Tag Archives: Superfood of the Month

Superfood of the Month: Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the most nutritious, antioxidant-rich fruit in the world. In addition to a long list of health benefits, this fruit is also sweet, low-calorie and delicious.

Antioxidants
Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants, including phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

Weight Loss
Blueberries are low in calories, but they provide a whopping 3.6 grams of fiber per cup. That’s up to 14 percent of your daily fiber needs with just one serving.

Brain Health
Many studies suggest eating blueberries could improve memory and cognition. The antioxidant in blueberries protect the brain from free radical damage and promote healthy brain aging.

Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases. In fact, inflammation may contribute to a wide range of conditions, including cancer, autoimmune conditions, heart disease and depression. Because of their high antioxidant content, blueberries have significant anti-inflammatory effects.

Digestion
With 3.6 grams of fiber in each cup, a serving or two of blueberries can help meet your fiber needs while promoting regularity and healthy digestion.

Heart Health
Studies show that eating blueberries could help reduce some of the risk factors for heart disease. One study found that eating blueberries daily for eight weeks resulted in lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness in women.

Teriyaki Pork Chops with Blueberry-Ginger Relish

    Ingredients
    4 bone-in center-cut pork chops, (about 1¾ pounds), trimmed of fat

    Marinade
    3 T reduced-sodium soy sauce (see note)
    2 T dry sherry (see note)
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 tsp brown sugar
    ¼ tsp crushed red pepper

    Blueberry-Ginger Relish
    1 cup fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped
    1 shallot, chopped
    1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
    1 T chopped fresh cilantro
    1 T lime juice
    1 tsp minced fresh ginger
    ¼ tsp salt

    Directions
    1. Place pork chops in a large sealable plastic bag. Whisk soy sauce, sherry, garlic, brown sugar and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Add the marinade to the bag, seal and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.
    2. About 20 minutes before grilling the pork, combine blueberries, shallot, chile, cilantro, lime juice, ginger and salt in a small bowl.
    3. Preheat grill to high. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and discard marinade. Grill the chops three to five minutes per side. Let them rest for five minutes before serving with relish.

Superfood of the Month: Carrots

Carrots are crunchy, tasty and highly nutritious. They are a good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants. They’re also a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.

Health Benefits
Reduces risk of cancer
• Diets rich in carotenoids may help protect against several types of cancer, including prostate, colon and stomach cancers.
• Women with high circulating levels of carotenoids may also have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Lowers blood cholesterol
• High blood cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for heart disease.
• Eating carrots has been linked to lower cholesterol levels.
Improves weight loss
• As a low-calorie food, carrots can increase fullness and decrease calorie intake in subsequent meals.
Improves eye health

• Individuals with low vitamin A are more likely to experience night blindness.
• Carotenoids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Chicken and Carrots with Lemon Butter Sauce
Ingredients
• 1 T canola oil
• 4 (6-oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
• 3/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 12 oz (1/2-in thickness) diagonally cut peeled carrot (about 2 cups)
• 3 T minced shallots
• 1 T chopped fresh thyme
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
• 2 T unsalted butter
• 2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Add chicken to the pan. Cook four minutes or until browned on one side. Turn and place pan in the oven. Bake at 400° for eight minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
3. While chicken cooks, arrange carrots in a vegetable steamer. Steam seven minutes or until tender. Remove from steamer and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
4. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add shallots and thyme. Sauté one minute. Add wine. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Add stock. Bring to a boil, and cook five minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup.
5. Reduce heat to low. Add butter, stirring constantly with a whisk until butter melts.
6. Remove from heat. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, parsley and lemon juice, stirring with a whisk. Divide carrots evenly among four plates. Top with chicken, and spoon sauce over chicken and carrots.

Superfood of the Month: Mushrooms

Although mushrooms can be found in the produce section of the grocery, they aren’t a fruit or a vegetable. They have a great deal of nutritional value and are full of micronutrients. There are more than 70,000 types of mushrooms, but only around 250 species are edible.

Benefits
• Mushrooms absorb vitamins, minerals and nutrients from plants and soil. On trees, they often soak up nutrients that have been building for decades, creating powerhouse supplements.
• Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber. They are a good source of B-vitamins, iron and selenium.
• Mushrooms are naturally low in sodium and high in potassium. A 3-ounce portabella cap has more potassium than a banana. They have essentially no fat and no cholesterol.
• The best news about mushrooms is a powerful micronutrient called ergothioneine, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Cooking releases this powerful nutrient from the mushroom cells.
• Mushrooms have high levels of polyphenols that give them a higher antioxidant level than green pepper and zucchini.
• Commonly available mushrooms like white button mushrooms, portabella mushrooms, shitakes and creminis may contain very small amounts of agaritine, which may be carcinogenic in extremely high doses. Cooking removes the agaritine, so try to eat cooked mushrooms.

Recommendations
• If you buy canned mushrooms, be careful of added sodium. Mushrooms naturally have no sodium. Choose fresh or dried mushrooms when possible.
• Store mushrooms unwashed in a paper bag in the fridge. If bought packaged in plastic, transfer them to a paper bag or cover the tray with a paper towel.
• When choosing mushrooms at the market, look for dry mushrooms with smooth caps, firm gills and a fresh smell.
• Don’t soak mushrooms in water. They are very porous and absorb water quickly.
• Clean mushrooms with a quick rinse and wipe with a damp cloth.
• Don’t peel mushrooms. Cut off the firm, dark areas of the stems.
• Avoid eating mushrooms raw – even if they are on the salad bar. Cooking unlocks more nutrients and safely degrades any trace of agaritine.