Healthy Living - Food Essentials

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Stock your kitchen; cabinets, fridge and freezer, with these healthy living food essentials to get you started to living a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy living made easy!

 

Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

 

Yes, that is right, frozen! Frozen fruits and vegetables are not bad for you. Research shows that freezing fruits or vegetables does not affect their nutritional value as most people think. Freezing does still preserve their nutritional value.

 

Even if studies do indicate a decrease in nutritional value due to freezing, it is only a slight decrease.

 

So, along with buying fresh fruit and vegetables head over to the freezer section and stock up on some frozen fruits and vegetables. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables is great if you struggle to get through your fresh fruits and vegetables before they go bad.

Most of the in-seasons produce are frozen when they are in season for maximum freshness.

 

Almonds

 

Due to the fat content of nuts, many people avoid them. However, nuts should be a part of everyone's diet.

 

Almonds are a great source of healthy fats. However, they also have more fiber, calcium and vitamin E than most nuts.

Don't be afraid of nuts, eaten in moderation they can help fight chronic diseases and help with weight loss.

 

A typical serving size of almonds is 1oz which equals to 23 almonds and make sure you buy unsalted almonds to reap maximum benefits.

Also, buy in bulk to save yourself some money.

 

Popcorn Kernels

 

Research conducted by the American Chemical Society, found popcorn has more of the healthy antioxidant substances called polyphenols than fruits and vegetables.

 

Avoid buying microwavable popcorn, as they have twice as many calories as the air-popped kind, and about 43 percent of those calories are from fat. Also, the microwave bags are lined with chemicals, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluoroalkyl, to help prevent the grease seeping through the bag, which is detrimental to our health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) described these chemicals as ‘likely carcinogens’ which cause serious health issues. These chemicals are hormone disruptors, can cause thyroid problems, bladder cancer and much more.

 

Making homemade popcorn could not be any easier. On the stove, add a little oil to a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Pour in the kernels Cover the pot, but leave a little bit of room for the steam to escape - otherwise, the popcorn will lose its crunch. Routinely shake the pot so that the kernels at the bottom don’t burn. Once the popping comes to a stop, remove from heat.

 

Oats

 

Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. In turn reducing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Research has found soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol. Oats are also a great source of magnesium, studies have found eating magnesium rich foods can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Furthermore, research also suggests there is a link between magnesium deficiency and depression.

 

Prep tip

Make oats for breakfast and flavor it how you want, add your fruit, nuts or seeds.

Oats can help healthify your baked goods too! Use oats to make oat pancakes.

If you do not have time to cook breakfast in the morning, make overnight oats.

 

What to Buy

 

Avoid buying instant oatmeal; this is the most processed. Instant oatmeal has added sugar, salt and artificial flavors. Opt for steel cut oats, these are slightly processed, however, they are the least processed oat cereal. Steel cut oats contain the most nutrients and antinutrients such as phytic acid. Or, choose rolled oats, also called old - fashioned oats and the most common type of oats, while they are also processed they are still highly nutritious.

 

Black Beans

 

These beans are full of antioxidants, protein, fiber, and minerals. Black beans can help lower blood pressure, as they are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

 

Research has found that fiber can help reduce the risk of cardio - metabolic diseases, such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Fiber can help reduce the level of glucose in the blood by slowing the rate of release into the bloodstream. This will also control the insulin hormone in your body ensuring it does not spike.

 

Canned tuna

 

Mercury is the biggest concern when it comes to fish. However, canned tuna has less mercury than tuna steaks and sushi.

The FDA state that two cans of tuna a week are a safe threshold.

A can of tuna is an excellent source of lean protein, containing around 30g of protein and is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Olive oil

 

Olive oil is a key ingredient found in a Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to be one of the healthiest diets.  Many people stray away from olive oil due to its high-fat content, however, there is increasing evidence showing the health benefits it provides.

 

Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, more specifically a fatty acid called oleic acid, in which research has shown can reduce inflammation and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancers.

 

Tip

 

Use when Cooking- Olive oil is safe to use when cooking due to its high monounsaturated fat content.

Add to salads

Buy olives and add them to salad, pasta, or eat them as a snack.

 

Quinoa

 

One cup of cooked quinoa provides you with 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, as well as many other vitamins and minerals, such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and iron. Quinoa also contains a small amount of omega - 3 fatty acids.

 

Quinoa also has a glycemic index of 53, which is considered low. A low glycemic index indicates that it will produce a slow rise in blood sugar.

 

Tip

 

It is simple to make a hearty, healthy and wholesome meal with quinoa, simply, combine cooked quinoa with any vegetables, add some olive oil, lemon juice and season as you wish. Or you can substitute oatmeal for quinoa and flavor as you like.

 

Herbs and Spices

 

You may not know it, but herbs and spices are packed with a surprising number of antioxidants and have been shown to provide many health benefits, as well as adding incredible flavor to any dish.

Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Sage Can Improve Brain Function and Memory

Ginger has Anti-Inflammatory Properties and can help with nausea

Turmeric Contains Curcumin, a Substance With Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Effects
 

Dark Chocolate

 

Chocolate is made from Cocoa Beans. Cocoa is a rich source of dietary polyphenols and it is the polyphenols that are good for human health and help fight disease.

 

Polyphenols are phytochemicals, which means these nutrients are found prolifically in natural plant sources and are known for their antioxidant properties

 

Studies have found an array of benefits to eating dark chocolate, such as increases insulin sensitivity, reduces stress and the risk of heart disease and stroke.

 

Eggs

 

Eggs are another food which has been under scrutiny for being considered a cause of high cholesterol for many years.

 

Research has now found evidence that the cholesterol found in eggs, for example, has a much smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol. Furthermore, studies have found a moderate consumption- eating one egg a day, does not increase a healthy individual's risk of heart disease and can, therefore be eaten as part of a healthy lifestyle.

 

One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals all for 70 calories. Eggs provide you with vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorus and riboflavin and one egg contains six grams of high-quality protein.
 
 
Tips

 

Eggs are so versatile, there are so many different ways to cook and enjoy eggs.

 

Hard boil eggs at the beginning of the week for an on-the-go breakfast or snack. Chop it up and add it to a salad for extra protein. Fry an egg and add it on top of a rice-and-veggie bowl. Cook up an omelet and add various vegetables, such as tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, onion and season with spices.

 

Bananas

 

Bananas are economical, available all year, and provide a sweetness to foods without adding sugar and offer a quick burst of energy.

 

Tips

 

Bananas are a great snack, you can make a smoothie, add them to your oatmeal, smear on top whole grain toast with nut butter, or add into plain yogurt to add some sweetness. If your bananas are turning brown, no problem, freeze them and use them food processor to make banana "ice cream."

 

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