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Not All Grains Are Equal

healthy grains
grains whole
Not All Grains Are Created Equal

Today the diet craze is “no carbs”, Try grains…  Many people are staying away from rice and other grains because they think they are bad carbohydrates.   Whole grains are healthy carbohydrates which contain all three parts of the grain.  The grain kernel is full of fiber which keeps your tummy full longer.  The fiber in the kernel is also good for your cholesterol.  It is the refined or processed grains that have the germ and bran removed  which are not so healthy for you.

Here are some healthy grains for you to enjoy that will keep your weight under control.

Brown Rice is way healthier than white rice.  It can also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Freekeh is another whole grain that packs 13% of your daily fiber in 1/3 cup cooked.  It contains zinc and manganese which helps build a strong immune system.

Amaranth is full of calcium and essential amino acids which build and repair tissues in the body.

Oatmeal is another great grain which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.  This is a smart choice for those with diabetes.

Millet has 3 grams of protein per 1/2 cup cooked.  It also has magnesium which is great for bone health.

Sorghum has fiber, iron, and phytochemicals that are good for your heart, and can protect you against some cancers.

Wheat Berries has 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked.  It also contains iron which helps oxygen levels in the body.

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Natural Supplements for Heart Health That Work

oily fish
Fish oil is essential in daily diets.

There are many supplements that claim they can help lower your cholesterol.  Unfortunately, most over the counter supplements don’t work.  There are a couple supplements that are proven to work.  These natural supplements are safe and can significantly lower your triglyceride level.

Fish Oil is an Omega-3 fatty acid and has a proven track record to help your heart.  The two ingredients in fish oil that make it so effective is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).  The heart-healthy dose of fish oil is between 1,000-2,000 milligrams per day.  Fish oil lowers triglycerides and reduces inflammation.  It also reduces the risk of abnormal heart beats which can cause heart attacks.  Fish oil is also good for your brain, bowels, skin and lungs.  It may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Plant Sterol Esters and Stanol Esters block cholesterol absorption in your small intestine.  The esters act like a cholesterol medication.  They lower cholesterol absorption which lowers the cholesterol in your blood.  These plant sterols are safe and have no side effects.  It is recommended that you take 2-2.5 grams a day to lower your cholesterol level by 10-14%.  If you have slightly elevated cholesterol, taking sterol/stanol supplements may be enough to lower your LDL cholesterol.

Fiber supplements are very important to slow down digestion.  Having enough fiber prevents surges in blood sugar.   It is especially important for those who are pre-diabetic to make sure they have enough fiber or take fiber supplements.  Psyllium is a recommended supplement that is safe.  Take your fiber supplement with an 8 oz glass of water. 

Natural supplements are effective at lowering cholesterol for some people.  There are people who will also need to be on a statin medication to control their cholesterol level.  It is also important to exercise regularly and to eat a diet low in saturated fats.  A diet high in fiber, lean proteins like chicken and salmon with lots of veggies and fruits to help keep your heart healthy!

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Cinnamon Apple Indian Pudding with Raisins

Cinnamon Apple Indian Pudding with Raisins

pudding indian
Indian Pudding for a great snack or dessert.

This is a healthy, low sugar dessert that is easy to make and is diabetic friendly!  

What You Need:

1 egg

2 medium apples

2 cups fat free milk

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

cooking spray

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup raisins

What To Do:

1.  Oven preheated to 350 degrees.  Spray 6-6 ounce custard cups with cooking spray.  Place in shallow baking pan and put aside.

2.  Heat 1.5 cups of milk in a medium sized pan.  Heat until boiling. In a bowl, mix cornmeal with 1/2 cup of milk and slowly whisk into hot milk.  Cook and stir til mixture boils again.  Reduce to low heat.  Cook and stir for 5-7 minutes until thick.

3.  Remove from heat.  Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon.  In small bowl, mix with egg.  Slowly stir the hot mixture into egg.  Stir in raisins and apples.  Fill custard cups with the batter.

4.  Bake approximately 30 minutes or until done.  Add sliced almonds or shredded coconut on top for some extra deliciousness!

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Get Rid of BELLY FAT now!

How To Get Rid of Belly Fat

bad belly fat
Get rid of Belly Fat NOW!

Belly fat is not just ugly but it is also unhealthy for you!  Visceral fat is the fat that is deep in your abdomen which is the problem.  This fat can affect the ability of your liver to manage cholesterol.   This increases your risk of heart disease.  Visceral fat also causes insulin which  stores fat to be less effective.  This increases your risk of diabetes.  Visceral fat is also linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

The good news is you can do something about this toxic visceral belly fat.  It’s important to adopt the right habits to fight this dangerous fat.  There are lifestyle changes that are key to busting this belly fat and it’s not just what you eat.  Let’s take a look at what you can do.

1.  Alcohol is a huge belly fat generator!  If you have one cocktail per day, chances are you will burn it off.  However, if you have more than one, the alcohol turns into belly fat.  Alcohol interferes with fat burning in the stomach turning calories into fat.

