Want to Stay Young? Eat These!

Good morning World!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you romantics out there!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

OldPeopleCartoonStaying young.  It’s something most of us want to do, but as time goes by, things start to go haywire…an ache here or there, age spots, hair thinning or going grey, you can’t move as fast as you used to, you get annoyed at young people and you find yourself at the doctor’s office more than you want.  It can’t be helped…we all grow older.

Some say ‘you’re only as old as you feel!’ which is fine as long as you ‘feel’ about 21 even when you’re nearly 3 times that age.  But some aren’t so lucky and do feel their actual age.

So what or who do you blame?  Was it due to all those late nights when you were younger?  Too much booze or cigarettes or even drugs?  Is it mom and dad’s fault?

Actually, genes account for only about 25% of aging, so what you eat could possibly make a huge difference in how you’ll feel when you get ‘over the hill’ if you aren’t there already.  Here’s how to adjust your food intake and get smoother skin, a faster brain and some other youth boosters…

OliveOilOLIVE OIL

Youth Benefit: Less wrinkled skin

Australian researchers found that those who regularly ate olive oil along with fish and veggies had, on average, 20% fewer wrinkles than those who did not.  This may seem just a cosmetic benefit, but an American trial recently linked deeper wrinkles with increased risk of osteoporosis.

SPINACHspinach

Youth Benefit: Healthy eyes

An antioxidant that protects the retina against damage from years of exposure to sunlight is lutein.  The high lutein in spinach is specifically related to lowered risk of macular degeneration (MD).  To help protect eyes, the MD Society recommends eating two to four servings of lutein-rich leafy green veggies a week such as spinach and kale.  Pour olive oil over greens as lutein is fat-soluble and therefore better absorbed if eaten with a little fat.

ONIONS

Youth Benefit: Lower inflammation

Onions, especially the red ones, are useful in avoiding arthritis, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  Controlling inflammatory status may allow a better chance of successful aging.  Quercetin is the nutrient in onions that help with anti-inflammatory.  Other foods with quercetin are citrus fruits, apples and sage.

BRAZIL NUTSbrazil_nuts

Youth Benefit: All-around anti-aging

Brazil nuts get high marks for anti-aging on account of their very high content of selenium, a vital antioxidant mineral.  According to the UK government’s 2011 National Diet and Nutrition Survey, many of us do not get enough of this mineral, with women over 65 faring worst.  Low selenium status has been associated with increased risk of mortality, poor immune function and cognitive decline.  Just 25g/¾oz (a handful) daily, will significantly boost your selenium level.

blueberriesBLUEBERRIES

Youth Benefit: A clear mind

Blueberries could play a role in healthy cognitive function.  Research found a 200g dose sustained people’s ability to perform tests of short-term memory and concentration.  The berries are rich in a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin, which may help protect brain cells and arteries and keep blood flowing to the brain.  Cranberries and pomegranates contain similar levels of anthocyanin.

BROCCOLI

Youth Benefit: Cancer protection

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli contain glucosinolates, which form anti-cancer chemicals.  When researchers added juiced broccoli to precancerous cells, they found the survival rate of these cells was reduced by 95%.  Other studies have shown that these anti-cancer chemicals may also reduce levels of estrogen derivatives that stimulate breast tumors.  Other cruciferous veggies include cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radishes and watercress.

RED WINE

Youth Benefit:  Heart health

Research shows moderate imbibers of any type of alcohol (one or two units a day) tend to live longer than both abstainers and heavy drinkers.  Alcohol can also increase the ration of ‘good’ (HDL) to ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol in blood vessel walls.  Stick to no more than 150ml/5fl oz of wine per day.  Other foods that provide these flavonoid benefits without the alcohol are 70% cocoa chocolate, red grapes and red apples.

Other foods for staying young include OILY FISH such as mackerel, salmon and sardines which contain the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids for healthy joints, STRAWBERRIES for healthy arteries and CARROTS for a strong immune system.

So avoid junk food, eat healthy and stay young!

  Terri  

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Wash Behind your Ears!

We all know that vegetables grow in dirt (well at least most of us know that).  Some grow under the ground, such as carrots, parsnips, onions, potatoes, turnips, celeriac or beets among others.  These are known as root vegetables because they are…the root of the plant that is growing above the ground.

There are also the leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, cabbage and lettuce which grow above ground and then there are all the other veggies that grow on the plant itself such as eggplant/aubergine, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and zucchini/courgette.

Regardless of where they grow, during the process of growing, there will be physical contaminants that come into contact with the plant that we really don’t want to eat:  dirt, bugs and pesticides being the big three.

