More Than a Garnish: 7 Health Benefits of Parsley

Power to your plate: parsley is a pain reliever, blood pressure regulator and cancer defender. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Power to your plate: parsley is a pain reliever, blood pressure regulator and cancer defender. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Parsley adds much more than a splash of color to your plate. It also has big health benefits! Here at seven of them (via Care2.com):

  1. It’s rich in vitamins. Parsley is a good source of vitamins C, B-12, K and A, maintaining a strong immune system, increasing you bone strength and healing your nervous system.
  2. It protects your kidneys. Parsley helps flush out excess fluid from your body to support kidney function.
  3. It maintains healthy blood pressure. The folic acid in parsley is like a healthy elixir for your heart, and can help to control blood pressure when eaten regularly.
  4. It may reduce hair loss. Parsley’s essential oils, when massaged into the scalp, may reduce hair loss. No, we’re not suggesting you practice this right at the dinner table. But it speaks to the versatility of the herb. You can find parsley essential oil at health stores.
  5. It relieves joint pain. Parsley has many anti-inflammatory properties, which provide relief from joint pain when eaten daily.
  6. It relaxes muscles and aids digestion. Parsley’s anti-inflammatory nature also makes it an effective tool for relaxing stuff muscles and promoting digestion. To get the benefits, try drinking parsley tea.
  7. It may inhibit cancerous tumors. Scientists have found that parsley may help prevent the formation of cancerous tumors, so much so that they have labeled it a “chemoprotective” food.
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10 Red and Pink Superfoods for Valentine’s Day

The pectin in apples provides filling fiber. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Doctor’s orders: Apples are rich in pectin, a fiber that lowers cholesterol and helps keep you feeling full. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Show yourself some love this Valentine’s Day with these super healthy (and delicious!) red and pink foods (via The Huffington Post):

  1. Apples. They really do help keep the doctor away. The pectin in apples provides 4 grams of filling and cholesterol-lowering fiber per serving.
  2. Beets. Rich in vitamin C and folate, beets are also packed with antioxidants and fight inflammation.
  3. Red berries. These low-calorie, fiber-rich foods are an excellent source of vitamin C, and may help protect memory. Try making dark chocolate covered strawberries for the perfect Valentine’s Day treat–the cocoa is full of antioxidants!
  4. Cherries. The antioxidants in this sweet fruit are known to protect heart health and aid in post-workout muscle recovery. (For 7 reasons to eat more cherries, read our post here.)
  5. Cranberries. Loaded with vitamin C, cranberries can help your body to fight off infections more quickly and effectively.Continue Reading …
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6 Pain-Relieving Foods

The anthocyanins in cherries are powerful inflammation-killing antioxidants. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Cherries are chock-full of anthocyanins, antioxidants that can significantly reduce inflammation and ease pain. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Recent studies have shown that certain foods contain as much pain-fighting power as common pain medications like ibuprofen. Here are 6 of them to try (via AARP The Magazine):

  1. For back pain: red grapes. The resveratrol found in red grapes is a compound that blocks the enzymes that contribute to tissue degeneration, and preliminary research suggests it can also protect against the type of cartilage damage that causes back pain. To get your fill, snack on red grapes, or have a glass of wine. You can also get resveratrol in other fruits like blueberries and cranberries.
  2. For knee pain: ginger. In a six-week University of Miami study, patients with chronic knee pain reported less soreness upon standing after taking a ginger extract. Ginger relieves pain by blocking a key enzyme in the inflammatory process. To get the benefits, consume two to three teaspoons per day by adding it to a soup or stir fry, or drinking ginger-infused tea or fresh ginger ale made with real pieces of the root.
  3. For osteoarthiritis pain: soy. Soy’s pain-relieving secret lies in its isoflavones, plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties. Research has found that adding 40 grams of soy protein to your daily diet can reduce osteoarthritis pain by 30 percent or more within two to three weeks. Tofu, soy milk and edamame are all good sources of soy protein.Continue Reading …
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5 Tips for a Healthier, Happier Valentine’s Day

Show your sweetie you care about their heart and their health this Valentine's Day. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Show your sweetie you care about their heart and their health this Valentine’s Day. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all chocolates and candy. Follow these five tips to love yourself and your sweetheart even better (via Care2.com):

  1. Enjoy a healthy activity together. Start your day with something fun and active. Head out for sledding or ice skating, try out your roller skating skills at the indoor skate rink, or take your dog to the off-leash dog park together. Doing something physical also increases your energy level, priming you to enjoy the rest of the day even more.
  2. Enjoy a healthy meal together. Cook a favorite meal together at home, or head to your favorite restaurant for a night out. Choose a satisfying, but comparatively light dish to avoid loosened belt buckles and bloating (not romantic!). Another great option is an indoor French picnic, with light hors d’oeuvres, cheeses and fruits, all bite-sized so you can feed each other. For more culinary inspiration, check out our post on 10 red and pink superfoods here.Continue Reading …
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5 Foods for a Healthier Heart

The folate and iron in spinach help your body to fight off disease, and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The folate and iron in spinach help your body to fight off disease, and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Show your heart some love by making these five heart-healthy foods part of your regular diet (via WebMD):

  1. Blueberries. The anthocyanins that give blueberries their dark blue color are also powerful antioxidants that give blueberries extraordinary disease-fighting power. Blueberries are also packed with filling fiber and vitamin C. Try them over cereal, in whole-wheat pancakes or waffles, or all by themselves as a tasty snack.
  2. Salmon. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are essential for a healthy heart. Bonus: Its high protein content aids in muscle building and recovery.
  3. Soy protein. This protein contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals — all the building blocks for a heart-healthy meal. A diet rich in soy protein can also lower triglycerides, which in turn will lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  4. Oatmeal. This breakfast favorite is a great source of whole-grains, vitamins and minerals. It’s also rich in fiber, which can help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. For nine health benefits of oatmeal, see our recent post.
  5. Spinach. Popeye knew what he was doing. Considered royalty in the vegetable kingdom, the multiple phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals (especially folate and iron) in spinach help your body to fight off disease, protect against heart disease, and preserve your eyesight.
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9 Reasons to Eat More Oatmeal

