Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Closer Look at Rhubarb

healthy foods - r
Speaking of rhubarb, the first thing to come to mind would be homemade rhubarb pie. Usually prepared along with other fruits as a delicious dessert, rhubarb mixed with apples and strawberries make delectable jams. But did you know that despite the distinctive taste of rhubarbs that make it excellent for desserts, choosing the wrong parts of it for cooking could lead to dire, even deadly, consequences?

Most parts of the rhubarb is edible except for its toxic leaves. In fact, its different parts have been known to possess specific medicinal qualities. Its long, crisp stalks, known for their tart flavor, are commonly used for pies and other dishes/foods. A group of plants belonging to the genus rheum, the rhubarb has been botanically classified as a vegetable, and many of its varieties have already been domesticated for human consumption. And apart from the toxicity of its leaves, its other parts have been identified to benefit health in the following ways:
  • Rhubarb could lower cancer risk.
  • It is said to have good effects on the body's circulation.
  • Rhubarb could be beneficial for people with high cholesterol.
  • It possesses anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy properties. 

Written By: Maris Modesto

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Frozen Yogurt for Dessert?

healthy foods - frozen yourt for dessert?
Ice cream is a common favorite among people who have a huge sweet tooth. But heavenly as it is, there's no sugarcoating the amount of fat, sugar, and cholesterol we pile on every time we gorge on this decadent treat. And if like me, you have to be wary of your sugar and fat intake, does this mean we have to deprive ourselves of eating ice cream for the rest of our lives? Ice cream, yes. But frozen yogurt, no.

More tart than ice cream and of much lower fat content, frozen yogurt, which is made from pure milk rather than cream, is hardly any different from ice cream. Their taste, texture, appearance and even creaminess are almost exactly alike. Similarly presented in a variety of flavors, frozen yogurt is a heaven-sent substitute for all ice cream lovers out there in need of a healthier replacement.

Compared to standard yogurt, though, frozen yogurt has less calcium and protein. Nonetheless, no one can question its probiotic benefits. Each serving of frozen yogurt rewards us with a good helping of live bacteria culture necessitated for good digestion. Besides the latter, it also has all the good health advantages “good bacteria” offers.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Benefits of Being Green

A member of the cabbage family, collard greens possess a distinctive taste described as a cross between a cabbage and a kale. Available the whole-year-round, they are best enjoyed steamed rather than fresh.

Healthy Foods - The Benefits of Being Green
  • Of all the cruciferous veggies we sink our teeth into, nothing tops the cholesterol-decreasing ability of collard greens. Recent studies have revealed that steamed collard greens outrank kale broccoli, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage in binding bile acids in the digestive tract. It is this process of binding bile acids that make them easier for the body to expel. And because bile acids are composed of cholesterol, the process of binding them generally impacts the body by way of lowering its cholesterol level. However, as to whether it is best to serve steamed or fresh collard greens, experts pointed out that the former has better bile acid binding ability than the latter.
  • One of the foremost benefits of collard greens is their cancer-fighting ability. Four particular kinds of glucosinolates—glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin—are identified to be at work behind its cancer-preventative quality. As it turns out, each of these glucosinolates can be transformed into isothiocyanate (ITC) which works effectively to reduce our risk of cancer by bolstering our detox and anti-inflammatory systems. 

Written By: Maris Modesto

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting to Know the Grapefruit

healthy foods - grapefruit
Have you ever wondered why a grapefruit is called a grapefruit, when it actually looks so much like an orange than a grape? With fruits shaped like an oblate spheroid—think of the shape of our beloved mother Earth— yellow-orange skin, and a segmented, acidic flesh, grapefruits bear a striking resemblance to the omnipresent orange except that it is bigger and has a tangier and somewhat bitter taste.

So, why is a grapefruit called a grapefruit? 

