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Posts Tagged ‘Nutrients’

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As long as you don’t add gobs of sugar, fat and salt to your garden produce, they will be some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables in your kitchen. However, there are ways to store, preserve, and prepare them so that they can even be healthier.

Phytonutrients are natural compounds derived from plants that can have health benefits when consumed. As opposed to nutrients, omission of phytonutrients in the diet will not cause deficiency symptoms, but including them can have additional health benefits. Some examples include anthocyanins in berries, capsaicin in peppers, and carotenoids in melons, carrots, tomatoes, sweet corn, green leafy vegetables, and green beans.

Nutrients and phytonutrients in the diet are important to our health because they often neutralize harmful substances called free radicals which are thought to be culprits of chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer. They are also helpful in preventing or slowing down inflammatory processes also linked with chronic disease. If you already live with a chronic disease such as diabetes, consumption of fruits and vegetables can help prevent or delay complications such as eye, kidney, or nervous system diseases.

Fruits, vegetables, and their combination of nutrients and phytonutrients likely play a role in preventing or delaying the development of age-related chronic diseases, like cancer and cardiovascular disease. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend that most people consume 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day.

How Cooking or Preserving Can Impact the Nutrition of your Harvest

Cooking and preservation exposes the fruit or vegetable to heat, oxygen and light, all which can degrade nutrient and phytonutrient levels. How do you maximize the levels in your food? Keep reading:

  • Boiling—Shorter cooking time minimizes nutrient loss. Consume cooking water or save for later, such as in soups or for cooking rice.
  • Steaming—Minimal contact with water helps retain water-soluble nutrients. Light steaming improves the availability of nutrients and phytonutrients.
  • Sautéing—Lower temperatures and shorter cooking times minimize nutrient loss. Lack of water during cooking reduces loss of water-soluble nutrients. A small amount of oil can increase availability of carotenoids.
  • Roasting or grilling—Compared to other cooking methods with lower temperatures, may result in a higher nutrient loss.
  • Canning—Can improve absorption of lycopene (a carotenoid) from tomatoes. Can cause loss of vitamin C.
  • Freezing—Results in high nutrient retention. Blanching (briefly boiling) can have small loss of heat-sensitive and water-soluble nutrients.
  • Drying—Loss of all water-soluble nutrients, but retains fiber. To maximize nutrient and phytochemicals, a different preservation method is advised.

What’s in your Garden? Nutritional Powerhouses!

Your garden produce have many health promoting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. USDA’s MyPlate model suggests that consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables is a key to good health, since nutrients often work together.

Vegetables

  • Beets have significant sources of folate, potassium and phytonutrients called betalains, compounds that may prevent the development of heart disease and certain cancers.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (leafy vegetables, broccoli) contain vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and phytonutrients called glucosinolates. Many of these compounds may provide cancer protection, especially for the bladder and prostate.
  • Green beans and pea pods have vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and phytonutrients including carotenoids, chlorophyll, polyphenols and saponins. These compounds may prevent development of heart disease and cancers.
  • Sweet corn contains vitamin C, niacin, and carotenoids. The compounds in sweet corn are antioxidants and have been demonstrated to slow digestion and control blood sugars.
  • Tomatoes contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and carotenoids. Tomatoes may provide protection from heart disease and certain cancers, especially prostate.
  • Green leafy vegetables contain vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium. Phytonutrients include carotenoids and polyphenols. Compounds in leafy vegetables may prevent cancers and promote bone health.
  • Peppers have vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, carotenoids, phenolics, and capsaicin. Compounds found in peppers may provide cancer protection and improve cholesterol.
  • Winter squash, pumpkins and carrots contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, potassium and carotenoids. These compounds are antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory. Health benefits include possible cancer protection and blood sugar control.

Fruits

  • Apples, pears and peaches have vitamin A, vitamin K and the phytochemical quercetin, which are all anti-inflammatory.
  • Berries contain vitamin C, vitamin K, and have the phytonutrients anthocyanins and ellagitannins. Many of these are anti-inflammatory compounds and are thought to provide cancer protection, especially of the mouth, esophagus, intestine and prostate.
  • Melons contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, carotenoids and polyphenols. These compounds may prevent the development of heart disease and certain cancers.

Source: Ohioline Factsheet HGY 5581: Farm to Health: Maximizing Nutrients and Phytonutrients in Ohio Produce. Retrieved on 8/27/2017 from https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5581

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Assistant Professor, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County

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June is moving right along which means the summer growing season is upon us. June is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.  It is a great time to focus on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. June is a good time to remind ourselves to make half of our plate fruits and vegetaveggiebles since most Americans don’t eat enough of either.

Locate a farmer’s market in your area and make it a point to visit to see what locally grown produce vendors have to offer.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with the nutrients our bodies need for healthy growth and development. They provide many important vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. Since most fruits and veggies have a high water content, they help keep us hydrated. Snack on some watermelon on a hot day to help cool you off and to hydrate you!

By eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke and protect against certain types of cancers.

Vegetables are divided into subgroups based on the different combinations of nutrients they provide. It is important to eat a variety of vegetables and to eat from all of the subgroups throughout the week.  The table below breaks vegetables into subgroups to assist you with choosing a variety to eat.

veggie subgroup chart

 

As I mentioned earlier, very few Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Below are some suggestions to help you make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  • Serve salads or a vegetable as a side dish at dinner.
  • Choose a fruit instead of dessert.
  • Create or order mixed dishes like casseroles or stir-fry.
  • Snack on fresh fruits or vegetables, like grapes, bananas, carrots, or cucumbers.
  • East a piece of fruit with breakfast every day.
  • Build your meals around fruits and vegetables when meal planning.
  • Cool off this summer with a fruity homemade smoothie or popsicle. You can even get adventurous and add some veggies to your recipes.

fruits

 

Did you know……fruits and vegetables consumed in almost all forms count towards your daily total?  These can be canned, dried, frozen, or fresh.  Canned and frozen foods are processed within hours of being harvested so their nutritional value and flavor are preserved.

 

Author:  Tammy Jones, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pike County

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Perry County

Sources:

Brooks, A. (2014).  All About Smoothies.  Virginia Cooperative Extension.  http://blogs.ext.vt.edu/eatsmart-movemore/2014/04/03/all-about-smoothies/

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fresh-frozen-canned-dried-and-100-juice

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/key-nutrients-in-fruits-and-vegetables

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/a-closer-look-at-current-intakes-and-recommended-shifts/#table-2-1

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-nutrients-health

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://healthymeals.fns.usda.gov/features-month/june/national-fresh-fruit-and-vegetable-month

 

 

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raspberry-995344_640

Did you know that today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day?  Raspberries are abundant at this time of year.  Raspberries- like many other fruits- are an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese and fiber. They also contain the phytonutrient ellagic acid, a potential anti-cancer agent.   They are an excellent source of soluble fiber and may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Raspberries also provide a slow release of carbohydrates into the blood stream.  This fruit is very low in calories, providing just 64 calories per cup serving. Raspberries also provide 8 grams of fiber and 54% of the daily need for Vitamin C.

If you are looking for raspberries on this eventful day you may be surprised to find that a variety of colors from red to black to purple to yellow are all available. Raspberries should be bright, shiny, and uniform in color. Avoid ones that are dull and appear to have surface moisture, as moisture promotes decay.  Handle this produce very gently to avoid bruising. Bruising shortens the life of the fruit and contributes to low quality. Berries are highly perishable; therefore, store fresh raspberries uncovered in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Gently rinse berries in cold water prior to use.  Never soak berries in water.  Be aware that raspberry shelf life is short so only buy what you can use. Plan to eat your berries within one to two days after purchase.

Try this quick and easy Raspberry Cream Pie Recipe:raspberry-925190_640

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared reduced fat graham cracker pie crust

Directions

  1. Whisk sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice together in a bowl; gently fold 1 pint of raspberries.
  2. Spread filling evenly within the crust.
  3. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
  4. Top pie with remaining fresh raspberries when ready to serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes http://allrecipes.com/recipe/229009/fresh-red-raspberry-cream-pie/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=16

 

Not enough time to make a pie today? Try these quick and easy ways to add raspberries to your National Raspberry Cream Pie Day:

  • Add fresh raspberries to hot and cold cereals
  • Top nonfat yogurt with fresh raspberries and some granola for a great breakfast, snack or dessert.
  • Combine raspberries into a fresh lettuce salad and top with a low fat vinaigrette dressing
  • Lastly, just enjoy fresh berries as a snack. They are delicious, sweet and juicy!

WRITTEN BY: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County and Marcia Jess, Program Coordinator, Wood County.

REVIEWED BY: Shawna Hite, Healthy People Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences

Sources:

http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5511

http://extension.illinois.edu/raspberries/

http://www.msuextension.org/nutrition/documents/RaspberryFFS.pdf

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Many people grow a few tomatoes in their backyard.  They can be planted in the landscaping, in a container on your patio, or you may have enough space for a garden.  If you are a home grower you may have more tomatoes than you know what to do with.  Of course, you’re first thought might be to eat them fresh, but if you have grown tired of this here are some ideas to include them in dishes you make.

  • If your recipe calls for peeled and/or seeded tomatoes, hold in boiling water for 30 seconds, plunge into cold water, drain, make a slit in the blossom end and peel skins back.
  • Seed by cutting the tomato in half crosswise and remove seeds with the tip of a knife or spoon.
  • Slice tomatoes the French way, from stem to blossom by doing so they lose less juice.
  • Top with fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, or curry powder.
  • Stuff large tomatoes with a variety of mixtures such as fish, poultry, egg salad, or cottage cheese.
  • Stuff cherry tomatoes for bite-size appetizers. To prepare, slice off tops and a very thin slice off the bottom, so they will stand well. Remove seeds and juice with a melon scoop. Stuff with your favorite fillings—cream cheese and watercress; tuna and mayonnaise; pulverized peanuts, mayonnaise and curry powder; or avocado, minced onion, and lemon juice.
  • For an elegant salad or appetizer, layer sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella cheese on lettuce. Dress lightly with olive oil.
  • Tomatoes get better and better tasting as you cook them. They are great in entrees that cook a long time or require next day “reheating.”

A four-ounce tomato supplies about one-third of your daily nutrient needs for vitamin C, and a little beta carotene, potassium, folate, iron and fiber.  They also contain lycopene an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of prostate and possibly other cancers.  Lycopene is more easily absorbed in cooked than in raw tomatoes.

If you are interested in preserving some of your tomatoes check out the following fact sheets:

Canning Basics http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5338.pdf

Canning Tomatoes http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5336.pdf

Canning Tomato Products http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5337.pdf

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, Extension Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Tomatoes available at: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hygfact/5000/pdf/5532.pdf

University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Made Easy

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A question or comment that I have heard frequently about vegetables is “Should I eat fresh? Frozen? Or canned?” “I hear that frozen are better for you.” I have had several people ask about this lately so  I thought maybe I should look for some research – rather than just go with my gut opinion. This is what I found.

Fresh vegetables will have higher nutrient levels if they are eaten shortly after picking, but those that have been in transit and storage for up to a couple weeks will lose from 10 – 50% of certain nutrients. This certainly depends on the quality of storage – but there will be some loss. On the positive side – this spring, summer, and fall we will have the opportunity to eat vegetables with high amounts of nutrients if we grow our own or purchase local grown at the Farmer’s Market

Canned vegetables are typically processed very quickly after picking which can result in high quality vegetables with little nutrient loss. The problem with canned is that they often have added salt or sugar, which most of us can do without. Our best choice is to purchase those without added sodium (or sugar for corn) or to rinse them to remove some of the added sodium. If you have home canned vegetables, keep them in a cool, dry place and serve within 12 months. Note – home canned vegetables can be safely processed without added salt. If you are planning to do preserving this summer – check out our Ohio State University Extension Office websites – we have links to the latest food preservation information, often offer classes, and test pressure canners for accuracy.

Vegetables that are picked and frozen quickly retain most of their original nutrients, but they need proper storage to maintain this quality. Keep them in your freezer and serve them within a month or two. For optimum freezer storage it should be zero degrees Fahrenheit and not over packed. Air in the freezer needs to circulate and food should be away from the back vent of the freezer.

One of the major ways that vegetables lose their nutrients is during cooking. For optimum nutrients, use shorter cooking times at lower temperatures. If possible, microwave or steam veggies. Another great way to have vegetables in stir-fried – which usually is done with a short cooking time.

Sources:

Columbia University, Health Services, http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/

Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/datastorefiles/234-779.pdf

Medline Plus, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002095.htm

Ohio State University Extension, Ohioline HYG Factsheet #5402-94-R10,  http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5402.pdf

Author: Lisa Barlage, Family & Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

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