2.  Nicotine from smoking also prevents fat burning in the abdomen.  Smokers have more visceral fat than nonsmokers do, even if they are not overweight.  

3.  Skip the trans fats.  Check nutritional labels and stay away from foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils!  

4.  Bake your own muffins and cookies.  Store bought foods, donuts etc..all have trans fats.  Use canola oil and sweeten with fresh fruit instead.

5.  Ditch the fried foods!  Frying food changes the chemical structure of food and leads to an excess of trans fats.

6.  Workout!  Hit the cardio workouts to burn abdominal fat.  Diet alone does not work!!  Abdominal fat is more responsive to exercise than any other fat in your body.  Get moving!  

7.  Eat healthy fats.  You need 30% of your calories from heart healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.  Add olive oil, avocados and nuts to your diet to keep healthy.  

8.  Sleep 7 hours at least per night to keep fat away.  Lack of sleep makes you hungrier and it can increase your cortisol level which may be associated to abdominal fat.

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Cruciferous Veggies Fight Cancer

We all know that eating your veggies is good for your health.  Now studies show that eating cruciferous

Veggies that are cruciferous
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts….

vegetables can actually fight cancer!  Even adding these vegetables to your diet once a week can make a positive difference.  

Eating your cruciferous vegetables can decrease your risk of certain cancers by 32%.  Studies have shown that eating more of these vegetables can decrease your risk of mouth, stomach, colon, esophagus, liver, pancreas, breast, ovarian, prostrate and kidney cancers.

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and bok choy.  These vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber which protect against colon cancer.  Cruciferous vegetables also have compounds called indoles and isothiocyanates.   These compounds help reduce inflammation and prevent DNA damage.  Inflammation and DNA damage are both risk factors for cancer.

There is also another cancer-fighting compound in these vegetables called myrosinase.  This is an enzyme that activates another anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory compound.  Cooking lessens the strength of myrosinase, so it’s best to eat these vegetables raw or to steam them.

There are other benefits from eating more cruciferous vegetables:

Stimulates the immune system

Protects the brain

Balances blood sugar

Supports detox

Balances estrogen

Shrinks tumors

Here’s a great way to enjoy Baby Bok Choy:

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy

What You Need:

2 cloves of garlic

olive oil

fresh grated ginger

red pepper flakes to taste

1 tbsp soy sauce low sodium

1.5 lbs baby bok choy (cleaned and ends cut)

1 tbsp water or chicken stock

toasted sesame oil for drizzling

What To Do:

1.  Saute garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in saute pan about 45 seconds or until fragrant.

2.  Add bok choy and make sure to cover with oil.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add soy sauce, water then cover pan and cook another 2 minutes.

3.  Uncover and cook until liquid is almost gone.  About 3 minutes.

4.  Remove and serve with sesame oil drizzled on top.

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Colon Cancer in 2017

Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women.  In 2017, there will be about 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and 40,000 cases of rectal cancer diagnosed in the U.S. and 

2017 colon cancer
Colon cancer in 2017

 27,000 men and 23,000 women will die from this disease.  

Colorectal cancer rates continue to decline in those over the age of 50 due to screening.   Colonoscopy screening is very effective at finding precancerous polyps and removal is easy.  Colorectal cancers are usually slow growing.  Regular screening can prevent these disease from becoming deadly.  The Colorectal cancer incidence rate has dropped more than 30% since 2000.

Unfortunately, the colorectal cancer rate is increasing for Gen Xers and Millenials under the age of 50.  This rate has increased by more than 20% from 2000-2013.  This rise in colorectal cancer is due to increasing rates of obesity and unhealthy diets.  Another factor is the lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle of younger adults.

There are things you can do to lower your colorectal cancer risk.  

1.  Stay at a healthy weight!.  Cancer risk increases as the amount of belly fat increases.  

2.  Exercise.  Regular moderate exercise lowers your risk of colorectal cancer and polyps.  More strenuous exercise is even more effective at lowering your risk.

3.  Diet.  Stick to a diet low in red meat and get rid of processed meats which are linked to an increase in colorectal cancer.  Increase your intake of fruits, veggies and whole grains to lower your risk.  Fiber from whole grains is also important for a healthy diet.

4.  Avoid too much alcohol!  Studies show those who drink a lot of alcohol have an increased risk of cancer, men having a higher risk than women.

5.  Quit smoking!

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Fruit for Athletic Performance and Stamina

Many Fruits are for Athletic Performance and Stamina but these are the best.

workout fruit
Eat certain fruits when you workout –>

When most people think about athletic strength and diet, protein is the most popular food.  Protein does build muscle and it also repairs them after a heavy workout.   Fruits and veggies contain micronutrients that are necessary for optimal health and performance.  These powerful nutrients produce energy and help tissue recovery during athletic training.  If the body does not get enough fruits and veggies, the body can suffer fatigue and muscle damage.  Lack of these foods can also cause a  lack of muscle strength and it can adversely affect the immune system.  Fruits and veggies are necessary for sports performance, recovery and overall fitness.