Some sources say that the idea behind its name is taken from the manner whereby they grow—in clusters just like bunches of grapes. Another explanation provided states that it was named as such since unripe grapefruits bear a strong resemblance to the shape of premature green grapes. Setting aside name origins, grapefruits are included among the excellent sources of Vitamin C. Because the latter is a major immune system booster, eating grapefruits benefit the body by keeping it strong and resilient, hence decreasing its risk of illnesses. The grapefruit owes the red-pink coloring of its flesh to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. And lycopene also has its unique health merits, one of  which is its supposed ability to work against tumor formation.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ode to the Gorgeous Romanesco

Healthy Foods - Romanesco
Like a bright bloom comprised of smaller clusters of conical flowers, the romanesco broccoli is quite a breathtaking sight to behold. Piled in a stunning iridescent, green heap alongside the broccoli and cauliflower heads in the produce section of the local grocery, it stood out rather perfectly, albeit awkwardly—a gorgeous veggie looking more like an exotic blossom fit for grand floral arrangements than the soup pot.

But just like its broccoli and flower cousins, the nutritional value of the romanesco: loads of good old Vitamin C, carotenoids, and fiber isn't something nutritionists could easily overlook. Nor is its taste—somewhat spicy and nutty—too blah for the palate to easily forget. To date, many different recipes have been contrived making use of the romanesco.

However, although its beauteous fractal pattern strikes most people to be quite bizaare, cooks say that romanesco hardly differs from broccoli or cauliflower in terms of culinary preparation. Best eaten raw, it could also be steamed, blanched, or stir-fried. Some chef's claim that butter or other light flavored sauces perfectly sets off its natural taste, hence making romanesco one of the best dipping vegetables around—in the same league as celery and carrot sticks.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moringa: Not Just Another Leafy Veggie

Healthy Foods - Moringa: Not Just Another Leafy Veggie

Best prepared in soups and viand recipes calling for some mild-tasting green leafy veggies, moringa is among the most commonly used leafy veggies in Asian cuisine. Beyond edibility, however, moringa is actually considered as a “miracle tree.” But what sets it apart from other trees, besides being multipurpose, is its multitude of nutrients, all of which are said to benefit health in many different ways. 

The moringa leaves alone has been confirmed to possessmany wondrous health benefits. All in all, it is packed with 90 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. Hence, with so many nutritive qualities to boast of, the moringa could easily be hailed as the most nutritious vegetable in the world. Let's us get to know the moringa a little better by going over five of its health-boosting benefits:
  • It is a rich source of Vitamins A and C.
  • It is said to be a better source of calcium than milk.
  • It contains seven times the amount of calcium bananas possess. 
  • It is an all-natural metabolism stimulator.
  • Its nutritive power capacitates it to help shield the kidneys and liver against diseases.
  • Made into a paste, it also works to beautify the skin.  

Written By: Maris Modesto

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nothing So-So About Miso Soup

For me, eating out at a Japanese restaurant is a comfort-break I usually enjoy after a week spent doing work overtime straight. Since I enjoy most of their dishes, what I do is mix and match their meat and veggie entrees along with plentiful servings of rice. However, although I vary the viands accordingly during each visit, I never once failed to order a hot bowl of miso soup to accompany them. 

Rich with that distinctive nutty flavor, miso soup is a Japanese meal staple. Taking its name from its main and most significant ingredient miso studies have claimed that it possesses more powerful health benefits transcending those of chicken soup. Fact has it that enjoying a bowl of it once a day suffices to cut the risk of breast cancer. Also, it has been proven to work efficiently in regulating women's hormones that could promote the development of tumors. 

A traditional Japanese seasoning used for soups, sauces, and pastes; miso is made from fermented rice, barley, and soy beans combined with salt and the kojikin fungus. As a soup, it can be blended with different ingredients, ranging from veggies and seaweed to even meat, depending on personal preference.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Up Close with the To-mah-to

Healthy Foods Blog - Up Close with the To-mah-to
With its shiny red skin and round shape, many people might be easily fooled into thinking that the tomato is the closest kin of an apple. However, though a tomato has the appearance, texture, and taste  of a typical succulent fruit, it's actually a fruit and  veggie at the same time. Originating from South America, this pretty member of the nightshade family ranks as the top source of Vitamin A and C in the western diet.

But wait, these proverbial vitamins aren't the only nutrients the tomato boasts of. It also contains other vital nourishments such as lycopene, beta-carotene, dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine, and riboflavin. What's more, the tomato is even a low-fat, low-cholesterol, and a low-sodium veggiefruit. You can eat it fresh from the vine  or use it in different dishes.

