SuperFood: Quinoa

I’d like to introduce one of my favourite and healthiest superfoods, Quinoa.

Quinoa is the seed of a plant known scientifically as Chenopodium quinoa. It is loaded with protein, fiber and minerals, but doesn’t contain any gluten.

Quinoa  is actually not a grain, but a pseudo-cereal, a seed that is prepared and consumed like a grain, and has a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.

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What Makes Quinoa Such a Superfood?

The carbs in quinoa consist mainly of starch, insoluble fibers and small amounts of sugars. Quinoa also contains some resistant starch, which escapes digestion and feeds the friendly gut bacteria.Quinoa is relatively high in protein compared to other grains, and provides all the essential amino acids. The protein is considered to be comparable to casein, a high-quality protein from dairy products. Also is a good source of several minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, folate, iron, magnesium and zinc.

 

What are the beneficts of Quinoa?

  • Quinoa may reduce blood cholesterol, blood sugar levels and triglycerides. It has a smaller impact on blood sugar levels than other gluten-free foods. As a glutem-free foos is well accepted as an alternative to wheat, and has been shown to increase the nutrient and antioxidant value of gluten-free diets.
  • Quinoa contains large amounts of flavonoids, including Quercetin and Kaempferol. These are potent plant antioxidants with numerous health benefits.
  • In many ways, quinoa has many qualities that make it a weight loss friendly food. It is high in protein and fiber, and has a relatively low glycemic index value.

But…

  • Quinoa is generally well tolerated, but it contains phytates and oxalates. They may reduce the absorption of minerals and contribute to kidney stone formation in some individuals. But these undesirable plant compounds can be eliminated with soaking, washing or roasting.

 

Main culinary uses of quinoa:

  • Quinoa grain – the grain cooks in around 15 minutes and when cooked, it reveals a small white tail (the germ of the kernel). It creates a light, fluffy side dish and it can also be added to soups, salads and baked goods.
  • Quinoa flour – with a tasty, nutty flavour, it may be used in gluten free baking.  This flour may also be used as a thickener in sauces, soups and other dishes, especially in cases where additional protein may be beneficial.
  • Quinoa flakes – are simply steam-rolled to create a quick cooking flake. Quinoa flakes can be used for a nutritious hot breakfast cereal, pancakes, waffles or smoothies. images (1)
  • Quinoa food products – quinoa is now appearing in a range of breads, breakfast cereal cereals, crackers, pasta and other grain-based foods.

 

What’s the Difference between White, Black, and Red Quinoa?

The seed colors vary due to a resinous coating of saponin on the outer shell. Pigmented quinoa grains are said to have a higher anti-oxidant capacity.  Darker seeds taste more like brown rice. While white seeds resemble white rice in taste.

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White quinoa

White quinoa has a very mild, subtle flavor. This pearly white grain is the most commonly available of all quinoa varieties.

Red Quinoa

Red quinoa color ranges from vivid orange to dark red. When it is cooked however, it turns brown and loses this bright coloring. Red quinoa has a marvelous earthy and fruity flavor.   There are higher levels of phenolic compounds found in red quinoa.

Black Quinoa

Black quinoa is a hybrid variety, and it has more of an earthy flavor than white quinoa and is ever so slightly sweeter.

All quinoa varieties.contain the same general benefits.

 

 

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Superlunch For Healthy Hair

Many factors such as stressunderlying illnesses, genetic predisposition, and reactions from using hair care products can affect your hair. But the main factor is your diet.

Here’s a example of healthy lunch that help prevent hair loss and thinning hair. Enjoy!!

 

STARTER: Sauteed spinach with quinoa and nuts

Spinach

Spinach is one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene and a great source of folate. It also contains iron which helps carry oxygen to the hair.

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Quinoa

This type of whole grain is extremely good for your hair. Loaded with protein, quinoa aids in strengthening hair strands. In fact, the protein extracted from this grain is used in high-quality hair products.

Plus, the vitamin E present in quinoa balances the production of natural oil so the scalp and hair stay properly moisturized and free of dandruff. Quinoa also has biotin, niacin, and vitamins B6 and B12 that are all vital for hair growth.

