Best Fall Harvested Foods to Keep You Healthy

Because of frozen food availability and genetic modification, we’ve become accustomed to having any type of produce, all year long. Freshly harvested, organic foods, however, are distinctly available at certain times of the year. Here are some samples of delicious, healthy produce ready for pickin’ and consumption right about now.

The Usual Suspect

Pumpkins are synonymous with autumn and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Often pumpkin is used in pies or other sweet desserts. But, there are alternate ways to eat this vitamin-rich food without packing on the pounds.

You can add cooked, cooled pumpkin chunks into smoothies. Sautee slices with other coarse veggies like carrots and then spice with turmeric, garlic, and pepper. You can puree pumpkin (add cinnamon) and spread it on toast or as part of a sandwich. Don’t forget the seeds! They can be roasted in the oven and lightly sprinkled with sea salt to make a yummy snack or as a topping for salads.

Pumpkins and their seeds offer a significant amount of fiber to your diet. High fiber lowers the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. What’s great is that it keeps digestions flowing, but it also makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time. It’s rich in Vitamin A, which is beneficial for vision and eye health. Evidently, the seeds contain tryptophan, which helps the body relax and encourages a good night’s sleep.

Other Fall Produce Worth Incorporating into Your Diet

Rutabaga. This is a root veggie that can be sweet-ish or bland depending on how it’s prepared. It’s a cross between a turnip and cabbage, but its flesh can be potato-like. They can be pureed, made into a soup, roasted, and I’ve even seen recipes adding it to caramelized onion and apple dishes.

The rutabaga is popular in Sweden and is a great source of vitamin C and fiber.

Dates. Here’s a sweet fruit that is highly nutritious; it’s packed with fiber, vitamins (especially potassium), minerals, and low fat. They can be eaten straight up, sliced and topped with cream cheese, or chopped and added to cookies and other treats.

Dates aid in stomach and intestinal processes. In Middle Eastern countries where fasting can be common, dates are often the first food eaten after breaking the fast. They help resist overeating, satisfy hunger, and deliver glucose and beneficial vitamins rapidly.

Brussels Sprouts. These are edible buds from a member of the cabbage family. If prepared properly, they can be incredibly delicious. Many people prepare them with bacon or garlic. They can be a tad bitter, so a groovy sauce that’s either tangy or cheesy can go a long way. Roasting them can be preferred to steaming.

Brussels sprouts are an amazing source of iron and folate (vitamin B9), which is excellent for your blood and DNA reproduction. They also contain vitamin K, which helps build strong bones and aids in heart disease prevention.

Winter squash is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A. It’s yummy prepared with butter, ginger, and cinnamon.

Parsnips look a little like carrots and are a tad sweeter. They add great flavor to soups, and some like to puree them and add to mashed potatoes for a nutty-ish flavor. They’re fiber-filled and offer lots of potassium, too.

Everybody’s Favorite

Of course there are sweet potatoes, which is also a headliner at fall and winter holiday tables. Whichever seasonal fall foods you choose, know that organic and fresh will help keep your body at its peak nutritional health.

For more articles on healthy foods, check out www.GetThrive.com

 

Nutrition Quiz: Are You Really Eating Healthy?

How much do you really know about healthy eating? We believe certain foods are good (or bad) for us, but then, sometimes, we find out otherwise. Advertising and/or outdated studies can often misguide us in our quest to eat nutritiously. Take the quick Healthy-Eating Quiz and see how well you’re doing!

 

  1. Which are “good fats”?
  2. Saturated fats
  3. Trans fats
  4. Monounsaturated fats
  5. Polyunsaturated fats

 

  1. Which are whole grains?
  2. Oatmeal
  3. White rice
  4. Barley
  5. Quinoa

 

  1. What nutrients do eggs contain?
  2. Protein
  3. Vitamin B12
  4. Vitamin D
  5. Lutein

 

  1. Which are great sources of fiber?
  2. Artichokes
  3. Chia seeds
  4. Pancakes
  5. Black beans

 

  1. Which are low in sugar content?
  2. Tonic water
  3. Vanilla yogurt
  4. Bananas
  5. Almond butter

 

Now check and compare your answers with ours.

 

Answers:

1.) c and d. The worst are trans fats, for example, hydrogenated oils. Saturated fats aren’t horrible when eaten in slim moderation. These include: cheese, whole milk, and red meat. Your good fats will be monounsaturated (i.e. olive oil, avocados, sunflower oil) and polyunsaturated fats, which are essential fats (omega-3 fatty acids, salmon, seeds, nuts, etc.)

2.) a and c. Whole grains contain bran, germ, and endosperm—the entire grain kernel. That is precisely what oatmeal and barley are. White rice is processed and not a whole grain; however, brown and wild rice are considered whole grains. Quinoa, although quite nutritionally potent, is really a seed (though some still categorize it as a grain).

3.) a, b, c, and d. Two medium eggs offer about 14 grams of protein. Over 50% of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin B12 is included as well. Eggs are a great source of vitamin D for bone health and lutein for eye health.

4.) a, b, and d. Pancakes, especially those prepared with white, refined flour have virtually no fiber benefit. (If they were made with a whole grain, like Buckwheat, now we’re talkin’.) One medium artichoke has about 10 grams of fiber—and brother broccoli is not far behind. Chia seeds, as well as flax and other seeds, can have up to 6 grams of fiber in one tablespoon. Black beans (and lima and lentils) are fiber royalty with up to 15 grams per cup, cooked.

5.) d. Almond butter made solely from nuts (with no sugar added), may have as few as 2 grams of sugar per serving. (Other nut butters without additives are also low in sugar. Generic tonic water and flavored yogurts can have up to 40 grams of sugar per serving. Yikes! Bananas are one of the most calorie-dense fruits. Of course because the sugar is from a natural source, it is better for your health any day over eating a processed food with added sugar.

Keep seeking out and following your path to healthy eating. You will feel rewarded in body, mind, and spirit!

 

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/grain-month-calendar/quinoa-%E2%80%93-march-grain-month

https://www.nutritionfoundation.org.nz/nutrition-facts/nutrition-a-z/Eggs/What-do-eggs-contain-

https://greatist.com/health/surprising-high-fiber-foods

 

 

 

 

Are Vitamin Supplements Vital for My Health?

We already know that the vast majority of people on Earth do not eat properly enough to acquire all the vitamins they need for optimum health. Some people do not have access to enough nutritional food sources, while others may eat well but their bodies are unable to absorb all the nutrients. Whichever your nutritional scenario, are vitamin supplements right for you?

The Vitamin Biz

According to Healthline.com, about half of all Americans take mutivitamins. If you had to guess how many American adults take vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements, you would be correct if you answered “more than two-thirds.” That’s the figure that was reported by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). In Australia, approximately seven out of 10 adults take some dietary supplement as well.

A report in 2015 estimated that Americans spent over $20 billion on vitamins and herbal supplements. Clearly, more than a few people think (or can prove) they are effective. In fact, the global dietary supplement market continues to grow and is expected to reap over $270 billion worldwide (per year) by 2024.

The Vitamin Buzz

There are so many varying opinions on whether taking vitamin supplements are worthwhile. Some doctors suggest supplementation to patients that appear deficient in particular nutrients. Other health experts recommend taking vitamins to help prevent future negative health issues. Then, there are professors and researchers who remark that there isn’t much evidence to suggest multivitamins are effective at all.

Proceed with Caution

If you and/or your health care provider decide that supplementation may be beneficial for you, there are certain precautions you may want to heed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn’t authorized to regulate dietary supplements in the U.S. That means that manufacturers and distributors are responsible for overseeing effectiveness and safety of their products. It can be tricky to determine which brands to trust.

Here are some tips for choosing supplements safely:

  • Purchase products manufactured in the U.S. Sometimes they are only distributed through an American city or company, but manufactured in another country. Check the label.
  • Check to see if there’s an expiration date.
  • Some vitamins, minerals, and herbs are toxic and dangerous if taken in too large a quantity. Find out the proper dosage before taking a “mega” vitamin.
  • Just because vitamins (from food or supplements) are necessary and contribute to your good health, it doesn’t mean supplements won’t have side effects. Speak with your health practitioner and/or educate yourself on particular vitamins, minerals, and herbs; sometimes you may not need more than you’re already getting from your diet.

Pills or Patch?

Again, just as the advice about taking supplements is nebulous, so is the form in which one chooses to take them. Many bariatric surgery patients question the efficacy of “patch” vitamin supplementation because pills can be difficult to swallow.

Some express doubt about the effectiveness of a patch. They say skin is a sealant against water-soluble elements (some vitamins)—meaning the supplement won’t really penetrate the skin to get into the bloodstream anyway. Others believe the skin is a better vehicle for absorption than a pill trying to traverse through the stomach, kidney, and intestines.

The only way to see if supplements (taken safely) are effective is by how a patient feels and the results of medical tests. Your best bet for optimum health, aside from supplements, will be a nutritious diet along with daily exercise and good rest. Check out Get Thrive and our Newsletter for more articles and information on positive and beneficial health practices.

Sources:

https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm109760.htm

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/feb/14/multivitamins-a-waste-of-money-and-just-create-very-expensive-urine

https://www.bariatriceating.com/2016/06/faq-vitamin-patches-bad/

https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/07/18

https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm118079.htm

 

 

The Vitamin You Need But Don’t Know About

When it comes to vitamins, we read labels, blogs, and listen to advice from health experts. But there’s one necessary vitamin we are short on, and probably never even heard of. Its name is Vitamin K2.

Vitamin K1 and K2

We’ve heard of Vitamin K1 from cereals and health-oriented sources. It’s well known for its ability to assist with proper blood clotting. It can be derived naturally from green leafy vegetables, cruciferous veggies, and in smaller amounts from fish, liver, eggs, and cereal.

Most people on a Western diet do not consume enough foods containing K1. Even with supplements, most Americans are deficient in that particular vitamin.

Vitamin K2 is actually made from Vitamin K1. But because most are lacking in K1, there is no way that our bodies are creating enough K2.

Vitamin K2’s job is to carry calcium to the proper places such as your bones, joints, and teeth. When we are K2 deficient, calcium gets moved to other places like your arteries—which creates a negative affect for your heart and brain.

Why Aren’t More People Talking About This?

There have been numerous recent studies on the valuable importance of Vitamin K2. Mostly all of the findings point to adequate intake of K2 being a worthy prevention for Heart Disease.

Vascular calcification can be diminished when Vitamins K1 and K2 are in abundance as our biological functions require. One study out of Rotterdam, which analyzed almost 5,000 participants, showed that coronary heart disease mortality was reduced in those with proper amounts of Vitamin K2. And, a risk of acquiring heart disease was lessened by over 50%.

Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to your brain, heart, and other areas of your body. The “hardening” is actually plaque build-up. The blood has difficulty getting where it needs to go when there are blockages. Plaque consists mostly of fat, cholesterol—and calcium.

How is that calcium getting into the bloodstream? One reason is because it’s not being transported to the places it should be going (ie. teeth and bones), due to a shortage of Vitamin K2 to lead it there properly.

Other Vitamin K1 and K2 Benefits

Diabetes risk can be decreased by as much as 51% with increase ingestion of K1. It plays a role (along with other mechanisms) in regulating glucose.

Autoimmune Diseases may be helped to be put into remission. One study presented that osteoporosis may be preventable from those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It also showed that Vitamin K2 may even help put rheumatoid arthritis into remission.

A German research group discovered that vitamin K2 provides substantial protection against prostate cancer.

Studies analyzing CT scans are looking for signs of coronary calcification reversal. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, Vitamin K2 may help decrease plaque and prevent build-up in the first place.

Getting Vitamin K2 from Food

The daily requirement for K2 can be nebulous, but many health experts recommend between 100 and 200 mcg (although the RDA requirement is significantly much lower.) No matter if you eat K2-rich foods or take a supplement, you need to take/eat it with a good fat. Vitamin K2 is fat-soluble, and you won’t fully absorb it unless it’s paired with fat.

Here are some food suggestions: Natto (a fermented Japanese food that tastes bitter), hard and soft cheeses, egg yolks, butter, chicken liver, grass-fed beef, and organic chicken breast.

Green leafy vegetables are terrific too, like spinach, kale, collard greens, etc. But you need a ton to get close to fulfilling enough Vitamin K2 in your diet.

Controversy?

We hear doctors telling us not to eat to eat egg yolks because they are full of cholesterol. But Vitamin K2 is found in yolks, and we need that vitamin. So is the egg yolk causing clogged arteries? Or is the lack of a natural digestive substance causing calcium build-up in the arteries and also preventing the body from maintaining its intended healthy process?

For other thought-provoking articles and tips on best health practices, see our collection at www.GetThrive.com