Unlike other vegetables and fruits, the heat used in cooking doesn't deplete the nutrients of the tomato in any way. In fact, it even intensifies its lycopene content because  the process of heating causes the release of the latter by breaking down the cell walls. Lycopene is a phytochemical that our bodies could definitely make use of to keep it healthy. 

Written By: Maris Modesto

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spearing Great Health

Healthy Foods Blog - Spearing Great Health
Who would ever think that an asparagus is a close kin of the lily? Prized as a delicacy ever since the early days of civilization, these brilliantly green crisp spears with the mild, pleasant taste are spring babies favored as a main veggie entree in many parts of the globe. Prepared in a multitude of delicious ways, it is not just another palate pleaser, mind you. Boasting of many healthy benefits, today the asparagus is hailed as one of the most nutritionally balanced veggies in the world.

And what is it about the asparagus that makes it a natural stand-out? Let us count some of its many nutritional benefits: folic acid, potassium, thiamin, Vitamin B6, rutin, and glutathione. But of these nutrients, it is folic acid  hat elevated asparagus to its current status. With 5.3 ounces of folic acid per serving, asparagus covers 60% of the body's daily requirement of the aforementioned nutrient; needed for growth, formation of blood cells, and the prevention of liver sickness. As chronicled in the annals of history, asparagus has been used to address a variety of medical symptoms such as the following: swelling, athritis, rheumatism, and water retention due to PMS among women.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Monday, July 26, 2010

Onions: Nothing to Cry About

Slicing onions could be quite a tearful experience. However, as uncomfortable as it is for the cook's eyes whenever he cuts it up for use in dishes, its health benefits and taste are more than enough reasons to forgo the minor discomfort it brings. Characterized by a strong, pungent flavor and aroma, it's one of the world's staple cooking ingredients.

Lending its robust taste to accentuate the taste of the overall dish, it's hard to imagine how dishes would be like without onions. But beyond flavor, they have been used ever since as a medicinal plant, garnering wide acclaim for its wondrous health benefits in addressing a variety of health-related conditions such as the common cold, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.

Onions come in different flavors and colors—white, yellow, red, and green. Their taste can range from slightly sweet to very pungent. Prepared raw or cooked, they make excellent flavor enhancers for most salads, stir-fried dishes, soups, broiled and boiled dishes, etc. They are categorized as Allium vegetables, hence they are rich in sulfides, sulfoxides, thiosulfinates and other smelly compounds. Their medical potency has been known to combat different bacteria, which includes e.coli, salmonella, and bacillus subtilis. 

Written By: Maris Modesto

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Packaged Foods Need Not be Bad

For so long, packaged food has endured a bad rep in terms of nutrition. It could be because of the preservatives or the high fat and sodium content. Either way, it seems that packaged goodies have been vetoed by the health community.

But the fight isn't over for packaged food. Here are five packaged treats that taste good and are good for you, health experts agree:

Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is creamier, and richer in protein than American brands. Pick a non-fat, sugar-free brand with real fruit for a really kicking dessert.

Vegetable frozen dinner. Frozen dinners have evolved from fatty choices to roasted vegetables. Opt for a vegetable frozen dinner for a quick meal that's good for your ticker.

Canned and vacuum-packed fruits. Canned fruits may be better for you than fresh fruit provided that they are packed in juice or frozen. They are packed at the peak of ripeness and are bursting with vitamins.

Salmon burgers. Frozen salmon burgers are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are perfect for people who don't like fish.

Pita chips and hummus dips. Baked pita chips and hummus dip have the crunch and texture of regular potato chips without the extra fat. 

Written By: Kristine Gonzaga

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Get More Omega-3 in Your Diet

Omega-3 fatty acids can do a lot for your body. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, keep your blood from clotting excessively, lower the amount of lipids circulating in the bloodstream, reduce the risk of becoming obese and improve the body's ability to respond to insulin. These fatty acids also help prevent cancer cell growth. Introduce more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet with these tips:

1. Eat more fish.
Oily fish, that is. Salmon, sardines, and tuna are your best bets. These lean protein sources are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are also very versatile and easy to prepare. Include fish in your salad, pan fry or grill it for your main course, or hit it with tomato sauce for an easy pasta sauce.