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Nuts

Almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts all contain zinc, which minimizes hair shedding. Walnuts also contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acid, which helps boost shine and fullness. Keep a small bag of nuts in your purse for a quick and easy snack… that leads to fab hair!

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More ideas…. Have a look at this blog, “COOKIE AND KATE“, I love it!! These are some examples of recipes with ingredients that help your hair:

Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Quinoa and Goat Cheese

Quinoa Broccoli Slaw with Honey-Mustard Dressing

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts

 

MAIN COURSE: Pan-fried salmon with broccoli and sweet potato, and a hint of rosemary.

Salmon

Salmon is full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and vitamin B-12. This means salmon will add shine, prevent dry scalp and improve hair growth.

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Broccoli

Broccoli is a rich source of vitamins A and C, which help produce sebum. Sebum is the oily substance secreted by hair follicles and works like a natural hair conditioner. Plus, broccoli is rich in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids that are required for healthy hair growth.

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Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatos are rich in beta carotene. This antioxidant vitamin is converted to vitamin A once in the body. And vitamin A is necessary for cell growth, including your hair! A vitamin A deficiency often results in dull, dry skin… which then flakes off of your scalp as dandruff.

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Rosemary

Rosemary  is known to improve circulation, particularly to the scalp. When blood flows to the scalp, it stimulates the hair follicles and encourages hair growth. Rosemary also contains rosmarinic acid, a plant polyphenol that can help protect tissues from free radical damage.

 

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DESSERT: Yogurt with Fruit

Bright-colored fruit

Mango, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple and peaches are all rich with vitamin C, an essential for making collagen that gives structure to hair.

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Lowfat Yogurt

Aside from the vitamins D and B-5 that dairy delivers, all that calcium plays a major role in hair growth. Low-fat yogurt contain casein and whey, both high in protein, which prevents dry scalp.

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Other foods your hair loves:

  • All green vegetables
  • Wild rice
  • Chia seeds
  • Avocados
  • Hemp seeds
  • Tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame (young green soybeans)
  • Berries

SUPERSALAD TO FIGHT ANEMIA

Anemia is one of the most common disorders of blood. A person is said to have anemia when the number of red blood cells or the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood is low. Hemoglobin is a protein present inside the red blood cells and it helps in the transportation of oxygen to various parts of the body. Women are more prone to anemia.

Superfoods To Fight Anemia:

A healthy diet is a prerequisite for any anemic patients. It is vital for you to include foods that are rich in Vitamin B12, folic acid and Vitamin C in your diet apart from most important ingredient iron.

The following is a salad recipe that will help you to get rid of anemia.

INGREDIENTS (2 Serves):

1/4 bag baby SPINACH leaves.

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Spinach is a very popular leafy vegetable that help in preventing anemia. It is a rich source of calcium, Vitamins A, B9, E and C, iron, fiber and beta carotene. It will help in improving the overall health of your body. It is found out that half a cup of boiled spinach contains 3.2 mg of iron and this accounts for about 20 percent of the iron requirement for a woman’s body.

 

1 raw BEETROOT (about 90g), peeled and julienned or grated.

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Beetroot is known to be very effective in fighting anemia. It is a vegetable that is filled with iron content. It will help in repairing and reactivating your red blood cells. Once the red blood cells are activated, the supply of oxygen to all parts of the body increases.

2 small TOMATOES (1 medium)

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Vitamin C is the main ingredient in tomatoes along with lycopene. The Vitamin C in tomatoes helps in easy absorption of iron. Tomatoes are also rich in beta carotene and Vitamins E and hence help in natural conditioning of the hair and skin.

1 hard-cooked large EGG, peeled and sliced.

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Eggs are a rich source of proteins and contain a lot of antioxidants that will help in stocking up vitamins in the body when you are suffering from anemia. A large egg is said to contain 1 mg of iron.
1/4 cup shelled lightly salted PISTACHIOS.

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Pistachio nuts are the best source of iron as it contains 15 mg of iron in 100 grams of nuts.

1 Apple And 10 Dates.

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Apple and dates are also known to help in boosting iron levels in the body. The apple contain Vitamin C which helps the body to absorb non heme-iron. Apple contains too 0.12 mg of iron per 100 grams. Dates also contain high quantities of iron and are very useful to fight anemia.

1 Tablespoon HONEY.

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Honey contains a good amount of iron. You will get about 0.42 mg of iron in 100 grams of honey. Moreover, honey also contains copper and magnesium that will help in increasing the hemoglobin in your body.

1 tablespoon BALSAMIC VINEGAR and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin OLIVE OIL.
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SALT & PEPPER to taste.

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Method:

  • Scatter the spinach leaves onto a large platter. Slice the beetroot into wedges and arrange on top of the spinach. Scatter over the sliced egg, tomatoes and choped dates.
  • Chop the pistachios and toast briefly in a dry frying pan over medium heat.
  • Mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Peel the apples and cut into matchsticks. Mix everything together and place in the fridge to meld the flavours.

 

 

Kale, the king of all the super healthy greens

I’d like to introduce you one of the best vegetables in this world, Kale.

Kale is one of the healthiest plant foods in existence. Kale is also called borecole, is a type of cabbage in which the central leaves do not form a head. There are many different types of kale. The leaves can be green or purple in color, and have either a smooth or curly shape.

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Kale is one of many nutritious cultivars of Bassica Oleracea, others include brocoli, cauliflower, collard, and Brussels sprouts.

What’s in a serving?? Cooked Kale (1 cup/ 130g)

  • Calories: 36 (152kJ)
  • Protein: 2.5g
  • Total fat: 0.5g
  • Saturated fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.3g
  • Fiber: 2.6g

Kale contains more than twice the level of antioxidants contained in other leafy greens, which are themselves excellents sources. Kale includes beta-carotene, vitamin C, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols. But many substances that happen to be antioxidants also have other important functions. This includes the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which are found in relatively large amounts in kale.

Kale is one of the world’s best sources of vitamin C, an antioxidant that has many important roles in the body, and Vitamin K, an important nutrient that is involved in blood clotting.

Kale contains substances that bind bile acids and lower cholesterol levels in the body, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Steamed kale is particularly effective.

But those are not the only beneficts of this vegetable, Kale is actually loaded with compounds that are believed to have protective effects against cancer. But also, is very high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that the body can turn into vitamin A, and many important minerals, some of which are generally lacking in the modern diet. This includes calcium, potassium and magnesium. Kale is as well high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that have been linked to a drastically reduced risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Low in calories, full of nutrients and a exceptionally source of good benefits… Are you thinking in include Kale in your diet, aren’t you? 🙂

SEEDS

CHIA SEEDS

Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds of the chia plant (Salvia hispanica).Chia seeds are small, flat and oval-shaped, with a shiny and smooth texture. The color can range from white to brown or black. They can be soaked in liquid and added to porridge, made into pudding, used in baked goods, smoothies or simply sprinkled on top of salads or yogurt. Soaking chia seeds before eating is optimal, but not necessary.

Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.

Several studies have shown that chia seeds provide benefits for metabolic health, and reduce several risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. It contains many powerful antioxidants that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of many essential minerals, but a poor source of vitamins. They are high in manganese, phosphorus, copper, selenium, iron, magnesium and calcium.

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FLAXSEEDS

Flaxseeds (also known as common flax or linseed) come in two basic varieties: 1. brown; and 2. yellow or golden (also known as golden linseeds).Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called solin (trade name Linola), which has a completely different oil profile and is very low in omega-3 FAs. Flax seeds produce a vegetable oil known as flaxseed oil or linseed oil, which is one of the oldest commercial oils.

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and lignans (beneficial plant compounds), recent studies show flaxseeds may help reduce belly fat and lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

Ground flaxseed – but not flaxseed oil – may also help with menopausal symptoms.

Flaxseed is being studied for many other conditions, ranging from cancer to diabetes to osteoporosis. At this point, there is not enough evidence to support flaxseed for these conditions.

