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Posts Tagged ‘antioxidants’

cherries

Did you know that tart (sour) cherries have powerful secret nutrients? Studies have found that the antioxidants in tart cherries are highest at peak ripeness, so consuming them when they are fully ripe will offer the most health benefits. Both fresh tart cherries and cherry juice concentrate contain compounds called anthocyanins that provide the following health benefits:

  • Arthritis pain relief
  • Lower risk of stroke.
  • Protection for people with existing gout from recurrent attacks.
  • Lowered risk for inflammation
  • Beneficial metabolic affects such as decreasing fat, sugar, and insulin levels in the blood
  • Melatonin in tart cherries promotes better sleep
  • Helps reduce free radicals in the body, possibly reducing the risk of some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease

Everyone should try to eat more fruits and vegetables; adding tart cherries (or the concentrate) can easily add an extra serving of fruit to your meal plan each day!

Ohioans are fortunate to be able to enjoy many different types of locally produced foods (including cherries). Ohio State University Extension is providing the opportunity for people to celebrate that fact during the second annual Ohio Local Foods Week, Aug. 7-13.

“We are blessed here in Ohio with an abundance of locally grown and produced items,” said Heather Neikirk, OSU Extension educator and co-leader of Extension’s Local Foods Signature Program. So celebrate local foods week with us and get started today!

Written by: Marie Diniaco Economos, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Trumbull County, Western Reserve EERA, economos.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Donna Green. Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Resources:

http://localfoods.osu.edu/maximizenutrients.

www.anthocynin.com

www.choosecherries.com

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peppersA few days ago we read about the abundance of zucchini plants in many of our gardens. Peppers are another vegetable that has been producing non-stop recently. My grandson’s garden is providing all of us with more peppers than we can use!  Being a young entrepreneur, he even set up a small stand near their lane to sell peppers and zucchini to neighbors who don’t have a garden of their own!

The varieties of peppers grown locally include bell which can be green, orange, red, or yellow; jalapeno and other hot peppers and the milder sweet banana peppers. All of the members of the pepper family provide great nutritional value in our diets. They’re low in calories and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. Compared to green bell peppers, the red ones have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C. A single raw red pepper, sweet or hot, can meet the daily requirements for two important antioxidants, vitamin A and C.

Peppers are a very versatile vegetable. They can be eaten raw or cooked and can be used as additions to sandwiches, salads, stuffing, soup, stews, and relishes. Roasting peppers, however, brings out a totally different taste. This takes some time but the results are well worth it. Char thick-skinned peppers until the skin is black and blistered. They can be charred under a broiler, over an open flame or on the grill. While they are still hot, cover or place in a paper bag for 15 minutes and allow the steam to loosen the charred skins. Peel over a bowl to catch the juices, and use in your favorite recipe.

Peppers can also be preserved safely by freezing, pickling or canning. The National Center for Food Preservation and Ohio State University Extension provided guidance on freezing, pickling and canning peppers and pepper recipes.

If you are harvesting peppers from your garden or purchasing at a local farmer’s market, remember to wash peppers just before using them. Rinse them under cool running water. Peppers can be stored in a plastic bag for use within 5 days. When preparing hot peppers, be sure to wear gloves, keep your hands away from your face and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you are finished. They can burn your skin and eyes!

The Ohioline fact sheet – Salsa from Garden to Table  includes several delicious varieties of salsas that can be prepared and canned for use year round. Be sure and follow the directions exactly for a safe product.

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a refreshing summer salsa provided on the USDA What’s Cooking web site.  Check out this site for many great, economical, healthy recipes!

Easy Mango Salsa

Prep time: 10 minutessalsa

Makes: 4 Servings

Total Cost: $1.29

Serving Cost: $0.32

The sweetness of fresh mango combined with savory pepper and onion and the zest of lime give this salsa a balance of flavors that are refreshing and crisp. Serve this appetizer with baked tortilla chips or whole grain crackers for a tasty snack.

Ingredients

1 mango (peeled and chopped)

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 green onion, chopped

1 lime, juiced (1-2 Tablespoons)

Directions

  1. Peel and chop the mango, be sure to remove the seed.
  2. Cut the pepper and onion into small pieces.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together.

Iowa Department of Public Health. Iowa Nutrition Network.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Washington County Bohlen.19@osu.edu

References:

http://ohioline.osu.edu

http://www.webmd.com/diet/peppers-health-benefits?print=true

https://extension.illinois.edu/veggies/peppers.cfm

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hot-chocolateHot chocolate is my favorite drink during the fall and winter months. The snow was falling outside and I was anxious for my 1st cup of the New Year. However, I made a New Year’s Resolution to be healthier and watch my sugar intake. Have you ever taken time to stop and read the nutrition label on a box of hot chocolate?  The first two ingredients are sugar and corn syrup. Cocoa is not listed until the fifth ingredient. My once loved drink was slowly adding weight to my body. One cup of hot chocolate can contain anywhere from four to seven teaspoons of sugar. Since my favorite way of making mine is with reduced fat milk and using original hot chocolate packaged mix I was drinking SEVEN teaspoons of sugar in one cup!

I was not going to let one little drink ruin my goal of becoming healthier. I set out to find a better option. Standing at the grocery store my mind was overloaded with all the different options. All too many times we believe what we read on the outside of the box instead of taking the time to read the nutrition label. No sugar added had to be better for me right? It should have fewer calories. Or what about the all-natural versions where you can pronounce all the ingredients?  There aren’t any added sweeteners or artificial flavors in them. What if I pick the dark chocolate flavor? Dark chocolate has antioxidants so that hast to be the best option. What about my whipped cream or marshmallows on top?

So what is a person to do when they still want that cup of hot chocolate but are trying to be healthier? The American Heart Association offers some suggestions on how to trim the calories by using fat free milk, low sugar hot chocolate packets and a minimal amount of toppings. If you would prefer, make it yourself so you can control the amount of sugar. Chances are you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen. By personally controling the amount of sugar you are using it’s no longer the number one ingredient. Start with taking your favorite hot chocolate recipe and only use half the amount of sugar. It will not seem as sweet but you can add cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla extract to help give it that extra something special. For a greater depth of flavor try simmering a cinnamon stick with your milk. Maybe you are looking for a recipe that is a sophisticated, European-style of hot chocolate which is thick and rich.

A healthier version of hot chocolate is very doable and in moderation has great health benefits. After all cocoa beans do come from seeds of a fruit that is grown on trees in tropical forests. That makes chocolate a fruit right?

 

Source: Gampel, S., & Bobroff, L. B. (2010, October). Dark Chocolate Benefits. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FM/FM38300.pdf

Source: Core, J. (2005, April 4). In Chocolate, More Cocoa Means Higher Antioxidant Capacity . Retrieved from http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2005/050404.2.htm

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

 

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Arthritis affects more than 1 in 5 people, or 52.5 million U.S adults. The word arthritis means joint inflammation, and can be associated with over 100 million rheumatic diseases (1). The diseases can vary in severity and can affect many joints, organs, and a person’s immune system. Someone can develop arthritis at any age, and some arthritis types are more common in women, the elderly, and people with a family history. A few common signs and symptoms of arthritis are painful joints, swelling and stiffness, and fatigue.

There has been research to determine whether or not diet and lifestyle can improve arthritis pain and flare-ups. Diets have been researched that eliminate dairy, red meat, sugar, caffeine, fats, nightshade plants (tomatoes, eggplant), and salt, with positive results. Another research study shows a vegan diet, with polyunsaturated, and omega-3 supplements have a mild benefit to people with arthritis (2).

skeleton with arthritis

“Pain-Safe Foods” are known to rarely contribute to arthritis. These foods include brown rice, cooked green, yellow or orange vegetables, water, and cooked or dried fruits (except for citrus fruits). People have different trigger foods, and slowly eliminating different types of foods can help you determine which is encouraging the inflammation. Some common trigger foods include dairy, corn, meats, eggs, citrus, potatoes, tomatoes, coffee, nuts, and wheat, oats, and rye (2).

berries

The Arthritis Foundation recommends regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight to lessen inflammation in a person with arthritis (4). Today, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Studies show that weight loss relieves pressure on a person’s knees, lessens body pain, and lowers inflammation levels in the body (3). The CDC recommends people under the age of 65 to have 150 minutes or moderate intensity activity and muscle strength training at least 2 days a week. For people over the age of 65, the same recommendations are listed, but with the addition of balance activities at least 3 days a week (5).

Arthritis can be a painful and debilitating disease. With lifestyle and diet modifications, pain can be lessened and daily activities can be enjoyable again. Begin with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and follow a Doctor’s medication recommendations, and you are more likely to live a life with less pain!

stretching

Author(s):  Jennifer Even, OSU Extension Educator, FCS/EFNEP, Hamilton County; Tia Jackson, Dietetic Intern, University of Cincinnati.

Reviewer:  Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/
  2. http://www.pcrm.org/health/health-topics/foods-and-arthritis
  3. http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/losing-weight/benefits-of-weight-loss/weight-joint-pain.php
  4. http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/chronic/arthritis_disability_fs.htm
  5. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/pa_overview.htm

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Drinking a smoothie is an easy way to sneak in a serving or two of fruits and veggies towards your daily goal. A smoothie is great for breakfast, on the go meal, or a snack. Here’s how to blend a fruit- and veggie-packed smoothie that’s nutritious, satisfying and energizing.

 kalesmoothie

  1. Choose a Base Start with a liquid base such as low-fat milk, soymilk, or nonfat Greek yogurt that delivers protein, vitamins, and minerals with a sensible amount of calories. If using juice, choose 100% grape, orange, apple, or cranberry varieties and try adding just a splash of it to a milk base so you don’t miss out on the protein. Remember juice adds extra sugar and calories so watch portion sizes.
  2. Add Fruit When adding fruit, most fresh, frozen and canned fruits shine in smoothies. For calorie control and to cap added sugar, choose plain, unsweetened frozen fruit and drain canned fruit packed in water or light syrup to reduce excess sugar. Slicing bananas and freezing them works really well.
  3. Yes…you can add veggies! Even vegetables can be added to smoothies. Just remember to use mild-tasting veggies so their flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. If using a standard blender, you may need to chop them very finely or add a little water to help the blending process. Cucumbers, spinach, kale, and beets are popular options.
  4. Nutrient Boosters Super-charge your smoothie with flavorful and nutrient-packed blend-ins such as flaxseed, chia seeds, quick oats, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger), unsweetened cocoa powder, or powdered peanut butter.
  5. Less is More Remember to keep smoothie ingredients simple and take a ‘less is more’ approach. The more ingredients in a smoothie, the more calories it contains.

Kale Smoothie with Pineapple and Banana

1/2 cup coconut milk, skim milk, soymilk, nonfat Greek yogurt, or almond milk

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach

1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)

1 ripe banana, chopped

Water for desired consistency

  1. Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
  2. You can add a few almonds for extra protein if you would like!

For a great beet smoothie click here https://foodhero.org/recipes/un-beet-able-berry-smoothie.

Written by:  Melissa Welker M.Ed., B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA, welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

www.realsimple.com

www.foodhero.org

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power up your salad

Choose colorful vegetables and greens for a nutritious meal.  Lettuce and greens vary in levels of nutrients.  Although paler lettuces, such as iceberg, have some nutritional value, it’s best to choose the deeper, brighter ones – these contain the cancer-fighting antioxidants. Mix and match a variety of colors and textures, such as crunchy romaine tossed with soft, nutrient rich spinach leaves or peppery arugula leaves and add red leaf lettuce.   Spinach contains almost twice the amount of iron of most other greens and is an essential source of nitric oxide which helps dilate the arteries and deliver oxygen.  Arugula is rich in cancer fighting phytochemicals.

Add in tomatoes which are loaded with lycopene- great for your skin and bones.  Black beans, chickpeas or a hard-boiled egg all are good sources of lean protein.  Toss in carrots (great source of beta-carotene and Vitamin C) and artichokes, which aids in digestion.

Add fruits in season, mixed berries, oranges, apples or pears.  Toss with a healthy option salad dressing that is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat.  Olive oil and vinegar may be a simple tasteful choice.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD,  Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Barber Spires RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-why.html

http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=23199

 

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oranges lemons limesWhat do the above fruits have in common?  Yes, they are a great source of vitamin C!  Most of us know this, but do we get enough?  Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps the body to heal wounds and cuts.  Citrus fruits are also rich in flavonoids which have anticancer properties and may also help with cardiovascular and other diseases.  All fruits and vegetables contain some vitamin C but the highest amounts are found in citrus fruits.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 mg for adult men and 75 mg for adult women.  A medium orange contains about 70 mg.

The orange tends to be the most popular of the citrus fruits.  And, my favorite this time of year.  You can keep oranges at room temperature for about a week.  Keep them in the refrigerator for 6-8 weeks.  They are easy to take with you for lunch or a snack. Try some of these favorites:

Cara Cara Orange:  It is a navel oranges that looks like a regular orange on the outside but it has a pinkish color on the inside.  They are very sweet with a hint of a cranberry taste.

Blood Orange:  It is smaller than an orange with a red to maroon inside.  They have a strong orange flavor with a hint of raspberry.

Pomelo:  This type of orange looks like a grapefruit but taste sweet and is less acidic.  It has a thick yellow skin and is white to deep pink inside.

Add an orange each day to boost your consumption of fruits and vegetables.  They are high nutrient, low-calorie options for meals and snacks.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu.

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, Program Specialist, Snap-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Source:  National Institutes of Health, Medline Plus, Vitamin C, updated Jan 12, 2015.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm

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