FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


Leave a comment

New Trends In Grain Foods?

Harvesting Wheat

Tired of hearing about gluten-free?  Get ready for grain-free or ancient grain products.  You can listen to the podcast (17 min) or read the text. The podcast is more detailed, but both say the same thing.  Be warned  and get ready for the next fad –  lectin-free! Grains are more complex than anyone ever thought they would be.

CLICK HERE.


Leave a comment

Coconut Oil: Friend or Foe?

There is a lot of nutrition “chatter” about the merits and “dangers” of coconut oil.  Check out a comprehensive review of the pros and cons of using coconut oil with the research behind it. The good news: we do not consume it in great amounts, so enjoying some of its good points is probably not a big deal.

CLICK HERE.


Leave a comment

Super Beets?

Beet Root

Folk lore has placed beets into many Eastern cultures as an excellent liver tonic and blood purifier. Beets contain a very powerful red color from a compound called betacyanin and according to some, claim it is potent cancer fighter. This pigment turns your urine red if enough is consumed – don’t panic -you are not bleeding internally. What are the health benefits of beets and how do they stack up nutritionally?

Beets are good sources of potassium, a vitally important mineral for heart health. We used to consume diets higher in potassium in a potassium-sodium ratio conducive to human health; now this ratio has reversed – and tilted to too much sodium and too little potassium. Potassium is also found in bananas and other fruits,vegetables like potatoes (white and sweet), winter squash, white beans and low-fat yogurt.

Beets are somewhat high in sugar, but not significantly.  Besides they provide us with other needed nutrients. However. diabetics should limit their intake of beets based on their doctor’s advice.

They can be baked or roasted, boiled, steamed, shredded raw and added to salads. The leaves are also nutritious and contain fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.  Beets can be used in juicing and are best mixed with some combination of carrots, apples, spinach, and ginger.

What is in a serving?

Cooked Beetroot (0.5 cup, cooked, drained, sliced) USDA National Nutrient Database

  • Calories 37
  • Protein 1.4 g.
  • Carbohydrates 8.4 g.
  • Fiber 1.7 g.
  • Potassium 259 mg.
  • Sodium 65 mg.
  • Magnesium 20 mg.
  • Folate 68 DFE

Recently, an advertisement appeared for a product called “Super Beets”: the Circulation Superfood

From their Website, their claims were somewhat vague:

  • Promote Improved Natural Energy
  • Support Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
  • Promoted Improved Stamina

They infer heart health due to its nitrate composition. Dietary nitrates are converted to nitric oxide which may have some cardiovascular benefits.  As far as the Super Beets supplement, the  claim is that 1 shot of Super Beets = 3 Non GMO beets. One canister is $ 39.95.

As with all supplements, there is no FDA approval. However, there is some evidence that beets may be heart healthy and enhance athletic  performance due to its nitrate content. For an excellent review of this topic, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Are Chickpeas a Healthy Plant Choice?

 

Plant-based diets are one of the more recent recommendations based on the rising popularity of the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH diet, the MIND diet and the traditional diets of the longest living populations showcased in The Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner.

One category of plants known as pulses or legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) have many health benefits and are an excellent way to shift your diet into more of a plant-based mode.

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans were cultivated from a wild plant found in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East as far back in history as circa 5000 B.C.E. Chickpeas, are also grown in California, Montana, North Dakota and other states. Historically, about 70 percent of the chickpea crop in these regions was exported each year,  but that has changed because of the rising domestic demand for hummus.

Chickpeas are named because instead of a smooth surface like most beans, they have a bumpy surface that resembles the beak of a chicken. Chickpeas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, folate, fiber, protein, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc.

One cup (canned, drained) USDA Food Composition Database

210 calories

10.7 g of protein

3.7 g. of fat

34 g. of carbohydrate

9.6 g. of fiber (great source of fiber)

Research suggests the following health benefits from chickpea consumption:

  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Lowers blood glucose
  • Lowers risk of diabetes type 2
  • Helps with weight loss by adding satiety
  • Is a great snack food

Five-Minute Hummus

Ingredients

  1. 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste; optional)
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  7. kosher salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (if using), cumin, and ¾ teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika before serving.


Leave a comment

Websites: How reliable are they?


 

The article provides good advice for any website, but especially medical or nutrition websites.  They often seem to promote misinformation that sometimes borders on the absurd or at the least,  unsubstantiated by sound research.

Who can you believe? The term “nutritionist” is not legally defined and is used by a wide variety of people from those who seek a PhD from a non-accredited school to health food store representatives with no formal training. Registered Dietitians (RD) are nutritional professionals who have completed a a four year college degree and additionally  have met established criteria to certify them to provide nutrition counseling. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Medical Association and the American Institute for Cancer Research are non -profit organizations that provide reliable sources of nutrition information.

CLICK HERE.


Leave a comment

What’s Better Than Butter?

Butter Is Back? Again?

Butter has been in the controversial column of nutrition advice for decades. When saturated fat and cholesterol were claimed to not be as strong a factor in heart disease a few years ago,  butter activists celebrated the headlines  – “Butter is Back.”  However, there are still some cautions when it comes to butter. Let’s face it – butter still contains saturated fat that raises the “bad” LDL – cholesterol in the blood. Sorry, butter lovers. The following article gives you more choices when deciding to stick with butter or choosing another alternative.

Another thing to remember. Extra virgin olive oil does not raise blood LDL cholesterol and may contain some healthy polyphenols as well.  Yogurt is the best dairy choice (if it is not loaded with sugar).

CLICK HERE.