Showing posts with label nutrition facts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nutrition facts. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2012

An Apple A Day

August is the time to get apples from the farmsor in my case, my yard.  I was lucky to buy a home with fully mature apple trees on the property.  In fact, I have several different varieties available and ready for the picking.  I’m not even certain of all the types of apples I am growing, but I can tell you that here in Seattle, “It is a great year for apples."   
nutritional benefits apples
Healthy and sweet there are many types of apples!
I have lived in this house for 4 years, and this year's harvest is the biggest yet. That could mean lower prices for apples at the store.  But if low prices don't make your mouth water for this tasty fruit, then knowing the nutritional benefits will.  So take advantage of our bountiful harvest and, hopefully, great prices.

A Tempting Fruit

First things first… how many calories are in an apple?  A medium apple has about 95 calories and counts as one cup of fruit.

What about the health benefits of apples… Is it true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Here are a few of the nutrition facts:
  • Vitamin C – one of the benefits of apples is immune boosting Vitamin C.  Apples provide about 14% of the daily recommended value.  
  • Pectin – a fiber that helps lower blood pressure and sugar levels.
  • Boron -- a nutrient that supports strong bones and a healthy brain.
  • Quercetin--  a powerful antioxidant with anti-histamine effects. This may be a great way  to curb allergy symptoms. Or at least keep those sneezes to a minimum. I don’t think it is an accident that apples come into season at the same time as allergies. 
  • Phytonutrients plant chemicals that help prevent disease. Apples are full of them. They include vitamins A,  E, and beta carotene. They may have an effect on overall health and may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
Just think… all these benefits in one little fruit.  The fiber content, health benefits and how satisfying an apple is make it a great snack.  I’d say these 95 calories are well worth it. Whether you're trying to lose weight or just stay fit, apples are truly a great choice. 

As fresh fruits go, those are some impressive apple nutrition facts!  I think it's safe to say that  an apple a day might just keep the doctor away.

Oh the Variety

It turns out there are about 7,500 varieties of apples. That's a lot of choice! You're bound to find at least one that will satisfy your tastes. Here is a list of just a few of the top favorites, just in case there is one you haven’t tried yet. These varieties are grown here in Washington state. Since we are known for our apples, I thought this would be a good place to start: 
  • Jonathan - sweet and juicy with a tang
  • Gala - sweet and crunchy
  • Fuji - mildly sweet, juicy and crisp
  • Braeburn - firm texture, sweet with a hint of tart
  • Granny Smith - firm and smooth with a tart flavor
  • Red and Golden Delicious - firm and crisp can be very sweet or mildly sweet, depending on the climate where they are grown
  • Honey Crisp - very crispy and juicy, flavor ranges from mildly sweet to very sweet
  • Cameo - a crisp crunch with a deep juicy flavor
  • Cripps Pink - firm and crisp, they have a tangy-tart sweet flavor
apple pie apple crisp
Easy does it with this easy apple dessert.
One of the things I love best about apples is the many tasty apple dessert recipes. From apple pie to apple crisp or plain sliced apples with caramel dip, they're all delicious. But let’s not forget apple cider, a real favorite up here in the Northwest! 

Juicing apples is a great way to get the most from all the nutrients available in this family favorite. Since finding easy apple dessert recipes is well, easy, I thought I would include a juice recipe that my husband and grandson really love! So pull out that juicer you bought but never use, because this is one you'll want to make for yourself!
Yummier Than it Sounds Apple Juice Favorite
5 small to medium apples
3 stalks of celery
2-3 handfuls of spinach
1 small beet
½-1 cup purified water

Drink slowly and truly ENJOY! Have a fabulously clear headed and healthy day! 

Gwendolyn
Contributing Writer

Friday, August 10, 2012

Respect Your Elder-berries

I have to be honest.   Elderberries, or Sambucus, are not one of the first berries that come to mind when I think “berries.”  But all of that is about to change.  It turns out the health benefits of elderberries are too awesome to be ignored.  According to those in the know at herbwisdom.com, the elderberry:
  • Is a powerful antioxidant
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves vision
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves heart health
This little berry can be taken and is effective for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections, and tonsillitis.  According to a study done in Norway and published at Pubmed.gov, a random study was done on influenza patients with the following results, "Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza."

elderberry health benefits
Elderberries - a hidden health fruit!
There are also herbalists that believe the chemicals in the black elderberry have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiviral properties.  This is also reflected in the University of Maryland Medical Center article on elderberries.  The benefits of elderberry juice were even used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.  Who could argue with health information like that?

