Spring is a wonderful time of year where everything comes to life with bright colors but it can be hard to enjoy if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Everything from headaches to congestion to itchy eyes are all a part of welcoming in the new season for those with allergies. Here are some foods that may help get you through:
🌼 Fresh Vegetables
Vegetables are always a good idea. For allergy relief go with carrots, yams, cabbage, beets, and Swiss chard as they’re high in quercetin. This natural compound can reduce inflammation and block histamines.
🌼 Citrus Fruits
Citrus is high in vitamin C, which can help soothe irritation of the upper respiratory system that can be caused by airborne pollen.
🌼 Spicy Foods
If congestion has you down, consider adding flavorful and spicy dishes like curry or spicy salsa to your menu. Cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon can all help open up your nasal passages to get things moving and even break down toxins in your body.
A compound in turmeric called curcumin can help calm a variety of inflammatory conditions. Turmeric can be taken as pills or it can be ground up and sprinkled on foods such as eggs, soups, or beans. Adding black pepper with it helps your body absorb it even better.
Not only are tomatoes a good source of vitamin C, they also contain an antioxidant called lycopene that can help reduce inflammation in your body. It’s been found that lycopene is absorbed better when the tomatoes have been cooked.
New research has proven that Popeye was onto something - leafy greens like spinach and kale can boost the function of your muscles.
• In a recent study, participants that consumed high levels of greens saw an increase in strength of 11% and an increase in walking speed of 4% compared to those who ate few greens.
• Leafy greens are high in nitrates, which help open up your blood vessels to improve blood flow and delivery of oxygen to your muscles.
• During exercise, oxygen plays a critical role in muscle performance and can even act as fuel for your muscles.
• Taking care of your muscles can help make everyday tasks easier and prevent injuries.
• The study found that the most beneficial greens were lettuce, spinach, kale, and beetroot due to their high levels of nitrates. Fennel radishes, cabbage, and arugula are also good sources of nitrates.
With Easter Sunday coming up tomorrow, it’s possible you’ll find ham on your plate as over 100 million pounds of ham is typically sold each year in the US leading up to the holiday. Here are some quick nutrition facts for ham:
• Ham is low in carbs, fat, and calories but is relatively high in protein.
• A 2oz serving (3-4 thin slices) typically contains:
Sodium: 26% DV
Selenium: around 60% DV
Phosphorus: 11% DV
Zinc: 9% DV
Potassium: 6% DV
Iron, Copper, Magnesium: 3% DV
• Ham’s high amounts of selenium can be used to help with thyroid health, boosting your immune system, DNA production, and protecting cells from free radicals.
• All nine essential amino acids can be found in ham, which makes it a complete protein.
• The phosphorus, zinc, and potassium help your body with fighting infections, keeping your heart healthy, and giving you energy for activities.
• Keep in mind the high amounts of sodium in ham, especially if you have conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease.
Sleep is crucial for your overall health. While there are many factors that can lead to a good night’s rest, food can be one of them. Certain nutrients and antioxidants can help you fall asleep faster and improve the sleep that you get. Here are some foods and drinks you can enjoy 2-3 hours before bed that may help:
😴 Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice can contribute to sleepiness due to its somewhat high amounts of naturally-occurring melatonin.
😴 Fatty Fish
Fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, and mackerel contain a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D that may improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster.
Almonds are a good source of melatonin and also magnesium, which can help reduce inflammation and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to greater relaxation.
😴 Chamomile Tea
This herbal tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin that binds with receptors in your brain that may help induce sleep and improve sleep quality.
Among other nutrients, kiwis contain serotonin that can help stabilize your sleep cycle. Anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin C and antioxidant carotenoids may also help promote sleep.
The healthy fats, magnesium, and melatonin in walnuts may all help improve sleep quality.
New on next week’s menu is our Bison Burger Plate which includes 4oz of grilled bison, mashed potatoes, green beans, and buttery carrots. If you’ve never had bison and wonder how it stacks up against beef, read on:
• Nutrition for bison vs beef is similar with bison pulling ahead in a few areas.
• Both contain good amounts of protein, iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins and all nine essential amino acids your body needs.
• Bison has less calories for a 4oz serving coming in at 165 compared to beef at 224 calories.
• Fat is also lower in bison at 8g compared to 14g in beef.
• Saturated fat in bison is also half that of beef. Bison comes in at 3g while beef has 6g.
• While they can be prepared similarly, it’s common for people to describe bison as having a richer flavor than beef.
• Being able to get all the good things about beef at less calories and fat makes bison a win in our book!
• Zinc is an essential nutrient, which means your body can’t produce or store it and it has to be obtained through your diet.
• Your body uses zinc for a wide variety of processes such as wound healing, immune system tasks, DNA synthesis, and growth.
• Health benefits of zinc may include immune system strength, reducing inflammation, treating acne, and speeding up healing of burns and injuries.