2. Gobble whole grains.
Whole grain is good for you for fiber. But whole grain flaxseed is even better because it's loaded with omega-3. Mix it with your yogurt, top your cereal with it, or eat it as a snack to boost omega-3 intake.

3. Go nuts.
Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acid. Coat your fish in them, eat them as a snack, toss them into salads, or turn them into desserts.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Basil: More than Just Pesto

The round, often pointed, leaves of the basil plant looks a lot like peppermint to which it is related. Its highly fragrant leaves are used as a seasoning herb for a variety of foods, but has become ever popular as the main ingredient in pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.

The unique array of active constituents called flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. Orientin and vicenin are two water-soluble flavonoids that have been of particular interest in basil, and in studies on human white blood cells; these components of basil protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

Basil is a very good source of vitamin A. Called "pro-vitamin A," since it can be converted into vitamin A, beta-carotene is a more powerful anti-oxidant than vitamin A and not only protects epithelial cells from free radical damage, but also helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream. Only after it has been oxidized does cholesterol build up in blood vessel walls, initiating the development of atherosclerosis, whose end result can be a heart attack or stroke.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pining for Spinach

Popeye has the right idea when he started chugging down canned spinach. And the resulting strength is not that misleading apart from the obvious exaggeration. Spinach is really good for you. If the vegetable's deep green color is not confirming enough for you, here are some nutrition facts to sink your teeth into:

Vitamin K. Few sources offer more vitamin K than spinach does. K is essential for blood clotting and bone health. Recent research shows it may also help decrease inflammation, a condition linked to a host of diseases, including Alzheimer's, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Folate. This helps prevent cancers of the cervix and lungs and works alongside vitamin B6 to protect against heart disease.

Vitamin B and C. Eating spinach can also improve your mood. Studies show that both play vital roles in the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with pleasure and keeping depression and anxiety under control.

Aside from being nutritious, spinach is also a palate-friendly vegetable. It's good creamed, scalloped, sautéed, or eaten raw in salads.
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Brussels Sprouts: Why You Shouldn't Toss Them Out

When you were a kid, you're most likely guilty of this crime: Tossing the Brussels sprouts back into the serving dish when your mom wasn't looking. If you're still doing that - shame on you! - you are missing out on a lot of nutrients.

Cousin to broccoli and cabbage, Brussels sprouts are loaded with phytochemical nutrients. Plant phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts enhance the activity of the body's natural defence systems to protect against disease, including cancer. Scientists have found that sulforaphane, one of the powerful glucosinolate phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, boosts the body's detoxification enzymes, potentially by altering gene expression, thus, helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly.

The hearty vegetable also provides plenty of vitamins A and C, two powerful antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of some cancers. In addition, vitamin A boosts immune-system function and promotes healthy, resilient skin. Folate, another heart-healthy nutrient found in the sprouts, may protect against cognitive decline and is essential for pregnant women, as it helps prevent birth defects.

Buy Tip: Choose sprout heads of roughly the same size so they'll cook evenly. Avoid those with excessive leaf perforations; they may contain common garden pests.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Olive Oil: An Anti-Aging Agent

Olive oil figures prominently in the Mediterranean diet. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat, it lowers risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and age-related cognitive decline in people who include this healthy oil in their diets.

High fat intake is associated with degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, asthma, colon cancer, and arthritis. But generous use of olive oil can lower rates of these conditions. Comparing olive oil with other fats such as animal fats, hydrogenated fats, and vegetable oils like corn oil dominate, turns up some very interesting data. It turns out that people who use olive oil regularly, especially in place of other fats, have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day may reduce your risk of heart disease. You can get the most benefit by substituting olive oil for saturated fats rather than just adding more olive oil to your diet.

Pure, extra virgin olive oil is not only a light and delicate addition to many wonderful dishes, it is one of the most health-promoting types of oils available.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Avocado: High Fat Can Be Healthy

Avocados are known to be high in fat. But did you know that they are considered as one of the healthiest fruits in the planet? So if you are avoiding avocados because of the fat content, you are missing on a lot of essential nutrients.

