A Bunch of Stuff You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know!
One of the many fantastic things about what I do is that I get to read massive amounts of information on food, fitness, health, diets-of-the-moment, healthy recipes, fast-food nutritionals, food psychology, disease prevention…the list goes on. Let’s just say I learn a LOT of info and to tell you the truth, not all of it sticks like it should in the recall department of my noggin’. However I do have a list of some Did-You-Know’s that stick out in my mind because I find some practical application for them every day. So I’ve decided to share them with you! Just what you’ve been waiting for…all sorts of things you didn’t know you wanted to know, plus some things you knew you wanted to know but didn’t know them until now!
Pie Power! A super-healthy pizza recipe that actually tastes delicious? It really does exist! University of Maryland researchers have cooked it up! They boosted levels of healthful substances in whole-wheat dough up to 82 percent by baking it longer at higher temps (400 to 550 degrees) and letting it rise for up to 2 days. Find their recipe at newsdesk.umd.edu/scitech/pizzarecipe.cfm, then throw even more antioxidants on top with olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms. Still hold the pepperoni!
All About Oil Most cooking oils are better than solid fats – like butter and lard – because they’re lower in artery-jamming saturated fats and brimming with antioxidants. That said, you have to choose the right oil for the job. Here’s your cheat sheet – stick it the fridge and you’ll pick the optimal oil every time!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Best for dipping bread and coating pasta. Extra-virgin means olives have gone through the press only once (vs. at least twice for the regular kind), so the oil retains more of the fruit’s deep, earthy taste – ideal for bread and pasta.
- Flaxseed Oil: Best for salad dressing. Mild, nutty flaxseed oil enhances but doesn’t bulldoze fresh vegetables and greens. It’s also a good source of ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that benefits heart health.
- Olive Oil: Best for sautéing, grilling, and pasta sauce. Heat kills extra-virgin’s richer flavor, so basic olive oil (sometimes labeled “pure”) does the trick for cooking. (You’ll burn a lot less cash too – a gallon of extra-virgin costs almost twice as much.) Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, such as oleuropein, which help prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from clogging your arteries.
- Canola Oil: Best for baking and broiling. Canola’s light flavor is undetectable in baked goods and it’s very low in saturated fats; also a good source of ALA.
- Grapeseed Oil: Best for pan-frying. It’s light, mild, fruity flavor adds a little zing. It has a high cooking tolerance (400 degrees), which is perfect for the frying pan. It’s a good source of vitamin E, beta carotene, and sterols, which block the absorption of cholesterol.
- Rice Bran Oil: Best for deep-frying (hey, if you’re gonna do it, do it right!) and stir-frying. It’s neutral flavor won’t hijack food’s natural taste. Plus it’s super-high heat tolerance (490 degrees) permits deep-frying without turning your kitchen ceiling black. Contains vitamin E-related antioxidants that have been shown to inhibit both breast an skin cancer cells
Exercise = Munchies! After exercise, munch immediately –ideally within 30 minutes of working out – so y our body doesn’t begin breaking down muscle tissue to replenish itself.
I Repeat, Eat Your Wheaties!! Waiting more than 90 minutes after waking to eat breakfast may increase your chances of obesity by nearly 50 percent.
- Any sandwich on the Subway menu can be prepared as a salad. Just because the employee behind the counter rolls their eyes at you for asking doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask!
- A recent study found that subjects ate 350 calories more at Subway than they did at McDonald’s. Researchers call it the “health halo”: the tendency for people to overeat when they believe they’re eating at a healthy restaurant.
- Looking to cut down on the salt? Stick with Swiss cheese. It has one-third the sodium of cheddar, and one-fourth the sodium of provolone.
Quick Way to Make Veggies Taste Great: Pop ‘em in the oven! Roasting really brings out the flavor in vegetables. Heat oven to 375 degrees, lightly coat vegetables with olive oil, and cook for 15 minutes (asparagus) to 60 minutes (squash). Use roasted tomatoes in pasta sauce or roasted zucchini on sandwiches. Roasted asparagus is delicious on its own!