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SESAME SEEDS

Sesame seed is one of the first recorded seasonings. It grows widely in India and Asia. These tiny seeds come in shades of brown, red and black, but the most common color is a pale grayish-ivory. Sesame seeds have a nutty, sweet aroma with a milk-like, buttery taste.

These powerhouse seeds provide calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamins, and dietary fiber. Due to their antioxidants, a recent animal study showed sesame oil may help lower inflammation and improve brain health.

In addition, sesame seeds contain many health benefiting compounds such as sesamol and sesaminol, they are phenolic anti-oxidants. Together, these compounds help stave off harmful free radicals from the human body.

Sesame is among the seeds rich in quality vitamins, and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.

The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sesame seeds. Many of these minerals have a vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.

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PUMPKIN SEEDS

The pumpkin plant, along with its seeds, has been used in the traditional medicine of many countries, including India and Mexico. Pumpkin seeds promote good prostate health and offer anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering benefits. Subtly sweet and nutty with a somewhat chewy texture, pumpkin seeds are lower in fat than other seeds and offer essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium. Pumpkin seeds also contain protective compounds called phytosterols, which likely contribute to their known prostate and heart health benefits

Cucurbitin is an amino acid that has shown anti-parasitic activity in vitro. Human studies conducted in China have shown pumpkin seeds to be helpful for people with acute schistosomiasis, a severe parasitic disease occurring primarily in Asia and Africa that is transmitted through snails. Preliminary human research conducted in China and Russia has shown pumpkin seeds can assist with resolving tapeworm infestations.

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SUNFLOWER SEEDS

Sunflower seeds are more commonly eaten as a healthy snack than as part of a meal. They can also be used as garnishes or ingredients in various recipes. The seeds may be sold as in-shell seeds or dehulled kernels. The seeds can also be sprouted and eaten in salads.

When in-shell seeds are processed, they are first dried. Afterwards, they may also be roasted or dusted with salt or flour for preservation of flavor.

Excellent source of protein, iron, folate, zinc, dietary fiber, and vitamin E. In fact, sunflower seeds are one of the best whole-food source of vitamin E, a nutrient that may slow the effects of aging, boosts the immune system, and prevents cardiovascular disease. They are also packed with four times more antioxidants than blueberries, walnuts, and peanuts, boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

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HEMP SEEDS

Hemp seeds are produced from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa L. While hemp is commonly confused with marijuana, as it belongs to the same family, the two plants are quite different

Hempseed has an excellent content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and contain all nine essential amino acids. These compounds have beneficial effects on our cardiovascular health. Recent studies, mostly in animals, have examined the effects of these fatty acids and dietary hempseed itself on platelet aggregation, ischemic heart disease and other aspects of our cardiovascular health. The purpose of this article is to review the latest developments in this rapidly emerging research field with a focus on the cardiac and vascular effects of dietary hempseed.

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Probiotic Foods

Having the right bacteria in there has even been linked to numerous health benefits. This includes weight loss, improved digestion, enhanced immune function, better skin and a reduced risk of many diseases.

According to the official definition, probiotics are “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”.

YOGURT

Probiotics are live bacteria that have beneficial health effects when consumed. These friendly bacteria are found in fermented milk products, such as yogurt with live and active cultures.

The main probiotics in fermented milk products are lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.

Probiotics have many beneficial health effects, depending on the species and the amount taken.

– Enhanced immune system: Studies indicate that probiotic bacteria may promote enhanced immunity.

– Lower cholesterol: Regular intake of certain types of probiotics and fermented milk products may lower blood cholesterol.

– Vitamin synthesis: Bifidobacteria can synthesize or make available many kinds of vitamins, including thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin K.

– Digestive well-being: Fermented milk containing bifidobacterium may promote digestive well-being and lessen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

– Protection against diarrhea: Probiotics may help treat diarrhea caused by antibiotics.

– Protection against constipation: Several studies suggest that regular consumption of yogurt, fermented with bifidobacterium, may reduce constipation.

– Improved lactose digestibility: Probiotic bacteria have been shown to improve the digestion of lactose, lessening the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

These health benefits may not always apply to yogurt, mainly because some types of yogurt have been heat-treated (pasteurized) after the probiotic bacteria were added.

