ease seasonal affective disorder, naturally.

Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

What Causes SAD?

Doctors believe that the long dark nights of winter disrupt brain chemicals, such as melatonin and serotonin, that affect mood. Days and days of overcast skies that limit sunlight contribute as well to feeling glum. So there appears to be a connection between lack of sunlight and seasonal affective disorder. Some experts also believe reduced sunlight lowers vitamin D levels in the body, which in turn can cause depression.

Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include weariness, anxiety, depression, craving carbohydrates, irritability, weight gain and avoidance of social situations.

Ten minutes of sunlight a day helps to ease SAD, by boosting vitamin D in the body. To improve symptoms even more, and for those days and days of gray skies, try adding the following foods to your diet.

Foods that Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder
Long winter nights are great for coziness. However they can disrupt chemicals in the brain.

Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder

Include these foods during fall and winter to combat SAD.

Mangoes 

Mangoes support emotional health, uplift mood, alleviate depression and ease seasonal affective disorder. They also promote a good night’s sleep. Eat mangoes on their own, or add to smoothies and fruit salads.

Atlantic Sea Vegetables 

These gifts from the sea remove heavy metals from the body. They are rich with nutrients that balance the body, ease stress and ground the emotions. Add dried Atlantic sea vegetables to salads and soups or blend them up in smoothies.

Oranges and Tangerines

Oranges and tangerines are called liquid sunshine! High in vitamin C, oranges and tangerines brighten mood when we are feeling sun deprived. Enjoy freshly prepared orange juice or add the citrus fruit to salads and hot ciders. Strive to eat a couple of oranges or tangerines a day, to receive all the goodness that they offer.

Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder
Oranges, pictured here in Spiced Hot Cider, are a great way to ease SAD.
Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder Bananas
Foods that ease seasonal affective disorder – bananas

Bananas

Bananas contain tryptophan, which calms the body. Their natural sugars and high potassium levels fuel the brain, while magnesium improves sleep and reduces anxiety. Add bananas to fruit smoothies, healthy breads and muffins, or eat them as a snack. For a special treat, blend frozen bananas into nice dream and top with berries.

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens, high in folic acid, boost mood by creating serotonin. During the cold winter months, enjoy a big salad daily for lunch, with leafy greens as the foundation. Or add greens to smoothies and juices.

Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all powerful anti-inflammatories that help to prevent the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Lowering stress eases the symptoms of SAD. Berries are wonderful added to smoothies, salads and herbal teas or piled on top of gluten free oatmeal.

Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder Berries
Foods that ease seasonal affective disorder – berries
Foods that Ease SAD Turmeric
The spice turmeric is an effective way to ease SAD.

Turmeric

This powerful anti-inflammatory increases blood circulation and boosts the brain and mood. Use turmeric in curry recipes or add a spoonful to warm coconut milk, to create a soothing nighttime drink. Or take a daily supplement in capsule form.

Walnuts and Flaxseeds

High in Omega-3s, walnuts and flaxseeds provide essential nutrients that help to boost mood and lessen depression. Add flaxseeds to smoothies or baking recipes. Eat a small amount of walnuts daily or add to gluten free banana bread and salads.

Avoid This Food

In the list of foods that ease seasonal affective disorder, there is one food to avoid. Refined sugar negatively impacts the brain and slows it down. Limit sugar during the winter months, or avoid it entirely. Your body and your mood will benefit.

Frequently including the foods listed above, and ten minutes of sun bathing on bright sunny days, can greatly reduce or eliminate seasonal affective disorder. I know. I’m one who feels a bit blue when the sun disappears for days behind a mass of gray clouds. To feel my best, and avoid going into hibernation mode, I need sunlight and these natural mood boosters.

Are you SAD during winter? Talk to me about it, in the comments below.

Getting vitamin D
Soaking up the sunshine.

 


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5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat

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On a plant based diet, or any healthy diet, nuts are a great snack option. Most nuts are higher in fats, so a small handful a couple of times a week is optimal. And nuts are an ideal source of fiber and protein.

