Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

15 health benefits of eating apples

Many of us forget that sometimes, the simplest answers are the best. Better health could be as easy as reaching for the fruit bowl for some apples next time you need a snack.

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What makes apples so great?

In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two apples—Red Delicious and Granny Smith—ranked 12th and 13th respectively. Antioxidants are disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin—a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fibre. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre, a combination that gives it a huge list of health benefits.

1. Get whiter, healthier teeth

An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

2. Avoid Alzheimer’s

A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetyl choline and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

3. Protect against Parkinson’s

Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fiber foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.

4. Curb all sorts of cancers

Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumors in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

5. Decrease your risk of diabetes

Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

6. Reduce cholesterol

The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

7. Get a healthier heart

An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

8. Prevent gallstones

Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

9. Beat diarrhea and constipation

Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.

10. Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fibre in your diet.

11. Avert hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fibre can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.

12. Control your weight

Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

13. Detoxify your liver

We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best—and easiest—things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits—like apples.

14. Boost your immune system

Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.

15. Prevent cataracts

Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants—like apples—are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

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http://www.besthealthmag.ca

Watermelon – Fresh Fruit Popsicles

You can replace the watermelon puree with honeydew melon or cantaloupe puree. Use any fresh organic fruit you have on hand. We used contrasting colors because it makes the popsicle look delicious!  Don’t forget to use seedless watermelon.

3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/4 to 1/2 a watermelon)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 peach or nectarine, diced small
handful fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Cut the watermelon into chunks and then puree it in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

Set out about 1 dozen popsicle molds (amount needed will vary depending on size of molds). Fill each one with the chopped fresh fruit. Then pour in the watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top. Place a popsicle stick into each one. Place into your freezer and freeze for about 6 to 8 hours.

When ready to serve, run the popsicle molds under warm water for a few seconds and then pull each one out and enjoy. Summer here we come!!

Your friends at Socially Fit

http://www.nourishingmeals.com

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Eating Clean made Easy!

I have been making a lot of salads lately. Here’s a delightful and refreshing one that I made recently.  The lime juice adds a nice zing and a hint of freshness to the couscous.

Ingredients:
(for 2 large servings)
3 cups cooked couscous
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 cup of cooked black beans (I used half a can of beans after draining and rinsing)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
2-3 scallions, chopped
4-5 chives, minced

For the dressing:
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 3 limes
1/2 tbsp agave
3/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
Salt, Pepper and spices to taste

Method:
Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet. Fluff it up with a fork after cooking and let it cool.

Throw the couscous along with the rest of the salad ingredients into a large bowl.
Add all the ingredients for the dressing into a small bowl and mix well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with chives before serving. Eat clean!

Your friends at Socially Fit!

http://thebuddingcook.blogspot.ca

Top 4 reasons why these blueberry pomegranate popsicles ROCK:

1. It just takes 3 ingredients to make them.
2. These 3 ingredients each happen to be “superfoods” that are packed with nutrients upon nutrients!
3. They take about 1 minute to make and another minute or two to pour into cups and freeze. Easy peasy!
4. Their flavor is perfect – slightly sweet, slightly tangy, slightly creamy.

Cheers to great snacks that you can feel great about enjoying and sharing with those you love!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) bottle of POM pomegranate juice
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, plus some extras for “garnish” if you’d like
  • 1 (6 oz.) container plain Greek yogurt

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and pulse until combined. Pour the mixture into Popsicle molds or Dixie cups, add Popsicle sticks (and some extra berries for “garnish” if you’d like), and then freeze until frozen.

This mixture was thick enough for the Popsicle stands to stay in place. But if they do start to fall over, just cut a small slit in a square of wax paper, thread the Popsicle stick through it, and then place on top of the Dixie cup. Remove wax paper once the Popsicles are frozen.

Tip:

If you don’t like pulp in your Popsicle, you’re welcome to strain the mixture of the blueberry pulp before freezing!

Your friends from Socially Fit.

ali @ http://www.gimmesomeoven.com

Do It Yourself Solutions

Yes, the cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. The fruit of the cucumber is roughly cylindrical, elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 centimeters long and 10 centimeters in diameter. Having an enclosed seed and developing from a flower, botanically speaking, cucumbers are classified as fruits. However, much like tomatoes and squash they are often perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables. Cucumbers are usually more than 90% water.

AND according to http://www.facebook.com/#!/HomesteadingSelfSufficiencySurvival here are some other things that you may not have known:

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day. Just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
 
2. Feeling tired in the afternoon? Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
 
3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror. It will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
 
4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
 
5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite (fatty deposit causing a dimpled or uneven appearance, around the thighs and buttocks.) before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes. The phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!
 
6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!
 
7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and are often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
 
8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe. Its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
 
9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone! 
 
10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water. The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
 
11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. The phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath. 
 
12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean. Not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks and won’t harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean. 
 
13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing. This also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the wall.
 
Can’t wait to try some of these!!
 
 
Here’s an easy to prepare recipe for Cucumber Water:
 
We infused our cucumber water in a quart size glass pitcher. To the water we added about a third of a sliced cucumber, half a lime cut into four wedges, and two sprigs of mint. Then, simply cover and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to infuse into the water. If you’d prefer, replace the lime with lemon.  Zero calories and very refreshing!! 
 
Your friends at “Socially Fit”

Why All the Hype

The coconut is commonly associated with beautiful tropical beaches. Towering coconut palms at the fringe of a beach makes the scene picture postcard perfect. The coconut, however, has much more than aesthetic value: it is a valuable commercial resource as well as an important source of nutrition and medicine for many communities in the world.

The coconut is not a nut; it is in fact a drupe. The coconut palm can withstand salty water conditions and can thrive without pesticides and fertilizers.  Typically one palm produces over 100 coconuts a year. It does so for over 70 years and then it becomes a ‘senile palm’. At which point it can be chopped down for its timber. The timber can be used for construction and for making  coconut flooring. Using coconut as an alternative to hardwood is one of the methods for creating a sustainable society.

Coconut water is remarkable for being an exact replica for human blood plasma. For over 50 years coconut water has been used for emergency blood transfusions (in certain parts of the world) when no safe blood plasma is available. It is also totally sterile and thus safe to drink straight from the husk.  Coconut Water is the nutritious clear liquid inside the coconut fruit which is packed with vitamins and minerals. There is usually more water in a young coconut, since the water is replaced by the white coconut flesh as it matures. Therefore, for drinking purposes, coconuts are harvested off the trees when they are still young and green. Later, the outer green husk is removed and the coconuts are wrapped in plastic to keep the moisture.

For best results, the water from a fresh coconut should be consumed shortly after being exposed to air due to the possible loss of important nutrients. A single coconut usually provides an 11 ounce serving of water, and it is low in calories and fat but rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. A few key nutrients in Coconut Water include Lauric acid, Chloride, and Iron, as well as important electrolytes such as Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, and Phosphorous. In fact, the potassium content in Coconut Water is close to twice the amount in a banana. A healthy balance of electrolytes is important for the optimal health of our muscular, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, as well as to help with the absorption and balance of the body’s internal fluids.

What are the Benefits of Coconut Water?

Many studies have shown that the antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of Coconut Water may help with a number of minor to severe health conditions. This nutrient rich drink has been used to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, and it has been found to boost energy levels and increase metabolism in the human body. Other conditions that it has been found to be effective at treating include stomach flu, dysentery, indigestion, constipation, intestinal worms, cholera, urinary abnormalities, urethral stone, malfunctioning kidneys, dry and itchy skin, age spots, and wrinkles.

Uses of Coconut Water: Age Spots, Wrinkles, and Other Skin Problems

Researchers have found that Cytokinins help regulate the cell growth and their divisions. Coconut Water contains these cytokinins and lauric acid which can minimize the aging of skin cells, balance PH levels, and keep the connective tissues strong and hydrated. Therefore, simply applying Coconut Water onto affected skin areas every night before going to bed may help with acne, age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite, and eczema.