For those who exercise at a very high level, there can be a higher risk of illness and infection.  Athletes need more anti-oxidants contained in fruits and veggies to stay healthy.  Vitamins A, C, E and  magnesium and potassium come from fruit and keep the immune system strong.  They also provide strength to the muscles.  These anti-oxidants protect the body against free radicals which can damage cells.  

Vitamin C is found in berries, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, brussels sprouts and kale.  Vitamin C supports the white blood cell production and keeps the immune system healthy.

Vitamin E is found in olive oil, seed oils, kale, tomato, spinach and other leafy green veggies.  Vitamin E improves stamina during exercise.

The B Vitamins help with energy metabolism, muscle and nerve conduction.  They are in legumes, nuts, seeds, veggies and fruits.

Magnesium and potassium are all necessary for healthy muscles and nerve function.  These minerals are in green veggies, avocado, figs, apricots and bananas.

Quercetin is a flavonoid in fruits and veggies It improves mental and physical performance and can reduce risk of infection during heavy exercise.

Its easy to add more fruits and veggies to your diet.  Try a breakfast smoothie with your favorite fruits or bring an apple or banana to work to snack on during the day!  Its important to get 5-7 servings per day to keep your body healthy and for better workouts!

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Snacks that Actually Lower your Cholesterol

healthy snacks
Cholesterol lowering Snacks

Snacking is something that everyone does every day.  We snack for all kinds of reasons whether it is to get energy or because we are bored at work.  The average person consumes more than 600 calories from snacking each day.    It is important to choose  healthy snacks so you avoid adding inches to your waistline.

Snacking can also be a  big contributor to your cholesterol level.  Choosing the right healthy snack can actually lower your LDL or “bad”  cholesterol.  Choosing the wrong snacks can cause your bad cholesterol levels to increase.

Skip the chips or other vending machine processed snacks which are “bad” for you.   Try these healthy snacks that will help you lower your LDL level:

Apples are full of anti-oxidants.  Eating 2 per day can help slow down the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and help prevent the build up of plaque.  Be sure to bring apples to work to snack on and they go great with some organic peanut butter!

Grapefruit contains liminoids which are phytochemicals that destroy LDL.  If you take statin meds, you may not be able to eat grapefruit so be careful.

Nuts and Seeds are also cholesterol busters!  Seeds like pumpkin, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are filling and healthy.  Almonds, cashews, walnuts and pistachios can lower your  bad cholesterol.  Just be sure not to eat too many nuts as they are high in calories so 1/4 cup per day is adequate.

Oat Bran is full of water soluble fiber and is also great for lowering cholesterol levels.  Enjoy a bowl of oat cereal for breakfast or for an afternoon snack!

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Cholesterol Busting Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

Cholesterol Busting Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

Blueberry Avocado
Delicious and nutritious blueberry and Avocado

When you have high cholesterol, dietary choices can be confusing.  To find foods that lower your cholesterol that taste good is always a challenge. Cutting down on salt and eating more fiber are great for a healthy cholesterol level.  Adding fish to your diet in place of red meat is also important.

Fruit and fruit smoothies are also a great way to strengthen your heart.  Fruit contains fiber which lowers cholesterol and fruit such as avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids which are also great for heart health.

This smoothie  has protein, phytochemicals, antioxidants and it tastes great!!  This smoothie has monounsaturated fatty acids from avocados.   These fats can lower the risk of heart disease.  Avocados also are high in B-6 and folic acid which are super healthy for your heart!

What You Need:

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup coconut water

1/4 avocado

1/2 of a lime juiced

1 serving of vanilla or chocolate vegan protein powder

1 serving of super greens (i use frozen organic greens from Costco)

ice

This smoothie is so delicious and sweet there is no need to add any sweeteners!  Blend all ingredients and Enjoy!  haron Baker

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Blueberries are Best for Health

Blueberries are a super food and super delicious!  These little blue berries can do a lot of great things for your health.  They can lower your cholesterol level, lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes as well!  Blueberries are help improve your sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.

Healthy Blueberries
Best for your Health are Blueberries

Blueberries are higher in antioxidants than any other fruit.  They have Vitamin A, B, C, E and minerals such as copper, zinc, iron and selenium.  Eating a diet rich in blueberries can help boost your immune system.   Eating blueberries also add more hemoglobin and oxygen into your blood.

Blueberries are the best Anti-Aging fruit!  They contain the antioxidant Anthocyanin which makes the blue color.  This antioxidant neutralizes the free radicals that promote aging and disease.

Blueberries also can reduce belly fat. Drinking blueberry juice  can also lower your risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Blueberries are great for your eyes!  They contain anthocyanosides that slow down age related eye problems like macular degeneration.    They also contain  lutein, resveritrol and Vitamins A, C and E which are all great for ocular health.

Blueberries improve your brain health!  The antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in blueberries can keep your brain healthy.  These vitamins and minerals prevent neuron degeneration and keep the nervous system healthy.

A handful of blueberries improve digestion and prevent constipation!

Lastly,  blueberries are high in fiber and their antioxidants help dissolve bad cholesterol!

There are so many good reasons why we should eat blueberries!  Remember to choose organically grown berries if you can!

Sharon Baker