Try adding warm cinnamon apples and a splash of milk to your oatmeal for a tasty, filling and nutritious breakfast. (Image courtesy of FreeDigital Photos.net)

Try adding warm cinnamon apples and a splash of milk to your oatmeal for a tasty, filling and nutritious breakfast. (Image courtesy of FreeDigital Photos.net)

As National Oatmeal Month draws to a close, we share 9 great health benefits of this breakfast staple (via Care2 Healthy Living):

  1. Oatmeal stops cravings. Oatmeal and other complex carbs digest more slowly than simple carbs, keeping you feeling full longer, and for a fraction of the calories of other foods.
  2. It’s a high-protein food. Oatmeal contains one of the highest protein levels of any grain, aiding muscle building and recovery.
  3. It stabilizes your blood sugar and reduces diabetes risk. Oatmeal’s fiber and complex carbohydrates slow down its conversion from whole food to simple sugars, helping maintain steady blood sugar levels. Oatmeal is also rich in magnesium, which helps maintain the body’s ability to properly process glucose.
  4. It lowers your bad (LDL) cholesterol. Research shows that beta-glucan, a unique fiber in oatmeal, can lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol without affecting your good (HDL) cholesterol.
  5. It’s safe for people with gluten sensitivities. While people who are truly gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease should stay away from oatmeal, it is a great choice for those who have a sensitivity to the prolamines (proteins) found in wheat (gluten). Just be sure that the oats you eat do not contain gluten from processing facilities or nearby wheat fields.Continue Reading …
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16 Foods That Energize Your Body

The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil offer a quick and effective source of energy. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil offer a quick and effective source of energy. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Keep a selection of these foods on hand to keep you full and energized all day (via The Huffington Post Canada):

  1. Water. Much like gasoline for cars, water is your body’s most essential fuel. It keeps all of your body’s cells working at optimum levels. To avoid mid-morning fatigue, start your morning with a tall (12 ounces or larger) glass of water.
  2. Almonds. Raw and unsalted almonds are a good source of healthy fats and protein to balance blood sugar levels, which can plummet when you don’t eat over several hours. Eating one ounce of almonds (about 23) also reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Quinoa. This grain is a complex carbohydrate, which is digested slowly to provide sustained energy and keep you feeling full. Try adding cinnamon, raisins and almonds to warm quinoa for an energizing breakfast.Continue Reading …
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6 Fat-Burning Superfoods

Stoke your metabolic fire with hot peppers and cayenne powder. The compoundthey contain has a thermogenic effect on the body, helping you to melt more calories. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Stoke your metabolic fire with hot peppers and cayenne powder. The capsaicin they contain has a thermogenic effect on the body, helping you to melt calories. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

It’s true: these six foods have the power to increase your metabolic rate, helping you to burn calories faster (via Health):

  1. Whole grains. Your body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole foods as it does processed foods. Foods rich in fiber, like oatmeal and brown rice, are especially effective.
  2. Lean meats. These protein sources require about 30 percent of the calories they contain to break down in your body. So, eating a 300-calorie chicken breast will cause you to burn about 90 calories.
  3. Low-fat dairy products. Milk, cheese and yogurt are rich in both calcium and vitamin D, both of which preserve and build muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn.
  4. Green tea. This no-calorie beverage contains EGCG, a compound that temporarily raises your metabolism. For true calorie-burning power, sip four cups per day.Continue Reading …
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10 Tips For Dining Out Healthy

Portion sizes are much larger in most restaurants. Try ordering an appetizer as your entrée, or split a meal with a friend. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Portion sizes are much larger in most restaurants. Try ordering an appetizer as your entrée, or split a meal with a friend. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Dining out doesn’t have to expand your waistline. Here are 10 tips for eating healthy when you’re out on the town (via The Biggest Loser Resort):

  1. Don’t arrive starving. It’ll make you more likely to eat too quickly and overeat.
  2. Drink water. Water helps keep you hydrated, and fills you up without calories. Add lemon, orange, lime or cucumbers to your water for a splash of flavor.
  3. Look up nutrition and calorie information beforehand. Be knowledgable!  These days, most restaurants provide nutrition facts online, and many offer lower calorie meal options.
  4. Watch your sodium intake. Sodium makes your body retain water, which can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Continue Reading …
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10 Fun and Healthy Lunchbox Ideas for Kids

These healthy and tasty lunch ideas will help keep young schoolchildren full and focused. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

A healthy lunch that kids want to eat helps keep them full and focused. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Nutrition is a family affair. Send young children off to school on the right nutritional foot with these 10 tasty (and easy!) ideas for packable school lunches (via FamilyEducation.com):

1. All-American Favorite
Many kids love turkey. Make a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and mayonnaise or butter. Add a small juice box or water bottle, sliced apples and baby carrots.

2. Make Your Own
Pre-packaged lunches are loaded with fat and sodium, but you can make your own for less money. Invest in a few sectioned containers (or repurpose a small, plastic, fish tackle box) to pack the food in. For mini pizzas: Arrange round crackers, shredded cheese, pepperoni slices, and a small amount of tomato sauce packed in doubled plastic snack bags. Add sliced carrots and low-fat ranch dressing, or celery and peanut butter.Continue Reading …

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