Ask a roomful of people if they like beets or could leave them and chances are most people will leave them…off their plates.
Beets offer a wide range of health benefits for almost everyone, especially for athletes:
Increased blood flow and oxygenation: Beets are rich in nitrates, which our body changes to nitric oxide. This enhances blood vessel dilation and flow, strengthening muscle contractions and reducing the amount of oxygen that our muscles need.
Unique antioxidant profile: Beets get their red color primarily from betalain antioxidant pigments. These particular types of betalains in beets have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.
Reduce Blood Pressure: Nitrate-rich beets have shown to reduce blood pressure.
Inflammation: Many of the nutrients in beets have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. This may help combat chronic, low- grade inflammation-related diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Detoxification support: The betalain pigments in beets have been shown to support our body's natural detoxification process by binding to toxins so that they can be excreted from our bodies.
Potential anti-cancer benefit: The betalain pigments from beets have been shown to lessen tumor cell growth (in laboratory tests).
One caution when consuming beets is they are high in oxalate. This is a compound found in the soil that has no known benefits to humans. For people who develop calcium- oxalate kidney stones, it can increase the risk for more, so likely best to avoid beets if you fall in this group.
Beets can also cause urine to become red or pink, a condition dubbed, “beeturia.” It's possible for beets to impart a red color into bowel movements as well. It’s perfectly harmless though, although it may cause alarm until you remember you had that roasted beet salad the night before.
French "Peasant" Beets
Serves 2 for dinner, 4 as a side
For some more great recipes, check out:
Celery is an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of several other nutrients like fiber, potassium and some B vitamins. More impressively, though it contains a compound called apigenin that has been shown to inhibit cancer growth. Maybe ants on a log should be enjoyed by children and adults everywhere.
Read this scholarly article on apigenin:
Most people think of eating raw celery or including it in a recipe like a soup. Try it as a main vegetable dish in this braised celery dish. You won’t be disappointed! It is super easy and fast to make.
Your Recipe: Braised Celery
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Chocolate - It's about time!
A new study just released speaks of new research on chocolate:
Recent studies shown decrease in irregular heart beats with chocolate-
Read Heart Study
This is not the first time chocolate has been shown to have health benefits. What is a little different with this study is that benefits were seen with milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has more beneficial compounds called flavonoids but clearly, all chocolate has a sweet spot for our health. The only caveat? You know it- don’t eat too much or you will start to burst at the seams.
This Weeks Recipe
Instead of a recipe for chocolate, we want to teach you how to eat chocolate (and you thought you already knew how, didn't you?)
Try this mindful eating activity from the NY Times while eating it. It really makes a difference in the enjoyment of that Ghiradelli square!
Be Mindful While Eating Chocolate*
“Mindful eating is eating with intention, attention and awareness. The purpose of eating chocolate is pleasure. So when you are eating what you love, give it your full attention and love what you eat.” — Dr. Michelle May, founder of AmIHungry.com, which teaches mindful eating.
You may never have thought about lonely little herbs like oregano, rosemary and thyme being first line defenses against some diseases but they can be. For anyone who has dabbled or dealt with essential oils, chances are that person can tell you the benefits since many essential oils come from herbs. The health benefits are far reaching!
Try adding small amounts of herbs to anything savory you cook including meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. Not only do the herbs give foods a layered taste, but also, added health benefits. Here are some suggestions where to use herbs:
Here are some Recipe Ideas:
We all know the Mediterranean diet is healthy and guess what is a major staple in this way of eating?
Yup- tomatoes! Tomatoes are a powerhouse of carotenoids with the best known one being lycopene, which by the way, is also high in last week’s featured food- watermelon. Lycopene has high antioxidant activity. Translated: they protect our cells from damage. Most notably, tomatoes have been shown to protect against prostate cancer, UV skin damage and even pancreatic cancer. Some tips for getting the most out of your tomatoes: eat the skins where most of the carotenoids are and eat some fat with your tomatoes like olive oil or avocado. The fat helps us absorb the beneficial compounds in tomatoes.
These 8 AMAZING facts about tomatoes, and more info on their health benefits, and how to prepare are from:
EIGHT amazing facts about tomatoes!
