Monthly Archives: August 2016
A few years back I wrote up a rundown of New Year’s resolutions on a little bit of cardstock, overlaid it, and place it in my wallet. On that rundown was the determination to eat a plate of mixed greens each day, just in light of the fact that eating serving of mixed greens constantly made me feel like I was benefiting something for myself. All things considered, serving of mixed greens gives a few vitamins and can top you off while lessening your caloric admission. What could be more advantageous than a major, crisp serving of mixed greens?
Unfortunately, many things, as I later found out. Salads can run the gamut of healthiness, depending on what is in them. Although that big bowl of greens may be packed full of antioxidants and fiber, it can also be laden with fat, cholesterol, and sodium—not to mention an overabundance of calories. Some restaurant salads can even contain more calories than a cheeseburger!
Luckily, like most things in life, a salad is the outcome of several small decisions. To make sure you don’t sabotage your healthy diet unintentionally, choose wisely the next time you order a salad from a restaurant or visit the salad bar. When dining out, don’t be afraid to ask questions, make special requests (extra veggies, dressing on the side, light cheese) and ask about substitutions (like grilled chicken for breaded). Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate you as long as their kitchen is stocked with the ingredients you want. Here’s how to choose wisely next time you’re making a salad at home or choosing one from a menu.
The foundation of most salads, lettuce adds substance, crunch, water, and fiber for very few calories—only about 10 per cup. But if you want all that and vitamins, too, toss out the iceberg and toss in the romaine, mixed baby greens and spinach. While iceberg lettuce is lower in nutrients (and still makes a decent choice if it’s the only thing available), these other greens are rich in vitamins A, C and K, manganese, and folate.
Adding protein, such as lean meat, tofu, eggs or beans, will help bulk up your salad and keep you full longer. Unfortunately, many protein toppings are deep-fried, breaded and greasy, which adds unnecessary calories plus cholesterol, sodium and fat to your salad. Skimp on fattier toppings such as bacon and fried (breaded) chicken strips, and go for lean proteins instead. Grilled chicken, canned beans of all kinds, chickpeas, tofu, hardboiled eggs (especially whites), or water-packed tuna are leaner choices. Nuts and seeds are popular in salads, too, and while they’re a healthy source of good fats and some protein, they’re not exactly low-cal. If you choose to add them, watch your portions (1/2 ounce contains more than 80 calories).
Restaurants know that people love cheese, so they tend to pile on multiple servings of it on their salads. It might be tasty, but it sends the calorie counts sky high! While cheese is a nutritious food that adds flavor, calcium, and protein to a salad, enjoy it in moderation due to its high fat content. Just a half-cup of cheddar cheese (the amount on many large restaurant salads) contains 18 grams of fat and 225 calories. To keep calories in check, use a single serving of cheese (approximately 2 tablespoons). Choose low-fat varieties as much as possible to save on saturated fat and calories. A smaller amount of a stronger-flavored cheese, such as Brie, feta, chevre, gorgonzola, sharp cheddar or bleu cheese will go a long way in helping you cut down on your portions.
Pile on the Veggies
Vegetables like bell peppers, grated carrots, sugar snap peas, and tomatoes provide flavor, fiber, and vitamins for few calories. Grated carrots, for example, have only 45 calories in a whole cup, and there are only about 20 calories in an entire red bell pepper. When building your best salad, use as many veggies as possible for extra filling power—and a nice crunch! Practice moderation when it comes to starchy vegetable toppings like corn and potatoes, which are higher in calories. And remember to go for a variety of colors to ensure you’re getting several different nutrients and antioxidants in your salad bowl.
Don’t Forget the Fruit
Don’t leave fruit on the sidelines! Fresh, canned and dried fruits add a sweetness that can help temper the slightly bitter taste of greens and veggies. They also provide color and texture (not to mention nutrition) to your salad bowl. Chopped apples, pears, grapes, or mandarin oranges (canned in juice—not syrup—and drained) are excellent salad toppers. Chewy dried fruits (cranberries, raisins) work well, too, but they are also high in calories (so only use a sprinkle!). Avocados (and the guacamole made from them) are creamy and nutritious thanks to their heart-healthy fats, but they’re also a concentrated sources of calories. Keep your use of avocado to a minimum if you’re watching your weight.
