caribbeanandworldrecipes

August 8, 2012

Asham Traditional Sweet

Filed under: recipes — Tags: , , , , , , , — caribbeanandworldrecipes @ 6:21 pm
Public relations of high-fructose corn syrup

Public relations of high-fructose corn syrup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Asham is a traditional Jamaican treat made of parched corn. The parched corn is ground into a very fine powder and mixed with sugar and spice.

 

Jamaican asham

Children and adults usually place a little of the powder in their palm and have it. It is available from stores that sell traditional Jamaican sweets. One of these stores is Reggae Treats, an online retailer that has a wide variety of traditional snacks and desserts.

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August 5, 2012

Healthy With Multiple Sclerosis Series: Diet Is the Cornerstone

Cover of "The MS Recovery Diet"

Cover of The MS Recovery Diet

There are several books and websites about diet and MS in the world. There is the MS Recovery Diet. The Swank Diet. The Best Bet Diet. The Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Diet. Dr. McDougall’s Diet. And more recently the Wahls Diet. Do we really need another diet?

We do if it is easier to follow and relies on a common thread found in all the diets just mentioned. There’s no official name for the diet I used (I’m not so self-important to name it after myself), but it could be called an anti-inflammatory diet or an alkaline diet, with an MS twist.

Each of the above diets work from the principle of reducing inflammation and thus the immune response. Some do it be reducing fat. Others by eliminating common allergens. Others by taking an intensive nutritional approach meant to repair damage. What they all have in common is goal of reversing the acidic state of our bodies associated with the Standard American Diet.

If you have looked at any of these diets, you know they can seem daunting. Most focus on what you can’t have. In my own journey, it took me a while to realize the better approach is to focus on what you CAN have. That’s why I love the anti-inflammatory/alkaline approach.

The anti-inflammatory/alkaline approach starts from the premise that there are foods that reduce your body’s inflammation. That’s because these foods replenish your body with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and essential fatty acids necessary for proper cellular functioning. Those foods are also supportive of cellular repair.*

In contrast, when we eat a lot of acid-producing food (or are very stressed), our body goes searching for minerals to stay in balance. It finds them most often in our bones. When our body has to search for the minerals it needs to stay in balance we are drained of energy. Our immune system is also weakened.

So the most doable approach is to load up on alkaline producing foods (I prefer 80% for those with MS). Here’s how that looks:

· Fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. There really is no limit here. Kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, bok choi, zucchini, watermelon, mango, avocados, and pineapple. Eat them raw; eat them cooked, but eat them. Make them the center piece of every meal, not just the side dish.

· Most nuts and seeds are great alkaline, mineral-rich sources of minerals and should be incorporated into your diet.

· Eat whole grains, especially the following: brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, kasha, oats and millet. It is best to find out if you have a gluten sensitivity, as that has been associated with MS.

· Be watchful of animal products. Dairy has been shown to create an immune response that aggravates MS. If you are eating meat, be sure it is as clean and free of hormones and antibiotics as possible.

· Finally kick your junk food and sugar habit. They provide no nutritional benefit, are highly acidic and only contribute to fatigue, weight gain and other problems.

Now a word of caution. Don’t do what I did and make all these changes at once. I promise, you’ll come after me if you try.

Instead try one. Try the easiest one – eating more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 6 to 9 cups a day.

Once that feels comfortable, move onto the next step. Soon you will be loading your plate with veggies, topping it with a few seeds or nuts, adding a whole grain and voila, you have a delicious nutrient packed meal that will give you energy and help you thrive.

*Note: remember from high school chemistry alkaline is from 7.1 to 14 on the pH scale, acid is from 0 to 6.9 on the scale, with 7 being neutral. Our body aims to keep our blood acid at 7.3.

Laurie Erdman helps busy individuals living with chronic illness, stress or fatigue double or even triple their energy so they can enjoy life again. She overcame multiple sclerosis, fatigue, and chronic stress, and now inspires and educates others to use nutrition and lifestyle changes to create a healthier, more vibrant life. Laurie is Founder and Chief Wellness Hero at Chronic Wellness Coaching. Visit Laurie at http://www.chronicwellnesscoaching.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Laurie_Erdman

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August 2, 2012

West Indian Cherry

Filed under: gardening, travel — Tags: , , , , — caribbeanandworldrecipes @ 2:10 am

West Indian Cherry Snapshot

West Indian cherry (acerola) is popular as a snack and in cold beverages.

July 30, 2012

Type 2 Diabetes – Heart Healthy Diet Tips for Diabetics

Filed under: health, meal planning and nutrition — Tags: , , , , , , , — caribbeanandworldrecipes @ 6:49 pm
Vegetables in a grocery store, Paris, France.

Vegetables in a grocery store, Paris, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want to have a healthier heart? If you are a person with Type 2 diabetes, having a healthy heart is extremely important when it comes to preventing long-term, potentially fatal complications. Heart disease and hypertension are two of the most common complications a Type 2 diabetic will face. Once you have diabetes, your risk for heart disease can be four times greater.

Here are some heart healthy dietary tips for you to keep in mind and put into practice.

1. First of all, use low-fat cooking methods whenever possible. Learn to cook with less fat by eliminating butter and margarine. There are great butter sprays you can buy at your local grocery store to give you the taste you want without the extra fat and calories.

People have a tendency to add too much butter or margarine to their foods when it really isn’t necessary. Margarine is especially unhealthy as it is hydrogenated fat and a long way from being healthy for your body.

2. Consume a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and beans. You should also eat complex carbohydrates and whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice. Limit your carbohydrate intake and focus mostly on eating lots of low-GI vegetables. Green vegetables are important as they give you tons of nutrients and also help fill you up.

3. Eliminate your fried food intake as well. This means avoiding the fast food check out line as much as possible. Eating overly processed foods will not give you any nutrient value and only serve to disrupt your blood sugar control.

Stay away from the interior of most grocery stores as this is where the processed foods reside. Remain on the outer portions of the grocery store where the meat, vegetables and low-fat dairy products are located. By staying away from the junk food, you won’t tempt yourself as badly.

4. Choose leaner selections of meat so you avoid additional fat. This can include selections such as turkey breast and chicken breast without the skin. Also, make sure to eat portions of meat that are no larger than the palm of your hand, twice per day. You can add meat to your salad or eat it with a side of vegetables.

By making these heart healthy dietary changes, you will increase your chances of living a long and healthy life even if you have Type 2 diabetes. In fact, these diet changes are important for anyone whether they have diabetes or not. They help reduce weight, cut down on inflammation and reduce the risks associated with heart disease and stroke.

Don’t forget to monitor your blood sugars. Keeping your blood sugar as near to normal as possible protects your body from all diabetic complications further down the line.

How do you start to create a healthy lifestyle today so you can avoid heart disease and other diabetic complications further down the track?

For nearly 25 years Beverleigh Piepers has searched for and found a number of secrets to help you build a healthy body.

The answer isn’t in the endless volumes of available information but in yourself.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Beverleigh_H_Piepers

Free Calorie Intake Calculator

You can achieve your weight loss goals and have fun by using the Slim Kicker calorie counter and game. This level up game is similar to Calorieking. It makes counting calories fun because it gives you rewards and you earn points as you go along. They have a large database of calorie counts which makes this process effortless.

Whether you plan to quit soda for a month or have a fruit for desert for a week, you can easily track healthy calories and accumulate points. Slim Kicker is simple to use and you can upload a picture of a cheat food with your iPod. You will be reminded to reward yourself when you achieve a specific points total.

You can also win a heart rate and calorie monitor by submitting your own idea for a health or fitness challenge to Slim Kicker. Your idea should be fun and creative. Describe it in just two sentences in a comment below. Winners will be announced in a week.

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July 29, 2012

How To Grill The Perfect Sausage

Filed under: outdoors, recipes — Tags: , , , , , , , — caribbeanandworldrecipes @ 9:01 pm
In the United States, Italian sausage is a sty...

