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Blog posts tagged with 'vegetables'

Fresh Vs. Frozen Produce and Does It Really Matter?


Fresh Vs. Frozen Produce and Does It Really Matter?When it comes to buying produce and other foods, you probably think that "fresh" is the best way to go. But sometimes, what's labeled fresh isn't always the best choice, and what is frozen can sometimes contain more nutrients for a healthy and balanced diet. With many variables pertaining to fresh vs. frozen fruits and vegetables, it can often be difficult to know what the definitive healthy choice can be.

Frozen Fresh or Freshly Frozen?

Depending on where you live and the consistency of the climate, the notion of buying fresh produce can vary. Fresh produce shipped in from other areas can lose its nutrition while some frozen produce is picked fresh in peak season and immediately frozen; therefore, it is able to retain almost all of the healthy nutrients you are looking for in the first place.

The loss of nutrients can also depend on the type of produce, according to professors and researchers at Tufts University. Leafy green vegetables are the most susceptible to nutrition loss. Fresh spinach can lose over half its nutrients in eight days. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables with skins or shells, like oranges, grapes, and squash, retain their nutrients for a much longer period of time. Overall, experts report that the important thing is to get your recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables, no matter if they are fresh or frozen. When it comes to frozen vegetables, here are a few things to look for:

  • Avoid vegetables with added salt
  • Stay away from fruits with added sugars
  • Buy "whole" fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid chopped, peeled, and crushed frozen produce

Other Areas of Consideration

In some cases, even if you make healthy choices you can still end up losing out on the benefits of fruits and vegetables due to preparation methods. When it comes to preparing vegetables, lightly steamed or raw is the way to go in order to retain most of a food's nutritional value. Boiling spinach can cause more loss of folate in comparison to letting it sit in the fridge for a few days. Frozen food is often considered cheaper as well, but some frozen foods just don't have the right flavor or texture after being thawed. If you are not getting the full nutritional value out of your produce and you are not enjoying taste and texture, you are losing on both ends.

The End Game

Understanding the nuances of how to get the best nutritional value from the good choices you make can help you further refine your diet to support your health. Supporting your dietary choices with the right supplements can also help promote overall good health. Choosing the right foods and adding a daily multivitamin can be the one-two punch that sets you on the right path for attaining that healthy overall lifestyle you're aiming for.



How Vision Changes with Age


How Vision Changes with AgeJust because we grow up, it doesn’t mean that our bodies stop changing. One aspect of health that continues to change throughout adulthood is vision health. Over the years, it’s quite common for people to experience eyestrain from staring at computer monitors, TV screens, or reading small print for too long. The lens of the eye also becomes less flexible with age, which makes it more difficult for the eyes to focus on objects that are too close or, conversely, far away. Poor circulation, clouding of the lenses, and degeneration of the macula are also more common with aging, and can affect healthy vision.

If you’ve been starting to experience some of these changes, it’s nothing to fret about too much because they’re fairly normal. However, you still need to do all you can to support your vision throughout your lifetime.

Eye Protection Is a Must

One way to protect your eyes is to keep them physically covered when doing activities that may expose them to harm. Too much direct UV light from sunlight can damage the macula, the region of the eye that allows you to focus on fine details. So if you’re going to be outdoors on a sunny day, put on some UV-protecting sunglasses. It should also be a no-brainer to wear protective eyewear if you play high-impact sports, work with machinery, or are exposed to chemicals.

Feed Your Eyes Through Diet & Supplements

In addition to physically protecting your eyes, you should also support them at the nutritional level through a healthy diet and supplements. Antioxidant vitamins—such as vitamin A, C, and E—help protect the eyes from free radicals that can damage eye tissue. Brightly colored fruits and leafy vegetables also contain beta-carotene, which supports pigment cells in the macula. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil also promote vision health and other health areas, so you’ll be giving your overall health an added boost. If you don’t get enough fish or vegetables in your regular diet (like most Americans these days), get the vitamins and minerals you need through supplements that you can take with every meal. You’ll not only be eating a more nutritious diet, but you’ll also be giving your vision a healthy boost as well.



Healthy Produce Isn’t As Healthy As It Used to Be


Healthy Produce Isn’t As Healthy As It Used to BeFruits and vegetables are generally regarded as the most nutritious foods you could eat as part of a balanced diet. In most cases, people don’t get enough servings of them. However, some health experts are saying that even if you consume the FDA-recommended servings of fruits and vegetables daily, a lot of that produce may not be as nutritious as you think. Compared to produce grown about 50 years ago, today’s fruits and vegetables have less nutritional content even though they’ve been engineered to yield larger crops. Dan Kittredge, a farmer and director of the Bionutrient Food Association, found that overuse of pesticides, and not allowing soil to rest and recover vital nutrients is mostly to blame.