Once your fruits and vegetables were ready for harvest, they were handled by several different pairs of hands in the fields and orchards, then in the warehouses, and finally again in your grocery store. Bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella and E. Coli may all be lurking on your fruits and vegetables, whether they are organically grown or conventionally grown. These bacteria all cause food-borne illness and need to be washed away from your produce.

Many vegetables are somewhat pre-washed before they get packed up and shipped to the grocery store, but if you’re buying from a farmer’s market, the veggies most likely will not have gone through the process of pre-washing.

  • Start by keeping your kitchen countertops, refrigerator, cookware and cutlery clean.
  • Always wash your hands before preparing meals and handling fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep fresh greens, fruits and vegetables away from uncooked meats to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Choose healthy looking, ripe fruits and vegetables when you shop. Avoid bruised, moldy and mushy produce.
  • Wait until just before you eat or prepare your fruits and vegetables to wash them. Fruits and vegetables have natural coatings that keep moisture inside, and washing them will make them spoil sooner.
  • Wash all pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, even if the label claims they are pre-washed.
  • Wash all parts of your fruits and vegetables, even if you don’t plan on eating them. Bacteria can live on the rind of an orange or the skin of a cucumber, for example. Though you may peel them away and toss them in the trash, the bacteria can be transferred from the outside of the fruit or vegetable to the knife you use to cut them, and then onto the parts you will be eating.
  • Gently rub fruits and vegetables under running water. Don’t use any soaps, detergents, bleaches or other toxic cleaning chemicals. These chemicals will leave a residue of their own on your produce.
  • Commercial sprays and washes sold for cleaning vegetables really aren’t any better than cleaning thoroughly with plain water, so don’t waste your money on them.
  • Firmer fruits and vegetables, such as apples and potatoes, can be scrubbed with a vegetable brush while rinsing with clean water to remove dirt and residues.
  • Remove and discard the outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage heads, and thoroughly rinse the rest of the leaves.
  • Rinse berries and other small fruits thoroughly and allow them to drain in a colander.

Many nutrients and minerals in root vegetables are close to the surface, and therefore can be lost through peeling the skin. However, the skin of root vegetables can also act as a sponge, absorbing pesticides and chemicals used in the growing process. If your veggies are grown organically, simply wash with warm water, scrubbing with a brush if necessary, and refrain from peeling. If you’re not sure you’ll like the taste or texture, experiment with leaving the peels on, or try peeling only half of the vegetable. Exceptions include celeriac, whose knobby, thick and dirty skin will need to be peeled. If your veggies are conventionally grown and/or have been given a waxy coating by the produce company (usually turnips and rutabagas), then remove peels.

Wash your greens by placing them in a large bowl, pot, bucket or sink filled with water, and swish them around, allowing the dirt and sand to sink to the bottom. You may have to repeat this process.

(I made fresh spinach last night and cleaned it in my sink.  You can just about see all the dirt that came off in the sink)

Remember that the fruits and vegetables you buy may look clean when you pick them out at the grocery store, but you can’t see bacteria or chemicals. They still need to be washed before you eat them or serve them to guests or family members. This is especially important for produce and greens that are eaten raw.

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Fresh Food from Italy

Early last week we received a huge box of fresh foods sent by my darling brother and sis-in-law, A & J from a company called natoora located in Italy.  They sent a box last year from the same company so I couldn’t wait to open it to see what we got this year!

Last year was cheese, canned tomatoes, sauces, lemons, pasta, and some jarred items, just to name a few things.  This year was all fresh foods!  There were two plastic boxes of herbs, one containing bay, thyme, sage and rosemary; the other had coriander, flat leaf parsley, mint and basil.

There were artichokes, which earlier today, I removed the hearts and bottled them in oil.

Amalfi lemons, leafy clementines, a box of exotic wild mushrooms and some giant garlic bulbs!  And I mean giant!  We weighed one; it was about 93g / 3.3 ounces!  That’s a pretty hefty sized garlic bulb.  They must have some mean fertilizer in Italy!

And a lovely wedge of Taleggio Cheese.

 

There was also some fennel and baby plum tomatoes on the vine, a container of mozzarella balls and purple sprouting broccoli.

Once we opened the box and put everything out on the counter, I felt like I was on MasterChef: The Professionals, when they let them come up to the tables and pick out anything they want to use to cook a dish!

What do we still have left?  Lemons (there were 9 of them! ~ they’ve been working very nicely in my martinis!), clementines (got 6 of these), a few tomatoes, fennel, most of the herbs, a few of the mozzarella balls and about half of the cheese.  I’m currently trying to root some of the thyme and rosemary; it’s worked before, let’s see if it works on this!

I used some of the mushrooms, herbs and garlic the first night we received the box in a creamed chicken dish.  We really had to use the shrooms fast as we didn’t want them going bad.  We did manage to use about 98% of them, whether it was in breakfast, lunch or dinner.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything so far and all I can say is that this is a Foodie’s Dream Box!  I would never ask A & J to send a box again next year, but I can always hope! 😉

Thank you, A & J!  Love ya!

Friday Food Couples – Broccoli & Sesame Oil

BROCCOLI AND SESAME SEEDS & OIL

BROCCOLI is a member of the cabbage family and has ancient beginnings, dating back to Roman times.  It has been shown to aid many conditions and packs a more powerful nutrient punch than any other veggie.

It contains high levels of vitamin C, it’s full of fiber and has detoxifying properties to help to cleanse the liver.  It is rich in iron and helps to treat anemia.  It also contains calcium and magnesium which are both vital for bone health.

Broccoli contains several chemical compounds including vitamin A; beta-carotene, known to inhibit the activation of cancer cells.  As broccoli can increase vitamin A in the body, it also helps to improve various skin conditions and is also packed with B-vitamins.

Zinc enhances mental alertness, vitamin B5 helps the body to metabolize fats into energy and folic acid encourages the production of serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical in the brain.

~~~~~~~~~~

SESAME SEEDS & OIL…

Tiny SESAME SEEDS can add both taste and essential nutrients to a variety of sweet and savory dishes.  They are also a brilliant non-dairy bone-builder as they are a fantastic source of calcium.

Sesame seeds have a nutty flavor and are slightly crunchy in texture to eat. The seeds can be made into a number of products, such as sesame oil which is highly resistant to rancidity and tahini, a sesame seed paste, or they can simply be scattered over stir fries, salads or pasta.

Rich in zinc and vitamin E, they are powerful immunity boosters. They also contain a host of B-vitamins to support the nervous system and to help the body to cope with stress, as well as selenium to stave off wrinkles and keep the skin looking young.  The seeds and oil are both rich in calcium and magnesium.

The seeds (a good source of vegetarian protein) are packed with omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and hair; while the oil contains omega-9 fatty acids to benefit the heart  by reducing cholesterol levels.

~~CRUNCHY SESAME STIR-FRY~~

3 tbsp nut oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds

thumb sized piece of root ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 broccoli head, broken into small florets

3 carrots, peeled and cut into long thin slices

1/2 cabbage, cored and shredded

sesame oil, for drizzling

In a wok, heat the nut oil and sesame seeds until the seeds start to toast.

Add the ginger and garlic, cook for 30 seconds then add the vegetables.

Combine well, turn down the heat to low and fry for a further 5-10 minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE!

Creamy Chicken Paprikash

In searching for what to do with the chicken breasts I took from the freezer the other night, I turned to my trusty South Beach Diet cookbooks.

I have to admit that the meals from SBD are delicious and healthy and you wouldn’t even know that they were from a diet book because it’s real food that you’re eating; not prepackaged diet food that costs an arm and a leg.  I’ve never understood those diets…yes, you lose weight eating ‘their food’ but how does one learn how to truly eat healthy once you’ve lost the weight and go back to eating proper, real food?  In my opinion, it’s just a money-making racket.

As I had all the ingredients to make this ‘creamy’ chicken dish, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  For those of you who may be following SBD, this is a Phase 2 meal.  If not using the pasta, then it is good for Phase 1.

~~CREAMY CHICKEN PAPRIKASH~~

2 tbsp olive oil or use cooking spray

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

salt & pepper

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

180ml/6fl oz chicken stock (you may need a little bit more)

2 tsp paprika

115g/4oz broccoli florets

230g/8oz whole wheat pasta (any shape or spaghetti)

230g/8oz fat-free plain yogurt

Heat a non-stick frying pan and heat up the olive oil or cooking spray over medium heat.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the hot pan and cook, stirring for 7-8 minutes or until the pieces begin to brown.  Remove the chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic and 3 tbsp. of the stock to the pan, scraping up any brown bits.  Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender.  Add more stock if necessary to prevent sticking.

Stir in the paprika and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining stock then add the chicken and broccoli.  Bring to the boil.  (You may need to add more stock than what the recipe calls for…I had to) Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Stir the yogurt into the chicken mixture over low heat for 1-2 minutes or until heated through, without boiling.

Serve the chicken over the pasta and enjoy!