Listen Up Ladies! Women of “child-bearing” age still aren’t getting enough Vitamin D and are in desperate need of more magnesium in their diets. In one recent study, 9-year-old kids had higher bone mineral content if their mothers had taken vitamin D supplements while pregnant. In another, researchers followed 31,487 women for 10 years and found that those with higher vitamin D and calcium intakes had lower risks of premenopausal breast cancer. To boost your intake of both the sunshine vitamin and heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, doctors advise taking cod-liver oil, containing at least 1,000 IU of D, daily. As for magnesium, “it's essential to nerve function and can help enormously with calming the anxiety and headaches that affect so many women. Also found to lower blood pressure and reduce heart-disease risk, magnesium, when increased during pregnancy, may protect against complications such as preeclampsia and preterm delivery.” Women should get at least 310 mg of magnesium each day and should up that amount to 360-400 mg during pregnancy and 320-360 mg when breastfeeding. Obviously, I’m quoting a women’s health expert here!
Iceberg Lettuce and Celery Pack a Punch! Sure, water accounts for more than 95 percent of iceberg’s weight, but what many people don’t know or hear is that it's an excellent source of vitamin K! Break off about 6 large leaves (1 serving) and that amount contains 25 percent of your daily requirement. That serving also contains 8 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin A and 6 percent for folate. Iceberg also contains a moderate amount of fiber and supplies modest amounts of omega-3 fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. And, of course, it's low in calories. Come back with all THAT when someone tells you your salad isn’t healthy enough! Celery is also quite the show-off! It has potassium, calcium and folic acid. Plus, celery adds texture and crunch to many foods and is better than chips for your healthy dips. One cup provides 260 milligrams of potassium, 40 milligrams of calcium and 36 micrograms of folic acid. Each serving of celery can be considered a small cup of water with a side of fiber and a pinch of beneficial micronutrients…which really doesn’t sound that tasty all by itself, does it? Never mind, just eat the crunchy yummy stuff!
Power Couples! No, not the mushy lovey-dovey kind. Wrong blog! I’m talking about plants that, when devoured together, pony up way more vitamins and minerals than when consumed by themselves. Read on! (Info compiled from Nutrition Research, then re-worded and written down here by myself to make sense to us real people who don’t walk around in lab coats all day).
- Endive and Edamame: A substance called inulin in chicory-root plants helps improve calcium absorption. So when you combine endive, the leaf of the chicory plant, with a calcium-rich food like edamame -- 1 cup provides 10 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) -- you're building bone by the bite.
Top an endive salad with edamame and coat with a citrus vinaigrette (mix together 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon chopped scallions, and a dash of freshly ground black pepper).
- Broccoli and Tomatoes: This classic Italian duo is as good for your body as Dolce & Gabbana is bad for your wallet. Piling both on your fork seems to slow or prevent prostate tumors in rats, according to a study at the University of Illinois at Urbana. Okay, so we don't have prostates (and we're not rats), but researchers think the twosome may offer women the same protection against ovarian cancer.
Toss ½ cup whole-wheat penne with 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1cup diced tomatoes, and 1cup steamed broccoli florets, plus salt and pepper to taste. Or simply add broccoli florets to chunky marinara sauce.
- Kidney Beans and Green Peppers: If you're cutting down on red meat, you may be turning to legumes like kidney beans to keep your iron stores pumped. Problem is, only 2 to 20 percent of iron from plant sources (called nonheme iron) actually gets past your gut and into your bloodstream. The vitamin C in green bell peppers forces your body to take in more of the mineral, increasing absorption sixfold.
For a quick dinner, add ½ cup chopped green peppers to a can of vegetarian chili with beans.
- Salsa and Guacamole: Never decide between these dynamic dips again -- have both! A study at Ohio State University showed that people soaked up over four times more lycopenean -- an antioxidant known to protect against cancer -- when they ate salsa with fresh avocado. Researchers believe that the healthy monounsaturated fats pick up the lycopene in your stomach and distribute it throughout your body.
Eat 2 heaping tablespoons of both with a dozen baked tortilla chips.
Now go forth with your new knowledge and share with the world! Or keep it to yourself and have a great weekend!