Tag Archives: Superfood of the Month

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.

Superfood of the Month: Red Cabbage

Red cabbage, also known as purple cabbage, is a cruciferous vegetable that’s delicious raw and cooked.

While both red and green cabbage are good for you, red cabbage packs a more powerful nutritional punch and more antioxidants. It’s also known as red kraut or blue kraut and can provide much-needed probiotic benefits.

Benefits
1. Boosts the Immune System
-Contains vitamin C
-Stimulates the activity of white blood cells

2. Fights Inflammation and Arthritis
-Contains phytonutrients that may help reduce chronic inflammation
-Has sulforaphane, a potent inflammation killer found in many cruciferous vegetables

3. Aids Healthy Bones and Reduces the Risk of Osteoporosis
-Is a vitamin K-rich food

4. Combats Chronic Disease
-Is high in antioxidants to give the body its best chance to prevent and combat serious chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes

5.Promotes a Healthy Gut
-Improves gut health by supporting the growth of healthy bacteria

Fresh Burrito Bowl
Ingredients
1/4 cup black beans
1 tsp chicken broth
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of garlic powder
1/2 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
3 oz pre-cooked grilled chicken breast, thinly sliced
2 T non-fat Greek yogurt
2 T fresh salsa
Fresh cilantro as garnish
Sliced green onions as garnish

Directions
1. Microwave black beans with chicken broth, oregano, cumin, cayenne and garlic powder on high for 30 to 45 seconds until heated. Set aside.
2. Put sliced red cabbage in a bowl and spoon black beans on top. Layer with sliced chicken, Greek yogurt, salsa, and cilantro and green onions.