In the United States, Italian sausage is a style of pork sausage noted for its seasoning of fennel and/or anise, containing at least 85% meat and no more than 35% fat. Made in sweet and hot styles, this kind of sausage is generally not cured. A typical method of cooking in grilling, as depicted here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love sausages and grilling them has to be one of the best ways to cook them but so often I’ve been to a barbecue party and found and absolute culinary disaster verging on a health risk

Let’s get one thing straight before we go any further and that is just because you’re having a barbecue, it doesn’t mean you have to serve poor quality sausages. So many times I’ve heard friends say “I’ve bought cheap sausages because we’re only going to burn them anyway”. Don’t accept the inevitability of it, if you buy poor quality, they will be full of fat which will spit and cause flare ups ending up with a burnt offering. There is an alternative way.

Accept the challenge, it is possible to cook a good tasty sausage on a barbecue grill and to make it easy for yourself you must start with a good quality sausage. For sure one of the fundamentals of any sausage is fat and the cooking process is effectively boiling the contents in the fat so there’s always going to be some spitting of fat but your task is to manage this.

What makes a well cooked sausage? For me it’s:-

 

  • A crispy texture to the skin
  • Light caramelization to sweeten the meat flavor
  • Succulent moist meat inside

 

One cooking method I have heard of is to pre-cook the sausage in water first to help disperse the fat so there’s less fat to spit (and so burn the sausage) when grilling but I don’t like this because it means less time on the grill to get the crispy caramelized skin that adds so much of the flavor. Maybe if you are a novice it’s worth having a pop but here’s my guide to how to cook the best sausage.

If using charcoal, be patient. You need grey / white coals that have well bedded down. If there’s any sign of black on the charcoal you’ll be susceptible to flare ups. If you’re cooking a number of things, put the sausages on last when everything is starting to die down. If you’ve got a gas grill then sausages should be cooked on low, in fact a low light under the searing plate is an excellent way.

Don’t prick the sausage. The whole idea is for the meat to cook in the fat and if you prick the sausage the fat simply runs out and the meat dries up – not to mention the fact that you’re inviting the fat onto the fire and encouraging further opportunity for flare ups and burnt offerings.

Cook the sausages as individual units, this makes them easier to handle and you can be sure that they cook on all sides. It may seem easier to use a basket so that you can turn more sausages at one time but I prefer not to because you only get to cook the sausage “top and bottom” and I think that you miss the opportunity to crisp up the skin all over and it’s also easier to serve a sausage that appears well done on the surface yet is undercooked inside.

To avoid an undercooked sausage you can of course use a temperature probe, generally you’re looking for an internal temperature of 165°F to consider the sausage cooked.

Don’t continually turn the sausages. Give them change to cook, take on color and caramelize on each side. Despite a sausage being round in cross section I typically look on a sausage as having four sides and cook accordingly. It is however sometimes difficult to cook on “all four” sides because your sausage is particularly bent. The best way to straighten a sausage is to use heat so place the sausage on the grill with the exterior curve directly over the heat first, the skin and meat on this side of the sausage will contract and it will straighten out.

I heard one gentleman talking about frying a sausage and recommending you place the sausage in the pan on a very low heat and cook slowly for two hours. Whilst I’m not recommending this length of time for the grill I hope it emphasizes the point that low and slow is the way to go.

Paul Yates writes barbecue pork recipes and barbecue beef recipes and publishes them in his barbecue blog.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Paul_Yates

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Good Energy Food for Diabetics

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in products such as soy milk and low-fat yogurt, has been shown to reduce breast cancer incidence in rats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you should be aware, diabetes is a condition where the level of sugar in the blood of a person is abnormally high, and must be controlled to avoid serious health conditions. Therefore, diet plays an important role in controlling diabetes by keeping blood sugar at appropriate levels. To find energy foods for diabetics, it is essential to consider several things such as limiting the intake of refined carbohydrates, sugar, etc. If you’re wondering what foods are safe to consume that help to acquire the energy for diabetics then take a look at the following list of foods.

