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Happy Friday! Have you had the chance to eat plenty of summer squash while they are in season? If not, we have many recipes for you to try! We chose summer squash as our August's Food of the Month because they are very versatile in the kitchen due to their mild flavor and they can be used in many summer dishes. Read about the health benefits of summer squash in our new blog post. In this post, you will also find a recipe for Summer Squash, Goat Cheese, and Herb Roulades. In our recipe blog post, Summer Squash Galore!, Marissa Lubin shares various ways that she likes to use summer squash in her dishes, such as squash noodle bowls and squash boats. Try the recipes in the posts and let us know what you think! A New Resource We always like to share resources that we believe are helpful for cancer patients and their caregivers. We would like to introduce Wellist, an online resource that gives you personalized service recommendations and a gift registry to make your life easier. Click here to learn more about what they do. To see the full list of our blog posts, click here. Happy Reading! In good health, The Meals to Heal Team
ASPARAGUS! What is your favorite way to prepare asparagus? I like to bake mine and drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle it with lemon pepper and a tiny dash of kosher salt. Here is an article from Meals to Heal. Enjoy! ________________________________________________________________________________________ By Liv Scheinbaum | Meals to Heal http://ow.ly/NBFr6 Asparagus belongs to the lily family (Liliaceae, scientific name: Asparagus officinalis) and has been considered a delicacy since ancient times. In fact, the Roman emperor Augustus purportedly created the “Asparagus Fleet” for carrying these fine green spears. How’s that for the love of a food! Today, asparagus is still heralded in several countries for its delicate flavor, even if it does give one’s urine an “off” odor. One half cup of cooked asparagus is only 20 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. Phew! This impressive display of nutrient density makes asparagus a great choice for anyone, especially weight watchers looking to pack in nutrients without extra calories. Health Benefits As one would expect with such a strong nutrient profile, asparagus offers both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Vitamins A, C and E, plus the minerals copper, magnesium, selenium and zinc all contribute to the anti-oxidant powers of this springtime special. And although anti-oxidants themselves help reduce inflammation, it is the saponins (a chemical compound) in asparagus that seem to offer the most anti-inflammatory benefits and anti-cancer properties, albeit primarily in lab and rat studies. In addition to the studied cytotoxic effects on cancer cells, saponins have also been shown to improve blood lipid and blood sugar levels, both of which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Asparagus is also quite beneficial for the digestive system. Not only is it high in fiber, but it contains a good dose of inulin, a type of prebiotic carbohydrate that provides nourishment for the healthy bacteria in our colons and, as such, is associated with better nutrient absorption (a healthy gut absorbs best!) and reduced risk of colon cancer. Season, Selection and Storage Depending on where you live, asparagus can be in season as early as February and as late as July. On the east coast, the season is typically May through July. The stalks should be rounded, firm and fairly thin. A “fatter” stem means a more woody texture. (Cooking tip: if a stalk is too thick after trimming the ends off, you can shave it down with a potato peeler to remove some of the tough and stringy outside fibers.) The spear should be green or purplish with closed tips. Asparagus is best eaten as fresh as possible, but you can extend the shelf life by a couple of days by wrapping the ends in a damp paper towel. If you wait too long, it becomes a bit woody. Before consuming, trim the ends and wash it under running water to remove any excess dirt. This is the time to peel extra thick stalks as well if needed. Recipe: Lemon Pepper Asparagus Ingredients 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 lemon, zested and juiced Pinch of sea salt Lots of freshly-cracked black pepper Directions Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss or mist asparagus with olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until evenly covered. Add a dash of salt and generous dose of freshly-cracked black pepper and then toss in the oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the tips begin to brown and the stalks are tender. Remove and sprinkle with lemon zest. (The asparagus can also be grilled or steamed (about 3 minutes or until tender).) Liv Scheinbaum has a Masters degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Teachers College, Columbia University and is completing her dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian. References: Gimme Some Oven, Lemon Pepper Asparagus recipe and photo. Accessed on May 25, 2015 from http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/lemon-pepper-asparagus/. Podolak, I., Galanty, A. and Sobolewska, D. (2010). Saponins as cytotoxic agents: a review. Phytochemistry Reviews; 9(3): 425-474. Rao, A.V. and Gurfinkel, D. M. (2000). The bioactivity of saponens: triterpenoid and steroidal glycosides. Drug Metabolism and Drug Interaction; 17(1-4): 211-235. SELF Nutrition Data. Accessed on May 25, 2015 fromhttp://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2312/2. Wikipedia, Asparagus. Access on May 25, 2015 fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus. The World’s Healthiest Foods. Asparagus. Accessed on May 25, 2015 fromhttp://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=12. http://ow.ly/NBFr6
March Food of the Month – The Mighty Mango! By Liv Scheinbaum One does not typically think of mangos while in the wintery throws of March. But one should! They have enough nutritional value to warrant this tropical indulgence and, lucky for us, they are available year round. Plus, they add a nice splash of color to the mid-winter blues, or grays, if you live in a cold, snowy climate. One cup of diced mango is around 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein and less than 1 gram of fat. It is an excellent source of vitamins A and C with 25% DV and 76% DV, respectively, and a good source of vitamin B6. Nutrients of interest: Vitamins A and C are both powerful anti-oxidants that help to neutralize free radicals. In addition to aiding our night vision, vitamin A assists with cellular differentiation, keeps our skin and mucous membranes healthy and plays a key role in our immune system function. Vitamin C also keeps our skin healthy through its effects on collagen production, which promotes wound healing, and is similarly immune enhancing. Vitamin B6—well, it is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions! Most of them are related to protein metabolism, but it also plays a role in cognitive development, promote immune function and hemoglobin formation. Anticancer ability: Special interest is being paid to this exotic fruit for its potential cancer fighting properties. In studies with cancer cells in the laboratory, polyphenolic nutrients from the fruits demonstrate an ability to stop cancer cells from spreading and promote programmed cell death (apoptosis) within them. Interestingly, these polyphenols seem to target cancer cells, while leaving non-cancerous cells unaffected. Such specificity is a much sought after feature in any anticancer agent. So although mangos are not touted for their antioxidant properties, they seemingly can hold their own in anticancer activity. It will be exciting to see how this plays out in future research. The Ins and Outs of Mangos There are a variety of mangos and most are available in the U.S. They range in color so do not use your eyes as a ripeness indicator. Instead, go by touch. The fruit should give a little when you squeeze it gently. Like with a peach or avocado, you can ripen mangos by leaving them out on the counter for a few days or put them in a paper bag if you want to speed up the ripening process. Whole, ripe mangos can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days and cut mangos for two to three days or in the freezer up to six months. If you have never peeled or cut a mango before, the National Mango Board has provided a helpful short video with time saving tricks for cutting them. The site is also filled with recipes and mango fun facts—did you know that the paisley pattern developed in India was based upon the shape of a mango? Mangos are wonderful in a variety of recipes from curries to salsas, to summer rolls and grain salads. Or use them in a marinade; the natural acid in the fruit is a great tenderizer and works well for any meat. The following recipe makes for a great dinner side dish or lunch main option. Quinoa Salad with Mango, Snap Peas, Ginger & Lime 1 cup quinoa, dry 1 cup snap peas, stem removed 1/2 cup cashews, roasted and unsalted 4 to 5 scallions or spring onions, rinsed and trimmed 2 mangos, peeled 1-2 serrano chilies (or Thai bird chilies or jalapenos — whatever hot chilies you like best, or leave them out if you do not want the spice right now) 1 tbs finely chopped or grated ginger (about one inch-long or slightly bigger) kosher salt and pepper to taste 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 to 2 limes, juiced 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse under cold water. When the water comes to a boil, add the quinoa and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain in a fine-meshed sieve and run under cold water until cool. Set aside to dry. 2. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients: Slice the snap peas on a bias and set aside. Roughly chop the cashews. Thinly slice the scallions (white and light green portions). Slice down around the pit of the mango to remove, then dice the flesh. Remove the seeds from the chilies, then finely dice. Grate the ginger on a box grater or finely dice with a knife or purée in a food processor. You need about a tablespoon (or more or less to taste) of minced ginger flesh/juice. 3. Place the drained and dried quinoa into a large mixing bowl. Season all over with salt (I used one teaspoon kosher salt to start) and pepper to taste. Add the snap peas, cashews, scallions, chilies, mangos (or not if you have time to let the salad marinate in the fridge for a bit). 4. In a smaller bowl, mix together the minced ginger, olive oil and about two tablespoons of lime juice. Taste and adjust as needed. Add the dressing to the bowl with everything else. Toss and taste, adjust seasoning as necessary. You may need to add two more tablespoons of lime juice and a pinch more salt. Let salad marinate in the fridge for an hour (if you have the time). Fold in mangos just before serving. Liv Scheinbaum is completing her dietetic internship and MS degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Teachers College, Columbia University to become a Registered Dietitian. References: NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin A fact sheet for health professionals. Accessed on Feb. 16, 2015 from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C fact sheet for consumers. Accessed on Feb. 16, 2015 from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/. Noratto GD, Bertoldi MC, Krenek K, Talcott ST, Stringheta PC, and Mertens-Talcott SU. Anticarcinogenic effects of polyphenolics from mango (Mangifera indica) varieties. J Agric Food Chem. 2010; 58(7): 4104-4112. DOI: 10.1021/jf903161g Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. “Mango effective in preventing, stopping certain colon, breast cancer cells, food scientists find.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2010 (published). Accessed on Feb. 16, 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111154926.htm>. The National Mango Board. Accessed on Feb. 16, 2015 from www.mango.org/mango-fun-facts. Alexandra’s Kitchen. Quinoa salad with mango lime, lime & ginger. Accessed on Feb. 17, 2015 from http://www.alexandracooks.com/2013/07/18/cucumber-green-grape-gazpacho-quinoa-salad-with-mango-lime-ginger/.