In heat-treated yogurts, the probiotic bacteria are dead and do not provide any health benefits.

For this reason, it is best to choose yogurt with active or live cultures.

Other Health Benefits of Yogurt

Probiotic yogurt can provide numerous impressive health benefits that go well beyond that of non-fermented milk.

Osteoporosis and Bone Health

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones. It is common among elderly people and is the main risk factor for bone fractures in this age group.

Dairy products have long been considered to be protective against osteoporosis.

In fact, dairy has been associated with higher bone density, an effect believed to be largely caused by the high calcium and protein content of milk.

Blood Pressure

Studies suggest that regular consumption of yogurt may lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.

However, this effect is not limited to yogurt. Studies on intake of other milk products have provided similar results.

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KEFIR

Kefir made from dairy is an excellent source of calcium. In the case of full-fat dairy, it also contains vitamin K2. These nutrients have major benefits for bone health.

Kefir is all the rage in the natural health community. It is high in nutrients and probiotics, and is incredibly beneficial for digestion and gut health. Many people consider it to be a healthier and more powerful version of yogurt.

Kefir originated from parts of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. The name is derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good” after eating. The lactic acid bacteria turn the lactose in the milk into lactic acid, so kefir tastes sour like yogurt, but has a thinner consistency.

Kefir also contains a wide variety of bioactive compounds, including organic acids and peptides that contribute to its health benefits.

Dairy-free versions of kefir can be made with coconut water, coconut milk or other sweet liquids. These will not have the same nutrient profile as dairy-based kefir.

Yogurt is the best known probiotic food in the Western diet, but kefir is actually a much more potent source.

Kefir grains contain about 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very rich and diverse probiotic source. Other fermented dairy products are made from far fewer strains, and don’t contain any yeasts.

Certain probiotics in kefir are believed to protect against infections. This includes the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir. Studies show that this probiotic can inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter Pylori and E. coli.

Kefiran, a type of carbohydrate present in kefir, also has antibacterial properties.

Kefir made from full-fat dairy is not only a great source of calcium, but also vitamin K2. This nutrient plays a central role in calcium metabolism, and supplementing with it has been shown to reduce the risk of fractures by as much as 81%.

Some test tube and animal studies have shown that kefir can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. This has not been studied in people.

The lactic acid bacteria have already pre-digested the lactose in kefir. People with lactose intolerance can often eat kefir without problems.

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SAUERKRAUT

Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is another natural source of probiotics. It contains the microbes leuconostoc, pediococcus and lactobacillus that are thought to be beneficial to the gut. It’s best to choose the unpasteurised sauerkraut as the pasteurisation process destroys active, beneficial bacteria. The spicy Korean dish, kimchi, also commonly made from cabbage, is another fermented food loaded with these ‘good’ bacteria.

Some of the health benefits of sauerkraut include its ability to increase your digestive health, boost your circulation, protect your heart health, provide you with quick energy, stimulate your immune system, strengthen your bones, reduce your overall cholesterol levels, eliminate inflammation, protect against certain cancer, and even improve your vision and skin health.

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DARK CHOCOLATE

Probiotics can be added to high-quality dark chocolate, up to four times the amount of probiotics as many forms of dairy. Also,  a study found that your gut bacteria breaks down and ferments the components in dark chocolate, turning them into anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit your health. In particular, beneficial microbes including Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria “feasted” on chocolate, according to the researchers.

The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.

Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.

Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk for the people who consume the most chocolate.

Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.

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MICROALGAE

This refers to super-food ocean-based plants such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae. These probiotic foods have been shown to increase the amount of both Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract. They also offer the most amount of energetic return, per ounce, for the human system.

SPIRULINA is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both salty and fresh water.

It is often claimed that spirulina contains vitamin B12, but this is false. It contains pseudovitamin B12, which has not been shown to be effective in humans.

Phocyanin is the main active compound in spirulina. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies have shown that spirulina can lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and sometimes may raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.

Fatty structures in the body can become oxidized, which drives the progression of many diseases. The antioxidants in spirulina can help prevent this from happening.