Your Recipe: Gazpacho
Try this amazing gazpacho recipe to use up all those summer tomatoes in your garden:
1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.
Copyright 1999 The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
There are plenty of good reasons to eat watermelon. It is:
Here's Your Recipe (great for summer cookouts)
Cucumber- Mint Watermelon Salad
Enjoy within 1-2 hours.
Ok, so kale is so…. 2015, right? Well, it does not diminish its superfood status! Kale rose to superfood status for good reason- it is extremely healthy. If you have not had it yet, now is the time to try it. It is one of the most nutrient dense foods on our planet. That means for the little number of calories it contains, it gives us back huge amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, K and C and a good source of copper, magnesium, vitamin B6 and calcium. It also contains sulfur compounds that have been shown to prevent cancer and help our livers do their detoxifying jobs. Finally, kale is good for our eyes as it has certain antioxidants that are especially beneficial for our eyesight. That’s nothing to blink about!
Try raw kale in salads, either mixed in with other greens or as a stand- alone. Tip: it is easier to chew raw kale if the salad is prepared a day in advanced and allowed to sit overnight. Another tip: “bruise” your kale by adding a drizzle of olive oil and squeezing it in your hands.
Your Recipe: Sauteed Kale
Try this easy sautéed version. I like to add a little feta cheese at the end:
SERVINGS = 4
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and let them sizzle a bit in the oil.
Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored.
Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all (most) the liquid has evaporated. The kale should still remain bright-ish green.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Total Fat 8 g
Sodium 75.6 mg
Carbohydrate 18.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.4 g
Sugars 1.2 g
Protein 5.8 g
If kale just isn’t your thing, keep adding it to your green smoothies.
Everyone knows salmon is good for us (and it is a superfood too), but are you familiar with black cod? Also called sablefish or butterfish, it is delicious with a buttery taste and bonus - it is high in omega 3 fats right up there with salmon. These omega 3 fats, DHA and EPA, are important for optimal health. Did you know most of us get way too many omega 6 fats and not enough omega 3s? Omega 3 fats help reduce inflammation in the body, are an important part of our brain (which is 60% fat overall) and are especially beneficial to babies in utero.
Don’t like fish? Walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds are good plant sources.
Bonus Healthy Fact:
Wild Caught black cod gets a green light on the Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watch guide:
Black cod has a similar taste to sea bass and is often prepared the same way.
Here is Your Recipe:
Try this delicious recipe from Mark Bittman on NY Times cooking
Broiled Black Cod with Miso
½ cup sugar
1 cup miso, preferably dark
½ cup mirin, sake or white wine
1 ½ to 2 pounds black cod fillets (skin may be on or off)
Heat broiler; set rack 3 to 4 inches from heat source. Combine first three ingredients in a small saucepan and, over low heat, bring almost to a boil, stirring occasionally just until blended; mixture will be fairly thin. Turn off heat.
Put fillets in an ovenproof baking dish or skillet, preferably nonstick, and spoon half the sauce on top. Broil until sauce bubbles and begins to brown, then spoon remaining amount over fish. Continue to broil, adjusting heat or rack position if sauce or fish is browning too quickly, until fish is just cooked through. Serve immediately.
11 calories; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 43 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 29 grams sugars; 43 grams protein; 85 milligrams cholesterol; 2671 milligrams sodium
Don't blink or this season will be over. Black raspberries which are not seen much in Ohio since they are grown mostly in the pacific northwest. These berries which are not to be confused with blackberries, are a rising star as they have some amazing health benefits.
Here is your Recipe:
Try this fermented black raspberry drink called Kvass: http://fearlesseating.net/how-to-make-black-raspberry-kvass/
Easier options would be to include fresh black raspberries in salads or smoothies or just by themselves, savored for the short season they are here. Try frozen ones or powdered black raspberries the rest of the year to enjoy year round health benefits of this amazing fruit.
Mounting research is showing they may surpass blueberries for their antioxidant content! Black raspberries have especially strong cancer fighting power against oral and esophageal cancers.
Liz Weinandy, M.P.H., R.D.
Besides being a member of the 614Fitness community, Liz is a Registered Dietitian and staff dietitian at the OSU Wexner Medical Center. She has published numerous articles on diet and appears often on local television.