Avocados are like kale's more relaxed sibling. They are both healthy and nutritious, but avocados are more and more often a culinary treat thanks to their high fat content (which is a good thing). That's not all this fruit (yes, it's a giant berry) has going for it. Packed with close to 20 vitamins and minerals including immune-boosting Vitamin E and helpful blood pressure-regulating potassium, it's also chuck-full of fiber. Here are over a dozen ways to introduce this creamy green gem into your diet.
1) Slice in half, add a dash of salt, grab a spoon.
2) Skip the usual (mayo, mustard, ketchup) and replace with salted, mashed avocado.
3) Make instant guacamole: mash avocado and add chunky salsa. Scoop up with warm tortillas, celery or chips.
4) Or a smoothie: Combine almond milk, avocado, frozen banana and honey to taste. Blend. Spice it up by adding fresh ginger, lime, frozen berries or melon.
5) Blend well-ripened avocados, melted chocolate, almond milk, cocoa powder, touch of vanilla, sweeten to taste, and chill for an avocado pudding.
6) Skip the cream cheese and use mashed avocado with a squeeze of lemon to accent the creaminess of the smoked salmon.
7) Toss small chunks into chilled pasta, diced pepper, shaved carrot. Finish with your favorite dressing and mix well.
8) Mash a bed of avocado with vinegar dressing and add drained tuna on top.
9) Add a few slices to any patty--beef, salmon, turkey or bean.
10) Mix avocado with black beans, roasted corn, chopped scallions, tomatoes and seeded jalapenos. Toss with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
11) For breakfast, spread on wheat toast, add poached egg and top with diced chives.
12) Saute diced onion, garlic, and add a hint of cumin. Blend avocados, water, lime, salt, cilantro and room temperature onion mix. Top with poached shrimp and cilantro for a cold soup.
13) Blend avocados with oil, lemon, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper or just mix into a favorite already-prepared dressing for a creamy salad dressing.
14) Mash an avocado, then combine with squeeze of lime, sugar water, and freeze for a sorbet.
You have probably heard a time or two before that you should be mindful of consuming too many eggs as their cholesterol content is rather high. And the recommendation that eggs should only be eaten once per week to avoid cholesterol issues. If this is the case, most of us would probably die rather soon.
Fortunately, it's not!!
You see, for years we have been told that cholesterol intake should be kept to a bare minimum as doing so will help to decrease blood cholesterol levels and promote overall health, and although the theory of lowering dietary cholesterol intake to lower internal cholesterol makes logical sense, the theory doesn't quite pan out, as our bodies are, generally, more complex creatures than our logical minds give them credit for.
Fact is, when dietary intake of cholesterol is decreased, the liver compensates by producing more cholesterol, leaving total cholesterol levels relatively unchanged. In the same way, if cholesterol consumption is increased, the liver produces less cholesterol, and again, total cholesterol values will not be substantially altered.
Now that's not to say that we should go hog wild with our intake of cholesterol, but it does mean that one can expect cholesterol levels to remain relatively stable over a wide range of dietary intakes.
Given this information, you may be wondering why the body would ever produce more cholesterol if cholesterol is so "bad", and that's a good question.
The truth is, cholesterol actually acts as an antioxidant against dangerous free radicals within the blood and is also necessary for the production of certain hormones that help to fight against heart disease.
When there are high levels of undesirable substances in the blood (caused by the dietary intake of damaged fats, high processed "unhealthy" foods, and large quantities of sugars), cholesterol levels rise in order to combat these substances.
Blaming heart disease on high cholesterol is like blaming infection on high levels of antibodies (special proteins produced by the body in order to defend against foreign bacteria and infectious agents). If the body allowed cholesterol to fall in the presence of large amounts of free radicals, our risk for heart disease would increase, not decrease, and fortunately our bodies won't let that happen.
So, the answer to decreasing blood cholesterol levels is not avoiding omelets and not necessarily decreasing dietary cholesterol intake, but rather improving ones diet overall by eating healthier in general and avoiding the other harmful types of foods mentioned.
Combine that with increased physical activity, both you and your cholesterol levels will be in even better shape.
The benefits of seaweed are easily taken for granted. Seaweed is more than just a nuisance at the beach; it actually has some amazing properties that benefit the human body in a variety of ways. Seaweed has the potential to detoxify the human body and rejuvenate the skin with its ability to destroy bacteria and bounty of minerals. For many years, people have tried to keep the benefits of seaweed a secret, but the word is out.