List of energy foods for diabetics

Good foods for diabetics do not affect the level of blood sugar, but also help to maintain adequate levels. Similarly, these foods should have a low glycemic index (GI) value. Carbohydrates and meat are considered rich sources of energy, but these foods can increase the blood glucose levels. There are several other foods that are considered high-energy provider for diabetics. They include:

Whole grain products: whole grain foods are safe for diabetics to consume. They contain complex carbohydrates that are slowly absorbed in the diet and do not lead to increases in blood sugar. They contain no fat and therefore, can not be dangerous in the diet. Whole grain pasta, bread, oats, corn, wheat cereal, are all energy food grain for diabetics. However, it should be noted that carbohydrates should be eaten in moderation, or it can affect the level of blood sugar.

Beans and legumes: Legumes, beans and peas are also considered the best food for diabetics, because they contain a low GI index and contain almost all other essential nutrients. You should include foods that give you energy like lentils, black beans, peas, pinto beans and kidney beans in your daily diet as it helps to gain energy and vitamins and essential minerals, such as magnesium, iron, etc.

Green vegetables: Vegetables are also excellent food for energy and green leaves also help to provide other necessary nutrients. Green cabbage, beets and turnips, asparagus, spinach, kale and broccoli, contain high amounts of fiber and less fat content and therefore, these foods are included in the list of diabetic foods. Green vegetables should be cooked without salt because they already contain good amounts of sodium.

Seafood: As you should be aware of the proteins are also necessary to provide energy for the body and, therefore, good sources of proteins should be an important part of the diabetic diet. Fish, seafood and others (lentils and beans as well) are excellent sources of protein and contain no fat at all. Therefore, fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, halibut, etc. should also be included in the list of diabetic diet.

More energy foods for diabetics

In addition to the aforementioned high-energy foods, there are several other foods that provide energy and can be consumed by diabetics. Here is a list of foods for diabetics to eat to gain energy.

Mollusks
Nuts
Seeds
Avocados
Blueberries
Citrus Fruit
Brown rice
Carrots
Lean meats
Milk

Fat free dairy products

I hope this list of energy foods for diabetics will be helpful to you. Finally, as a cautionary note, one should remember that in the case of diabetes, changes in diet should be done after consulting a doctor. Take care!

M.Arif has been writing articles for nearly 3 years. His newest interest is in health fitness. So come to visit his latest website that discusses health and fitness tips and how to lose weight .

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=M_Arif

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July 27, 2012

Diabetic Diet: How Tangerines and Oranges Can Help Cure Diabetes

English: Overview of the most significant poss...

English: Overview of the most significant possible symptoms of diabetes. See Wikipedia:Diabetes#Signs_and_symptoms for references. Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Häggström diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t let anyone fool you. It is possible to cure type 2 diabetes and you can include many foods in your diabetic diet that contain substances that help cure diabetes.

Recent research proves that tangerines and oranges contain a substance called nobiletin that helps to cure diabetes. Specifically, nobiletin prevents the build up of fat in the liver and the subsequent over productive of insulin due to increasing glucose in the blood. Nobiletin also prevents the build-up of arterial plaque which causes heart disease and stroke.

Nobiletin is a very powerful antioxidant in a family of antioxidants called flavonoids. Antioxidants eradicate free radicals in the body that can lead to cancer, a compromised immune system, and a weakened body that can make it ripe for the development of diabetes. The underlying causes of all of these disorders are the same.

Tangerines contain more nobiletin than do oranges but both have a good quantity. Nobiletin is not found in lemons or grapefruit however. However, as an example of how variety is always good, lemons help diabetics in many other ways including very significantly lowering the glycemic index of any food it is added to and making your cells less insulin resistant.

The nobiletin is found in the tissues of the fruit and in the peel so just drinking juice is not as good as eating the whole fruit for this benefit. Grated peel is also a very tasty addition to salads and stirfries. You can also seep tangerine or orange peel in hot water for an excellent and very healthy tea. In fact, tangerine peel is has a mildly sweet flavor as a tea.

You really can can cure diabetes through diet and other natural means. I know because I cured my diabetes this way. I went from a HgAC1 of 10.6 to less than 6 (my last reading was 5.2) in less than 6 months and I’ve been able to keep it that way for quite a long time now. When I was first diagnosed, they were giving me insulin and then they wanted me to take a variety of prescription drugs for life.