Elderberry health benefits can be found in drug stores and grocery stores and even the wine store in items like:
  • Elderberry cough syrup
  • Elderberry extract
  • Elderberry juice
  • Elderberry syrup
  • Elderberry tea
  • Elderberry wine
  • Elderberry jelly
The elderberries nutritional information is impressive.  Sambucus elderberry contains vitamins A, B, C and amino-acids.  Other elderberry benefits include carotenoids and flavonoids which have a huge impact on the immune system.  As a food there is a load of nutrition packed in these tiny little berries.  Like many berries with a deep rich color, such as these, some consider them a “Superfood.”

Although elderberries are a great source for vitamins, if you are taking medication of any kind, be sure to check with your pharmacist especially if you are looking for a flu or cold remedy.  It should not replace your medication without the supervision of your doctor and NEVER mix herbs with your medications or with other
elderberry syrup
Health benefits by the  bunch!

In the Natural

Elderberry plants are not actually plants, but more like a tree.  My sister grows one in her backyard, but they can also be found in the wild.  They typically grow where there is water nearby.

There are some cautions that come with this powerful little berry.  Black elderberry extract is considered safe when used for up to five days, but it’s not known what the effects are of taking elderberry juice extract for long periods of time.

The cooked elderberry fruit is safe for consumption.  But the raw and unripe fruit could cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea.  Only fully ripe or cooked berries are safe so don't pick it off the tree and eat it!     You should never eat the stems, unripe berries, or any other part of the elderberry plant.  But don’t let fear stop you from enjoying the elderberry syrup benefits or the elderberry juice benefits; it could be just what your body needs.

Gwendolyn Adams
First Level Raw Nutrition Certification
Advanced Practitioner of Health through Nutrition, Exercise, and Education
Yoga, Cycling, Group Exercise and Personal Trainer Certified

Friday, August 3, 2012

“Peach-y” Keen Nutrition

Indulge me for just a moment, and give yourself a treat.  Now… picture yourself walking on a beautiful hillside.  You see a peach tree… and approach it curiously.  Reaching up you pick a beautifully ripe peach.  Now smell it, and savor that fabulous aroma.  Slowly you take a big bite of this incredibly juicy fruit.  Enjoy the sweet flavor that only a ripe peach can have.  What a treat for all the senses.  This fruit is luscious to look at, touch, smell, and taste.  What more can you ask for from a food?  Well, in this case, we can also ask for great health benefits because peach's nutrition is amazing!  The plain peach fact is that the nutritional value of peaches can improve your health!
nutritional value of peaches
Sweet, juicy peaches - a yummy summer treat!
Should we say "A Peach A Day?"

Peaches, actually, originated in China where eating for health is not only a priority, it is a mindset.  A “mindset” we would be wise to adopt.  This delectable fruit was believed to increase longevity, and for good reason.   Here are some of the nutritional information of peaches:
  1. Potassium:  Peaches provide a high source of this mineral. A deficiency in potassium can cause fatigue, anxiety, muscle weakness, skin problems, poor memory, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure or heart deterioration, and vibration in your ears.
  2. Beta-carotene:  The body changes beta-carotene to Vitamin A. It is essential for supporting your vision, skin, healthy bone growth and your immune system. As an antioxidant vitamin A helps skin to repair, stay moist, and produce the enzymes that stabilize the production of collagen. If you’re after strong, silky locks, you’ll want to remember that vitamin A is also good for your hair. 
  3. Lycopene and lutein:  Also part of the carotene family, these elements give color to the peach. They help prevent macular degeneration, cancer, and heart disease.
  4. Fiber:  Fiber does a body good and you can find two types in peaches have two types:  insoluble fiber, which doesn't dissolve in water and soluble fiber, which does. Insoluble fiber is good for you because it collects water and increases the bulk of the stool.  Helping you push more of the waste out. This means your body can absorb more nutrients.  Soluble fiber is equally important.  It takes longer to break down which helps control blood sugar and it binds with fatty acids to help control cholesterol.  
  5. Vitamin C:  This antioxidant helps fight cancer by improving the immune system and preventing cellular change.
  6. Iron:  When you eat a peach, you get almost as much usable iron as spinach. Eat up ladies!
I used to live in Georgia where growing peach trees is an art form.  There are many peach tree varieties around the world.  The sweeter varieties of peaches include the Donut, Elberta, Frost, Hale-Haven, Harken, Honey Babe, O'Henry, Polly White, and White Lady.  Needless to say, making recipes with all of these varieties of peaches in them was also an art form in Georgia.  There are no shortage of fresh peach recipes from peach desserts to muffins, drinks, and even main entrees to be found on the internet and cookbooks.  Since I appreciate, and revere, the philosophy the Chinese hold in regard to food, I have yet another nutrient packed green smoothie recipe with peaches to help you build a strong body, mind, and spirit.

