Nutrition

Food, Nutrition, Recipes

6 Reasons You Should Eat More Quinoa

This superfood has been in the news a lot lately, and with good reason: It's an excellent source of folic acid, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus; and a good source of copper, fiber, iron, protein, and vitamins B-1 and B-6. It's also one of few plant-based foods with complete proteins -- meaning it has all the essential amino acids.

"I call it a 'bang-for-your-buck' food," says Erin Dubich, a Chicago-based registered dietitian. Though technically a seed, it's cooked as a grain, and it has benefits that outstrip other whole grains. Originally from South America, quinoa was considered sacred by the ancient Incas. (It's pronounced kin-wah or keen-wah.) Just in case you need a little inspiration to try this amazing food, here are six great health reasons to add it to this week's shopping list:

1. Quinoa can help you lose weight.

It's a pretty simple notion: When you feel full, you eat less. Thanks to high protein and fiber, quinoa is wonderfully satiating. Swap quinoa for a side dish like potatoes or rice, and it'll help you control your cravings and eat less.

2. Quinoa is great for managing diabetes.

"Quinoa is low on the glycemic index," says Dubich. "That means you can eat quinoa and not have your blood sugar jump up." This is because quinoa's high fiber content helps slow the absorption of carbohydrates in the bloodstream. This means quinoa helps you control existing diabetes, and prevent diabetes, too.

3. Quinoa fights cancer and inflammation.

You've heard of vitamins and minerals -- but do you know about phytochemicals? These are smaller and greater in number in the foods we eat. One phytochemical found in quinoa is saponin -- and this is what gives quinoa its anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

4. Quinoa helps prevent gum disease.

"Any time you eat something high in fiber, it helps clean debris in the oral cavity," says Dubich. Quinoa is high in fiber, so it's a great teeth-cleaner. At the same time, quinoa's blood-sugar-lowering effects help your mouth, since there's a known connection between blood sugar and gum disease.

5. Quinoa helps prevent constipation.

You already know that fiber helps with digestive health. What you may not know is that quinoa is a monster in the fiber world. With 2.5 grams of fiber in just a half cup of cooked quinoa, this little grain can do a lot to keep you regular. (Added bonus: Fiber can help reduce your risk of gallstones, too.)

6. Quinoa can help your heart.

Magnesium and potassium are linked to better-controlled blood pressure, says Dubich. And quinoa has both (and more potassium than any other whole grain).

Whipping up a batch of quinoa is super-easy. You can pick up a package, or just get some white quinoa from the bulk aisle. Put 2 cups of water or chicken broth in a pot, add a cup of quinoa, and bring to a boil; then turn down the heat to a simmer, and cover. In about 10 minutes all the liquid will be absorbed and you'll be able to fluff it with a fork.

So this week, give quinoa a try. Serve it in place of rice, pasta, potatoes, or couscous. Make a big batch and sprinkle it on your salads or on yogurt. If you're feeling creative, look online for fun recipe ideas -- you'll find ideas for including this versatile superfood in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. Dubich recommends incorporating quinoa into several meals each week. Pretty soon, you'll be making it a regular part of your menu -- and your body will thank you for it.

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Top Ten Healthy Snacks for Kids

snacks for kids

Whether they're running, jumping, chasing, playing, dancing or just following you around asking questions, one thing is for certain - kids are always on the move! And all of that energy leads to large appetites. But when it comes to getting kids to eat healthy snacks to renew that energy, many parents find themselves stuck in gridlock.

Foods to Help Fight Disease

Modern day society promotes processed and fast foods to keep up with hectic lifestyles. While this may make your daily routine easier, it is not better for your health. Eating whole foods (or food in its natural state, before being processed) is important for your health. Processing foods can remove important vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

<--break->According to Lucia L. Kaiser, PhD community nutrition specialist for the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, "If you're trying to eat a healthier diet, relying on more whole foods is a great place to start." Eating “functional foods” or foods that have added benefits beyond basic nutrition can promote good health and reduce the risk of many diseases.

The American Heart Association has guidelines on maintaining and overall healthy diet to prevent heart disease, which is the leading killer of Americans.

Fatty Fish

Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are commonly found in fish and have been found to have many great health benefits, including cardiovascular, joint and brain health. It is recommended to eat approximately 8 ounces of fish per week. Fresh fish is the best choice, so look for fresh seafood markets and as odd as it may sound an online fish market. Some examples of fish that is high in fatty acids include salmon, tuna, trout, herring and mackerel.

Whole Grains

Germ and bran found in whole grains contains important nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids, folate, chromium, fiber, potassium and magnesium. Look for foods such as enriched wheat flour, whole wheat foods, brown rice, wild rice, bulgur and barley.

Beans

Beans are a nutrition staple rich in magnesium, potassium and fiber. In fact only ½ cup of beans meets 1/3 of your daily fiber requirement AND offers you the same amount of protein as an ounce of meat—without the saturated fats that come with meat.

Fruits

Citrus fruits like lemon, lime and grapefruit contain high amounts of fiber and vitamin C. Berries are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Try pairing some berries and non-fat Greek yogurt.

Vegetables

Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables out there. They are full of vitamin A, starch and fiber. Tomatoes are high in iron, vitamin C and vitamin E. Dark leafy green vegetables—like spinach, kale and collards—are great vegetable choices as well.

Dairy

Low fat or skim dairy products offer a plethora of calcium and vitamin D.

Healthy Fats

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are heart healthy fats found in many oils (like olive, canola, peanut and sunflower oil), fish, nuts, avocados and seeds.

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Natural Remedies For Flu Starting With Healthy Foods

fight flu naturally

Some of the best natural remedies for flu are healthy foods. Ideally it is best to eat healthy foods to prevent flu, rather than to expect a miracle while you have it. Not only can a healthy diet trim your weight and prevent flu, it can also prevent a multitude of other health problems and diseases, too.

Black Tea for Enjoyment and Health

tea benefits

Tea is the world's second favorite drink, next to water. Its history is rich and long, reaching back more than 4000 years to the early Chinese dynasties. Tea has been said to be responsible for upending entire empires, creating political upheaval and is the subject of folklore reaching back for many generations. For years, this wonderful natural plant has been enjoyed as a drink and for its many medicinal purposes.

7 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

healthy holiday tips

The holiday season is upon us and with this time of year comes an array of parties and events to attend, and any excuse, let's be honest, to cook up or, simply, eat those tasty holiday treats. Cookies, cake, pie galore! During this season we are tempted with so many decadent spreads of food.

Benefits of Having a Gluten Free Diet

luten Free Diet

A gluten free diet has to be free of wheat, barley, rye and any derivatives of such grains. Maintaining a gluten free diet can actually provide many health benefits, even for people without celiac disease or wheat allergies. Here are some benefits of having a gluten free diet.

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