Sesame sticks, crispy noodles and croutons are salty and crunchy but conceal lot of hidden fat. Better options include water chestnuts, apple slivers, a small serving of nuts, crumbled whole-grain crackers, and homemade croutons. To make your own low-fat croutons, just slice a large clove of garlic and rub it over both sides of a piece of whole-grain bread. Cut the bread into cubes and then brown it in the toaster or conventional oven.
A very healthy salad could go very wrong with one too many shakes of oil or dressing. The main issue with dressing is its fat and sodium content—and the fact that people have trouble controlling their portions. Two tablespoons is an appropriate serving of dressing, but most restaurants serve much more than that, whether mixed in to your salad or served on the side. Those calories add up fast. When dining out, always ask for dressing on the side and dip your fork into the dressing before picking up your bite of salad. Caesar, ranch and other cream-based dressings (when not specified as low-fat) are calorie bombs worth avoiding. Look for dressings specified as “low-fat” that contain no more than 60 calories per serving. You can also add flavor for minimal calories by using salsa, vinegar or lemon juice.
A smoothie can be breakfast, a nibble, or a pre-or post-workout refueling device. Whether you arrange from your neighborhood Whole Foods Market juice bar or shop for fixings and mix at home, these chilly drinks are a delectable approach to include additional supplements into your every day schedule. Perused on for our master tips, traps and smoothie shopping records.
Whole fruits and vegetables are great building blocks for your smoothies, but consider adding ingredients or supplement powders that offer up additional benefits. Some examples:
Adding protein to your blended drinks helps you feel fuller longer — especially helpful if your smoothie is the key part of your meal. Here are easy ways to add extra protein:
Add whole food sources of protein to your smoothie. Consider yogurt, kefir, nut butters, pasteurized egg whites, or silken tofu to bring richness and flavor to your glass. If you like a thicker, heartier texture boost your smoothie by blending in ground chia, flax seeds, hemp seeds or rolled oats.
Add a scoop of plant-based protein powder, which can derive protein from brown rice, hemp seed, peas or soy. A few of our favorites from our Whole Body department:
- Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
- Vega Sport Performance Protein (Plant-Based)
- Amazing Grass Protein Superfood
Add a scoop of protein powder derived from animal sources like whey, egg whites or casein. A few of our favorites from our Whole Body department:
- Whole Foods Market Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
- 365 Everyday ValueÒ Whey Protein Powder
- Iron Tek Essential Protein (Whey+)
Reach for superfood powders to boost your smoothie with extra nutrients. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Navitas Naturals Acai
- Navitas Naturals Maca
- Amazing Grass Detox and Digest
Try fresh or frozen spinach leaves, fresh or frozen kale leaves, carrot, cooked sweet potato, cooked winter squash and pumpkin, beet greens and cooked beets and/or cucumber. Arugula, dandelion and mustard greens are also excellent nutrient-dense greens, but can be too bitter for some.
Try berries, peaches and nectarines, pears and apples, banana, avocado, pineapple, mango, papaya, kiwi, citrus, figs, plums, melons and/or cherries. Almost all fruit can be used either fresh or frozen. (Find out why eating colorful fruits and veggies can help you make sure you’re eating
There are thousands, of recipes that include garlic. However, the best way to absorb garlic’s health benefits is to consume it raw. Raw garlic can be a little intense for some, but there are several ways to dull the piquancy while retaining the full health benefits. My favorite is to add raw garlic to a dressing like the lemon garlic dressing used in this cabbage wedge recipe or the balsamic vinaigrette of this green bean salad.
Although it may sound a little odd to those who haven’t tried it, you can actually drink garlic. For a fast immune system boost, I like to prepare a garlic tea:
- 1 clove organic garlic
- ½ lime or lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp raw organic honey
- Slice 1 clove of organic garlic very thinly.
- Boil one cup of water.
- Place sliced garlic in a cup.
- Pour the hot water over the garlic and cover the cup with a small plate.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the juice of half a lime.
- Add half a spoon of raw organic honey.
