Acorn squash is a small type of winter squash named for its appearance that’s similar to an overgrown acorn. Of all the many varieties of squash, acorn squash is the most nutrient-dense and contains the highest amounts of antioxidants. Here’s what this mighty vegetable has to offer:
• Vitamin C - immunity and white blood cell production
• Magnesium - bone health and relief from depression and anxiety
• Beta-carotene - for eye health and prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration
• Vitamin A - clear skin free of blemishes and healthy cell regeneration
• Potassium - improves blood pressure levels
• Fiber - promotes regular bowel movements and regulates blood sugar levels
• Calcium, manganese, copper, phosphorus - increases bone density to prevent osteoporosis
We’ve all heard the phrase “apples to oranges” - meaning two things are completely different and can’t be compared. Well, we were curious to see just how different they are. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of 1 cup of apples to oranges:
Calories: 🍎65 🍊85
Carbs: 🍎17g 🍊21g
Protein: 🍎1% 🍊3%
Sugar: 🍎13g 🍊17g
Fiber: 🍎12% 🍊17%
Vitamin C: 🍎10% 🍊160%
Calcium: 🍎5% 🍊7%
Vitamin K: 🍎3% 🍊0%
Vitamin B6: 🍎3% 🍊5%
Riboflavin: 🍎2% 🍊4%
Potassium: 🍎4% 🍊9%
Folate: 🍎1% 🍊14%
So as it turns out, apples and oranges really aren’t all that different. Oranges come out ahead for protein by a little, folate by quite a bit, and Vitamin C by 150%. Still, you can’t go wrong with either one as a portable, healthy snack!
Last week we looked at pineapple and the nutritional differences between canned and fresh and mentioned that bromelain was only present in fresh pineapple. But what is bromelain?
• Bromelain is an enzyme mixture that breaks down proteins.
• Pineapple is the only natural food source of bromelain. Amounts are highest in the stem.
• It’s also available as a supplement and can be taken orally or used topically.
• Bromelain is typically taken for a short period of time to promote healing after surgery or trauma.
• It has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and bruising. It's helpful in breaking up scar tissue as well.
• Pineapple can be used as a powder or in marinades to tenderize meat, but don’t marinate for more than a day, as the bromelain’s ability to break down proteins is strong and will turn the meat to mush if left for too long. Several hours is ideal.
• This breakdown of proteins is why your mouth feels scorched after eating pineapple. The bromelain is destroying the tender insides of your mouth! The difference is your mouth’s cells regenerate, while a marinating cut of meat won’t regenerate.
• Temperatures of 150 degrees or more neutralize bromelain, stopping the tenderizing process.
Pineapple has many health benefits such as fiber, vitamin C, and manganese (for bone health). It’s great fresh, but can be time-consuming to prep and is available canned as well. The taste changes quite a bit going from fresh to canned, but what else changes in a 1 cup serving?
Calories ⬆️ Increase by 66 in canned pineapple. This is due to the fact the canned varieties are usually packed in calorie-dense juice.
Carbs ⬆️ Increase by 17g in canned, again from the juice.
Sugar ⬆️ Increases by 20g in canned, again from the juice.
Vitamin C ⬇️ daily value decreases by 92% (but is still relatively high) in canned. Fresh DV is 131%, canned is 39%.
Manganese ⬆️ for bone and skin health DV increases by 64% in canned. This is because it’s more dense in the juice.
Bromelain ⬇️ an anti-inflammatory enzyme, decreases to 0%. This is because the heat from the canning process destroys it.
Fiber, protein, Vitamin A, thiamin, and Vitamin B ↔️ all stay about the same in canned pineapple.
So while canned pineapple loses some vitamins and minerals, it’s still not a bad choice to get your fiber, thiamin, and B & C vitamins in. It’s more convenient than fresh but be sure to keep the calories in mind too.
Yikes, candy everywhere! At the office, at school, and at home. It’s hard to tell how many calories lurk inside those harmless little packs, so we’re going to help put things in perspective. Here’s a list of how many “fun size” packs you can indulge in and still come in at 100 calories (give or take 10 cals). For 100 calories, would you rather have 2 mini boxes of Nerds, 1 Reese’s cup, or 14 pieces of candy corn?
2️⃣ packs = 100 cals: Nerds, Swedish Fish
1️⃣.7️⃣5️⃣ bars = 100 cals: Nestle Crunch
1️⃣.5️⃣ packs = 100 cals: Kit Kat, M&Ms (plain), Hershey’s chocolate bar, 3 Musketeers, Dots, Skittles
1️⃣.2️⃣5️⃣ packs = 100 cals: Butterfinger, Milky Way, Baby Ruth, Snickers, Twix, M&Ms (peanut)
1️⃣ pack = 100 cals: Reese’s PB cup, 100 Grand bar
1️⃣4️⃣ pieces of candy corn = around 100 cals
Whether you eat it with just salt and pepper, mixed in with a salad, or with fruit, cottage cheese is a smart choice to help round out a snack or meal. Let’s check out all the good things a 1 cup serving of 1% lowfat cottage cheese has to offer:
1️⃣ High in protein - 28g, 56% DV
2️⃣ Casein protein - Milk contains two proteins: casein, which is 80% of it, and whey that makes up the other 20%. Casein contains all essential amino acids and is digested slowly, releasing the acids at low levels over a longer period of time than whey.
3️⃣ Low calories - 163 calories and 74% of those calories come from protein.
4️⃣ High in calcium - 14% DV
5️⃣ Vitamins B2 & B12 - 23% DV
6️⃣ Selenium - 29% DV, selenium is a mineral with antioxidant properties and plays a role in metabolism and thyroid function
One important thing to note is this serving also contains 38% of your sodium for the day. If you’ve been cautioned to watch your sodium by your doctor, look for a no-sodium-added cottage cheese as a serving of it will only yield 1% DV instead of 38%.
Raisins are simply grapes that have been dehydrated. The texture, size, and even taste change dramatically after grapes become raisins, but what about the nutrition? Let’s take a look at the difference between 1 cup of grapes and 1oz of raisins, which are the common serving sizes for each:
If you’re looking for an easy-to-carry snack that contains fiber, iron, and other minerals, go with raisins. Some vitamins and antioxidants are lost in raisins, but other minerals are gained. If you’re watching your sugar intake closely or on a calorie restriction and are interested in more antioxidants, go with grapes. Both are great choices!
Coconut water is simply the water from inside young, green coconuts (not to be confused with calorie-rich coconut milk that comes from water and flesh of a mature coconut). It has become quite the trendy beverage recently and has been touted as everything from a natural sports drink to a hangover cure. Let’s take a look at what a one cup serving of coconut water has to offer:
It wasn’t always this way, but almond milk is now the most popular non-dairy milk, beating out rice and soy, among others like coconut and cashew. But why is it all the rage right now? Here are a few reasons:
It should be noted that whole almonds are a good source of protein, but almond milk is not. Dairy milk contains around 8g protein, while almond milk only contains 1g. If you’re getting enough protein through your food, then it’s not an issue.
If you’re carving pumpkins soon, you may want to think twice before throwing away the seeds. Not only are they delicious after roasting, they’re also packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals and even some protein.
Let’s look at what’s going on inside those simple looking seeds. A one cup serving of whole, roasted, salted pumpkin seeds has: