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The Health Benefits of Nectarines

Did you know that nectarines were named after the Greek god Nekter? These delicious little fruits have been adored for years because of their sweet and juicy flavor.  You can eat them by themselves or include them in salads or fruit salsa. When purchasing nectarines, be sure to look for ones that are moderately firm and brightly colored. The fruit is ready to eat when the flesh is soft to touch and smells fruity. Here are some of the health benefits of eating nectarines.

  • Nectarines are a good source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts to vitamin A.
  • One medium-sized nectarine has 65 calories.
  • The flesh of a nectarine is rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids, that help protect our bodies from cancer and other diseases.
  • Nectarines are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps control blood cholesterol levels.
  • The skin of a nectarine is full of fiber, which helps to promote a health digestive system.
  • Looking to include more potassium into your diet? Nectarines are full of this energizing nutrient

References: Reader’s Digest, Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal. 2004. Metro Books, New York, NY.

Authentic Food of the Day: Papaya

Deliciously sweet with a butter-like consistency, papaya is a favorite fruit for many. The vibrant color of the fruit flesh reflects the abundance of beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxathin, two carotenoids that are converted into vitamin A for powerful antioxidant protection. Papayas are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and zinc. If you are looking to include more fiber in your diet, papaya is a good source, helping to promote healthy digestion. In addition to the fiber content, papayas contain papain, an enzyme that digests proteins. This makes papaya a helpful fruit for anybody who suffers from poor digestion. Papayas have been shown to be very helpful in promoting healthy lungs, a strong immune system, and a healthy heart. It’s also a good food for promoting inflammatory balance in the body as it comtains chymopapain.

DID YOU KNOW:

– Papaya trees are actually herbs that grow 10 to 12 feet high!

– Don’t throw away the seeds in papayas. They have a peppery taste and can be used in place of black pepper. Try adding it to salad dressings!

Authentic Food of the Day: Nectarines!

Did you know that nectarines were named after the Greek god Nekter? These delicious little fruits have been adored for years because of their sweet and juicy flavor.  You can eat them by themselves or include them in salads or fruit salsa. When purchasing nectarines, be sure to look for ones that are moderately firm and brightly colored. The fruit is ready to eat when the flesh is soft to touch and smells fruity. Nectarines are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps control blood cholesterol levels. The flesh of a nectarine is rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids, that help protect our bodies from cancer and other diseases. Nectarines are a good source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts to vitamin A. The skin of a nectarine is full of fiber, which helps to promote a health digestive system.

DID YOU KNOW:

– Looking to include more potassium into your diet? Nectarines are full of this energizing nutrient.

– One medium-sized nectarine has 65 calories.

The Health Benefits of Crimini Mushrooms

I think that mushrooms are fun to eat! Their spongy texture goes “poof” in my  mouth and their woody, earthy taste makes my taste buds incredibly happy. There are so many different types of mushrooms and they all have amazing health benefits. Crimini mushrooms are very popular and a can be used in a variety of recipes. These mushrooms look similar to White Button mushrooms but they have a darker color and a deeper “mushroomy” flavor. They are great for sautéing but especially wonderful for making stuffed mushrooms. You should be able to find them at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Here are some health benefits and interesting facts about crimini mushrooms.

  • The Egyptians believed that mushrooms granted them immortality, and since the pharaohs were felt to be worthy of this gift, the common people were not allowed to even touch mushrooms.
  • The Romans described mushrooms as “foods of the gods” and believed that they were created by the lightning rods thrown down to earth by the god Jupiter.
  • There really is no peak season for crimini mushrooms as they are available all year.
  • Preliminary research shows that crimini mushrooms may be an important food in a diet that is geared towards protecting against cancer. Extracts of crimini mushrooms have been found to protect DNA from oxidative damage.
  • These mushrooms may prevent the circulating levels of estrogen in the body from becoming excessive by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme. Excess estrogen can spark the development of breast cancer in some women.
  • Crimini mushrooms are loaded with riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, and vitamin B6. These B vitamins are necessary for carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism.
  • There are numerous nutrients in crimini mushrooms including zinc, copper and manganese, fiber, magnesium and potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus, protein, and tryptophan.
  • There are only 31 calories in 5 ounces of raw crimini mushrooms.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

The Health Benefits of Collard Greens

This cabbage-family vegetable is a staple of Southern cooking. It has a flavor that is a cross between cabbage and kale. Collard greens are native to the Mediterranean and were popular with both the ancient Greeks and Romans. This is the ultimate “leafy green vegetable” that is usually sold as a loose bunch of leaves, though you can get it frozen as well. Here are some of the health benefits of collard greens.

  • One cup of collard greens provides almost the same amount of calcium as 8 ounces of milk. It also contains a whopping 5 grams of fiber!
  • Collard greens are great sources of magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
  • These vegetables contain significant sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that are outstanding for eye health.
  • Collard greens have sulfur-containing phytonutrients have been shown to prevent cancer.
  • If you are concerned with building or maintaining strong, healthy bones, be sure to eat lots of collard greens. They are a dairy-free alternative for those seeking foods rich in calcium. They are also a great source of folic acid and vitamin B6.
  • The stems of collard greens contain more fiber than the leaves.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.