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Posts Tagged ‘antioxidants’

apple-cider-337x335I bought my first gallon of apple cider in mid-September and will continue to do so for a couple more months. No other beverage conjures up as many happy childhood memories of fall as drinking cider. I’m not an apple juice drinker, but I do love my cider!

As a rule, I tend not to drink much juice because of the sugar content. I prefer to eat whole fruits and/or veggies to get the maximum amount of health benefits. But it isn’t always easy to get the recommended number of plant foods in my daily diet. One four-ounce serving of apple cider counts as a serving of fruit.

Apple cider is usually made from a blend of different types of apples to give it a nice balance between sweet and tart. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, apples are first ground into pulp and then pressed to extract the juice. The juice quickly oxidizes, giving the cider its deep amber color. Apple cider is made in the cooler months because hot weather hastens fermentation.

Apple cider is not clarified like apple juice, so it still contains its starches and pectins. They are the ingredients that give cider its dark, cloudy color.

Below are some of the health benefits found in apple cider:

Antioxidants

You probably eat a variety of foods to protect your organs, bones, and muscles. Plant foods contain antioxidants, which help protect your cells. Antioxidants prevent or stop cell damage caused by oxidants (because they are “anti” oxidation). Oxidants are free radicals found in the environment as well as produced in your body.

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Diets high in flavonoid-containing foods, like apples, may lower your risk for cancer, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Constipation/Fiber

If you’ve been a frequent cider drinker over the years, you probably remember that cider helps with “regularity.” The small amount of fiber in cider, in combination with the sugar alcohol sorbitol, helps promote regular bowel movements and looser stools.

Pectin

Apples are an excellent source of pectin, and fortunately cider contains just as much as the whole fruit. Pectin helps absorb bad cholesterol in the body.

Where to buy?

Apple cider is found in grocery stores, farm markets, local farms that sell fruit and/or cider from their own orchards and cider mills, as well as some convenience and drug stores. Cider purchased in retail establishments will most likely be pasteurized, whereas you may potentially purchase unpasteurized cider from farms or farm markets. There is a difference in taste between the two types. If you purchase unpasteurized cider, look for the Label Warning Statement**.

WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

**A warning statement for untreated cider and/or juice products must appear on the label.

 

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

 

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

http://www.aicr.org/press/health-features/health-talk/2014/dec14/serving-size-juice.html

https://www.farmersalmanac.com/food/2008/09/29/apple-cider-season/

http://www.agri.ohio.gov/FoodSafety/docs/hcomm/food-apple_cider_fs.pdf

 

 

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I grew up eating black raspberries as a child. They are very hard to find these days; most of the darker colored berries in the grocery store are blackberries.  Now, you’re probably sitting there scratching your head and asking “Whatchu talking about, Willis?” Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that there are two distinct “black berry” choices.

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know there was a difference; even some food companies and nutritionists don’t realize that these are two different food items. Yes, they are both berries, and yes, they are both black. But there are distinct taste and nutritional differences between the two.

blackberries

BLACKBERRIES:

What they look like: Blackberries are bigger; with larger single cells that bulge out more than the cells in a black raspberry.  The berry top appears closed.  Blackberries are more shiny or glossy than a black raspberry.

How they taste: Less tart than a red raspberry and sweeter.

Health benefits: Blackberries definitely provide health benefits, but do not contain the same levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins as black raspberries.  They have higher levels of natural sugars, which can be an issue for people with diabetes. They haven’t been studied as much as black raspberries.

black raspberries

BLACK RASPBERRIES:

What they look like: Looks like a red raspberry only black.  Farmers call them “blackcaps” because when the berry comes off the bush, they are hollow inside (top appears open or hollow).  The individual cells of the black raspberry are much smaller than a blackberry’s and do not protrude or stick out.

How they taste: More fruity and less tart than a blackberry. They contain less sugar, so are not as sweet. A black raspberry has a unique taste that is not like other berries.

Health benefits: Black raspberries are one of the healthiest berries you can eat.  They are lower in sugar than other berries and provide a lot of fiber (about 8 grams per cup).  They contain large amounts of anthocyanins, with approximately three times the number of antioxidants found in blackberries.  They are also one of the most highly-researched berries, especially in the area of cancer prevention.

Berry Comparison

Nutritionally, plant foods can be measured to see how many antioxidants a specific serving of food will provide. Used by the USDA, it’s called an ORAC score, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (how many free radical cells can those antioxidants sweep up or absorb). Below is a chart comparing the antioxidant content of a variety of berries. Note which version is in first place.

ORAC berry score

Bottom Line

All berries are good choices to eat for optimum health benefits. But try to acquire some black raspberries this summer when you’re out at the farm market; your body will thank you.

 

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

 

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Source:

http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/black_raspberry_facts.htm

 

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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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