If tea isn’t your thing, I have another emergency immune booster. In my opinion, this one is less tasty than the tea, but it gets the job done. Mince two cloves of garlic, mix it with the juice of ten limes, and drink it. If it’s too harsh, add a little fresh orange juice to soften the flavor.
More research may be needed, but it’s already clear that garlic is an incredible superfood with amazing health benefits. Our ancestors knew this, and we’re now rediscovering the full power of this pungent vegetable. If you’re feeling under the weather, eat a couple cloves of raw garlic. It could alleviate what ails you, though your friends, family, and coworkers may prefer you avoid any close-talking afterward.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a plant used in cooking and medicine, best known for its distinctive flavor and aroma. While frequently used as a seasoning, garlic is technically a vegetable. A member of the Allium family, it’s a close relative of onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. The benefits of garlic don’t end with adding flavor to food, it’s a legitimate superfood that has been used for an astounding variety of medical applications for thousands of years.
Health Benefits of Garlic
1. Garlic Supports Cardiovascular Health
Garlic is among the best foods for heart health. Studies have found that garlic reduces cholesterol and lowers lipid content in the blood. Experimental and clinical studies on the cardiovascular benefits of garlic have found it to have a positive effect on atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and thrombosis. Garlic also seems to possess the ability to prevent blood clots. Tests are currently underway to examine the mechanism of this effect.
2. Garlic May Help with Hypertension
Researchers have found that oral administration of garlic can lower blood pressure in both human and animal studies. Amazingly, there was a measurable response after just a single dose. Chronic oral administration of garlic has a long-term positive effect. Allicin seems to have a relaxing effect on the smooth muscle cells of the pulmonary artery, allowing the artery to open more fully. This doesn’t mean that you can switch to an all-bacon diet and expect to “garlic away” the consequences, but when combined with a balanced diet, garlic can substantially improve blood pressure.
3. Garlic Is Nutritional Support Against Cancer
Around the world, studies have found a correlation between a high intake of garlic and a lowered cancer risk. An increased consumption of garlic is associated with a reduction in cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, prostate, and breast. The United States National Cancer Institute has said that garlic may be the most effective food for cancer prevention.
4. Garlic and Diabetes
Garlic may also provide significant benefits to those suffering from diabetes. Experimental studies have shown that garlic lowers blood glucose levels and this hypoglycemic effect has been replicated in animal studies. Treatment for humans is less studied but looks promising. Garlic has been reported to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce insulin resistance. However, further study is needed to fully understand the effect garlic has on human blood glucose levels.
5. Garlic Offers Liver Protection
Garlic is one of the best foods to help cleanse your liver. It can help mitigate the effects of fatty liver disease and provides hepatoprotective effects from certain toxic agents. Studies have found that garlic can protect liver cells from acetaminophen, gentamycin, and nitrates.
6. Antimicrobial Properties of Garlic
For centuries, traditional medicine has used garlic for its antimicrobial properties. Modern studies have found that the antibacterial properties of garlic are effective on salmonella, staph infections, clostridium (the cause of botulism), proteus, mycobacterium, and H. pylori. Garlic has even been suggested as a treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Garlic’s action against harmful organisms doesn’t stop with bacteria. It’s antiprotozoal, antifungal, and even antiviral. In vitro studies have found that garlic is effective against influenza, cytomegalovirus, rhinovirus (the cause of the common cold), viral pneumonia, rotavirus, herpes simplex 1 and 2, and even HIV. Unfortunately, these results are only confirmed in test tube studies. How the active substances of garlic react to viruses inside the human system remains to be seen.
Studies of cold sufferers have found that those who consumed garlic extract experienced milder symptoms and shorter illness duration than placebo groups, but the exact mechanism behind this phenomena is still unclear. Further research is necessary to more fully understand the healing power of garlic.
7. Garlic Is a Powerful Antioxidant
Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage DNA and lead to poor health. Garlic contains potent antioxidants that fight these free radicals. When allicin breaks down, it produces an acid that reacts with and traps the free radicals. Researchers at Queens University in Ontario believe this may be the most powerful dietary antioxidant ever discovered.