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Healthy Eating Tips

Archive for the ‘Fruits’ Category

Composition of Salads


One of the advantages of salads is that the ingredients from which they can be made are large in number. In fact, almost any cooked or raw fruit or vegetable, or any meat, fowl, or fish, whether cooked expressly for this purpose or left over from a previous meal, may be utilized in the making of salads. The composition, as well as the total food value, of salads depends entirely on the ingredients of which they are composed. An understanding of the composition of the ingredients used in salads will enable us to judge fairly accurately whether the salad is low, medium, or high in food value, and whether it is high in protein, fat, or carbohydrate. This matter is important, and should receive consideration from all who prepare this class of food.

An Apple a day…

Granny Smith Apples

Apple growing season is just about over and it’s time to start picking and cooking with them. Maggie Wolf has posted some tips over at the Salt lake Tribune:

Even without knowing the variety, you can still pick perfectly mature apples by observing several clues. Color change is easy to see in most apple varieties. Green skin changes to yellow as apples mature. Red-skinned varieties may be red all season, so cut open a sample apple and observe the flesh; its color mellows from greenish to yellowish white.

This simple salad recipe from the September issue of Cooking Light magazine takes advantage of the seasonal local apples that are appearing at your grocer and farmers markets.

The New York Apple Association is projecting 29.5 million bushels of apples for this fall’s harvest. One bushel equals about 42 pounds of apples. This marks the fifth year in a row that growers have seen a banner crop. New York apple growers produced 29.7 million bushels of apples in 2006, according to the association.
Relevant pics from Flickr

Related News
Every Dish Comes up Apples – Press-Enterprise (subscription)
Fruity duty – Times Online
Science: Apple source – Telegraph.co.uk
RESOURCES: Apple as medicine – Chicago Tribune


Blueberries

240px-blueberries.jpgGrowing up, I wasn’t a big fan of blueberries. I would have store bought blueberry muffins, but that was about it.

Today, I absolutely LOVE blueberries. They are sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, but always delicious. And just recently, I found out they are very good for you, especially for diabetics. Here is more information that I found at Wikipedia about blueberries:

Blueberries, especially wild species, contain antioxidants which have been found to reduce the risks of some cancers. Researchers in Prince Edward Island have shown that the tannins in blueberries are very active at lowering a protein involved in metastasis of cancer, at least in isolated cells (Matchett and others, 2005). At the 2004 International Conference on Longevity, a group of researchers released details of a study that suggests certain compounds found in blueberries (and some similar fruits, including cranberries) have a significant impact in reducing the degradation of brain function, as in Alzheimer’s Disease and other conditions. Feeding blueberries to animals lowers stroke damage (Sweeney). Research at Rutgers has also shown that blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections. Additional studies also found that blueberries were better at lowering cholesterol and lipid levels in the blood, which help alleviate and even reverse signs and symptoms of heart disease.

140 grams of fresh blueberries contain 3 g of fiber. Additionally blueberries are high in manganese (Mn) as well as vitamin k and have a very low glycemic load (3) in a single 155g serving, making it an ideal food for diabetics.

I have a couple of recipes that I use with blueberries: Blueberry Muffins and Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake. The latter is my husband’s favorite recipe, so I will share it.

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I always use unbleached; it’s better for you)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (you can use margarine, but I prefer butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup milk

TOPPING:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder and salt on waxed paper. Cream softened butter and sugar in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.

Place blueberries in a bowl; dust with small amount of flour mixture. Toss to coat. Add remaining flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, mixing continually.

Gently fold blueberries into batter. For topping, mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Spread batter into a greased and floured 8 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake for 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cut into squares. Serves 9.

Of course, eating blueberries by themselves is just as tasty :)

Cranberries – Not Just for Turkey

I never thought I would like cranberries; I thought of them only in the context of the traditional Thanksgiving garnish. But several years ago I had problems with cystitis, a very annoying infection that makes you feel like to have to pee every five minutes. I was told that drinking cranberry juice would help. Guess what: it’s true. In about a week, the infection cleared up.

800px-cranberry_bog.jpgThere are three or four different species of cranberries, based on their geographical location. They grow on low lying shrubs, and the berries start out white, and turn red as they ripen. They are naturally tart, so when used in juices, they are sweetened with other juices to make a cranberry juice cocktail.

According to Wikipedia, there are many health benefits associated with cranberries:

Cranberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, chemicals which are known to provide certain health benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system.

There is some use of cranberry juice by people with spinal paralysis; regular consumption of the juice is supposed to reduce the rate of urinary tract infections. While much of the evidence is equivocal, a number of double-blind clinical trials have been carried out that suggest there actually is an effect: a component of the juice appears to competitively inhibit bacterial attachment to the bladder and urethra allowing the bacteria to be flushed out more easily. Cranberries also act as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial lactobacillus bacteria while inhibiting the growth of harmful E. coli and listeria.

An autumn 2004 caution from the Committee on Safety of Medicines, the UK agency dealing with drug safety, advised patients taking warfarin not to drink cranberry juice after adverse effects were reported.

Cranberries also contain significant concentrations of benzoic acid, which in combination with Vitamin C forms small amounts of the group 1 carcinogen benzene.

Cranberry juice contains a chemical component, a high molecular weight non-dializable material (NDM), that is able to inhibit and even reverse the formation of plaque by Streptococcus mutan pathogens that cause tooth decay.

Cranberry juice also, supposedly prevents the formation of kidney stones.

Cranberries exhibit a level of tannins, in addition to antioxidants. Tannins have anti-clotting properties, and the amount of dental plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth, thus being a prophylaxis for gingivitis.

Today, cranberries can be found in trail mix, muffins, breads, etc. I have found that dried cranberries are very tasty, and I really enjoy them in trail mix. If you haven’t tried cranberry juice or cranberries period, take the time to try them. You will be surprised.