Exploring The MIND Diet

by in Cookbooks, October 29, 2016

Diets come and go, but the MIND Diet has the potential to cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in half and keep the brain more than seven years younger. The author of The MIND Diet, nutrition expert Maggie Moon, M.S., RDN, claims this approach to nutrition “is heart-healthy and a solid foundation for healthy eating for just about anyone.” So what exactly does the MIND Diet entail?

The Origin of MIND
The MIND Diet is a cross between the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet. “MIND” stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The diet was developed by researchers at Rush University who created a nutrition plan shown to help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by more than one-third. In this prospective study, 923 people between the ages of 58 and 98 were followed for four-and-a-half years while following the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet and the MIND Diet. Those who adhered to the MIND Diet the most reduced their risk for Alzheimer’s by 53 percent compared with those who did not adhere closely to the diet. Even those who partially adhered to the MIND Diet were still able to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 35 percent compared with those who did not follow the diet.

The Diet
The original diet was developed by Martha Clare Morris, Ph.D., a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University in Chicago, and her colleagues, who identified 10 “brain-healthy food groups” that were brimming with antioxidants, resveratrol and healthy fatty acids. These foods included berries, green leafy vegetables, olive oil, nuts, whole grains, fish and beans. According to the researchers, strawberries and blueberries were shown to be the most-potent berries in terms of protecting against Alzheimer’s and preserving cognitive function. Read more

Nutrition News: Next-level healthy eating, diet and gut health, embrace moderation

by in Food News, October 28, 2016


Next-level healthy eating
You’d think eating foods that are good for you would be enough, but it turns out you can actually do more. Writing in The Washington Post, dietitian Cara Rosenbloom reveals eight ways you can take healthy foods up to the next level. For instance, if you add black pepper (even just a sprinkle) to curry, you boost the anti-cancer benefits of the antioxidant curcumin. If you drink wine with fish, you may elevate the levels of Omega-3 fats in your blood, which may help protect against heart disease. And when you eat an apple, cucumber, potato, peach or kiwi, leave on the peel, where most of the antioxidants, vitamins and fiber are stored. “In the case of apples, a major component of the peel is quercetin, which is an antioxidant associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes,” Rosenbloom explains. There are five more tips where those came from. Read more

6 Lightened-Up Sweets for a Healthier Halloween

by in Healthy Recipes, October 27, 2016

Halloween is not the night to restrict your diet, but that doesn’t mean your evening of revelry should be quashed by a candy coma. If you’re hosting a party this year, skip store-bought sweets and opt for homemade goodies instead. Don’t hesitate to whip up everyone’s favorites — cookies, caramels, even a cocktail or two. But a few mindful alterations (and moderation) can save you from a sugar hangover the next morning. Here are five festive recipes that are sure to hit the spot without going overboard.

Spider Bites
Sandra Lee’s homemade chocolate-peanut butter clusters are incredibly quick and convenient — and at a glance, they’ll raise the hair on the back of your neck. The recipe calls for creamy peanut butter; for an extra fiber boost, use all-natural PB.

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DIY Healthy Halloween Treats

by in Halloween, Healthy Holidays, October 26, 2016

If you’re spooked by the overwhelming amount of highly processed junk coming into your house this time of year, try making some of your own treats. While these are certainly sugary confections, you control the quality of the ingredients and the amount of sugar, which helps make things a little less scary. Here are two no-fail recipes that the kids can help create.

Festive Dark Chocolate Lollipops
Makes 12 lollipops

You can use premade lollipop molds, but it’s even more fun to pour chocolate pops freeform. These impressive treats literally take only minutes to make! Get the kids in the kitchen to help decorate.

5 ounces dark chocolate
Halloween sprinkles and other edible decor

Line a sheet pan with a nonstick baking mat and arrange lollipop sticks in a row about 6 inches apart. Melt chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Pour a heaping tablespoon of melted chocolate over the top quarter portion of each lollipop stick. Decorate as desired and allow to set for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy immediately or wrap in plastic and use within 3 days.

Per serving (1 piece): Calories 63; Fat 4 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 1 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Carbohydrate 8 g; Fiber 1 g; Sugars 6 g; Protein 1 g Read more

Quick Weeknight Pho Ga

by in Healthy Recipes, October 25, 2016

The star of pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup sold throughout the country at modest stands or tables on the street, is its rich and deeply flavorful broth, made by simmering beef or chicken bones for many hours.

When there aren’t hours available, a shortcut version of this healthful, balanced meal in a bowl can be on the table in about 20 minutes. The key to giving store-bought broth extra flavor is to first char and toast the “aromatics” — that is, the onion, ginger and dried spices — under the broiler. Be sure to place the onion wedges over the dried spices so they don’t burn, which would make them bitter.

Traditional pho is served with all the additional ingredients, such as the greens, fresh herbs, sprouts, lime, and chile peppers (whole or sliced, depending on their size) or Sriracha, for each diner to add to taste. Read more

Cauliflower Piccata

by in Healthy Recipes, October 23, 2016

For this piccata recipe, roasted cauliflower steaks are cooked in a delicious sauce of butter, wine, parsley, lemons and capers. To me, the pairing of bright lemon and briny capers is almost magical; spooning it over tender cauliflower finished with a generous serving of parsley is an easy way to maximize vegetable intake.

