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Posts Tagged ‘Fiber’

Food, specifically plant food, can be used as medicine to help reduce or lower your risk for certain diseases. One is heart disease. Two of the risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, can be influenced by your food choices. If you are currently trying to lower one or both of those without having to resort to medication, you might want to try eating more plant foods.

Plant foods contain two different kinds of fiber. To lower your cholesterol, you need to consume more of the type we call soluble fiber. Soluble fiber combines with liquid in your stomach to make a gelatinous mixture that helps trap waxy particles of cholesterol. The mixture then proceeds through the digestive tract and leaves your body when you have a bowel movement. The most well-known source of soluble fiber is oats. Five to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day decreases your LDL cholesterol.

Other good sources of soluble fiber include dried beans and peas, nuts, barley, apples, pears, carrots and brussels sprouts. One excellent (but non-food) source of soluble fiber is psyllium, which is a plant used to make products that relieve constipation. One spoonful mixed in and cooked with your oatmeal everyday will do wonders for your cholesterol levels.

When it comes to lowering blood pressure, the first and most well-known food change you can make is to reduce the amount of sodium you eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain low amounts of sodium, which is a start in the right direction. But they also contain large amounts of potassium, a mineral that helps negate the bad effects of sodium. 

You should also try to consume 3500-4700 milligrams of potassium every day to help lower your blood pressure. However, taking potassium supplements is generally not recommended for people with high blood pressure.  A variety of potassium-rich foods should be eaten daily. The most well-known one, but actually not the best, is a banana.  Other good sources include potatoes (sweet and white), melon, peaches, raisins, tomatoes, pumpkin, and pears.

Many of the plant foods listed above are native to Ohio. Even though our availability of fresh, local produce is severely limited right now, start thinking about this spring. It is never too early to start planning for a garden. Growing at least part of your produce (even if it is just tomatoes and peppers) will give you superb tasting food that will help you maintain a healthy heart.

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:

Brinkman, P. (2017). Potassium. Ohio Line. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5588

Harvard Health Letter (2019). Should I take a potassium supplement?https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-i-take-a-potassium-supplement

Mayo Clinic (2018). Cholesterol: Top foods to improve your numbers. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol/art-20045192

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As we enter a new decade, be on the look out for new food trends. Here are five things to look for in the year 2020.

1.  Purple Yam Desserts- called Ube. Ube is a tuber from the Phillipines and has a very colorful violet -purple to bright lavender color. It is also relatively high in Vitamins A and C. Ube has been currently used in ice creams, however, be on the look out for this colorful purple yam in pies and donuts.

grcoery store shelf display of puffed snacks , veggie snacks, sweet potato snack, chickpea snacks.

2. Puffed Snacks- be on the look out for this trendy new product. You’ll be seeing more chick pea puffs, peanut puffs, and veggie puffs. This chip alternative is high in protein and low in saturated fat.

3. Cauli Power- Cauliflower continues to trend in food products such as pizza crusts , mashed potatoes, tater tots, rice and chicken tenders. Cauliflower adds more fiber, decreases fat and sodium content.

4. Protein Rich Products- Keep your eye out for some protein rich products. Protein is an important nutrient to our bodies. Our bodies use protein to build and repair tissues, as well as to make enzymes, hormones and is a building block for our skin, blood, bones and muscles. We may be seeing protein now in cold brew coffees, as well as, and high protein pastas containing chickpeas, lentils and edamame. A 1/4 cup rice made from chickpeas contains 11g Protein, and 5g fiber.

boxes on grocery shelf of chickpea, edamame and lentil pasta

 

5. Versatile veggies- Look for vegetables to be used in various ways such as in snack wraps, crackers, chips, and even BBQ sauce and Ketchup. Tomato sauce products are now featuring kale in some of their pasta sauces. Adding vegetables to sauces and condiments can increase fiber content while reducing sodium and added sugar.

Author:  Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bridgetshirvell/2019/12/04/10-food-trends-to-look-for-in-2020-according-to-yelp/#2a3dba495064
  2. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/top-food-trends-for-2020
  3. https://rdlounge.com/2019/11/08/fnce-food-trends-2019/

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plums

I’ve heard references to plum pudding at Christmas time for years. If you’ve read or seen Dickens’ work “A Christmas Carol,” then you know he loved to write about food. In this popular holiday classic, Dickens waxed poetic about huge turkeys and flaming plum puddings. Eating plum pudding after Christmas dinner became an English obsession during Victorian times.

 

Apparently a lot of symbolism goes into this English dessert, but what’s ironic is that it doesn’t even have to contain plums. It looks like a big bee’s nest and contains a mixture of dried fruits and lots of brandy. The closest comparable food item I can compare it to is mincemeat. However, we can have our plums and eat them, too, as eating them fresh or dried is much healthier.

 

Plums are grown locally and at their peak in early fall. Their claim to fame nutritionally is that they are particularly high in the antioxidants known as phenols. Phenols help undo damage caused by free-radical cells, especially those that damage fats. This isn’t good, as some fats in our body have extremely important functions, and one of them is in our brain cells.

 

Fat makes up a large percentage of our brain cells (hence the term fathead), and it helps explain why it is so important for children under the age of two to drink whole milk. They need the extra fat to help build their brain cells.

 

Plums are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C benefits range from building healthy tissue to helping your body absorb more iron to building up your immune system. One antioxidant found in plums that I wasn’t expecting was lutein. Lutein is usually prevalent in plant foods that are yellow or green, so I was surprised to know that plums are a good source of this necessary compound. But that’s because I was picturing plums as purple (the skin), instead of the fruit itself. Eating a food high in lutein helps reduce your risk for developing macular degeneration.

 

Plums are classified in six different categories, so their size, color, and shape may vary from variety to variety. They contain about 40 calories per plum and are a good source of fiber. Plums are related to the peach family and have a hard, flattish stone pit in the center. If you dry or dehydrate a plum, it turns into a prune. Both plums and prunes can help stimulate your bowels, so keep that in mind if you are trying to prevent or cure a bout of constipation.

 

Prunes used to be made by letting plums dry on the tree naturally via the sun (like raisins), but now they are dried in forced air tunnels heated by gas. This helps make the fruit more uniform in size. You can eat them “dry” right out of the pouch, or “wet” in a prune juice liquid. I absolutely love dried prunes, they are better than candy.

 

When it comes to purchasing fresh plums, try to get ones that are ripe and ready to eat. You should be able to squeeze them gently and feel a little give. It they are firm, they can be ripened at home, but if they are picked too soon, they might not have as sweet of a taste. The best time to eat a plum is when it is fully ripened, as that is when it contains the highest level of antioxidants.

 

Plums, and especially prunes, are sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of fruits; they don’t get a lot of respect. But now that you know how great they are, consider them a much better gift than a plum pudding!

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-plums-prunes

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-plums.html

https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/dried-plums-prunes-sweet-fiber-and-nutrition

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

 

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At the beginning of this year, I wrote Baby-steps To A Healthier You. I shared how I was going to make smaller weekly goals to help me reach my overall goal of losing weight and becoming healthier. Last month I shared my reflection about my progress in My Healthy Breakfast Evaluation. Just a quick recap, I am giving myself time to put my goal into action and then additional time to reflect on how things are going and what adjustments I need to make to continue progress toward my goal. I want to make sure that I feel successful so I do not get discouraged and lose momentum. The last thing I want is to revert to old habits. I was going to start with breakfasts first and then move onto snacks.

My breakfasts took a little longer to accomplish than I had anticipated. We all know that life can throw you curve balls and sometimes things can get a little chaotic. For the past two months, my life has been a whirlwind, so I have been living one day at a time. However, I am happy to report that I have lost 5 pounds! Could I have lost more? Certainly. However, I shared that this is a complete lifestyle change for me as I am trying to break old habits. I continue to remind myself that even if I cannot physically see the results, this does not mean that my body is not changing on the inside. After all, slow progress is still progress.

I have officially graduated myself to snacks this week. In preparation, I have done some research to help set myself up for success. If you suffer from Snack Attacks like myself, then I have great news for you! The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has fantastic handouts for healthy snacks. They even have handouts broken down into specific categories. Maybe you are looking for snacks to control your blood sugar, snacks under 100 calories or just a list of healthy snacks in general. You can find all of these handouts, plus more on their patient education health information website.

A snack helps control your appetite.

apples and peanut butter

Think of it as a mini meal to help your body get the nutrients it needs. Make sure your snack has a balance of carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. 1 small apple with 1 piece of light string cheese
  2. 1 cup of carrots with 1/3 cup hummus
  3. 6 ounces Greek yogurt with ½ a large banana
  4. ¾ cup blueberries and ¼ cup almonds

 

I encourage you to print off one of the snack handouts from the Wexner Medical Center and tape it to the inside of one of your kitchen cabinets. This way if you’re stuck on what to eat you have a quick reference!

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

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Sources:

Brinkman, P. (2011). Snack Attacks!. Live Healthy, Live Well. livehealthyosu.com/2011/11/23/snack-attacks/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Losing Weight: Getting Started. cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/getting_started.html

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (2018). Patient Education. patienteducation.osumc.edu/Pages/Home.aspx

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Many people forget how important it is to start your day with a fueling breakfast. We often forget to include this meal due to lack of time and planning around hectic schedules. One versatile breakfast item that my family and I enjoy is a veggie egg muffin. This simple dish has fresh ingredients, is easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is packed with protein from the eggs and fiber from its veggies. One large egg has 6 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and only 70 calories. Eggs also provide a rich source of vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Additionally, eggs are very economical to make; one egg has an average cost of approximately 8.5 cents in today’s market.    .

Vegetable Egg Muffin on a Plate

Veggie Egg Muffins

I like to make many versions of this recipe, depending on what I have available in my refrigerator. I always start with 10-12 eggs, and add milk and various veggies on hand. I also add additional spices to enhance the flavor. Spices include fresh garlic (or garlic powder), onion powder, parsley flakes, and sometimes fresh or dried basil.

Here is an egg muffin recipe that I would to share to get started. This can be modified based on your veggie preferences and items you have on hand.

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milkEggs in a bowl. Peppers, onion, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms on cutting board
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 3 medium-size mushrooms
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Cooking Spray

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, nonfat milk and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, diced peppers and onions. After vegetables are mixed together, add your cheese to the bowl.Egg mixture with veggies in a bowl

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin pan cups and bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan then use a knife to loosen the muffins from the cups.
*Adapted from Just a Taste

These healthy egg muffins taste good by themselves, but I often will make it into an egg sandwich to add more fiber. I start with a whole grain sandwich thin, and then add guacamole, taco sauce, 1 slice of cheese, and sometimes a thin slice of deli turkey. After I’ve assembled my sandwich, I warm it up in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. This is a great sandwich to start the day. They can be made the night before and put in a sandwich bag for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack. My husband likes to have it as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack.

If they will not be used in 5 days, plan to put them in the freezer for a later date.

Why not give it a try this week, and leave a reply in the comment box below to share other ideas for a healthy breakfast egg muffin.

Resources:
http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/egg-nutrition-basics/

http://www.aeb.org/news-trends/incredible-breakfast-trends/new-consumer/millennial-evolution

https://www.justataste.com/healthy-breakfast-egg-muffins-recipe/

 

Written by:  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu and Shannon Smith, RD, LD, Program Coordinator IGNITE Grant, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, smith.11604@osu.edu

Reviewed by:   Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,   remley.4@osu.edu

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NCI5_POTATO

Fall is the perfect season to remind everyone to consume more sweet potatoes. Like pumpkin, they are usually enjoyed on Thanksgiving Day and then promptly forgotten about until the following year. But this vegetable should be eaten as frequently as possible, because it’s a winner. If your only experience eating sweet potatoes has been the canned variety, you need to try fresh.  The flavor and texture is far superior to canned, and easy to prepare.

 

Sweet potatoes are actually edible roots. Technically, they aren’t even a potato.  Some people call them yams instead of sweet potato, but they’re not really yams, either.  This is one confused vegetable with an identity crisis.  But one thing you don’t need to be confused about is how good they are for you.

A half cup of sweet potato provides over 200% of your DRI of vitamin A for the day. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that provides the tools your body needs for the development and maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes. It also supports the immune system, reproduction, and oh yeah, vision. Want good eyesight?  Sweet potatoes are a better source of vitamin A than carrots.  They are also a good source of vitamin C, iron, thiamine, potassium (think about your blood pressure), vitamin E, and fiber.

Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, fried (like French fries) or steamed. Some restaurants offer a baked version as a side dish, usually with a brown sugar/butter spread. Those are incredibly good. But I also like to boil mine and make mashed sweet potatoes.

Are you a diabetic? Most diabetics steer clear of starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, but sweet potatoes contain compounds that can actually improve blood sugar regulation.  Depending on how you fix them, the glycemic index (GI) varies. The average GI value for a baked sweet potato is 94, but when boiled is only 46.

If you decide to mash, don’t try and peel the potatoes; they don’t peel as easily as white potatoes. Just cut the potatoes into chunks, cover with water and a lid, and bring to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until fork tender (about 40-45 minutes).

When the potatoes are tender, pour everything into a colander in the sink and let the steam and heat escape. Then nick the softened skin with a knife and just peel off.  Mash with a fork or potato masher and serve. For a little extra sweetness, try dribbling some maple syrup over the top. It will be like eating your vegetable and dessert at the same time!

Written by: Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County

Sources:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2

http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/usda-sweet-potato-nutritional-analysis/

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/03/white-potatoes-vs-sweet-potatoes-which-is-healthier/

 

 

 

 

 

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sweet corna

 

One of summer’s greatest pleasures is enjoying a fresh ear of sweet corn at a backyard barbecue.   We eagerly await the corn harvest, and now it’s here!  Fresh sweet corn is available in most communities throughout the month of August.

Corn is a nutrient-rich vegetable.  One ear of corn is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and potassium.  Corn is also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin; phyto-nutrients that are linked to a reduced risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.  Corn has about the same amount of calories as an apple, but with one-fourth less sugar.

To reap the full nutritional benefits of corn, cook no longer than 10 minutes in boiling water to minimize nutrient loss. While boiling is the primary way most of us prepare corn, grilling is a popular and tasty alternative. Other ways to enjoy this nutritious vegetable include mixing it into pasta dishes, corn bread, soups and/or salads.

For a different taste, try seasoning corn with lime juice instead of butter.  Or combine cooked corn kernels with chopped scallions, red pepper, hot pepper sauce and lime juice as a quick salsa for meat, poultry or fish.

So what are you waiting for?  In a few weeks corn season will be over. Make plans to visit your local farmer’s market to pick up some sweet corn this weekend!

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

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu
Resources:  Summer Corn – More Than Delicious, Web MD

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