Although it's true that an avocado packs a lot of calories and fat into a small package, most are monounsaturated, which lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol and raises "good" HDL levels. The remaining fat is polyunsaturated. According to a study from Ohio State University, the fat in avocados may aid your body's ability to absorb certain nutrients. One such nutrient is lycopene, which may help prevent heart disease and prostate cancer; others include beta-carotene and lutein, which may decrease the risk of certain cancers and eye diseases.

But there's more to avocado than its good-for-you fat. Per ounce, avocados contain more fiber than other fruit; a typical whole avocado has a whopping 14 grams, which even rivals the fiber in a serving of shredded wheat and bran cereals. They also provide more protein than most fruits, making them a great energy source (since you need carbs, fat, and protein for sustained energy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fun with Figs

While figs are often served during fall, they are abundant all throughout the year. Excellent on roast pork, in pies, as salad dressing, or eaten as is, figs are good either fresh or dried. Aside from being good on your palate, figs also offer amazing health benefits.

Fresh figs are a great source of energy and vitality, which may explain the aphrodisiac and fertility-boosting powers they've traditionally been thought to possess. Nutritionally, they contain more mineral matter and alkalinity than most fruits and are one of the highest sources of calcium in the plant world. Both dried and fresh figs are impressive sources of soluble and insoluble fiber, which are important for cardiovascular and digestive health and for removing toxins from the body. Figs are also loaded with antioxidants. A single fig contains more polyphenols, which help fight free radicals in the body than a cup of green tea.

Figs even contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with healthy heart and brain function, and lutein, which aids vision. Nutritionists recommend figs for lowering blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Four fresh figs only contain 120 to 148 calories and trace amounts of fat.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chew Your Way Against Diabetes: Power Foods to Keep Glucose Low

If you have diabetes and you're told about the things you can't eat, chances are high you'll be obsessing over foods you're not allowed to eat. Stop it. It won't do you any good and may make your blood glucose levels skyrocket. Instead, turn your attention to these food items. They taste good and help you manage your diabetes as well.

Flaxseed is best known as a source of fiber and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body converts to omega-3s EPA and DHA. Several studies have found a link between increased ALA intake and lower odds of heart disease, heart attack, and other cardiovascular issues. These magic seeds also show promise for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar.

Berries are nature's candy - but unlike sugary confections from the checkout aisle, they're loaded with fiber and antioxidants called polyphenols which can lower blood sugar.

An ounce of these healthy nuts delivers almost 2g of fiber plus 2.6 g of ALA, the omega-3 precursor. These are great for snacking and have the added benefit of lowering your blood sugar levels.

Tip: Top oatmeal with these and add shaved dark chocolate for indulgence.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shiitake Mushrooms - Why They're Good For You

Are you the type to turn your nose up on organic or weird-looking mushrooms like shiitake? If so, then you're missing a lot in terms of nutrients. Not only are shiitakes the tastiest of mushrooms, but they are actually loaded with nutrients that are really good for you.

Cultivated for more than 1,000 years, these meaty, tender Chinese mushrooms have long served as both food and medicine. They owe their reputation as immunity boosters to a type of carbohydrate called beta-glucans. Unlike other immunity nutrients, beta-glucans don't create or regulate cells within your immune system. Instead, they act as a kind of decoy, boosting your body's immune response. When you eat shiitakes, your immune system reacts as if a harmful substance is present and kicks into high gear to protect you. In a 2004 animal study of swine influenza virus, the group given beta-glucans before infection developed a much milder case of the flu than those untreated. While the swine flu virus study was not the same strain as the human H1N1 virus, the results show promise for beta-glucans' ability to prevent and treat the flu.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another Kind of Broccoli

There's a gentler, milder, but no less nutritious broccoli in town. If you are not fond of florets, broccoli rabe is the perfect green alternative to traditional cruciferous broccoli. A staple in the Italian kitchen, broccoli rabe is the perfect  counterpoint to starchy, sweet, and spicy foods like pasta and garlic, and it makes as much of an impact on your health as it does on your palate.