This cauliflower piccata is a vegetarian showstopper, a beautiful main dish perfect for holidays yet easy enough to enjoy for weeknight dinners. To create cauliflower “steaks,” remove the outer leaves and the bottom portion of the stem. Then slice the cauliflower into 1-inch-thick slabs. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, you may have only three to four steaks per head. For a main dish, serve the cauliflower steaks with egg noodles or roasted potatoes — and extra piccata sauce. Read more

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Spice

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, October 22, 2016

Buried beneath the deluge of lattes, limited-edition snack foods and baked goods, the spice blend known as “pumpkin spice” has a nutritious foundation. And while it’s wise — for the sake of your waistline — to back off on the pumpkin spice Frappuccinos, ‘tis the season to take advantage of the health benefits of this ever-popular fall flavor combination.

Health Benefits
Different pumpkin spice blends may have variations, but the core blend usually includes ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. Here are the health benefits of each.

Cinnamon
Rich in cell-protecting antioxidants and unmistakable warmth, cinnamon is the star ingredient of pumpkin spice. There is also some research to support that cinnamon may help diabetics better control blood sugar.

Nutmeg
Another warm fall spice, nutmeg boasts small amounts of fiber, numerous B vitamins and minerals. Read more

Nutrition News: Getting Kids to Eat Healthy; the Case for Pale Veggies; a Breakfast Challenge

by in Food News, October 21, 2016

Raise healthy eaters
Trick-or-treating will soon be upon us, scattering bite-size candies in its wake. Given that, how can you nudge your kids toward healthier eating? Writing in The New York Times, psychologist and author Lisa Damour offers a trio of suggestions. No. 1: Frame eating as a “zero-sum game.” Let children know they can take in only so much food, and explain to them that unprocessed foods are better than processed foods at providing their bodies with the nutritional elements needed to lower inflammation, prevent disease and boost immune systems. No. 2: Make it about “self-care.” Damour recommends we remind children that eating healthily is key to taking care of themselves and that they can generally rely on their own appetites to regulate consumption. No. 3: Find broader, “beyond-the-self” motivations. Damour suggests underscoring the broader environmental effects of food choices when discussing them with your kids, telling them, for instance, “Eating a real green apple is way better for the environment than a green-apple-flavored Starburst.” And, she reminds us that the behavior we model sends our kids a message as well. In other words, we should probably all put down the Starburst and reach for an apple. Read more

5 Turkey Chilis That Put Beef Out to Pasture

by in Healthy Recipes, October 20, 2016

Whether you spend the next few weekends hitting your local campground to take in the fall foliage or sitting on the couch curled up under a blanket, one thing is for sure: You’re going to want a bowl of warm chili to wrap your hands around. Loaded with fragrant spices, tender beans and protein, chili is exactly the type of dish to have on hand in your freezer throughout the season.

But let’s not forget that part of what makes chili so comforting is the toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, maybe even some diced avocado. By the time you finish adorning your bowl with all the desired fixings, you could be looking at half a day’s worth of calories — or worse. That’s where lean ground turkey comes in. If your favorite chili involves beef, here are a few things to consider: A 4-ounce serving contains roughly 127 calories with 27 grams of protein, compared to 199 calories and 23 grams of protein found in 90/10 lean ground beef. Need some inspiration to switch up your chili routine? These are a few of our favorite turkey-based recipes from the chefs at Food Network.

Indian Summer Turkey Chili
If you plan on doing any tailgating this fall, Rachael Ray’s big-batch turkey chili is just the thing you’ll want to spoon out of your thermos. Large bell peppers brighten up the mixture with their mild sweetness. Stir in a bit of your favorite barbecue sauce for a touch of sweet heat.

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Brussels Sprouts, 3 Ways

by in Healthy Recipes, October 19, 2016

This trio of healthy Brussels sprouts recipes is delicious enough to convert even those who feel dubious about this vitamin C-packed cruciferous veggie. Here, the leafy sprouts get their moment in the spotlight first as the star ingredient in a delicately crunchy raw salad, then tossed into a peppery pasta carbonara and finally topped onto a shiitake-sesame rice bowl and drizzled with a smoky tahini dressing.

Brussels Sprouts Carbonara (pictured above)
Serves 4

Salt
8 ounces quinoa spaghetti
4 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, smashed
8 ounces shredded Brussels sprouts
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pecorino, optional

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; drain, reserving some of the bacon fat. Using the same skillet, cook the garlic and Brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and season with plenty of pepper. Add the drained pasta, bacon, Brussels sprouts and some of the reserved bacon fat, if using; toss to combine. Serve with the cheese, if using.

Per serving: Calories 285.5; Fat 6.3 g (Saturated 1.8 g); Cholesterol 98 mg; Sodium 190 mg; Carbohydrate 48.2 g; Fiber 4.8 g; Sugars 1.6 g; Protein 10.1 g Read more