Boosting Energy

Abundant in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, Coconut Water makes a wonderful energy drink. In particular, coconut water has less sugar and sodium content compared to most sports drinks, while packing more Potassium, Calcium, and Chloride, which makes it a better choice to rehydrate, replenish and boost the body’s energy levels after any strenuous activity or workout. For example, in every 100ml of Coconut Water there is approximately 294mg of potassium compared to 117mg in an average energy drink, 25mg of sodium compared to 200mg in energy drinks and 41mg in most sport drinks, 5mg sugar compared to 20-25mg, and 118mg of chloride compare to 39mg in average energy and sport drinks.

Cardiovascular Health

According to researchers, individuals with high blood pressure usually have low potassium levels. Therefore, drinking coconut water on a regular basis can be quite effective at regulating blood pressure due to its high concentration of potassium and lauric acid. Similarly, some recent studies have found that coconut water can help increase HDL (good) cholesterol, which makes it a wonderful natural treatment for maintaining good cardiovascular health.

 

Dehydration

Rich in Potassium and other minerals, Coconut Water helps to regulate our internal fluids and replenish and rehydrate the body. It has been used to treat dehydration caused by dysentery, cholera, diarrhea and stomach flu, and the electrolyte balance and plasma in Coconut Water has been found to be similar to that of human blood. Therefore, drinking one cup of Coconut Water twice daily during digestive tract abnormalities, hot temperatures, and after strenuous workouts can help rehydrate the body quickly.

 

Digestive Problems

Coconut Water contains Lauric acid which our body converts into monolaurin. Monolaurin has great antiviral, antiprozoal and antibacterial activity which helps fight against intestinal worms, parasites, lipid-coated viruses and other gastrointestinal tract infections in children and adults. Additionally, the water from coconut may not only act as an antibiotic but it can also rehydrate the body. Therefore, a simple remedy for Intestinal Worms is to mix one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil into a cup of Coconut Water and drink it daily for at least three days. For constipation, diarrhea and other common digestive problems drink one cup of Coconut Water twice daily.

Weight Loss

Coconut water is a natural electrolyte and isotonic beverage which help increase the body’s metabolism. Therefore, it can greatly benefit people who are struggling with weight issues.

 What are the Side Effects of Coconut Water?

Fresh Coconut Water is one of the best natural drinks on the face of the earth. It doesn’t have any known side effects unless somebody is prone to having allergic reactions or have severe nut allergies. It is considered to be safe for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women. If you are taking potassium supplements it is recommended to regulate your potassium levels since Coconut Water is high in potassium.

 Where and How to Buy Coconut Water

Coconut Water is readily available in cans or bottles from many grocery stores or online retailers. Fresh plastic wrapped coconuts can also be purchased at many Indian and Asian grocery stores during the summer. When buying fresh coconuts with green husks, look for those with some light brown spots as well since these are considered to have the greatest water content. Generally, the water from Indian and Bangladeshi coconuts tends to be sweeter than Thai and Brazilian coconuts. When using fresh coconuts, try to drink the water as soon as possible since the nutrients can begin to dissipate after being exposed to air. However, the water can also be refrigerated for 10 to 12 hours if it is sealed in a tight container. Enjoy a glass of coconut water today!

Your friends at “Socially Fit”

http://www.homeremediesweb.com/coconut-water-health-benefits.php

http://www.buyabetterlife.net/tag/coconut-milk/

Keep it Simple

If you’re anything like me, you have a light dinner at 6:00pm, and a small snack (usually fruit or yogurt) at 8:00pm then you call it a day. Here’s one of my fave dinners. It’s quick and easy, it’s healthy, and you’re going to love it. Marinate your chicken breast (lean meat, fish or shrimp) over night, so that when you’re ready to cook, everything is ready and prepped.

This usually takes me 20 minutes to prepare, fresh.

Place your lean meat on the grill (or in a frying pan with a touch of coconut or virgin olive oil) and flip as required. While this is grilling, take out your serving bowls, or plates, and place a serving of spinach leaves. Top with sliced tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and your fave dressing, and you’re almost ready.

When the meat is cooked to your liking, cut into thin strips, and sprinkle across the top of your salad.

Dinner is now ready to be served. How’s that? Quick. Easy. Clean.

No excuses!

Your friends at “Socially Fit”