Tag Archives: healthy eating

Superfoods to the Rescue: Watermelon

Each month, we’re highlighting a superfood and sharing a delicious recipe. This month, we feature watermelon.

Here are some of watermelon’s best assets:

Vitamin A
Important for optimal eye health and boosting immunity by enhancing the infection-fighting actions of white blood cells.

Vitamin B6
Helps the immune system produce antibodies to fight many diseases. Vitamin B6 helps maintain normal nerve function and form red blood cells. The body uses it to help break down proteins. The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.

Vitamin C

Bolsters the immune system’s defenses against infections and viruses, and can protect a body from harmful free radicals that accelerate aging and conditions such as cataracts.

Fast Facts
~ Watermelon is about 92 percent water, making it a good thirst quencher and diuretic.
~ High amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve asthma conditions, reduce the risk of colon cancer and alleviate some symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
~ Watermelon is a concentrated source of the carotenoid lycopene, which has antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties.
~ One watermelon can feed up to three dozen people.
~ According to a 2010 study by the Perishables Group, watermelon ranks #1 on the list of budget-friendly fruits at only 14¢ per serving.
~ More than 300 varieties of watermelon are cultivated in the United States and South America.

Flank Steak with Grilled Mango and Watermelon Chutney

Steak:
1T brown sugar
1t salt
3/4t ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1 – 1/2-pound) flank steak, trimmed
Cooking spray

Chutney:
2 peeled ripe mangoes, cut into quarters (about 1 pound)
1t olive oil
1c thinly vertically sliced onion
1t minced peeled fresh ginger
1/3/ cup cider vinegar
2T brown sugar
2T fresh lime juice
1/4t salt
1/4t ground red pepper
2c finely diced seedless watermelon (about 3/4 pound)
1-1/2T chopped fresh cilantro
1-1/2T chopped fresh mint
mint sprigs (optional)
lime wedges(optional)

To prepare the steak, combine the first four ingredients. Sprinkle the steak evenly with the sugar mixture. place the steak on a heated grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill for 8 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into slices.

To prepare the chutney, place the quartered mango on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side. Cool and chop. Set aside.

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute 4 minutes. Add ginger; saute 1 minute. Add vinegar, 2T of sugar, juice, 1/4t of salt and pepper; cook 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in mango; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in watermelon, cilantro and mint. Add mint sprigs and lime wedges, if desired.

The Mediterranean Diet for Your Heart

If you’re looking for the best menu for your heart, check out the Mediterranean Diet. This plan incorporates a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat, which contains more saturated fat.

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of bad cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.

Lexington Medical Center heart patient Thomas Harris learned all about the Mediterranean Diet while attending cardiac rehabilitation after open heart surgery last year. While Thomas has always led an active lifestyle, his old diet – high in saturated fat and processed foods – hurt his heart. After following the Mediterranean Diet for several months, his cholesterol is lower and he no longer has to take blood pressure medication. We introduce you to him in this WIS-TV news story.

 

“The typical American diet contains too many processed foods that are convenient and easy to eat on the go. They often contain too much sugar and processed flour,” said Lexington Medical Center cardiac rehabilitation dietitian Susan Wilkerson. “The more processed food is, the less nutritious. When we eat processed foods, we don’t get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. We eat just to eat, not for our health. So we want to go back to eating whole foods.”

Mediterranean Diet Guidelines:
*Primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
*Replace butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
*Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
*Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month
*Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week

Eat Red for Your Heart

by Laura Stepp, MA, RD, LD, CDE at Lexington Medical Center

The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign brings awareness to the fight against heart disease in women. There a several lifestyle and dietary habits that can contribute to increased risk factors associated heart disease or stroke. On the positive side, there are several lifestyle habits such as daily exercise, drinking water, not smoking, and limiting alcohol that can help to reduce risks associated with heart disease.

Red Foods HeartProbably the most talked about is diet. In the spirit of Go Red for Women, I want to explore the benefits of adding red fruits and vegetables to our meals to “Just Say Know” to heart disease.

Red fruits and vegetables and their cousins blue and purple plants offer several health benefits associated with lowering risk factors of heart disease and stroke. Red foods have heart healthy folate, potassium and fiber. They also are sources of the antioxidants Vitamin C and A, and anthocyanin Lycopene that may help reduce the risk of developing cancers and developing macular degeneration (associated with blindness).

red foodsTry some of these fruits and vegetables today!

Vegetables:
•Tomatoes
•Red Bell Peppers and Hot peppers
•Beets
•Red/Purple Cabbage
•Red Onion
•Red New Potato
•Rhubarb

Fruits:
•Apples
•Blood Orange
•Cherries
•Cranberries
•Pomegranate
•Red/Purple Grapes
•Red Pears
•Strawberries
•Watermelon

Take the “Chopped” challenge and try combining several of these foods into a single recipe. If you need inspiration, websites such as Cooking Light or the USDA’s MyPlate.gov offer several recipes.