Nuts contain other important and beneficial nutrients. Read on for the 5 healthiest nuts to eat, to receive the most from your snack.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Title Meme

Nutritional Nuts

Overall, nuts are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats along with omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. They also deliver vitamins and minerals.

In spite of their higher fat content, nuts have many health benefits. Studies have shown that nuts help to prevent diseases and may even prolong life by reducing the risks of some types of cancers.

Here are the 5 healthiest nuts to eat.

1. Walnuts

Walnuts are an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They are also a significant contributor of protein, fiber, vitamin E, melatonin and magnesium. Walnuts also contain a plant compound called polyphenols that reduce inflammation throughout the body, which in turn lowers the risk of many diseases, including cancer.

Walnuts also reduce bad LDL cholesterol while boosting good HDL cholesterol. They also contribute to better heart health, regulated blood pressure and increased blood flow through the circulatory system.

Additionally, walnuts are considered brain food. Eating walnuts increases cognitive function and reasoning abilities.

Healthy Walnuts
5 healthiest nuts to eat: walnuts

2. Almonds

Almonds provide a significant amount of protein, fiber, vitamin E and magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium and iron.

This tree nut improves cholesterol levels and supports heart health. Its high fiber content aids in weight loss and lowers blood pressure. And consuming a few almonds during a meal helps to regulate blood sugar levels that can rise after eating, in people with diabetes. For those with type 2 diabetes, almonds can lower inflammation.

Almonds also improve gut health by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Almonds
Almonds, one of the 5 healthiest nuts to eat.

3. Pistachios

This popular green nut, typically packaged still in its shell, is high in fiber and protein and provides vitamin E and magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorous.

As with walnuts and almonds, pistachios improve cholesterol levels. Eating just a couple of ounces of pistachios a day also increases good HDL cholesterol. Additionally, pistachios decreases the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and help maintain a healthy weight. Their antioxidant properties prevent oxidative damage to cells.

And pistachios help to keep blood sugar levels down after a meal.

Healthy Pistachios
Health boosting pistachios.

4. Cashews

Cashews have a creamy texture, making them perfect for baking and vegan sauce making. They are also an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin E and calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. Cashews also provide antioxidant properties.

This tree nut reduces blood pressure, improves blood lipid levels and increases good HDL cholesterol.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Cashews
Fiber and protein rich cashews.

5. Hazelnuts

Nutritious hazelnuts have a distinctive flavor. They are also an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamin E and calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.

They lower the risk of heart disease and reduce bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Hazelnuts ease inflammation throughout the body and improve overall blood vessel health. Additionally, they increase the amount of vitamin E in the blood.

Healthy Hazelnuts
The last of the 5 healthiest nuts to eat, hazelnuts.

Ways to Benefit from Nuts

Try including nuts in your diet, in these ways:

  • combine them with unsweetened raisins, dried cranberries, unsweetened dried coconut and seeds to make a homemade trail mix
  • drink nut milks such as cashew milk, almond milk or hazelnut milk
  • use sugar free nut butters that only contain nuts and a small amount of sea salt
  • add raw nuts to salads
  • use in baking recipes
  • make vegan sauces from cashews
  • eat plain, as a snack
  • make your own vegan cheeses and milks, from nuts

Remember to enjoy nuts in moderation, due to their fat content. Eat a small handful at a time or include in recipes on days scattered throughout the week. And check out some of my favorite recipes below, that include healthy nuts.

5 healthiest Nuts to Eat Tabbouleh
Parsley Tabbouleh with almonds.

 

Favorite Recipes Using Nuts

Dairy Free Potato Soup with Cashew Sauce

Broccoli and Macaroni Bake

Raw Blueberry Pie with Cashew Crust

Vegan Banana Blueberry Bread with Walnuts

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Parsley Tabbouleh

Amazon finds:

 


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