The big thing with broccoli rabe is its cancer-preventing potential. Like all members of the cabbage family, it's a rich source of glucosinolates, which your body converts to cancer-fighting sulforophanes and indoles. Studies show that these compounds are particularly effective against stomach, lung, and colon cancers, and promising research hints at protective effects against breast and prostate cancers as well. The deep green color also indicates a healthy dose of B vitamins, Vitamin C, iron, and calcium.

To buy and prepare broccoli rabe, they're best during colder months, especially during Fall. Smaller-leaved plants are younger and therefore milder and more tender than larger-leaved varieties. They are excellent steamed, blanched, and sauteed in garlic with a bit of soy sauce.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pump It Up With Papaya

When you want something tropic, go for something other than mango or coconuts. While the two are certainly popular, there are tastier tropical fruits around. One of them is papaya. Papaya, sometimes referred to as pawpaw, does more than stimulate the taste buds.

Ripe papayas contain nearly a three-day supply of vitamin C and a significant amount of vitamins E and A (the latter generally comes in the form of beta-carotene, which contributes to the oblong fruit's bright color). These powerful antioxidants are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, some cancers, and the chronic ailments related to aging. Papayas may also help improve skin, strengthen nails and hair, and, when applied topically, fade freckles.

Choose slightly soft papayas with reddish-orange skin. Yellowish fruit will take several days to ripen. To speed the process, place the papaya in a paper bag with a banana and leave it on the counter. Green papayas, while delicious in Asian-style salads, have not developed this fruit's characteristic juicy flavor. Ripe papayas will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. They are particularly good served during breakfast or mixed with milk in a smoothie.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bell Peppers: Why You Should Put Them On Everything

Bell peppers come in all sorts of colors from the usual reds and greens to yellows, oranges, and purples. Bell peppers are sweet, colorful, and crunchy, but these are not the only reasons to toss them into whatever salad or dish you are making. Bell peppers are among the most nutritious vegetables that you can get.

Red, yellow, and orange peppers get their color from plant pigments called carotenoids. These antioxidants are like sunscreen, protecting the ripening peppers from sun damage. Carotenoids also help improve immunity and fight heart disease and cancer. Orange peppers are also great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Red peppers also supply abundant amounts of beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, a nutrient crucial for night vision. Peppers are also rich in vitamin C. Just one small red, yellow, or orange pepper gives you up to three times your daily requirement of C. Vitamin C also protects against heart disease and stomach and colon cancers. It helps heal wounds. Peppers also provide vitamin B6, another immune-supporting nutrient that in addition helps your body use protein and fiber.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Go Nuts With Walnuts

Nuts have gotten bad rep over the years due to their high fat content. But something high in fat is not entirely evil, especially if it is high in good fat. Walnuts are a prime example of nuts that are high in good fat. These also aid in processing the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Without good fat, vitamins like vitamin A, E, and K will not be absorbed and used by the body.

Although walnuts boast heart-healthy oil like most nuts, they have an added edge. Most nut oil is monounsaturated, but walnuts primarily contain the polyunsaturated variety. In fact, they're the only nuts - and one of the few foods -- that offer significant amounts of a crucial type of polyunsaturated fat called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid. ALA protects the heart in several ways: It improves your ratio of good to LDL bad cholesterol, and it reduces inflammation, helping to block the conversion of cholesterol into harmful, artery-clogging plaque. ALA also plays a significant role in the development of the brain and cognitive function; low levels of ALA have been associated with depression and other mood disorders.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Trip On Dark Chocolate's Light Side

With many calls to reduce sugar consumption, you'd think that chocolate and health do not equate. But this is not true. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, lets pay tribute to dark chocolate's light and healthier side.

Dark chocolate contains a high concentration of a saturated fatty acid with a neutral effect on cholesterol, magnesium, copper, potassium, manganese, and most significant, flavonoids. The latter are phytochemical plant pigments that act as natural antioxidants, fighting free radicals that can damage body tissue and cells. Since dairy can interfere with the absorption of these antioxidants, only dark chocolate - not milk or white - offers benefits.