More Nutrients in Soil = More Nutritious Foods

Nutrient-rich soil translates to higher nutritional content in produce, and better flavor as well according to Kittredge. Taste tests from many top chefs agree with Kittredge’s assessment. Incidentally, soil with more nutrients also had fewer pest infestations, reducing the need for pesticides. Instead of engineering plants and seeds to grow larger, Kittredge gives annual seminars that teach farmers about biology, hydrology, irrigation, and other aspects of farming that emphasize soil richening to produce higher-quality crops and higher crop yields. His methods have resulted in some farmers boasting shorter harvest times, larger yields, and fewer pest attacks. Phil Jones and Don Hess are two such individuals who have attended Kittredge’s seminars and applied his methods to their farms. Jones has noticed not only an increase in crop number, but a noticeable improvement in flavor and texture. Hess echoes these statements and notes that the output of his farm has almost doubled thanks to the improved growing techniques.

Not All Produce Is Equal

Most of us don’t have the pleasure of obtaining fresh produce from local farms using Kittredge’s techniques. However, you can make up for the nutrients that you’re lacking in your diet with nutritional supplements such as a daily multivitamin that provides balanced servings of essential vitamins and minerals. Good health is a result of healthy choices, so choose wisely when it comes to taking care of your body!



The Role Diet Plays in Heart Health


The Role Diet Plays in Heart HealthIf you’re currently taking medications for cardiovascular health and think that’s all you need to do to turn your health around, a new study reports that a healthier diet may also help prevent further heart health incidents. While it’s important to follow the advice of your physician and continue taking your heart health medications as directed, the study shows that it’s also important to revamp the current lifestyle that got you into the predicament in the first place. A healthier diet plays a big role in that change.

Heart-Friendly Diet Reduces Cardiovascular Risk

The study, published in the journal, Circulation, followed 32,000 people from 40 countries over the course of five years. The participants had an average age of 66.5 years old and all of them were currently enrolled in other clinical trials because of prior history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Eating habits were tracked with a food frequency questionnaire consisting of 20 food items. Over the course of the study, about 5,000 cardiovascular events occurred. However, it was found that participants who stuck to a heart-healthy diet had a lower risk of succumbing to cardiovascular events.

Eat More Fruit, Vegetables, Grains, and Nuts

Based on research results, people who consumed more fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, and fish fared better in reducing their cardiovascular risks than those who relied on medications alone. American participants who adhered to current U.S. daily guidelines of four servings of fruit; five servings of vegetables; one serving of nuts or soy protein; and three or more servings of whole grains were among those at lower risk. The source of protein seemed to matter, too, as fish was more preferable to meat, poultry, or eggs. Older adults stuck to these guidelines more closely as they appeared to be more concerned with their health after the occurrence of previous cardio health events.

Make Your Lifestyle Work for You

Whether you have poor heart health or not, it’s always a good idea to adopt healthier habits, including eating a better diet, exercising regularly, and managing a healthy weight. If you haven’t already done so, switch up your diet to include more balanced servings of nutritious foods so that you’ll have one less thing to worry about.



Manage Your Sugar Levels by Being Picky About Your Fiber


Manage Your Sugar Levels by Being Picky About Your FiberIt’s always great to get more fiber in your diet. However, it also pays to be picky about where you’re getting your fiber from because not all high-fiber foods are great at blocking sudden increases in your blood sugar levels. When you obtain your fiber from grains, for example, the starch in the grain converts into additional sugar, so it overpowers any sugar-blocking effects the fiber might have.

Fruits and vegetables contain more soluble fiber than sugar per serving, so they won’t raise your blood sugar levels as much when you get your fiber from these sources. True, these foods contain some amounts of sugar that make them naturally sweet. But unlike processed grains they lack starch that can change into additional sugar.

Choose Foods with Low Glycemic Loads

A simple way to determine which high-fiber foods are best for managing blood sugar is by checking their glycemic load. The glycemic load is an indicator of how much a certain food will raise blood sugar levels after consumption. Foods with glycemic loads greater than 100 increase your risk of health challenges due to high blood sugar levels. The best sugar blockers are fruits and veggies with glycemic load values less than 50. It’s also important to consider the order which you consume your fiber with meals in order for them to have any useful effect. There’s a good reason why salad is served before the main course: the soluble fiber in leafy greens helps counteract any sugar-raising starches that may be present in any carbohydrates in your meal. In general, vegetables are better sugar blockers than fruit because they contain more soluble fiber and have lower glycemic loads. You should try eating vegetables raw or cook them as little as possible to preserve their fiber content. However, both are much healthier alternatives to starch-rich grains.