What’s the big deal with eating green vegetables?

chardI honestly don’t think you can get to healthy without at least one, preferably two, servings of dark green leafies every day. While our intake of dark green leafies, such as spinach, kale, chard, and collards, has increased by 50% since the 1970s, we still average less than 0.2 servings daily or about one bite. You should get at least one cup raw or half cup cooked of ark green leafies every day. Packed with vitamins and minerals, that serving supplies an entire day’s requirement for vitamin A, more than 3 milligrams of iron, almost a third of your daily need for folic acid, and hefty amounts of calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins, all for about 20 calories. Spinach and other greens also are excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals that lowers risk for cataracts and macular degeneration, the two leading causes of blindness. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants and they act as a blue-light filter in the eye, blocking this sensitive tissue from the sun’s UV rays. Iceberg or head lettuce doesn’t count. You have to go green, really green, to get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. Use them in salads, add to sandwiches, add chopped spinach to soups, steam and blend with mashed potatoes… the options are endless.

I know coffee drinks can be high in calories. Which ones are the worst?

coffee-milkThe worst offenders are the ones made with whole milk, chocolate, and whipped cream, such as the mocha drinks, which contain up to 11 ounces of whole milk in a large beverage and a hefty dose of chocolate syrup. For example, a Cafe Mocha made with whole milk contains up to 400 calories and almost 7 teaspoons of fat – that beats out chocolate fudge cake by 150 calories! Add a dollop of whipped cream and the calories jump to more than 500 and you’ve used up 60% of your daily allotment for fat, or more than 40 grams. But even lower-fat coffee drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, can pack in the calories if they are made with whole milk or topped with whipped cream.

 

 

 

Avoid That Sugar Belly!

sftYou’ve heard of a beer belly. Get ready to hear about a sugar belly. Americans are eating more added sugar than any animal has ever eaten in the history of the planet. Research is coming out almost daily showing that our sugar glut is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, even liver problems. Here’s the link to my AMNorthWest segment this morning.  http://www.katu.com/amnw/segments/Beat-Sugar-Belly-267691101.html

Today is National Drink Your Watermelon Day!

watermelonJuly 24th is Drink Your Watermelon Day! This is typically the hottest day of the year, and a great reminder to drink up to stay hydrated! Even mild dehydration, such as losing 1 to 2 percent of body weight or 1 ½ pounds for a 150 pound person, results in a variety of problems, from headaches, fatigue, and weakness to lightheadedness, poor stamina, reduced short-term memory, and poor concentration and reasoning ability. By the time you are thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and suffering some of these subtle effects. How much water do you need? At least enough that your urine is pale yellow. That could be anywhere from 5 to 10 glasses of water a day or more, depending on your size, the temperature outside, how active or even how old you are. Why is watermelon here? Because it is 92% water and packed with electrolytes, like potassium. So, along with those glasses of water you guzzle throughout the day, sweeten your liquid by having a big slice of watermelon, since that counts as a glass of water. It’s a sweet way to quench your thirst!! Plus it is rich in vitamins, minerals like potassium, and fiber! Here’s one of my favorite recipes for staying hydrated and healthy!!

Watermelon Zapper

This juice can be made either with a conventional juicer or with a strong blender, such as a Vitamix. The benefit of blending is all of the phytonutrients and antioxidants are retained, while much of this is lost when the pulp is thrown away with a conventional juicer.

Ingredients:

2 cups watermelon cubes

1/3 large lemon, peeled

1 1 /2 Tablespoons peeled fresh ginger

2 medium carrots (cut into rounds for the Vitamix only)

Directions:

1. Juice all ingredients in a conventional juicer. Makes 1 3/4 cups juice.

2. In a blender, such as a Vitamix, place watermelon first then the remaining ingredients. Turn blender on low until watermelon is liquified then gradually increase speed. Blend for 2 minutes.

Makes 2 servings (2 1/4 cups juice total.)

Nutritional Analysis per serving: 88 Calories; 8 percent fat (0.78 grams); 0 grams saturated fat; 8 percent protein; 84 percent carbohydrate; 3.2 grams fiber.