People have used seaweed, sometimes called the "vegetable of the sea", for thousands of years. It has always been closely tied to humans in various cultures because of its availability and the many similarities with the chemical makeup of our own bodies. Seaweed is easy to find, harvest and use.
Anthropologists say we all came from the sea and that some to the sea's elements are found in our own bodies. Seaweed has a mixture of vitamins, minerals and trace elements forming its composition. Human beings have the same sort of mixture internally. This similarity enables the minerals and healing elements of seaweed to be absorbed through the skin and into our blood, making the benefits of seaweed an almost perfect solution to many of our health problems.
Seaweed has been integrated into our diet and is very versatile. It is found not only in food but also in many lotions and creams or skin care, pill forms for various health benefits and in an assortment of other options f or general human consumption most people are not aware of.
SEAWEED IN FOOD
One of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of seaweed is to use it in cooking. Because it is available in such large quantities, seaweed is very affordable. There is nothing rare about seaweed, that is for sure. Sea vegetables such as seaweed and certain types of sea algae thrive without any help from humans.
In many parts of the world, seaweed was used for food long before any land-based agricultural systems were born. This made seaweed one of the first "vegetables" of any kind consumed by people and one of the basic staples for diets of early man who lived by the sea. Seaweed is one of the oldest foods on earth and one of its oldest life forms, too.
Seaweed is harvested and eaten, simple as that. There is no special process involved besides perhaps a wash. You can find a wide variety of foods all over the world eaten or cooked with seaweed. It can be eaten fresh, steamed, boiled, cooked or fried, making it an incredibly versatile addition to any dish that combines with just about any type of meal.
There are many different ways to use seaweed for human consumption. You have probably eaten or consumed seaweed in some variety without even realizing it! Stabilizers, emulsifiers and other base components extracted from some species of seaweed have been used in the production of toothpaste, gelatins, pudding and ice cream for many years.
BENEFITS OF SEAWEED
The taste alone may not make you rush out to the store to buy some seaweed for dinner tonight, but the health benefits of this sea vegetable will. Sea vegetable are virtually fat-free, low calorie and are on of the riches sources of minerals in the vegetable kingdom. Growing in a marine environment, sea vegetables naturally absorb and abundance of minerals found in the ocean.
Sea vegetables contain high amounts of calcium and phosphorous and are extremely high in magnesium, iron, iodine and sodium. Seaweed contains a wide variety of vitamin components, including vitamin A, B1, C and E. Seaweed also contains a tremendous concentration of protein and a significant amount of healthy carbohydrates. It may well be the most nutritionally-packed food on the planet.
TYPES OF SEAWEED
There are a number of different variations of seaweed. There are essentially two basic groups: brown algae and red algae. Within each group are a number of different species, often determined by their location in the world. Each type of seaweed has a different nutritional properties that are notable:
HIJIKI is a type of brown algae typically found in the Far East. This type of sea vegetable contains the most calcium of all types and can be very tough to consume in its natural state. Hijiki is traditionally harvested, dried, steamed and dried again for maximum flavor and value.
KELP is probably the most well known type of brown algae seaweed in the world. Kelp grows along the coastlines of the Pacific and the Atlantic, for the most part and is mostly dried and sold whole or in granulated forms. It is sometimes sprinkled on foods as a condiment or added whole as a part of salad or a wrap. Kelp is a common supplement for people with thyroid disorders.
KOMBU is a type of brown algae seaweed used for soup stock or added to the bottom of a pot of rice for some extra flavor. Its properties prevent foods from sticking and can also help some foods, such as beans, cook faster. Kombu is also good for reducing the gassy after effects of beans, making them easier to digest.
IRISH MOSS is a type of red algae seaweed that is popular for use in breads, relishes and other delicacies. Some people even snack on Irish moss right out of the bag.
NORI is a type of red algae that is actually cultivated instead of collected int the wild. Found in Japan, nori is used all over the world in a number of recipes. Many people in Scotland use nori in breads, for instance. Nori is typically used as a wrapping for sushi, however and it is high in vitamin A and protein.
SEAWEED AND BEAUTY
Along with putting seaweed in food, people are learning about the benefits of seaweed when it comes to beauty. There are a number of products that boast ingredients including this sea vegetable in their components, such as various facial creams and lotions. A trip to your local drug store will likely unearth a whole world of products that use seaweed in some form or another.
Many experts cite the stressful lifestyle that people live as part of the reason why people are starting to appear more broken down or unhealthy. With its natural elements, seaweed is the perfect answer to bodies drained of their nutrients due to stress or poor hygiene habits. Using natural seaweed directly on the skin is a popular beauty treatment that introduces the healing effects of the sea vegetable right to the skin.
People use seaweed in all different forms, from seaweed powders and extracts to the direct application of "raw" seaweed wraps and facials. Much is made of seaweed facials and body wraps, in which strands of seaweed are placed on the face or body. The seaweed then works to draw out any toxins or impurities. After the treatment, skin appears more youthful.
The benefits of seaweed are vast and go a long way to help keep the body healthy inside and out. Once you get past the fact that you are eating seaweed or using it on you skin, you will find this sea vegetable extremely useful and it will likely become a common item in your home.
ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FIRST
Although it is helpful to get health information by reading and talking with friends, make sure you consult your doctor first before trying any new treatment or changing your diet. Remember that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate the strength, purity or safety of herbs and supplements. Be sure to always read product labels. If you have a medical condition or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, speak with your doctor before taking medical action or changing your health routine. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor
Did you know that one of the major contributors to a SLOW metabolism is the over consumption of whole grains, even foods praised as being "high in fiber" such as:
100% Whole Wheat Bread
Whole Grain Pasta
Bran Flakes and other Wheat-based "Fiber" Cereals
Whole Wheat Tortillas and Wraps
Despite having more fiber than their "white" counterparts, these four high-fiber foods destroy your blood sugar and give rapid rise to the fat-storing hormone insulin. In fact, believe it or not, two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar far higher than a can of sugar-sweetened soda or even a sugary candy bar. This is because the wheat of today is nothing like the wheat of generations ago, having been genetically modified by the food industry, mutated, and exposed to the likes of industrial toxins and radiation to force an unnatural higher yield at the expense of your health.
These harmful wheat products, although praised by food manufacturers as healthy for their fiber and "whole grain" content, are a major cause of the raging obesity epidemic in western society today. Even more, because they are so rapidly digested, these foods provide virtually no metabolic benefit during digestion, resulting in less than optimal metabolic rates, and ever-expanding bellies world-wide.
On the other hand, protein is much more metabolically complex, boosting metabolism and burning up to 30% of the calories you eat just during the digestion process, not to mention the fat-burning hormonal benefits of eating less wheat and more protein. Simply put, by swapping out toxic wheat for fat-burning protein starting today, you'll do wonders for your metabolism and your waistline to boot...highly recommended.
Nutrition knowledge is evolving all the time. Still, it's pretty hilarious to take a look back at the things you really thought did a body good 10 or 15 years ago. Here are some of the products that fooled us the most.
1. Granola (Ahem, Candy) Bars
Now you know to look at the sugar and fiber content before you buy one of these ready-to-eat snacks.
2. 100 Percent Fruit Juice
It's kind of hard to believe you used to have a big glass of sugar--sorry, orange juice--with breakfast every single morning.
3. Low-Fat Crackers
These might have had a slight caloric edge on the regular version. But...that definitely didn't mean eating half a box in one sitting was a smart idea, which is exactly what you did.
4. Frozen Diet Meals
They have fewer than 400 calories! And more than a quarter of you daily recommended intake of sodium.
5. Health Drinks
Whether it was instant breakfasts, weight-loss shakes, or vitamin-infused waters, now you know: H2O will always be the gold standard when it comes to hydration--and real food is the best place to get your nutrition, not mixes or bottles.
6. 100-Calorie Packs of Cookies
As much as we hate to admit it, 100-calorie packs of sweets are still sweets...and that "less than one gram" of fiber, along with all of the sugar leaves you hungry for another snack in no time.
These cupcakes-in-disguise haven't fooled their last unsuspecting victim, but we're not falling for it anymore!!
And this was back in the days before they removed most of the trans fats from the faux butter.
9. Rice Cakes
Yeah, these don't have much in the way of calories...or nutrition.
10. "Real" Fruit Snacks
Even straight-up candy (we won't name names) says on the package it's "made with real fruit". You may have fooled us back in the day, fruit snacks. But now...
11. Fig-Filled Cookies
Again, still cookies...
12. Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt
Finally, you know these for what they really are: sugar bombs!!
Are we going to stop eating these foods completely? Probably not!!
But we DO have a much better understanding of what we are putting into our bodies.