• It’s usually not difficult to get enough zinc since it can be found in many animal and plant-based foods. Note that zinc from plant-based sources isn’t absorbed quite as well as from animal sources.
• Foods high in zinc:
Shellfish - clams, oysters, mussels, crabs
Fish - sardines, salmon, flounder
Meat - beef, pork, lamb
Poultry - chicken, turkey
Dairy Products - milk, cheese, yogurt
Legumes - black beans, chickpeas, lentils
Nuts and Seeds - cashews, pumpkin seeds
Whole Grains - brown rice, oats, quinoa
Vegetables - kale, peas, asparagus, mushrooms
Whether it’s because of allergies, dietary choices, or you just plain ran out, there can be times a recipe calls for eggs and you have to substitute them with something else. Eggs provide texture, color, and binding in baking recipes so you don’t want to skip them. Try these instead:
Unsweetened is best but if all you have is sweetened you may reduce the sugar being used in the recipe. ¼ cup of applesauce = 1 egg.
• Mashed Banana
This substitute is pretty reliable, but may give your recipe a slight banana flavor. You can also try pureed pumpkin or avocado to keep flavor changes minimal. This works great in cakes, brownies, and muffins. ¼ cup puree = 1 egg.
• Vinegar and Baking Soda
Especially useful in cakes, cupcakes, and quick breads, this combination starts a chemical reaction that makes baked goods light. 1 tsp baking soda + 1 Tbsp vinegar = 1 egg.
• Yogurt or Buttermilk
Plain, unflavored, and unsweetened yogurt is best and either of these will work for cupcakes, cakes, and muffins. ¼ cup yogurt/buttermilk = 1 egg.
• Nut Butter
You can use peanut, cashew, or almond butters in place of eggs in most recipes. These will change the flavor slightly so it’s best suited for brownies, cookies, and pancakes. 3 Tbsp nut butter = 1 egg.
Your liver is responsible for more than just filtering out toxins. It also creates bile, breaks down carbs, and creates and releases hormones. With all these important functions, it’s critical that it stays healthy. Here are some foods that can help:
• Whole or Steel-Cut Oats
• Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage)
• Blueberries and Cranberries
• Red and Purple Grapes
• Prickly Pear
• Fatty Fish
Yogurt can be a great way to start your day and Greek yogurt has received lots of attention lately. But what makes it different? Let’s take a look:
• Production Methods
Both Greek and regular yogurt are made of mostly the same ingredients, but Greek has the whey and other liquids mostly strained out of it. The result is a much thicker and tangier yogurt. Think of Greek yogurt as being more concentrated.
• Higher in Protein
Because it’s more dense, Greek yogurt is able to pack in more protein. It typically contains around 11g more protein than regular yogurt per 6oz serving.
• Lower in Sodium
It’s not a huge difference but going from 5-6% sodium in regular yogurt to 3% in Greek may help out those who need to watch sodium levels.
• Lower in Sugar
Removing the whey in Greek yogurt means the natural sugars are lower than regular, usually by 3g per serving.
• Lower in Calcium
Unfortunately, the whey also contains a lot of calcium so Greek yogurt contains about 10% less of your daily recommended amounts of calcium. A 6oz serving of regular yogurt will yield 25% of your DV while Greek comes in at 15%.
• So What’s the Same?
Both Greek and regular yogurt are great sources of magnesium, vitamin B12, and calcium (even though Greek is lower). Calorie counts are typically close, but regular sometimes wins by 10-20 calories. Potassium amounts are typically the same at around 8% DV.
1. Nuts and Seeds
- Nuts and seeds provide all kinds of great nutrition from healthy fats to protein. They store easily and for a long time and can be added to salads, yogurt, or oatmeal or eaten as a no-prep snack.
- Packed with almost every nutrient you need for a healthy body, eggs can be stored in the fridge for almost 5 weeks. They can be used for a quick breakfast omelette packed with veggies or fried and added as a topper for dinner. They’re also pretty standard in most baking recipes.
3. Beans and Lentils
- Canned beans can stay in your pantry for 3-5 years while dried beans last more like 10. Beans and lentils are packed with fiber, vitamins, iron, and even some protein. They can be used in soups, salads, pasta dishes, or as easy sides to your meals.
- There are plenty of grains such as brown rice, wild rice, oats, and quinoa that can be stored at room temp for many months. They’re as nutritious as they are versatile and can be used in salads, soups, pilafs, or “everything but the kitchen sink” grain bowls whipped up with whatever you have on hand.
5. Frozen Fruit and Vegetables
- Fresh produce is great, but sometimes you need it to last longer. That’s where frozen fruit and vegetables come in. The nutritional content stays about the same and you can always be sure to have healthy produce ready to go. Use them in smoothies, soups, add to pasta, or as a simple side dish.