Health Benefits of Beets
🌱 Beets are a root vegetable that resemble turnips or rutabagas. They have an impressive nutritional profile and if you swore these off in your youth, it may be time to give beets another try.
🌱 Beets are low in calories at 44 for a 3.5oz serving but still contain amounts of almost all the vitamins and minerals you need.
🌱 Specifically, beets are high in folate, which plays a critical role in your growth and development as well as heart health.
🌱 They also contain a good amount of manganese for bone health, nutrient processing, and brain functioning.
🌱 Their high levels of copper can help with energy production and proper functioning of your body’s neurotransmitters.
🌱 Beets have been shown to have positive effects on blood pressure (especially systolic) due to their combo of nitrates and folate. Nitrates have also been found to help increase cognitive functions.
🌱 The nitrates in beets may also help boost athletic performance. A study found that beet juice helped enhance endurance and efficiency for athletes if consumed 2-3 hours prior to competing.
🌱 Fiber that’s found in beets can have positive effects on your digestive health by keeping you regular, reducing inflammation, and feeding friendly gut bacteria.
What Is the Glycemic Index?
🔆 The glycemic index (GI) is a value that’s used to show how much food increases blood sugar levels.
🔆 Foods are ranked as low, medium, or high glycemic foods on a scale from 0-100. Low is 0-55, medium is 56-69, high is 70-100.
🔆 The lower the glycemic index (GI) a food is, the less it may affect your blood sugar.
🔆 Foods high in refined carbs and sugar are digested quickly and often have a GI that’s quite high. Foods high in protein, fat, or fiber are typically some of the lowest GI foods.
🔆 If a food contains no carbs, it’s not assigned a GI. So things like meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and oils are effectively 0 GI usually.
🔆 Benefits of maintaining a mostly low glycemic diet include improved blood sugar regulation, reduced risk of diabetes, and reduced cholesterol levels that are risk factors for heart disease.
🟢 Very low or 0 GI foods: meat (beef, pork, lamb, bison), seafood (tuna, salmon, shrimp, sardines, anchovies), poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose), oils (olive, coconut, avocado, vegetable), nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, macadamias), seeds (chia, sesame, flax, hemp), and herbs and spices (pepper, dill, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric).
🟩 Low GI foods: fruits (apples, oranges, berries, citrus), non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, carrots), whole grains (quinoa, oats, barley, couscous, farro), and legumes (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lentils).
🟨 High GI foods: bread (white bread, bagels, pita, naan), rice (white, jasmine), pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna, fettuccine), starchy vegetables (white potatoes, french fries), baked goods (donuts, cake, pastries, cookies, muffins), snacks (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, pretzels), beverages sweetened with sugar (tea, soda, fruit juice).
🔆 No foods need to be completely off-limits, but try and replace high GI foods with lower GI foods when possible.
Presidential Food Favs
Monday is Presidents’ Day so we elected to pick out a few notable favorite foods of our nation’s leaders:
🍒 George Washington
Our first president loved the simple pleasures in food - fish, nuts, and various fruits. But his favorite food that rose above the rest was said to be cherries. His fruit orchard in Mount Vernon provided plenty of the delicious red fruits.
🥒 John Adams
President Adams loved pickles as part of his daily food pyramid. He was in good company along with Thomas Jefferson who also loved them so much he wrote “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar,” which sounds pretty nice to us!
🦅 Thomas Jefferson
A trip to Italy and France led Jefferson to fall in love with macaroni and cheese to the point that he worked to procure a macaroni-making machine. The popularity of the dish grew as Jefferson would regularly serve it at presidential dinners.
🎩 Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln was no stranger to helping in the kitchen as he grew up in a one-room log cabin (where you can’t really get away from the kitchen) and it was said that in his adult years he’d don an apron and help Mary Todd make dinner in the evenings. One of his favorite treats were gingerbread cookies year-round. He apparently liked their heartiness and it wasn’t uncommon for him to stuff a few in his pockets as a mobile snack.
🥪 Franklin D. Roosevelt
When he wasn’t working to pull the US out of the Great Depression, Roosevelt loved foods “he could dig into”, according to his housekeeper, and one of those foods was a grilled cheese sandwich. His love for them was well-documented and there are diners today that still serve the sandwiches named in his honor.
🥣 John F. Kennedy
It was said that JFK “dearly loved” Boston clam chowder prepared in the traditional New England style. In fact, his lunch usually centered around soup of some kind with a sandwich and fresh fruit on the side.
🇺🇲 Richard Nixon
Cottage cheese was Nixon’s food of choice and, oddly enough, he liked it with a dollop of ketchup on top. He’d often reach for that concoction for breakfast and even had cottage cheese with pineapple as his last lunch before announcing his resignation in 1974.