Spirulina may have some anti-cancer properties, especially against a type of precancerous lesion called OSMF (oral submucous fibrosis).

In one study, a higher dose of spirulina has been shown to lead to lower blood pressure levels, a major risk factor for many diseases.

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CHLORELLA is a tiny, unicellular green algae, three to eight micrometres in diameter, which when grown in large quantities in South East Asia and Australia gives lakes and rivers a green tint. Lactobacilli, indispensable for the right effect of intestinal flora, increase four times on absorption of CGF. Thus chlorella works on intestinal flora like a probiotic. Chlorella has a primarily probiotic effect and consequently encourages the growth and protection of lactic acid producing lacto-bacilli which occur naturally in the body. When the bacteria count is reduced, for example after a course of antibiotics, the lacto-bacilli’s reproduction rate increases as a result of the extract and their recovery from the attack from the antibiotics is speedier.

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BLUE-GREEN ALGAE are used as a source of dietary protein, B-vitamins, and iron. They are also used for weight loss, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hayfever, diabetes, stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other women’s health issues.

Blue-green algae may help to boost the immune system and fight infections. Test tube studies have found that blue-green algae stimulated the growth of probiotics, which are sometimes killed by antibiotic medications.

Blue-green algae may protect the liver from toxins, damage and cirrhosis in people with chronic hepatitis, according to preliminary studies cited by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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MISO SOUP

Miso is one the main-stays of traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Fermented soya drinks and miso soup are rich in probiotics. Miso soup is made from a fermented soybean paste which is a popular breakfast food in Japan. Miso is more commonly made using cultures of the fungus Apergillus, which can breakdown substances in soybean to form the plant oestrogen equol. This salty soup is also low in calories and high in B vitamins and antioxidants such as phenolic compounds.

Beyond its important live cultures, miso is extremely nutrient-dense and believed to help neutralize the effects of environmental pollution, alkalinize the body and stop the effects of carcinogens in the system.

The production of miso requires addition of a fermentation starter called koji, which usually contains the fungal microorganism Aspergillus oryzae, although it’s also possible to produce miso with other cultures, such as a yeast called Saccharomyces rouxii. These probiotic organisms activate the fermentation process in the raw materials, which are soybeans, alone or in combination with barley, brown rice or other grains. It can take up to three years to produce high-quality miso, with the product becoming smoother and acquiring a more complex flavor the longer it ferments.

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PICKLES

Some pickles are another probiotic due to being prepared by fermentation. Pickled onions are preserved in vinegar and have no probiotic activity. Pickled onions are traditional British fare but products that aren’t fermented in vinegar are a better option for probiotics. Pickling in sea salt, brine or other water solutions encourages the growth of lactobacillus  bacteria and is believed to give pickled foods their digestive benefits.

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TEMPEH

A great substitute for meat or tofu, tempeh is a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans. A great source of vitamin B12, this vegetarian food can be sauteed, baked or eaten crumbled on salads. If prepared correctly, tempeh is also very low in salt, which makes it an ideal choice for those on a low-sodium diet.

This Indonesian patty, made from fermented soybeans, produces a type of natural antibiotic that is thought to fight certain bacteria. Tempeh is also very high in protein and has a smoky, nutty taste, similar to mushrooms. This food is often marinated and used instead of meat in some dishes.

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KIMCHI

An Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside meals in Korea. Besides beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2.

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KOMBUCHA TEA

Kombucha is a form of fermented tea that contains a high amount of healthy gut bacteria. This probiotic drink has been used for centuries and is believed to help increase your energy, enhance your well being and maybe even help you lose weight. However, kombucha tea may not be the best fit for everyone, especially those that have had problems with candida.

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Natural Sweeteners

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is made from the sugary circulating fluid (sap) of maple trees.

There are several different “grades” of maple syrup, depending on the color. .In the United States, maple syrup is either classified as grade A or grade B .

  • Grade A is further categorized into 3 groups: Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber.
  • Grade B is the darkest of them all.

The main thing that sets maple syrup apart from refined sugar, is the fact that it also contains some minerals and antioxidants, is a good source of manganese.

