Happy New Year from Yogurt Fusion!
Today's Yogurt Fusion Blog offers part three of the "Foods for the Immune System" blog series.
Berries, Beans and Brussel Sprouts:
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This week's blog is the first so far this year, and a continuation and final installment in the series, "Foods To Boost the Immune System." This entry will uncover three additional Superfoods which provide optimum nutrition, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which will aid in maintaining good health through the winter season.
Nature provides numerous Superfoods and individuals are finding positive results when incorporating them into their diets. Diseases like cancer cannot exist in an alkaline body and good health depends on the balance of an 80/20 acid/ alkaline environment. This environment is created by eating foods such as green vegetables, berries, tomatoes, avocados, beans and other foods mentioned in this series (garlic, broccoli, green peppers, tea, pumpkins, apples, pomegranates, Yogurt!, kale and salmon) help obtain the balance which can result in weight loss, increased stamina and strength, a stronger immune system, a healthier body, and a greater sense of wellbeing. This additional trilogy of Superfoods, Beans, Berries, and Brussel Sprouts, in combination with the other Superfoods, provide an intense program which boosts the immunity, provide energy and counteract disease.
Berries are very special. They help to heal the body and the bonus is they taste great! Berries are rich in antioxidants and help prevent disease. Other benefits of eating foods rich in antioxidants are weight control; faster healing of wounds; they counteract the negative effects of aging; and they aid in healing disease. A combination of natural Superfoods is the best and most effective strategy to better health. A well balanced combination of powerful berries, fruits, vegetables and herbs is what the body needs to help counteract a wide variety of health problems
A term assigned to fruits that heal is Superfruit, or a fruit which combines nutrient richness and antioxidant quality. Berries and fruits rich in antioxidants include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, acai berries, bilberries, concord grapes, persimmons, red gooseberries, red currants, cranberries, elderberries, mangos, pomegranates, apples, cherries and tomatoes. Like berries, antioxidant rich fruits offer life-saving nutrients and enzymes. Also try Juicing, it is a great way to increase your intake of fruits, herbs and vegetables. Below is a recipe for Fruit Salad which contains a very delicious blend of fruits and it can be eaten as an entree, dessert or healthy snack.
- 1 mango, diced into cubes
- 1 cup grapes
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 pomegranate, halved and seeded
- 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
- 1. Add to a mixing bowl the mangos, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
- 2. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top, then gently fold to blend the fruit. Drizzle with juice and serve.
- 3. This salad is colorful and very healthy filled with antioxidants; can also be served over butter lettuce topped with cream.
Dried beans (legumes) are an inexpensive and healthy way to include good sources of fiber, protein, calcium carbs, and iron into your diet. These properties all serve to strengthen your immune system. A serving of beans, approx 1/3 cup, contains around 80 calories, no cholesterol, lots of complex carbohydrates and little fat. In addition, beans are a good source of B vitamins, potassium, and as mentioned, fiber, which promotes digestive health and relieves constipation. Eating beans can help prevent colon cancer, and reduce blood cholesterol.
Ever heard this? Beans are good for your heart. It's true! they are a great source of protein, the B group of vitamins, folic acid, iron and starch. They are also packed full of healthy fibre, which cuts down levels of bad LDL cholesterol in your blood, thus protecting you from heart disease. They help reduce blood sugar and relieve hypertension. Try eating at least four 1/2 cup servings of beans a week.
Beans are often used as a side dish, but they make excellent main course entrees. They are often associated with strict vegetarian diets but they should be eaten as part of a healthy eating plan. Try eating beans instead of meat twice a week. You'll find them delicious and will begin to experience increased aid in digestion and elimination and they 'stick to your ribs,' and aid in appetite control. There are many varieties to include black beans, baby and large Lima beans, Garbanzo, Navy, Pinto and Red Kidney beans.
Below are recipes you'll find satisfying and delicious.
- 2 quarts water
- 2 cups pinto beans, washed and soaked (or favorite legume)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black, red or cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp diced jalapeno
- 1/2 cup white cheddar, or favorite cheese
- 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
- 1. Bring the water to a boil in a Dutchovern. Add the beans, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
- 2. Skim the water periodically. Test for doneness, until the beans are soft and creamy inside. Mash, along with the liquid in the pot.
- 3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Saute the onions garlic, chili powder, cumin and jalapeno with the salt and pepper until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- 4. Add the beans and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates.
- 5. Stir in cheese and cilantro.
- 6. Serve as a main course entree, or with fresh veggies- diced tomatoes, onions, and favorite peppers; can also be used in quesadilla recipes with fresh veggies and tortilla wraps, salsa, guacamole.
Brussels sprouts provide wonderful health benefits. They are at the top of the list in the cruciferous vegetable family. Brussel sprouts contain these nutrients which help fight disease: Vit K, Vit C, folate, dietary fiber, and Vit A in the form of beta carotene. They also contain these components: potassium, Vit B6, B1, B2, iron, phosphorous, protein, Vit E, calcium and niacin. They provide glucosinolate which is a class of organic compounds that contain sulfur and nitrogen and are derived from glucose and an amino acid. This content is greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli. Brussel sprouts include important phytonutrients for health because they contain cancer-fighting substances.
Brussels sprouts contain nutrients which support three bodily systems which aid in cancer prevention: the body's detox system; its antioxidant system; and its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. Chronic imbalances in any of these three systems can increase the risk of cancer. When imbalances in all three systems occur simultaneously the risk of disease increases significantly.
Brussels sprouts also provide special cholesterol-lowering benefits. The fiber contained in brussel sprouts binds with enzymes and allows waste to move through the digestive system very rapidly. The result is a lowering of cholesterol levels. Raw Brussels sprouts also have cholesterol-lowering ability, yet not as much as steamed Brussels sprouts. At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2-3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups. Brussels sprouts are available year round and they are at their best from autumn through early spring.
- 1 cup water
- 1 lb. Brussel Sprouts
- Salt, pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp margarine, if desired
- Dressing (Italian (olive oil and balsamic vinegar), Green Goddess, Ranch or Honey Mustard)
- 1. Cut each brussel sprout in half. Allow them to sit in water for 10 minutes to rinse thoroughly.
- 2. Boil water in pot with lid. Add Brussel Sprouts, salt, pepper to taste, garlic clove, red pepper flakes, onion, and margarine to pot.
- 3. Steam for 5 minutes.
- 4. Serve with dressing to add extra flavor; can also be served with walnuts and a mild cheese. (Be careful not to overcook in order to retain their nutritional value.)
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