🍬 Ronald Reagan
It was no secret that Reagan loved jelly beans, Jelly Belly being his favorite brand. He had a contract with the maker of Jelly Belly to keep the presidential offices stocked with more than 300,000 jelly beans each month.
Salmon Health Benefits
Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish you can eat. Not only is it loaded with different nutrients, it can also help reduce risk factors for several diseases. It’s also delicious and versatile.
A 4oz portion of salmon comes in right around 25g of protein with only 235 calories!
🐟 B Vitamins
There are lots of different B vitamins, including B12, niacin, B6, riboflavin, thiamin, and folic acid to name a few. Salmon contains over 100% of your daily value of B12 and mostly double-digit values of the other B vitamins. These can help with your body’s energy production, managing inflammation, and boosting brain and heart health.
Bananas are usually what we think of for potassium, but salmon provides an equal amount at around 9% of your daily value per serving. Potassium can help regulate blood pressure and balance water retention.
Salmon is a great source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and boost cardiovascular health.
🐟 Reduce Heart Disease Risk
It’s been found that when omega-6 levels are too high, the risk for heart disease goes up, so regular consumption of salmon and its omega-3s can help balance this out.
While you only need trace amounts of it, selenium is important for your bone health and thyroid regulation and a serving of salmon can provide around 80% of your daily selenium needs.
Top Snacks for the Big Game
Super Bowl Sunday is the second-biggest day for food consumption in the US second to Thanksgiving. So what’s included in that mighty spread? Let’s check out survey results of what people are planning to serve:
🏈 Chips and Dip - 42%
🏈 Chicken Wings - 37%
🏈 Pizza - 31%
🏈 Nachos - 23%
🏈 Cheese and Crackers - 21%
🏈 Burgers/Sliders - 15%
🏈 Cookies - 14%
🏈 Ice Cream - 12%
🏈 Mozzarella Sticks - 11%
🏈 Tacos - 10%
What are Alliums?
🧄 “Alliums” is the term used to describe a group of vegetables that have become crucial to cooking.
🧅 The word allium is Latin for “garlic” but this family of vegetables includes onions, garlic, scallions, shallots, leeks, and chives.
🧄 Allium plants are part of the lily family and grow from bulbs. Some even produce beautiful flowers.
🧅 There are more than 700 different types of alliums in the world.
🧄 They provide a variety of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, folate, selenium, and manganese.
🧅 Alliums can help feed good gut bacteria because they’re high in soluble fibers called fructans.
🧄 The powerful antioxidants quercetin and glutathione can be found in alliums. These can help your body with everything from bladder infections, reducing blood pressure, working as an antihistamine, to boosting your heart health and immune system.
🧅 Some of the compounds in alliums have antimicrobial properties that can be good for your gut and mouth health.
The Power of Purple Produce
Purple vegetables and fruits are not only fun to look at, they may also have additional health benefits over the regular varieties.
💟 Some foods, like eggplant, are naturally purple while others, like purple cauliflower, have been bred to be that way by farmers over many years by using a process known as selective breeding.
💟 Other purple produce includes potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, kale, asparagus, grapes, blackberries, passion fruit, elderberries, and Brussels Sprouts.
💟 The deep color of purple fruits and veggies is usually a sign that they contain a good amount of antioxidants. There’s a particular type of antioxidant called anthocyanins that give plants bright colors in the hues of reds, blues, and purples. It’s what gives flowers, tomatoes, and even blueberries their colors.
💟 Not only do anthocyanins help protect the plants from damage from sunlight and cold, it also helps attract pollinators like butterflies and bees to help them thrive. These protective qualities may also help your body when you consume them.
💟 Anthocyanins are anti-inflammatory, may lower blood pressure and decrease artery stiffness, and may help boost memory and learning abilities.
💟 Purple carrots have twice the amount of alpha and beta-carotene of orange carrots.
💟 Purple potatoes have four times as many antioxidants as Russet potatoes.
💟 Red cabbage contains 36 different kinds of antioxidants and more than six times more vitamin C than green cabbage.
Why You Should Eat Your Peas
You’ve always been told to eat your peas…but why? Because they’re kind of awesome. Here’s what they have to offer:
One cup = 8g of protein.
One cup = 8g of fiber.
✅ Variety of Micronutrients
Peas are rich in copper, manganese, phosphorus, B vitamins, and in vitamins A, K1, and C.
They’re complicated but phytochemicals are bioactive nutrient plant chemicals that can have powerful benefits. Peas offer several different phytochemicals including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein (great for eye health), flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and others that can help with blood sugar regulation and reducing inflammation.
Peas and other legumes can help lower LDL cholesterol levels with just one serving. It’s been found that even a 5% reduction of LDL levels can result in a 5% reduction in the risk of heart disease.