Healthy Sauces from Around the World

Sauces used for dipping, spreading, and marinating can sometimes be full of ingredients that aren’t the healthiest. Here are some recipes from around the globe that are sure to satisfy your family’s palate and nutritional needs.

CHIMICHURRI is a sauce that can be found in many dishes from Argentina. It’s a great dipping sauce for bread, as well as a traditional marinade for “Gaucho-style” steak and potatoes. It’s rich in herbs, garlic, and olive oil making it a heart-healthy topping or marinade to all veggies and proteins.

1 cup chopped parsley

4 minced cloves of garlic

1 tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. fresh ground pepper

½ tsp. chili pepper flakes

1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves

2 tbsp. minced shallot

¾ cup olive oil

3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a food processor, so it chops up nicely—but don’t puree! Muy bien!

 

CUCUMBER RAITA is a flavorful sauce from India that’s often used with grilled proteins, rice, couscous, and potatoes. But also feel free to dip some naan (yummy Indian bread) into the raita as a healthy snack.

1 cup grated cucumber (you will have to squeeze the water out of the cucumber while grating to get the pulp into your measuring cup)

2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

1 minced garlic clove

1 tsp. chopped cilantro

½ tsp. salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl (by hand) and your raita is ready to be dipped into or to be spread on top of your main meal foods.

 

GREMOLATA is a sauce from Italy. Instead of buttering your bread, you can use gremolata as a dip. Mostly, however, this sauce is sprinkled on your grilled proteins directly after they’ve been cooked.

1 small bunch of chopped parsley leaves

1 lemon- just the grated rind

1 clove garlic finely chopped

Mix the three ingredients and you’ve got your gremolata. Buon apetito!

 

TZATZIKI is a super heart-healthy sauce that comes from Greece. Mediterranean culture seems to understand which foods keep us healthiest. It’s delicious for pita dipping or spread on proteins/meats and potatoes.

2 cucumbers peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

½ diced white onion

1 seeded and diced tomato

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. dill

1 tsp. chopped oregano

1 clove minced garlic

Mix all ingredients. Sauce is ready. Opa!

The above recipes are sure to delight your taste buds and keep your waistline in line. Just make sure that what you’re using to dip is also a healthy option. A Paleo or gluten-free bread is a decent choice. Even better: raw veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, and jicama will all work well with the above sauces.

The bottom line is that you can eat well nutrition- and health-wise without sacrificing deliciousness. Most fun is that you can experience different flavors from around the world. Eat well and enjoy!

CanaGel Melts

How To Choose The Best Probiotic

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that happen to be great for the digestive system.  There are millions of good and bad bacteria, named microbiota or more commonly, gut flora, living in the digestive system.  Digestive health needs to be balanced and that’s when probiotics can help.  Sounding like something from a 1970’s horror movie like ‘The Andromeda Strain’, probiotics are a health boosting microorganism, living inside of the body’s digestion tract.  In recent years, the public have invested in the industry, which was worth a whopping 46 billion in 2017.

 

Probiotics have the potential to assist the immune system, improve digestion and possibly aid weight loss.  Dr. Francois-Pierre Martin, Jeremy Nicholson, and colleagues from the Imperial College London, Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland, and Uppsala University in Sweden were fascinated by the response of the body’s metabolism, once probiotic food was ingested.  Using two groups of mice, one group ingested probiotics and the other did not.  The doctors discovered that the mice who had been given the probiotic were metabolically different to those who had not been treated because of the breakdown product found in the probiotic mice’s urine, liver, and feces.  They experienced changes of bacteria in the gut that had an effect on the way their liver processed fat, suggesting that probiotic may help with weight loss.  Microbiotas are also thought to be the link between health and sickness, with researchers suggesting that cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and the immune system may all be affected and possibly controlled my these organisms.

Where To Find Probiotics

Probiotics can be found in supplements or in food that has bacterial fermentation with lactic acid.  An obvious example of this would be yogurt which contains live bacteria.  If recently prescribed antibiotics, a doctor may suggest these kinds of yogurts, to replace the good bacteria (Lactobacillus Acidophilus) in the gut, decreasing the side effects from taking the medicines.  The good probiotics help with various ailments, some of which include, yeast infections, diabetes and bad cholesterol.  There are many probiotic yogurts and drinks availablle in local stores, here are just a few:

 

  • Kefir
  • Kombucha (fermented tea combined with a culture of yeast and bacteria)
  • Activia yogurt
  • Emergen-C
  • DanActive Probiotic Dallies
  • Miso
  • Pickles

 

What Are The Types Of Probiotics?

Out of the many types of probiotic, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most common.  There are also numerous combinations of probiotics in supplements, called multi-probiotics. The choice of priobiotic depends heavily on which illness or health problem being treated.  If the issue is a little more complex, for example a digestive problem, visiting a doctor and obtaining a prescription would be beneficial.  There are many on the market, but plenty of research is available online, to give some ideas of which provide the most benefits.  Some suggestions include:

 

  • VSL (labeled Probiotic Medical Food): the highest available concentration of good bacteria.  Depending on the amount required, the box is labeled #1-3, with #3 being the highest, and it is commonly prescribed to treat IBS or severe digestive issues.  Refrigeration is essential because many probiotics are heat sensitive, which can kill the active ingredients
  • Multibionta: helps digestive tract and the immune system.
  • Prescript-Assist: used to help with allergies, gas, constipation.  Replenishes healthy GI Microflora and refrigeration is not required.
  • Hyper biotics PRO-15: time release tablets ideal for digestive health and to support a healthy immune system.
Not Your Average Probiotic
Not Your Average Probiotic

 

Doctors advise that many products don’t contain a high enough count of probiotic, with 99% of the product being killed off by stomach acids, before progressing through the gut.  Knowing the products and getting advice by a professional could save a lot of money.  Probiotics should not be taken by people who have late stage cancer, are undergoing chemotherapy, or have a compromised immune system.

So after the next health assessment, consider probiotics, it may just help keep that good bacteria in check.

 

Resources:

Science Daily

Consumers

British Medical Journal

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