“Peachy” Green Smoothie
  • 2 peaches, sliced and pitted
  • 1 banana
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (honey flavored)
  • 1 tbsp. agave sweetener or honey
  • 1 cup water
Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!


Gwendolyn Adams
First Level Raw Nutrition Certification
Advanced Practitioner of Health through Nutrition, Exercise and Education
Yoga, Cycling, Group Exercise and Personal Trainer Certified

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Watermelon Recipe Contest Winner Is!

Thank you to everyone who posted a recipe and for those of you who voted!

We now have a winner for the Watermelon Recipe Contest - Gwendolyn's "Watermelon Green Smoothie"!  The Watermelon Summer Cocktail was a close second, but the healthy green smoothie won 51% of the votes!  Congratulations Gwendolyn!

healthy recipe Familywize
Winning healthy green smoothie made with watermelon.
Here is the winning watermelon recipe:

Watermelon Green Smoothie:

Fill blender 3/4 full with seedless Watermelon (you can include the seeds if you have a powerful blender like a Vita-mix).
Fill the blender the rest of the way with greens (spinach, romaine, or green leaf work great!).
Add a 1/4 slice of Avocado,(this gives the smoothie a nice texture and adds nutrients at the same time:)

Blend till liquefied, and ENJOY! A life giving, energy enhancing, fabulous tasting Green Smoothie.

If you have not checked out the green smoothie recipe or our other watermelon recipes, be sure to read our "Fruit-tastic Watermelon News for Your Summer Health" blog.  There are nine delicious recipes for children and adults!  This sweet, cool tasty fruit is an easy way to incorporate the nutritional properties of watermelon into every-day meals or drinks!

A little about our winning smoothie recipe.  Green smoothies are a growing trend!  You can find them in most grocery and health food stores today!  But... I am here to tell you - you can easily make your own and save money if you have a blender.  There are many healthy green smoothie recipes online, but why not start with our contest winning "Watermelon Green Smoothie" - just scroll down to the comments to see this recipe. With this healthy recipe you can combine the watermelon's nutritional benefits and the health benefits of green smoothies to make a refreshing drink any time of the day!

Be sure to come back for more fun ways to improve your health!  Our goal at FamilyWize.org is to provide you with information you need about health, health care, medicine, money savings, and overall how to live a healthy, happy life!  

Here's to a healthy green smoothie drink that will cool you off this summer - courtesy of Gwendolyn and FamilyWize!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nutrition in a Nut-Shell

"Nuts" - it is a loaded word.  It could be referring to a state of mind or a behavior or action, but today I am going to look at nuts in its simplest form - a bountiful food full of nutrition and health benefits.  

It is no coincidence that nuts are either a morning or afternoon snack for me. In fact, as I am writing, I just grabbed a handful out of the jar that sits on my desk.  These are raw almonds, but I enjoy just about every flavor of nut from walnuts to the sweet pecan to cashews, macadamia, peanuts, and more.  Why?  Because the nutritional value in tree nuts and peanuts is tremendous.  They are a perfect, bite-sized power snack.  You may call me a raw health "nut", but I'm okay with that.

health nut nutritional facts
One handful a day is all you need!
Did you know that nuts are considered a fruit or drupe?  And in the case of the peanut - a legume?  Whatever you call them - they are full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and unsaturated fats. 

Nuts sometimes get a bad wrap due to the high caloric content of this small delicacy, but in fact they are one of the healthiest foods you can eat.  From heart health to Type 2 diabetes to obesity and cancer prevention, the nutritional value of nuts is great.  We may not be able to control health care, diseases, water, and the environment, but we can take the information on nutrition found in nuts and take small steps to learning how these tasty essential nutrients may have a profound impact on our health.