Flavonoids also hinder platelet aggregation and improve blood-vessel flexibility, helping to prevent hardening of the arteries. Minimally processed dark chocolate actually contains more flavonoids per gram than any other food including green tea, red wine, and blueberries. The good news doesn't stop there: The high percentage of cocoa in dark chocolate also gives it a low glycemic index. This means it produces only small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. To buy, look for dark chocolate that have high percentage of cocoa, glossy sheen, and crisp sound when snapped.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ginger: The Benefits Beyond Looks and Taste

A lot of people are turned off by how ginger looks. It's knobbly, oddly shaped, and often resembles bunions. But still, it's not about the looks. Without ginger, you can say goodbye to gingerbread, ginger ale, gingersnaps, and Chinese takeout. Ginger is what makes these dishes delicious with it's piquant flavor and enticing aroma. But there is more to ginger than it's odd shape and spicy taste.

Ginger is one of the top natural medicinal remedies around. As a tea, it is good for calming and settling an upset stomach. Candied, ginger is also a great remedy to prevent motion sickness, nausea, and dizziness. Joint pain and colds are also cured using fresh ginger extracts or ginger-flavored soups. It is also good for improving blood circulation. All these benefits are down to ginger's flavor agent, gingerols.

For something with a funny name, gingerols contain potent anti-inflammatory agents, can help prevent growth of colorectal cancer, and remedy many common health problems. Since it's also dirt cheap and available all year round in Chinese stores and your local supermarkets, you can easily supplement your diet with this wonder root.     

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eggs: The Unlikely Health Hero

When people think about healthy food, eggs don't usually make the list. After all, eggs are infamous for having high cholesterol and fat content. Not good. But as many are rediscovering, eggs do have a redeeming quality, and if consumed right, can be actually very healthy.

The fat eggs are actually good fat. The yolk contains all the fat, so it's easy to separate from the rest of the egg if you don't want extra fat. But aside from fat, egg yolk also have large amounts of vitamins B2 and B12 which are essential for healthy skin and red blood cell production. The yolk also contain vitamin K, a nutrient that helps maintain bone and liver health. Minerals like selenium and choline that fight free radicals - cancer-causing cells - can also be found in eggs. Eggs are also known to improve brain function. It also contains vitamin D, a vitamin that reduces risks of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and bone degeneration. As for the egg white, it is an excellent source of lean protein.

With all these nutrients, make space for an egg in your daily diet. In moderation, eggs can be good for you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Berry Very Good

There are some things that are just both too healthy and too tasty to pass up. One of these things are berries. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, but most of all, they are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. Eating them isn't a task at all, as they are sweet, juicy, tangy, and succulent enough to be dessert.

Berries - blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries - are the perfect blend of flavor and nutrition. The colors should clue you in - after all, experts agree that the darker and brighter a food's natural color is, the better it is for your health. And with the variety of berries and their respective colors, you are sure to get more than your fair share of antioxidants from them.

Each berry's color comes from a different type of flavonoids, so you should eat a variety. Blueberries are among the highest in overall antioxidant content. It can match spinach and kale, no problem. But raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries contain several flavonoids that are not in blueberries. All contain vitamins C and E that can boost their antioxidant ability. They're also high in fiber, an important component of a heart-healthy diet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You Say To-mah-to, I Say To-may-to!

Whichever way you say it, there's no changing the fact that tomatoes are one of the healthiest and tastiest produce around. Is it a vegetable or a fruit? Who cares? I don't. But I do know that tomatoes are good for you and me. Here's why you should eat tomatoes  - raw, in a sauce, roasted, or stewed - any chance you get: lycopene.

Lycopene is a phytochemical, a chemical inherent to plants, that is a powerful antioxidant. It can fight cancer and heart problems. It can reduce risks of colon, breast, cervix, and skin cancers. It can lower bad cholesterol levels. It is effective in fighting stress. It can renew cells and speed up regeneration for healthier cells and tissues. It can even prevent macular degeneration.

So now that you know the benefits, here's the thing about lycopene: The fresher-the-better rule does not apply to it. You get more lycopene from processed and canned tomatoes than from fresh ones. This is due to lycopene being locked within the cell walls of tomatoes. The heat of cooking and processing breaks down those walls and releases lycopene. So for more lycopene, pick up a can of tomatoes today.  

Monday, February 1, 2010

Foods that Can Fight the Flu

When you're sick, people seem to think that you need chicken soup all the time. While chicken soup is admittedly good - there's only so much of it that a person can eat. If you want variety and are sick of broth and noodles, stock up on these items. They are flavorful, great for meals or snacks, and able to fight the flu.
OystersOysters. Have them made into chowder for a tasty soup that can give you zinc to fight off infections. Aside from fighting infections, zinc in oysters also staggers ageing, thus, allowing your body to retain its vitality.

Sweet PotatoesSweet potatoes. If you crave fries when you're sick, slice and bake some sweet potatoes for a snack that's crunchy and loaded with infection-fighting and immunity-boosting beta carotene. The antioxidant in these sweet potatoes also offers a potent punch against cell damage caused by ageing and illness.

GarlicGarlic. Garlic is great for seasoning dishes. But more than just a spice, garlic is known to block enzymes that help viruses spread. Roast and cook it into soups and sauces or mince and flavor your stir fry with it to speed up your recovery.  

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What NOT to Do With Your Broccoli

Broccoli is believed to be the most nutritious greens around. Broccoli even trumps brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, and collards when it comes to packing in the good stuff. It has vitamin C, folate, vitamin B complex, iron, potassium - and everything our bodies supposedly need to grow up strong.

Of course, to get broccoli's benefits, I have to eat it. And I am very picky when it comes to how my broccoli is prepared. It's not about the taste, it's about preserving as much nutrients as I can. According to health experts - there are just some things you DON'T do with broccoli:

* Overcook it. Cook your broccoli however you like it just don't overdo it. Overcooking lets nutrients escape, leaving you with wilted, bitter, and nutrient-less broccoli.

* Serve it unwashed. Eating broccoli raw is good. But wash it first because there's no way of knowing whether it has been contaminated during prep or while in transit.

* Nuke it. Microwaving your broccoli is the fastest way to cook it based on my experience. But as I learned, it's also the fastest way to leak the nutrients out.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Quinoa, The Wonder Grain

Quinoa has enjoyed an increase in its popularity in recent years. A native of South America, quinoa has long been the staple food for many local tribes. While it is not a true grain - it's a plant belonging to the same family as spinach and chard - it is widely used as one. As of now, it is also the grain of choice of many health nuts and wellness buffs.

Quinoa grains are loaded with nutrients like magnesium, vitamins B2 and B6, iron, and zinc. This makes quinoa ideal for people who suffer from migraines, anemia, and weakened immune systems. It is also rich in protein, which makes it a great alternative protein source for vegetarians.

Quinoa can be used for breakfast as a cereal by cooking it as you would with oatmeal. You can toss quinoa into a salad, shape them into burgers with beans, add them to soups, or use them as foil for more substantial courses like meat, poultry, or fish. Quinoa also offers you a healthier alternative to desserts. You can prepare quinoa as a rice pudding for a nuttier and healthier version of the dish.

For medical consultation service and medical plan provider, visit our Online Doctor Consultation at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Toss 5 Ways to Fight Cancer in Your Salad

Are you making the most of your salads? Toss these five cancer-fighting and tasty ingredients together for a salad that is healthy, flavorful, and fun:

1. Dark greens. Darker is better when it comes to choosing your greens. Romaine lettuce, arugula, and spinach are rich in folate, a vitamin B compound that is great for fighting abnormal DNA changes that triggers cancer cells.

2. Carrots. Whether you eat it shredded or in sticks, make like Bugs Bunny and toss in some carrots in your salad. This Vitamin A and beta carotene-rich vegetable can help reduce your risk of developing ovarian and kidney cancer.

3. Tomatoes. Lycopene in tomatoes helps fight free radicals that cause abnormal changes in your cells. Slice a few and toss them in for extra insurance against prostate and colorectal cancers.

4. Beans. Not only are they tasty and creamy, but beans are also great at producing enzymes that slow down tumor growth.

5. Avocados. Avocados are high in fat, but it's good fat - a necessary component that helps your body absorb other nutrients like vitamins A and E. So instead of cheese or mayo, toss in a few avocado slices.

Written By: Kristine Gonzaga