Be on the top of the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5_ob1OhGoE
This is a continuation of information about healthy foods that are good diet choices for a healthier life. In later posts, I will be including a few recipes that will incorporate some of these foods. Cooking healthy is fun, imaginative, and tasty. Let your imagination, and your palate, be you guide.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts about nuts? The good news is that they are a concentrated source of plant protein and heart healthy monounsaturated fat. In addition, most of the fiber in nuts is the insoluble type. This promotes healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Just be aware that they do contain fat so try to restrict your daily serving. For instance, almonds pack a whooping 529 calories and 49 gms of fat in a 1 cup serving compared to a one ounce serving, approximately 23 whole almonds, that provides 163 calories, just over 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of mostly monounsaturated fat.
The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee strongly advises the following fat guidelines for healthy Americans over age 2:
- Limit total fat intake to less than 25–35 percent of your total calories each day
- Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calories
- Limit trans fat intake to less than 1 percent of total daily calories;
- The remaining fat should come from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as unsalted nuts and seeds, fish (especially oily fish, such as salmon, trout and herring, at least twice per week) and vegetable oils; and limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day, for most people. If you have coronary heart disease or your LDL cholesterol level is 100 mg/dL or greater, limit your cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams a day. (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Know-Your-Fats_UCM_305628_Article.jsp)
Now let’s get back to nuts and bolts of nuts and seeds. Buying organic, raw nuts from a health food store is best.
- Soaking isn’t necessary but seeds and nuts will sprout if soaked overnight. Sprouting makes more of their nutrients available to your body.
- Toasting nuts and seeds (dry roasting) increase flavor, reduces oiliness, and makes them more digestible.
- Store nuts and seeds in a glass jar in a cool to cold place to prevent rancing from exposure to air.
- Nut and Seed Butters are available, or can be made, from peanuts, almonds, cashews, macadamias, and sesame seeds (tahini). Many other nuts make delicious, healthy spreads as well, be creatively healthy!
Fats and Oils:
All oils are not created equal. Stay away from artery clogging, saturated fats that come from animal sources. Also avoid palm oil. Remember, as stated above, be aware of the fat content in everything you eat. Just because it may be good for you doesn’t change the wisdom of moderation and the necessity of awareness and tracking what you are eating. Purchase oils from natural food stores that are expeller pressed or unrefined. Oils keep for several months if stored in a dark glass bottle and away from heat.
- Coconut oil has been given a bum rap in the past but research now states that because coconut oil is made of primarily medium chain (and some short chain) fatty acids, it is broken down immediately for use rather than stored. The oil offers health benefits to include:
- Assisting in the absorption and retention of calcium
- Antimicrobial properties
- Pure coconut oil is easily absorbed, prevents free radical damage, and can improve the appearance of skin and hair. Coconut oil becomes liquid when heated above 75°F so it can also be substituted into your favorite baked goods.
- Olive Oil is a popular oil. Virgin olive oil is slightly acidic which gives it a muted flavor. Extra-virgin olive oil (EVO) is fruiter and used for dipping and salads but its bold flavor appeals to may cooks and it is used in cooking as well.
- Canola Oil comes from rapeseed. It is tasteless.
- Sesame Seed Oil
- Light has a lighter flavor
- Dark is made from roasted sesame seeds and delivers a rich commanding flavor.
Regular table salt is stripped of its natural nutrients then overloaded with additives to replace what was stripped away. All this craziness and it still has no taste. What’s wrong with these people?
- Sea salt that has not been refined is high in trace minerals and is loaded with flavor. Give me natural any day.
Beat the Meat:
Since we are working on getting healthy, living longer, and looking good, want a healthy choice for meat at those times when you just need “chewy”? Try:
- Seitan if you are not sensitive to wheat. It is also known as the “wheat-meat”. It has a chewy texture and can be substituted for meat in many recipes.
- Tempeh is a traditional soy product that is originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.
There are many delicious products out there that use these substitutes, including a bacon version that is quite tasty.
Pros: Your vessels will thank you, your scale will thank you, you will feel better, you may avoid diabetes, high blood pressure, and all the other health risks that comes with eating real meat.
Cons: Wait a minute, I can’t think of one.
Have a safe, healthy Labor Day. Au revoir and of course,