They kept talking about how my disease would progress like it was a definite foregone conclusion this would happen. I finally said, “NO!” to the drugs, shopped around to find another doctor who would support my efforts to cure my diabetes naturally, and educated myself extensively on what to eat and what not to eat – and much of it is not as intuitive as you might think!

If you want to cure your diabetes naturally (or prevent your pre-diabetes from developing into full blown diabetes), what you need is a complete step-by-step well-organized guide that will give you all the information you need to cure your diabetes from one single source. This is one of the best guides available. You don’t have to settle for taking pills and shots your whole life.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Maxine_Fox

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July 26, 2012

Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Onions With Wild Rice

Filed under: gardening, outdoors, recipes, travel — Tags: , , , , , , , — caribbeanandworldrecipes @ 4:42 am
English: Three varieties of Eggplant

English: Three varieties of Eggplant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Skillet style side dish is the perfect accompaniment to beef, chicken, or pork. Sautéed eggplant, button mushrooms, and chopped yellow onion are seasoned with garlic, Italian seasoning, coarse sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Vegetable mixture is combined with chicken broth, cream of mushroom soup, half-and-half, and cooked wild rice. Simmered 15 minutes until liquids are absorbed and flavors have had a chance to mingle. Serve hot with your favorite entrée.

Cook’s Notes:
As eggplant can be bitter, I recommend lightly salting the eggplant cubes and placing them in a strainer or colander for half an hour. The salt draws out any excess liquid, resulting in a milder flavored eggplant.

Substitute your favorite mushroom, such as shiitake or Portobello for a heartier dish.

Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Onions with Wild Rice

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Salted Butter
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 Large Eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped
1 (8 ounces) package Sliced Fresh Button Mushrooms,
1/2 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 (10.75 ounces) can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup Half-and-Half
1 cup Cooked Wild Rice

Preparation:

1. Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet.

2. Stir in the eggplant, and fry until tender, which takes about 5 minutes.

3. Remove the eggplant from the skillet, and keep warm.

4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet.

5. Stir in the onion and mushrooms and fry until they are tender, which takes about 5 minutes.

6. Return the eggplant to the pan, and season with the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

7. Cook and stir for one minute to blend the flavors.

8. Stir in the chicken broth, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is reduced or absorbed.

9. Stir in the cream of mushroom soup, half-and-half and the cooked wild rice.

10. Simmer the mixture over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

11. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.

cooking class is a great way to learn how to prepare and cook eggplant the way the professionals do, or head over to http://www.EggplantRecipes.net, for the best, taste-tested eggplant recipes.

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Trouble With Digesting Nuts

Filed under: food allergies, health, recipes — Tags: , , , , , , , , — caribbeanandworldrecipes @ 4:34 am
Iranian nuts & fruit

Iranian nuts & fruit (Photo credit: mcfcrandall)

How to Digest Nuts Better: Behind the Scenes

 

Salting, roasting, toasting, soaking – what helps, what hinders and why do so many people have problems with eating nuts? Here is a step by step breakdown of the digestive process, and how nuts are impacted by one’s digestive system.

How Digestion Breaks Down Nuts in Stages

Roughly a three-stage process, digestion begins in the mouth, when as you are chewing, enzymes in the saliva begin to break down the starch in foods. Later, enzymes in the stomach begin to release or unfasten the bonds (chemical in nature) that hold the proteins in food together. Still more enzymes in the intestines, together with bile, continue to break down foods (and nuts), working on the protein, starches and fats.

Not all materials can be broken down by the body, however, and high on the list is fiber, which is not digestible. Fiber makes its way through the intestines, only partially broken down by the bacteria in the colon; this process is again aided by the production of enzymes in this part of the body. Comparatively, starches are broken down in a couple of hours or less, while proteins take at least that long, and may stay in the body for upwards of 5 hours. Fat takes even longer, which means that high fat meals stay in the body for potentially many hours.

How Nuts Are Composed: Proteins and Fiber

High in both fiber and protein (as well as healthy fat – upwards of fifty percent), most tree nuts also contain a good deal of protein (10-20%). The fiber content in nuts is also significant, amounting to upwards of ten percent of their nutritional make-up. Nuts make up an excellent source of nutrition and sustained energy for these very reasons: the fiber and healthy fat contents, along with the protein, all make for a slow digestion cycle in the body.

Digesting Nuts: How Preparation Might Factor In

As mentioned earlier, cooking methods like roasting or baking can also influence the how your body successfully (or otherwise) digests nuts. Any type of cooking essentially breaks down food at a chemical level, in a way not dissimilar to the body’s own methods. The lower the temperature, the better the process aids the body itself in further breaking down and digesting the food. High-temperature baking and cooking destroys many of these same chemical bonds. The good fats to be found in nuts are among these bonds that are destroyed in high-temperature cooking.

Other Compounds Found in Nuts, and Digestion

Tannins, found in nuts, are naturally occurring complex polyphenolics, and are often found in woody plants. Polyphenolics are simply natural antioxidants that comprise an organic defense for plants; these may also be good for human health. The tannins’ main function in nature is a protective one, as their bitter taste deters many animals from eating the foods that contain them. For example, walnuts are chief among the foods high in tannin. Additionally, tannins are contained in cashews, pistachios, pecans and the skins of almonds and peanuts.

These same tannins are heat-resistant, so even high temperature baking and roasting does not break them down, which partially explains why the nuts might give some people trouble when digesting. The fibrous quality of nuts, given the intestine’s inability to completely break down fiber, also explains why there may be some trouble digesting nuts. Gas is produced by the intestine in many cases as some of the colon’s bacteria attempts to break down whatever parts of the fiber that it can.

Cooking, Roasting, Baking: Digestion Helpers With Nuts?

Cooking nuts in a variety of fashions, to recap, does aid in breaking down the starch elements of the the nuts’ nutritional make-up. However, the very elements that might increase difficulty in digestion, the high proteins, tannins and fiber, still produce problems for many. The plant protein-rich quality of nuts may prove to be handled well by the stomach, though in many cases, where the pancreas aids in the process, the roasting of the nuts can help improve nuts’ digestibility.

Digesting Nuts May Be Slow, But Benefits Are High

It is the healthy fats found in nuts that end up contributing to the slowing down of digestion the most. This is especially true when compared to how quickly the body may break down foods that are high in carbohydrates, like breads and fruits. The fiber in nuts is generally what gives a feeling of fullness, but the gas that is produced in the intestines as some bacteria attempt to break down the nut’s fiber may also promote a full feeling. Eating too many nuts at a time (beyond two servings) may produce many of the symptoms and effects mentioned above, leading a person to feel full and perhaps suffer mild indigestion. The reality is that the proteins, fiber and healthy fats are the cause – not over-eating.

Benefits of Soaking and Re-hydrating Nuts

Soaking nuts like almonds and cashews in filtered water re-hydrates them. (To find out even more on Re-hydrating Nuts [http://www.greeneggsandplanet.com/blog], read this Green Eggs and Planet post.) Beyond the enriched flavor and new texture, the process also removes chemicals known as enzyme inhibitors. These chemicals are natural, and exist for the purpose of protecting the nut until it is the appropriate time for it to sprout. When you soak the nuts in water, the fluids release the enzyme inhibitors and wash them away. For those who experience a bit of trouble when digesting dried nuts, removing the enzyme inhibitors (which can make the nut difficult to digest) may solve the problem.

Other options to aid in digestion include eating raw nuts in smaller portions, to maximize the healthy benefits of the nuts while minimizing the pain of indigestion, or lightly roasting nuts to begin the process of chemically breaking down the nuts. Avoid commercially roasted nuts, however, as the high temperatures (+170F) cause a breakdown of the fats in nuts, thus producing free radicals that are harmful to the body.

Matty Byloos writes and manages the Green Blog known as: Easy Ways to Go Green, as well as the Organic Food Blog: Organic Eating Daily

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Lowering Cholesterol Eating Nuts

Nuts such as walnuts (pictured above) are rich...

Nuts such as walnuts (pictured above) are rich sources of micronutrients and protein. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I think of lowering cholesterol I think of the Paleolithic diet – the foods our ancestors ate long ago. What did they eat 10,000 or more years ago? The answer is simple – fruits, berries, nuts, and animals when they were lucky enough to kill one. It wasn’t fast food that’s for sure. Our bodies and physiologies were developed at that time on those foods. Our physiologies might not have changed over time, but our eating habits have.

Today most people shy away from nuts because of their fat content and consequent high calories. Eating nuts in reasonable amounts will not increase your weight. The secret to incorporating nuts in your diet is to substitute them in place of less heart-friendly snacks such as potato chips, donuts, cup cakes, etc. Not to add them to your existing diet.

Three ounces of pistachios (about two handfuls) have 400 calories. If you are eating 2,000 calories a day this makes up 20 percent of your caloric intake. However, the fats in nuts are the more heart friendly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, and nuts have no cholesterol. The monounsaturates with some polyunsaturates in nuts make an ideal combination of fats which have been linked to improving cholesterol levels and promoting heart health.

Many studies have shown that HDL good cholesterol levels have been boosted and LDL bad cholesterol and total cholesterol levels have been reduced when nuts were added to the test subjects’ diets. Also levels of triglycerides (blood fats) have been shown to be reduced by eating nuts.

Each type of nut will have varying levels of the following, but generally nuts contain:

o Low levels of saturated fats.

o High levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

o All have No cholesterol.

o Dietary fiber.

o Plant protein, which makes them a good alternative to meat; nuts are also high in the amino acid arginine.

o Vitamins E, B6, niacin and folic acid.

o Minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, copper, selenium and potassium.

Exceptions: consumption of coconuts, palm nuts – these nuts have the highest levels of saturated fat and their consumption should be limited. Brazil nuts, macadamias, cashews and pine nuts also contain large amounts of saturated fats relative to remaining nuts.

Peanuts are really not a nut, but a legume. They have a high level of folate (lowers the risk of heart disease) and are high in fiber. Peanuts may cause allergies in some people.

Some nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are also found in fish. These fatty acids improve the health of artery walls and help prevent blood clots.

One study showed that people with high total cholesterol and LDL concentrations found eating almonds to be especially effective in reducing these levels.

When you purchase nuts try to get them with no salt added or lightly salted (if you are not salt sensitive). Nuts by themselves have only trace amounts of sodium.

Probably the best advice is to have a handful (nine to 15 nuts) of a variety of nuts daily, especially walnuts and almonds.

Only buy nuts that are natural or dry roasted without added oils or heavily salted.

A handful of nuts equals about one ounce and this is the serving size shown on most
‘Nutrition Facts’ panels on food labels.

Vegetarians, who avoid red meat, need to eat nuts almost daily because nuts are a good substitute for meat (they contain protein, fat, iron, zinc and niacin). For example, ½ cup of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter are roughly equivalent to a serving of meat.

As long as you control your total calories, eating a handful of nuts daily should help prevent weight gain. The fat, protein and fiber in nuts help you feel full longer, so you eat less during the day.

At snack time try a handful of nuts instead of a donut or sticky bun. You’ll be eating heart-healthy food, helping to lower your cholesterol, and not gaining weight. Remember to limit your portion to a handful.

In summary, nuts have been a part of our diet since the dawn of time. They contain many beneficial nutrients. They have been shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL bad cholesterol, and triglycerides, and raise HDL good cholesterol levels. With the exception of four or five nuts which are high in saturated fat, most of their fat content is heart friendly. They are high in calories. This is not a problem if they are substituted in the daily diet for other less heart-friendly snacks like sticky buns, donuts, potato ships, etc. A handful of mixed nuts a day is all that is needed to lower your cholesterol provided you consider these calories in your daily total you should not gain weight.

Tim Lazaro is a nutrition scholar and competitive, masters runner who writes on issues related to heart health, natural-food diets, and aerobic exercise. By employing the diets and life-style changes that he writes about, he has lowered his total cholesterol and lost weight. If you want to learn more about lowering your cholesterol, download his Free guide here: Five Secrets to Lowering Cholesterol

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tim_Lazaro

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