Tag Archives: healthy foods

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: Strawberries

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fiber. One cup of fresh strawberries equals 160 percent of the daily recommended quantity of vitamin C, and is only 50 calories.

Health Benefits
Heart Disease
•Regular consumption of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids found in berries, can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women.
•The flavonoid quercetin in strawberries is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Stroke
•The antioxidants quercetin, kaempferol and anthocyanin reduce the formation of harmful blood clots associated with stroke.
•High potassium intake has also been linked with a reduced risk of stroke.

Cancer
Powerful antioxidants in strawberries may work against free radicals, inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation in the body.

Blood pressure
Doctors recommend eating strawberries because of their high potassium content. Low potassium is just as risky for developing high blood pressure as a high sodium intake.

Constipation
•Eating foods high in water content and fiber, such as strawberries, grapes, watermelon and cantaloupe, can help keep the body hydrated and bowel movements regular.
•Fiber is essential to minimize constipation and add bulk to stool.

Diabetes
Strawberries are a low glycemic index food and high in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar and keep it stable.

Pregnancy
Strawberries are a great source of folic acid, which is essential for pregnant women to protect against neural tube defects in infants.

prop stylist: Claire Spollen; food stylist: Kellie Kelley

Chicken Cutlets with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa
Serves 4
Ingredients
•1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
•1/2 cup diced peeled ripe avocado
•2 T minced seeded jalapeño pepper
•2 T chopped fresh cilantro
•2 tsp fresh lime juice
•3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
•1 T olive oil
•4 (4-oz) chicken breast cutlets
•1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
•4 lime wedges

Step 1
Combine strawberries, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl; toss to combine.

Step 2
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

Step 3
Divide chicken and spoon salsa evenly for each serving. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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.