Just a few nutty studies include:
  • Human Research Center on Aging study as posted on the United States Department of Agriculture website, concluded that antioxidants found in nuts due to their high polyphenol benefits have positive effects against chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes.  
  • The Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition also touts the antioxidant and phytonutrient benefits of resveratrol, phytosertols and beta-sitosterol found in peanuts and tree nuts.
  • In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a statement that 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts may reduce the risk of heart disease.  
  • The University of Nebraska published an article "NUTS for Nutrition" which references studies by the International Journal of Obesity for weight control, and a Harvard School of Public Health study for helping with Type 2 diabetes.  
The nutritional facts about walnuts, almonds, peanuts and the many other tree nuts include a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids for fighting inflammation, iron and zinc which delivers oxygen to your cells and can prevent anemia, heart healthy monounsaturated fat (macadamias have the highest MUFA), which help with cholesterol and heart health, while selenium and the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol have certain cancer fighting properties (Journal of Medicinal Food and University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center).  

Wondering what are the tree nuts?  The FDA list of tree nuts includes:
Almond, beech nut, Brazil nut, butternut, cashew, chestnut, Chinquapin, coconut, gingkgo nut, hazelnut (filbert), hickory nut, macadamia nut, pecan, Pili nut, pine nut, pistachio, shea nut, and the oh so beneficial walnut.

Incorporating nuts into your diet as a snack may give your body some of the advanced essential nutrients you might otherwise be missing.  Try it - you might just like it!

No matter how you crack it - tell us which nut is your favorite and how you like to eat it.

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Friday, June 22, 2012

'Much A Do'-Nut About Nothing

Ahhh - TGIF! As I pondered the topic of today's blog - I switched gears.  I decided it would not be serious, because sometimes life just needs to be NOT serious!  Plus, we gave you much to think about yesterday with "The Dreaded Medicare Donut Hole."  The Medicare Donut Hole is one donut hole that cannot always be avoided, but over the next couple of weeks, but we hope to point you toward some resources that might help with Medicare Part D.

Now - on to more pleasant topics - the actual donut.
Medicare part D health articles
The donut dilemma: Medicare donut hole or actual donut hole can cost you.

Although I am typically not a partaker of donuts, the fact that I will be traveling across the wonderful state of Pennsylvania this weekend got me thinking to my destination and what awaits on the other end.  There is a small place - what some would consider "a hole in the wall" back in a small town in Western Pennsylvania that offers up the most delicious doughnut that I have ever tasted.  The homemade kind that is soft and light and airy.  My favorite is the cinnamon coffee roll that is bigger than my hand with a maple glazed icing that is to die for.  These creations of Clark's Donuts are definitely 'Much a Donut about Something.'

 But, I digress.  Typically a health conscious woman except for the occasional Clark's donut, I decided to see what the Web and research had to say about donut nutrition facts and health.  Of course there were health articles and blogs and more of those touting the goodness of donuts, while others like Carla Wolper, a nutritionist at the New York Obesity Research Center who had this to say about the donut, "When it comes to health, the only thing good about them is the hole."

Donut nutrition facts
Krispy Kreme glazed donut = 237 calories.
I also discovered that the USDA 2005 dietary recommendations gave a thumbs up on "discretionary calories".  So what does that mean for you?  If you eat a 2,000 calorie a day diet, then you can have 237 discretionary calories, which is almost the calories in a Krispy Kreme glazed donut (according to the CalorieLab website).  Although portion control is recommended on any diet by doctors and dietitians, I would venture to guess that an occasional donut will not harm you.  A donut a day however is not what the doctor ordered. 

Which led me to a search on donuts and medicine.  This merely resulted in a listing of donut stores in several towns called Medicine (Medicine Park, OK and Medicine Lodge, KS).

Try, try again.  What I did discover was research from the Journal of Humanpsycopharmacology suggesting that "the synergistic effects of caffeine and glucose can benefit sustained attention and verbal memory." (Copyright 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.) A good thing right?  Good food equals good thoughts?  Not sure that this is what it meant, but if you want to read more go to the Wiley Online Library where the study is printed.

Of course, you can counter that with a study published by the Public Health Nutrition Journal and the US National Library of Medicine, regarding a study by the University of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria and the University of Navarra, that assessed the relationship between fast foods and processed pastries to a 37% risk increase for depression.  

So before you have your Saturday morning run to the local bakery for donuts and coffee, consider this blog.

Today was just some "food for thought."  (I couldn't resist.)  But you must make your own determination of whether or not when it comes to the illustrious donut, if there is 'Much a Do'nut about Nothing.

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager