In Asian cuisine seaweed is quite a common ingredient which most of us may be familiar with when we dine at Japanese restaurants. It is used in miso soup and nori sheets are used to make sushi amongst other things.
Eating seaweed is a fantastic way to add extra vitamins and minerals to your diet which in turn may protect you from certain diseases.
What Is Seaweed?
Seaweed is a general term used to describe many different species of algae and marine plants.
The most common edible types of seaweed are red, green, blue-green and brown which can be eaten fresh, dried, cooked or as a powdered supplement.
Common types of seaweed are:
Seaweed is Especially High in Many Nutrients: Edible seaweed contains a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals and trace elements at higher levels than other common foods. Dried seaweed varieties such as spirulina and chlorella are especially rich sources of complete protein.
Depending on where seaweed is sourced it differs in nutritional value, but generally, 100g of seaweed provides you with:
Dried algae is more concentrated in nutrients. One tablespoon (8 grams) is sufficient to provide most of the nutrient amounts listed above.
Twice as much protein is found in spirulina and chlorella per portion. Unlike other types of algae, they also contain all of the essential amino acids required by the human body. This makes them complete sources of protein.
There is some debate when it comes to vitamin B12 which is found naturally in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. Some claim that seaweed is a good plant source of vitamin B12 and others claim whether the form of vitamin B12 found in algae is active in humans. If you are vegan it is best not to rely on this source and to supplement your vitamin B12.
Seaweed is a rich source of antioxidants and they also contain good amounts of sulfated polysaccharides (sPS), which are beneficial plant compounds thought to contribute to seaweed’s health benefits.
Promote Thyroid Function: Your thyroid requires a good intake of iodine to function properly. Iodine is found in large amounts in seaweed. Failure to get enough iodine from the diet can lead to hypothyroidism. The iodine RDI is 150 micrograms per day. This requirement can be met by eating several servings of seaweed per week. Keep in mind that certain varieties such as kelp, kombu and dulse tend to contain very high amounts of iodine and should not be eaten frequently, or in high amounts. Others, such as spirulina, contain very little, so don’t rely on them as your only source of iodine.
Improve Heart Health: seaweed contains a good source of soluble fiber and contains long-chain omega-3 fatty acids both of which are beneficial for heart health. In addition the sulfated polysaccharides (sPS) found in seaweed may have the ability to reduce blood pressure, prevent blood clotting, reduce LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.
A two-month study gave type 2 diabetics either a spirulina supplement or a placebo every day. The supplement group’s triglyceride levels dropped by 24%.
Participants in the spirulina group also improved their LDL-to-HDL cholesterol ratio, whereas the ratio in the placebo group worsened.
In another study, a daily spirulina supplement reduced participants’ total cholesterol levels by 166% more than the placebo group over the two-month study period.
Participants in the seaweed group also reduced their LDL cholesterol levels by 154% more than the placebo group.
Although these results seem promising, not all studies found similar results and more human studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.
It May Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels: Researchers believe that certain compounds found in seaweed may play a beneficial role in stabilizing blood sugar levels and preventing type 2 diabetes . Fucoxanthin, antioxidant that gives brown algae its characteristic color, is thought to help reduce insulin resistance and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Seaweed May Help You Lose Weight: Researchers believe this may be due, in part, to seaweed’s ability to affect your levels of the weight regulating hormone leptin. Combined with seaweed’s high fiber content, this may help reduce hunger and enhance feelings of fullness. Fucoidan, a type of sPS found in seaweed, may enhance fat breakdown and prevent its formation.
Studies in obese participants report that those given a seaweed supplement for 12–16 weeks lost around 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) more than those given a placebo. What’s more, seaweed is low in calories, making it a great low-calorie snack option.
Seaweed May Strengthen the Immune System: Marine plant compounds believed to have antioxidant, anti-allergenic and disease-protecting properties. Research shows that these compounds may have the ability to fight viruses such as herpes and HIV by blocking their entry into cells.
A recent study looked at the effects of taking seaweed supplements in HIV-positive women. Those given 5 grams of spirulina per day developed 27% fewer disease-related symptoms, compared to the placebo group.
However, no differences in immune cell levels were observed over the 12-week study period.
Additional studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.
Seaweed May Improve Gut Health: It is rich in fiber, which can help prevent constipation and ensure smooth digestion.
It also contains agars, carrageenans and fucoidans, which are thought to act as prebiotics. Prebiotics are a type of non-digestible fiber that feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
The more good bacteria you have in your gut, the less space there is for harmful bacteria to thrive.
It May Reduce the Risk of Cancer: The presence of seaweed in your diet may help reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
For instance, researchers believe that seaweed may help decrease estrogen levels, potentially reducing women’s risk of developing breast cancer.
The soluble fiber found in seaweed may also help protect against the development of colon cancer .
What’s more, some studies suggest that a class of compounds found in brown varieties, such as kelp, wakame and kombu, may help prevent the spread of cancerous cells.
Other Potential Benefits: Seaweed may offer some additional protection against metabolic syndrome, skin damage, bone disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Is Eating Seaweed Safe?: Eating fresh seaweed is considered to be safe for most people. Consuming it regularly or in high amounts may cause some side effects. Depending on where they’re grown, some varieties of seaweed can contain high levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the levels of these chemicals and heavy metals in fresh seaweed. However, supplements are not regulated and may contain levels that are detrimental to health. It is important to find a company that you can trust.
A High Intake May Interfere With Kidney Function and Blood Thinners: Certain varieties of seaweed may contain high levels of sodium and potassium, which can be harmful to individuals suffering from kidney disease.
Seaweed also contains vitamin K, which may interfere with blood-thinning medications. Those taking blood thinners should make sure to check with a doctor before making it a regular part of their diet.
Some Are Very High in Iodine and May Interfere With Thyroid Function: While iodine is necessary for proper thyroid function, getting too much iodine can be harmful.
Kelp, dulse and kombu are types of seaweed with the tendency to contain very high levels of iodine. For instance, 25 grams of fresh kombu can contain close to 22 times more iodine than the safe daily limit.Therefore, these varieties should not be consumed too often, nor in large quantities.
Where to Find Seaweed and How to Eat It: In Cyprus seaweed can be purchased dried from most Asian corner shops, healthfood shops and some supermarkets.
In addition to their use for sushi, nori sheets can also easily be used to replace tortilla bread when making wraps.
Wakame can be soaked and made into a salad with some avocado, lettuce and pine nuts. I sometimes add it to my pulse dishes which is a good way to make them more nutritious as it releases all those minerals into your food.
Dried nori or dulse make for nice savory snacks. Or, try crumbling them over salads to add a dash of umami flavor.
Spirulina and chlorella can be added to smoothies, while kelp can be used instead of salt to add flavor to just about anything.
Many types of seaweed can also be incorporated into warm dishes, including pulses, soups, stews and baked goods. Get imaginative ! There’s no right or wrong way to go about it.
Delicious and nutritious, berries are among some of the healthiest foods that you can add to your diet, providing a number of health benefits.
Here are 11 good reasons to include berries in your diet:
1. Berries Are High in Antioxidants
Berries are high in antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol which protect your cells and reduce the risk of disease.
The berries which have the highest antioxidant activity next to pomegranates are blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Several studies have shown that antioxidants in berries may help to reduce oxidative stress, making it an ideal addition especially to an athlete’s diet.
A single 300 – 500g portion of berries was found to protect against free radical damage.
2. Berries May Balance Blood Sugar and Improve Insulin Response
Berries may balance blood sugar and insulin levels in healthy people and those with insulin resistance. In a six week study, obese, insulin-resistant people who consumed a blueberry smoothie twice per day experienced greater improvements in insulin sensitivity than the group who consumed smoothies without berries.
3. Berries Are High in Fiber
Berries are a good source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Soluble fiber slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness. This helps to decrease your calorie intake and makes weight-loss easier.
Berries are a low sugar, high fiber fruit. In one-cup of berries there are:
4. Berries Provide Many Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to being low in sugar and calories, berries are extremely nutritious. Strawberries are high in vitamin C. In fact, one cup of strawberries provides a whopping 150% of the RDI for vitamin C.
With the exception of vitamin C, all berries are fairly similar in terms of their vitamin and mineral contents.
5. Berries are Anti-inflammatory
Berries have anti-inflammatory qualities which help to decrease to the development of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, among other diseases. They also help to speed up recovery in athletes caused from post-exercise soreness.
6. Berries May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
Berries (especially black raspberries and strawberries) are a heart-healthy food which have been shown to lower cholesterol in obese people and those with metabolic syndrome.
When obese people consumed 1.5 ounces (50 grams) of freeze-dried blueberries for eight weeks, their oxidized LDL levels decreased by 28%.
7. Berries for Beautiful Skin
Berries may help reduce skin wrinkling. This makes sense, given that the antioxidants in berries help control free radicals, one of the leading causes of skin damage that contributes to skin aging related to sun-damage.
8. Antioxidants in Berries May Protect Against Cancer
Several antioxidants in berries, including anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol, may reduce the risk of cancer (esophagus, mouth, breast and colon). Berries have been shown to reduce markers associated with tumor growth in animals and people with several types of cancer.
In one study, 20 patients with colon cancer consumed 2 ounces (60 grams) of freeze-dried raspberries for 1–9 weeks. This treatment was found to improve tumor markers in some patients, although not in all.
9. Berries Keep Your Arteries Healthy
In addition to lowering cholesterol, berries provide other benefits for heart health. Berries have been found to improve arterial function in several studies of healthy people, those with metabolic syndrome and smokers
Berries make a wonderful, delicious and nutritious addition to your diet. Add them to your smoothie, health bars, healthy oat cookies or muffins, yogurt or snack on them with a handful of almonds.
Fresh berries are considered the healthiest, followed by frozen and freeze or sun-dried. Baked commercial berry products are considered processed and hence it is better to avoid them.
For most healthy people, it’s perfectly okay to have a snack before bed, yet keep in mind that there is no recipe for an ideal bedtime snack, only some guidelines.
Avoid Junk Foods and Sugary Desserts: Loading up on sugary, processed junk foods like ice-cream or crisps right before isn’t a good idea. These foods are high in unhealthy fats, sugars and salt which trigger cravings and overeating. They make it very easy to exceed your daily calorie needs for the day.
Eating before bed doesn’t necessarily make you put on weight, but filling up on high calorie foods certainly can.
If you happen to have a sweet tooth, try some low-sugar berries a couple of squares of dark chocolate or if you crave for something salty have a small handful of salty, roasted pistachios, almonds or other nuts or seeds.
Combine Protein or Fat With Carbs: If you don’t have any stomach or digestive problems combining complex carbohydrates with protein and a little healthy fat is a good way to do it.
Complex carbs such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables provide you with a steady source of energy as you fall asleep.
Teaming it up with protein or a small amount of fat can help keep you full through the night and keep your blood sugar stable.
Some evidence suggests that eating a carb-rich meal with a high glycemic index before bed can help you fall asleep. The reason for this is that carbohydrates improve the transportation of tryptophan an amino acid, which can be converted into neurotransmitters that help regulate sleep. The same effect you may also receive from tryptophan rich foods such as fish, red meat, poultry and dairy.
In other studies a meal rich in fat can improve sleep quality.
Some snack ideas include an apple with peanut butter, whole grain crackers and a slice of turkey, or cheese and grapes.
Conclusion: eating a carb with protein and fat snack before bed is fine for most people if you haven’t surpassed the amount of calories needed for the day. A definite no, no is eating junk foods and desserts before bed.
So the big question. Should you eat before bed ?
The answer to whether or not it’s a bad idea to eat before bed really depends on you and your habits.
It’s not a good idea to make a habit of snacking on unhealthy foods before bed. It’s also unwise to eat a large portion of your calories during the night.
Keeping that in mind, it’s perfectly fine for most people to have a healthy snack before they Zzzzzz. :))
We all know that stress can be hard on the stomach. Remember the last time you felt nervous, I am sure that you had an iffy feeling in your gut.
The truth is that the impact of stress on the stomach goes far beyond indigestion. In recent years, scientists and doctors have discovered a remarkably complex connection between the brain and the digestive system. In fact the entire system is extremely sensitive to our moods.
Experts now see stress as a major player in a wide range of digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and heartburn.
In fact people who are “continually sick” with infections are the ones who have a tendency to suffer from long term low-grade stress. Stress affects the whole body, but it is the immune system that is most affected by chronic low-grade stress.
People under chronic low-grade stress had above normal levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an immune-system protein that promotes inflammation and has been linked with heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, severe infections and certain cancers. It appears that stress increases levels of IL-6, which in turn accelerates a variety of age-related diseases.
The Brain and the Digestive System
Most of us talk about "gut feelings," but few of us really appreciate the amazingly strong connections between the brain and the digestive system. Did you know that the stomach and intestines actually have more nerve cells than the entire spinal cord, leading some experts to call the digestive system a "mini brain." There is a highway of nerves which runs directly from the real brain to the digestive system, and messages flow in two directions.
To make a point; 95 percent of the body's serotonin -- a hormone that helps control mood -- is found in the digestive system, not the brain.
Under stress the brain releases a number of hormones that can badly affect the digestive system. One of these hormones is called CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone) which is one of the body’s main alarm bells. In stressful situations, the brain produces CRH which in turn triggers the adrenal glands to start making steroids and adrenaline, chemicals connected to “fight or flight” situations.
CRH can diminish your appetite which explains why some people don’t want to eat anything when stressed or it can make you hungry explaining why others turn to foods (usually junk foods) when stressed or upset.
As we can see, different people have different responses to stress, yet we can say through observation that short-term stress can cause stomach aches, nausea and diarrhea. In the long-term, prolonged stress can aggravate chronic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn and cause stomach ulcers.
According to a report from the University of North Carolina, as many as 80 percent of people with IBS or another functional gastrointestinal problem never discuss symptoms with a doctor or other health professional… There is no need to suffer in silence.
Firstly it is important to get a diagnosis from your doctor so that you can check for any underlying diseases that might explain the symptoms. A doctor can also prescribe medication that will help to get the digestive system back on track temporarily. It is important to go to the root of the problem.
Healing in most cases involves a holistic approach which is a combination of healthy eating, (nutrition), exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and relaxation techniques such as power chiyoga, meditation (breathing exercises) and time spent outdoors in nature.
When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off it is essential to keep your metabolism high.
There are a number of common lifestyle mistakes that may be slowing down your metabolism.
The following eating and lifestyle behaviours slow down your metabolism and make losing weight harder than it should and also makes you prone to future weight gain.
1. Eating Too Little Calories
Eating too little calories can cause a major decrease in metabolism.
Although a calorie deficit is needed for weight loss, it can be counterproductive for your calorie intake to drop too low. When you dramatically lower your calorie intake, your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate at which it burns calories. To ensure optimum weight-loss women can consume around 1,800 calories per day and for men around 2,000 per day.
2. Skimping on Protein
Eating enough protein is extremely important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
Studies have shown that, in addition to helping you feel full, a high protein intake can significantly increase the rate at which your body burns calories.
The increase in metabolism that occurs after digestion is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).
The thermic effect of protein is much higher than the thermic effects of carbs or fat. Indeed, eating protein has been observed to temporarily increase metabolism by about 20–30%, versus 5–10% for carbs and 3% or less for fat .
One study found that people needed to eat at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound (1.2 grams/kg) of their body weight in order to prevent their metabolism from slowing during and after weight loss.
3. Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
Living a sedentary lifestyle may lead to a significant decrease in the number of calories you burn every day.
Unfortunately, many people have lifestyles that mainly involve sitting at work, which can have negative effects on metabolic rate and overall health.
Although working out or playing sports can have a major impact on the number of calories you burn, even basic physical activity such as standing up, cleaning and taking the stairs can help you burn calories.
This type of activity is referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
One study found that performing a high amount of NEAT regularly could burn up to 2,000 additional calories per day. However, such a dramatic increase is not realistic for most people.
Simply taking the stairs or getting up to walk around several times per day can help increase your NEAT and prevent your metabolism from dropping.
4. Not Getting Enough High-Quality Sleep
Sleep is extremely important for good health. When you sleep for fewer hours than you may need you increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Inadequate sleep also lowers your metabolic rate and increases your Several studies have found that inadequate sleep may also lower your metabolic rate and increase your probability of gaining weight.
5. Drinking Sugary Beverages
Sugar-sweetened drinks are the absolute worst beverages for health.
A high consumption of soft drinks, juices and other sugary drinks has been linked to all sorts of health problems, including insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity.
Most of the negative effects of sugar-sweetened beverages can be attributed to fructose. Table sugar contains 50% fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup contains 55% fructose.
Results from a 2012 study suggest that frequently consuming sugar-sweetened beverages may slow down your metabolism and promote fat storage in the belly and liver.
6. A Lack of Resistance Training
Adding in some strength training with weights keeps your metabolism from slowing down.
Strength training has been shown to increase metabolic rate in healthy people, as well as those who have heart disease or are overweight or obese.
Resistance training increases muscle mass, which makes up much of the fat-free mass in your body. Having a higher amount of fat-free mass significantly increases the number of calories you burn at rest.
Even 11 minutes per day for three days a week can increase your metabolic rate by 7.4% and burn an extra 125 extra calories per day, on average. Strength training also has anti-aging benefits by reducing muscle loss as you get older.
In conclusion engaging in healthy eating and lifestyle behaviours helps to keep your metabolism working at its optimum rate, prevents you from weight gain over time and keeps off the weight that you lost.
Protein is a micronutrient that is used to build and repair muscle. One of the roles it plays is in revving fat-burning metabolism and reducing the hunger pangs that can lead to making unhealthy choices by eating products high in sugar and fat like cakes and biscuits.
Protein helps to slow the release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream, which can prevent the sudden spikes in blood sugar that are thought to encourage fat storage and sagging energy levels.
So how much protein does one need ?
It can vary from physique-minded individuals that should seek out at least 2 g of protein for each 1kg of body weight to maintain and build muscle to 1.2 to 1.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight for endurance athletes such as triathletes, long distance runners and cyclists.
For the average sedentary person, the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.
It can be quite daunting trying to figure out which foods to eat to cover your protein needs. Here’s a list of foods to add to your protein-friendly grocery list:
1. Greek Yogurt
Protein Power: 23 g per 8 oz. serving ~ You also gain gut friendly probiotics bacteria and bone-building calcium.
Note: Plain Greek yogurt can contain up to three times less sugar than flavored types.
If you are intolerant to cow’s milk opt for goat’s yogurt which has 7g protein per 8oz serving.
2. Cottage Cheese
Protein Power: 14 g per 1/2 cup serving ~ a great bedtime snack to help build muscle.
Need to Know: Cottage cheese is known to be high in sodium. Choose a brand that contains less salt.
3. Emmental Cheese or similar types (Swiss Cheese - USA)
Protein Power: 8 g per 1 oz. serving
Note: If you're concerned about the calorie density of full-fat Swiss, low-fat versions have a protein-to-fat ratio of around 8-to-1, while still providing good flavor.
Protein Power: 6 g per 1 large egg
Egg whites are near perfect muscle food.
Note: Choose omega-3 eggs, free range and organic eggs. The best eggs are from home chickens roaming around a yard.
5. Whey Protein
Protein Power: 24 g per scoop, on average
Whey protein is one of the cleanest, fastest-digesting proteins on the market. It’s the perfect addition to any fat-loss or muscle-building diet.
Note: Whey protein is extremely anabolic, or good for building muscle, because it’s a particularly rich source of branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs.
6. Yellowfin Tuna
Protein Power: 25 g per 3 oz. serving
Tuna delivers easily digested, premium-quality protein. You'll also benefit from the healthy amount of B vitamins and the potent antioxidant selenium in its flesh. When possible look for albacore tuna, dolphin friendly tuna.
Protein Power: 23 g per 3 oz. serving
This is a great choice as it is also low in fat 2g per 3 oz serving.
Need to Know: Pacific halibut is generally considered a more sustainable choice than Atlantic.
Protein Power: 25 g per 3 oz. serving
Need to Know: Frozen octopus actually has an advantage over fresh because the subzero process works to help tenderize the meat. Canned octopus might also be an option to use as a salad topping.
9. Sockeye Salmon
Protein Power: 23 g per 3 oz. serving
Not only does wild salmon like sockeye taste better than its farmed cousin, it also supplies about 25 percent more protein. You’ll also get lots of anti-inflammatory, fat-fighting long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Need to Know: Look for salmon with the skin still intact, as it provides added flavor during cooking.
10. Light Tuna
Protein Power: 22 g per 3 oz. serving
Less pricey canned light tuna actually provides a little more protein than more expensive canned white tuna.
Need to Know: To save yourself some calories opt for water-packed tuna instead of the oil-packed gift of the sea.
Protein Power: 21 g per 3 oz. serving
Sardines are little superfoods of the sea. Packed with minerals, omega-3, protein and vitamin-D which can also boost testosterone production.
12. Navy Beans
Protein Power: 20 g per 1 cup serving
Beans are a fantastically cheap source of protein, and of the most commonly available canned legumes, navy beans lead the way. Each cup also supplies an impressive 13 g of dietary fiber.
13. Dried Lentils
Protein Power: 13 g per 1/4 cup serving
14. Roasted Turkey Breast
Protein Power: 18 g per 3 oz. serving
Being nearly fat-free, slices of deli turkey are almost pure muscle-making protein. So when it comes to lunch sandwiches, pile it high.
Need to Know: Steer clear of flavored turkey and other deli meats to avoid bringing home stuff you don't need more of, like salt, sugar, and lab-made flavorings.
15. Peanut Butter
Protein Power: 8 g per 2 tbsp serving
Peanut butter delivers more protein than the other trendier butter like almond and cashew.
Need to Know: Forget the reduced-fat versions. All they do is replace the healthy fat with not-so-healthy sugar. Choose sugar free versions where possible or with very low sugar content.
16. Mixed Nuts
Protein Power: 6 g per 2 oz. serving
Peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds make for a crunchy way to add more protein and healthy unsaturated fats to your diet.
Need to Know: Choose raw unsalted nuts and seeds. Avoid the salted and roasted.
17. Smoothie Drinks
Protein Power: 16 g - 20g per 1 cup serving
Add in fruit, a cup of yogurt or some whey protein and you have yourself a refreshing high protein drink.
Protein Power: 8 g per 1/2 cup serving
Found in the frozen-food section of most supermarkets, these green soybeans will give your diet a boost of plant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Need to Know: To upgrade your snack time, prepare shelled frozen edamame according to package directions, then season with fresh lemon juice, a pinch of chili and salt.
19. Green Peas
Protein Power: 7 g per 1 cup serving
While protein is not abundant in most vegetables, subzero green peas contain enough that you'll want to keep a bag stashed in your freezer at all times. They're also a good source of fiber to help keep cravings for junk food at bay.
20. Wheat Germ
Protein Power: 6 g per 1 oz. serving
The wheat grain is made up of three components—endosperm, bran, and germ. The germ is the most nutrient-dense part and includes notable amounts of plant-based protein. You can use it to add a protein boost to your oatmeal, pancakes, and even shakes.
Need to Know: To preserve freshness, it's best to store wheat germ in the refrigerator or freezer.
21. Soba Noodles
Protein Power: 12 g per 3 oz. serving
Consider using these buckwheat Japanese-style noodles for your pasta nights since they contain more protein than most wheat-based noodles. Even better, they cook in about half the time as whole-wheat pasta.
Need to Know: To remove the excess starch that can make the noodles gummy, it's important to rinse cooked soba after draining.
Protein Power: 8 g per 1 cup serving
This whole grain contains a full arsenal of essential amino acids, meaning that it's a complete protein with muscle-making potential.
Need to Know: Toasting quinoa in a dry skillet or saucepan before simmering it in water can enhance its natural nutty flavor.
Peppermint has such a strong reputation that it was forbidden to ancient Greek soldiers in wartime in case it distracted them and reduced their courage ! For centuries Arab men have drunk peppermint tea to stimulate virility.
Myrrh is considered in Ayurvedic medicine to be one of the best rejuvenating herbs to slow down the aging process. It is still used today as it was thousands of years ago to restore the female reproductive system, increase energy and to dispel repressed emotions.
Peppers, particularly cayenne pepper, increase the “fire” in the body, stimulating energy and enhancing vitality. They have long been used to increase sexual energy and fertility and to prolong life.
Rose is a traditional symbol of love, and a tonic to the female reproductive system, used to treat infertility and to enhance sexual desire. In men, roses have been used to treat lack of sexual interest and impotence. In aromatherapy oil of rose is used to treat a wide range of problems associated with the reproductive tract - including emotional problems related to sexuality causing problems such as frigidity and impotence.
Cloves are wonderfully stimulating and warming. The lift the spirits, relax tension, increase energy and have a reputation from ancient times for “stirring up lust” when eaten.
Rosemary is an excellent tonic, in the past seen as a symbol of love and fidelity. It has rejuvenating action, and its antioxidant properties help to slow the aging process.
Ginger is another stimulating and warming spice, increasing energy and vitality and stimulating the circulation. It is used for a variety of menstrual problems, and it is recommended for impotence or lack of sexual energy caused by deficiency of vital warmth in the body. It is taken as an aphrodisiac in many countries of the world.
Garlic acts as an invigorating tonic, used in the past in many places as an “elixir of youth”. It imparts energy and vitality and its antioxidant properties help to slow the aging process. It has been widely acclaimed as an aphrodisiac.
Cinnamon has been used since the time of the Crusaders in love potions and as an aphrodisiac for both men and women. It is a wonderfully strengthening tonic, increasing the circulation, enhancing energy and vitality and has been used for centuries for frigidity and impotence.
Parsley was said to enhance beauty and youthfulness, and it was used in love potions for “unwilling” women for its aphrodisiac powers. It stimulated circulation and increases energy, and makes a very nutritious tonic.
There are many different ways that eggs can be cooked, including boiling, poaching, frying, baking and scrambling.
One of the main reasons why you should cook eggs is that it makes them safer to eat and also makes some of their nutrients such as the protein and biotin easier to digest.
Studies show that the protein in eggs is easier to digest when it’s been cooked. One study found that the human body could use 91% of the protein in cooked eggs, compared to 51% in raw eggs.
Eggs are a good source of biotin, which is an important nutrient used in fat and sugar metabolism. It’s also known as vitamin B7, or vitamin H.
Avidin a protein in raw eggs binds to biotin making it unavailable for your body to use. When the eggs are cooked the heat causes structural change to avidin, making it less effective at binding to biotin hence making it easier to absorb.
On the other hand, high cooking may damage vital nutrients found in eggs such as vitamin A. It is reduced by 17-20%. Cooking eggs by microwaving, boiling and frying reduces the amount of antioxidants the eggs by 6-18%.
Shorter cooking times (even at high temperatures) have been shown to retain more nutrients.
Eggs baked for 40 minutes may lose up to 61% of their vitamin D, compared to up to 18% when they are fried or boiled for a shorter amount of time.
Though cooking may reduce some nutrients in eggs, they are still a very rich source of vitamins and antioxidants.
The cholesterol in eggs cooked at high temperatures may become oxidized and produce compounds known as oxysterols.
Oxysterols may be a concern for some people, as oxidized cholesterol and oxysterols in the blood have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Five cooking tips to eating healthier eggs:
In conclusion, shorter and lower-heat cooking methods cause less oxidation of cholesterol and help retain most of the nutrients in the eggs. Hence poached and boiled (either hard or soft) eggs may be the healthiest way to eat your eggs.
Figs, are truly nature’s mouth watering delicious delights. They are native to the Mediterranean region and still common in traditional dishes from that area. Typically sweet and mild flavored, figs can be eaten whole and raw, yet almost 90% of the world’s fig crop is sold as dried fruit. I much prefer them raw.
Figs are today’s featured powerfood because, overall, their nutritional value is quite impressive. They have the highest mineral and fiber content of all common fruits, nuts, or vegetables. One serving of figs (fresh or dried) provides 6% of the Daily Value for calcium and iron, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium. Figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber (1 serving provides 5 grams of fiber — 20% of the Daily Value!).
The fruit also is rich in antioxidants, which appear to increase as they ripen. It’s no wonder they’re called “nature’s most nearly perfect fruit.”
One of the easiest ways to give your body a super nutritional head start first thing in the morning is by having a smoothie.
Optional add ins: Protein powder (hemp, pea or rice proteins), chia seeds, bee pollen, spirulina, cacao, maca powder, super green powders and more. You choose !
If you are pressed for time, you can prepare smoothie ingredients and keep them in zip lock bags in the freezer. Take them out in the morning to use. Just add liquid. You may also just have the fruit chopped and ready in a container in the fridge from the night before.
Smoothie tip: Frozen banana makes for a creamier smoothie. Keep a container of peeled, frozen bananas in the freezer.
1. BARBARA’S CREAMY SESAME APPLE PIE FRAPPE !
Rich in calcium, magnesium and zinc
4. FRUITY YOGURT SMOOTHIE
5. PEACHY COCONUT MANGO
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !