Category Archives: Superfoods

Superfruits and seeds for Spring

safe_imageSpring is right around the corner, thankfully.While we wait patiently to get rid of the cold, FoodFacts.com thinks it’s a great time to turn our attention to our diets. How are you doing with superfruits and seeds? These are the fruits and seeds that are nutrient powerhouses. And Spring is a great season to start adding these important nutritional superstars to our diets.

1. Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are often used in yogurt, homemade trail mixes, baked goods, commercial nutrition bars, beverages and snacks. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

2. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are a good source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens in the form of lignans and omega-3 fatty acids. A study has also linked eating ground whole flaxseed to lowering blood cholesterol (Health Canada, 2014).

3. Sunflower Seeds: Often considered a traditional ballpark snack, sunflower seeds provide monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamin E, and phytochemicals like choline, lignan, phenolic acids and betaine (Phillips, 2005).

4. Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.

5. Blueberries: Daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness (Johnson, 2015) and are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, fructose, and antioxidants. Antioxidants in blueberries are linked to the prevention/delaying of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and the aging process.

6. Acai Berries: Acai berries are a rich source of anthocyanin and have a fatty acid ratio similar to olive oil. They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

7. Tart Cherries: Tart cherries are high in anthocyanin and have high antioxidant activity. Reported benefits include enhanced sleep, anti-inflammation in arthritis and gout, and sports recovery.

8. Avocados: More than just the main ingredient in guacamole, avocados have beneficial effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart-healthy fatty acid profile (Wang, 2015). In a study of 45 overweight or obese subjects who ate a moderate-fat diet including an avocado daily had lower bad cholesterol than those on a similar diet without the avocado or those on a lower-fat diet (American Heart Association, 2015).
9. Cranberries: Cranberries have long been associated with benefiting urinary tract health but have also shown to benefit heart health, cancer prevention, oral health, and glycemic response (Cranberry Institute, 2014).

Great list! Simple dietary additions. These are real energy foods, feeding your body with the nutrients it needs to keep you performing at top level, no chemicals required. Go ahead, kick it up before the nice weather gets here and make sure you’re energized and ready for the new season ahead!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150312173532.htm

Another super benefit from a favorite superfood: avocado may improve cholesterol levels for the overweight and obese

Avocado on whiteAvocado is often referred to as a superfood. Packed with nutrition, avocados provide the healthy fats our bodies need as well as a long list of beneficial vitamins and minerals. They also add great taste and texture to a variety of dishes and are quite flavorful all by themselves. Avocados already put the “super” into “superfoods” … but today it got even better.

Eating one avocado a day as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals, according to new research published in theJournal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers evaluated the effect avocados had on traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors by replacing saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.

Forty-five healthy, overweight or obese patients between the ages of 21 and 70 were put on three different cholesterol-lowering diets. Participants consumed an average American diet (consisting of 34 percent of calories from fat, 51 percent carbohydrates, and 16 percent protein) for two weeks prior to starting one of the following cholesterol lowering diets: lower fat diet without avocado, moderate-fat diet without avocado, and moderate-fat diet with one avocado per day. The two moderate fat diets both provided 34 percent of calories as fat (17 percent of calories from monounsaturated fatty acids/MUFAs), whereas the lower fat diet provided 24 percent of calories as fat (11 percent from MUFAs). Each participant consumed each of the three test diet for five weeks. Participants were randomly sequenced through each of the three diets.

Researchers found:
Compared to the baseline average American diet, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — the so called ‘bad cholesterol’ — was 13.5 mg/dL lower after consuming the moderate fat diet that included an avocado. LDL was also lower on the moderate fat diet without the avocado (8.3 mg/dL lower) and the lower fat diet (7.4 mg/dL lower), though the results were not as striking as the avocado diet.

Several additional blood measurements were also more favorable after the avocado diet versus the other two cholesterol-lowering diets as well: total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol, and others.

These measurements are all considered to be cardio-metabolic risk factors in ways that are independent of the heart-healthy fatty acid effects, said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., senior study author and Chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park, Pennsylvania.

“This was a controlled feeding study, but that is not the real-world — so it is a proof-of-concept investigation. We need to focus on getting people to eat a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados and other nutrient-rich food sources of better fats,” Kris-Etherton said.

“In the United States avocados are not a mainstream food yet, and they can be expensive, especially at certain times of the year. Also, most people do not really know how to incorporate them in their diet except for making guacamole. But guacamole is typically eaten with corn chips, which are high in calories and sodium. Avocados, however, can also be eaten with salads, vegetables, sandwiches, lean protein foods (like chicken or fish) or even whole.”

For the study researchers used Hass avocados, the ones with bumpy green skin. In addition to MUFAs, avocados also provided other bioactive components that could have contributed to the findings such as fiber, phytosterols, and other compounds.

According to researchers, many heart-healthy diets recommend replacing saturated fatty acids with MUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because saturated fats can increase bad cholesterol levels and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Mediterranean diet, includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids–like extra-virgin olive oil and nuts. Like avocados, some research indicates that these not only contain better fats but also certain micronutrients and bioactive components that may play an important role in reducing risk of heart disease.

FoodFacts.com loves avocados. There is always a new way to add them to your diet. Mashed avocado is a great replacement for mayonnaise in tuna and chicken salad. Avocado vinaigrette is a wonderful – and easy to prepare – salad dressing. Sliced avocado is a great addition to sandwiches. You can mix avocado into mashed potatoes or cauliflower. We could go on. And so can you … These impressive new findings give us even more motivation to continue to incorporate this incredibly flavorful superfood into our healthy lifestyle!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150107204818.htm

Superfoods: get ready for the 2015 trends!

Diet food for weight lossWhat are superfoods anyway? Generally, the term superfood refers to a food that is filled with essential nutrients that the body needs like bone building minerals, healthy fats and vitamins for the immune system. Lots of nutrients. Lots of health benefits. All-around, good-for-you foods.

There are plenty of them. Sweet potatoes, asparagus, avocados, coconut, salmon … those are a few of the foods that we already know pack a big health punch. But there are some new trends in superfoods waiting for us in the new year. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up in 2015 that we should keep in mind.

Here’s what’s trending for 2015:

Fermented Foods are known for its health benefits. Researchers found out that bacteria found in the ferment food helps to have stronger immune system and can build healthier digestive system. Not only that because this can also have positive impact to blood sugar plus absorption of hormones. There were also studies conducted that this can also affect mental health.

Dandelion Green is a great source of Vitamins K, C, and A. Aside from that, this is best source of calcium, fiber, iron, and manganese. Dandelion greens are also one great source of Vitamin B like B1, B2, as well as B12.

Amaranth considered as the ‘ancient grain’ is full packed with protein and is gluten free meaning to say it’s a very good option for people who have celiac disease or those with gluten sensitivities. You can have this on your salads or even soups if you prefer.

Black Rice has anthocyanins. These are antioxidants just like with blueberries. The anthocyanins content in black rice is actually higher compared to white rice or those with brown rice. The anthocyanins are flavonoids that are believed to have great and healthy impact to human heart. Black rice can be cooked just like any other rice varieties. You can stir fry, toppings, soups, sides, or risottos.

The new superfoods we’ll be hearing more from in the new year promise plenty of health benefits and flavor. FoodFacts.com is looking forward to finding interesting ways to incorporate these trends into our diets.

Here’s to a great new year, packed with great flavor and great nutrition!

http://www.foodworldnews.com/articles/11015/20141210/diet-foods-2015-trendy-superfoods.htm

Chia, the hottest newest health trend

FoodFacts.com has a very clear memory of the first time we ever heard of Chia. It was on television commercials advertising a unique novelty plant called a Chia Pet. It took off right away … and was spun off into many different forms. The original pet was a ceramic animal with seeds that a person would water and Chia grass would sprout on its body. They’re still sold. You can even buy a Chia Dinosaur.

Today, the Chia seed is the newest health trend. This tiny seed contains antioxidants, protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It has all the properties of a “superfood.” The Chia seed is only a bit larger than a poppy seed, so it has a wide array of uses. It has binding properties, so it can even be used as an egg replacement in baking for people with egg allergies. One tablespoon of Chia powder dissolved in a quarter cup of water equals one egg. It’s gluten-free and contains anti-inflammatory properties. It has no discernible flavor, so you can’t have any real problem with the taste.

Looking at the nutritional content of one tablespoon of Chia seed, it’s easy to see why it’s becoming such a popular addition to the diets of so many people. It contains 60 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and 2.4 grams of Omega-3, 64 mg of calcium and 40 mg of magnesium. One tablespoon of Chia seed actually contains the same amount of Omega-3 as does four ounces of salmon. It is important to note that the body can absorb Omega-3 from fish more easily than plant-based Omega-3.

Because of the high fiber content of Chia, it’s of great use to people trying to lose weight, as it will help you stay fuller for a longer period of time. In addition you can keep it in your pantry for about five years. The high levels of antioxidants it contains prevent it from becoming rancid.

So what can you use Chia seed for? In addition to an egg substitute in baking (as was mentioned previously), Chia seeds can be sprinkled over salads, cereal, or yogurt. They can be used as a thickener in sauces and gravies. Because of their binding properties, Chia seeds can be used to make fruit “gels” … puree the fruit of your choice and add some ground seeds. You can use the “gel” to top ice creams or cake. Mix them into hot cereal. There are so many ways to add these tiny nutritional giants into your diet, we could go on and on.

Look for white or black/gray Chia seeds. Brown seeds are not yet ripe, so you won’t gain all the nutritional benefits you would from the white or black/gray seeds.

All of us at FoodFacts.com are excited to try the myriad of different ways to incorporate Chia seeds into our diet. We bet the Chia Pet had no idea all those years ago that it would be the precursor the latest healthy diet and nutrition news!

Read More:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/chia-nutritions-new-pet-project/2012/11/27/f3ce8ad2-245f-11e2-ac85-e669876c6a24_story_1.html