The glycemic index of maple syrup seems to be around 54, compared to table sugar which has a glycemic index of around 65 .This is a good thing and implies that maple syrup raises blood sugar slower than regular sugar.

Several studies have found that maple syrup is a decent source of antioxidants. One study found 24 different antioxidant substances in maple syrup.The darker syrups (like Grade B) contain more of these beneficial antioxidants than the lighter syrups.

The active compounds in maple syrup have been shown to help reduce the growth of cancer cells and may slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract.

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Molasses

Molasses is the dark, sweet, syrupy byproduct made during the extraction of sugars from sugarcane and sugar beets. Molasses can vary in color, sweetness, and nutritional content depending on the variety or how much sugar has been extracted.

Because molasses is the leftover components of sugarcane juice after sugar is extracted, it contains a concentrated level of the vitamins and minerals that were present in the sugarcane itself.

Molasses is particularly prized for its iron content, although it also contains other important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as antioxidant properties.


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Sorghum (sweet sorghum)

Sorghum is made from sweet sorghum, a particular variety naturally high in sugar. Sorghum is a type of grass that came originally from Africa but is now grown in America.

It is a source of certain minerals including calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc. It also contains B vitamins and antioxidants.

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Rapadura or Sucanat

Rapadura is the Portuguese name referring to a form of raw unadulterated dried (evaporated) sugarcane juice that is formed into a large brick.  Rapadura is made by first extracting the juice from the sugar cane (using a press), and then stirring the juice with paddles while the water is evaporated out of the juice using very low heats.  It has not been boiled at high heats (like all other sugars), nor spun to change it into crystals, and the molasses has not been separated from the sugar.  Traditionally, the dried juice is formed into a brick for transport.· Modern methods now grind the sugar in a sieve, leaving a very dark brown colored grainy sugar.  Rapadura is produced organically, and does not contain chemicals or anti-caking agents.This type of sugar is also sold under the U.S. trade name Sucanat, which stands for Sugar Cane Natural.

Sucanat sugar alternative  is filled with vitamins and minerals such as Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin A and many other nutrients, like antioxidants.

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Stevia

Stevia is a natural, zero calorie sweetener that can lower both blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It is extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana.

There are several sweet compounds found in Stevia leaves, the main ones are Stevioside and Rebaudioside A. Both are many hundred times sweeter than sugar, gram for gram. Stevia is very sweet, but has virtually no calories.

There are some studies in humans showing Stevia to have health benefits:

  • When blood pressure is high, Stevia can lower it by 6-14%. However, it has no effect on blood pressure that is normal or only mildly elevated.
  • Stevia has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.

There are also studies in rats showing that Stevia can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol and reduce plaque build up in the arteries.

To sweeten something, Stevia may be the healthiest choice. However, many people really hate the taste of Stevia, and It does depend on the brand, is just the stevia flavour.

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Coconut/Palm Sugar

Coconut sugar is also called Coconut Palm Sugar.

It is a natural sugar made from sap, which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant. It is often confused with Palm Sugar, which is similar but made from a different type of palm tree.

Coconut sugar contains several nutrients, most notable of these are the minerals Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium, along with some short chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants that may also provide some health benefits.

Then it contains a fiber called Inulin, which may slow glucose absorption and explain why coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar.

For this reason, coconut sugar supplies almost the same amount of fructose as regular sugar, gram for gram.

It is very similar to regular table sugar, although the manufacturing process is more natural and it also contains some minor amounts of nutrients to go with it.

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Honey

Honey is a real food that has been accessible to humans throughout evolutionary history and can still be obtained in its natural form.Honey bees swarm around their environment to collect Nectar, which are sugar-rich liquids from plants.

A few cycles of this ends with what we know as honey, but the composition and nutritional properties depend on the sources of the Nectar, i.e. which flowers are in the vicinity of the beehive.

A study in healthy, diabetic and hyperlipidemic subjects revealed that :

  1. Honey raised blood sugar less than dextrose (glucose) and sucrose (glucose and fructose). It still did raise blood sugar, just not as much.
  2. Honey reduced C-Reactive Protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation.
  3. Honey lowered LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides and raised HDL cholesterol.

Unrefined honey contains an abundance of various antioxidants that can have major implications for health. Generally speaking, antioxidants in the diet are associated with improved health and lower risk of disease.

Two human studies revealed that consumption of buckwheat honey increases the antioxidant value of the blood.

Honey may have some medicinal properties when applied to the skin, killing bacteria and speeding the healing of wounds.

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Erythritol

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is very sweet, but low in calories. Studies show that it is very safe to eat, although it can cause digestive problems at high doses.

It is a sugar alcohol that is found naturally in certain fruits, but if you’re buying powdered erythritol then it will most likely be made via an industrial process.

Erythritol doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin levels and has no effect on biomarkers like cholesterol or triglycerides.

It is absorbed into the body from the intestine, but eventually excreted from the kidneys unchanged.Studies show that erythritol is very safe. However, same as with other sugar alcohols, it can cause digestive issues if you consume too much at a time.

Erythritol tastes very much like sugar, although it can have a mild aftertaste.

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Xylitol

Xylitol is a very popular sweetener. It is a sugar alcohol, with about 2.4 calories per gram. It has some dental benefits and may improve bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis.

Xylitol appears to have some benefits for dental health, reducing the risk of cavities and dental decay.

It may also improve bone density, helping to prevent osteoporosis**. Xylitol doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels.

However, as with other sugar alcohols, it can cause digestive side effects at high doses.

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Yacon Syrup

Yacon syrup is very high in fructooligosaccharides, which feed the good bacteria in the intestine. It may be helpful against constipation and may help you lose weight. It is harvested from the Yacon plant, which grows natively in the Andes in South America.

This sweetener has recently become popular as a weight loss supplement, because one study found that it caused significant weight loss in overweight women.

It is very high in fructooligosaccharides, which function as soluble fibers that feed the good bacteria in the intestine.

Yacon syrup can help against constipation and it has various benefits due to the high amount of soluble fiber.

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SuperVeggies

Cruciferous greens

Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae). These vegetables are widely cultivated, with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, bok choy, broccoli and similar green leaf vegetables. They are high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients and phytochemicals.

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Arugula

Arugula, also known as rugula, rucola or garden rocket, is one of the nutritious green-leafy vegetable of Mediterranean origin. Like most salad greens, arugula leaves provide the body with potassium, calcium, copper, manganese and iron. They also contain folic acid and the vitamins A, C and K. Also is particularly rich in erucin, which was shown in this new study to halt breast cancer cell growth by 95%, and killed 45% of them outright in vitro. Erucin is very similar to the well-known compound sulforaphane found in broccoli.

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Broccoli

Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C and folate (naturally occurring folic acid). It also contains vitamins A, K, calcium, fibre, beta-carotene and other antioxidants (notably indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane). Broccoli is known to have a protective effect against cancer. It also contains a wide range of phytochemicals which protect against many chronic diseases, and combat depression, improve bone strength and aid digestion.

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Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts, like other vegetables in the Brassica family, contain sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is an antioxidant which is believed to reduce the risk of developing cancer and stunt tumour growth. It is this sulforaphane which produces the sulphur smell if Brussels sprouts are overcooked. Brussels sprouts are also a good source of folate, vitamin K and vitamin C.

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Chinese cabbage

Chinese cabbage is actually a abundant way to obtain vitamin D, that allows for the assimilation of calcium as well as phosphorus, and therefore guarantees healthy teeth and bones.

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Collard greens

This dark leafy green, a staple in the south, is delicious and packed with vitamins and minerals. Collards contain vitamin C, E, K, beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids. Collards also contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which help detox the body and lower oxidative stress, decreasing the risk of cells becoming cancerous.

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Kale

Kale is a dark leafy green, a great source of Vitamins A, C, and K, plus it contains calcium and potassium. Additionally, kale contains carotenoids – specifically, lutein and zeaxathin. Consuming both may help prevent Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

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Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine, and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties; it is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer.

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Beet green

Beetroot is a good source of iron and folate (naturally occuring folic acid). It also contains nitrates, betaine, magnesium and other antioxidants (notably betacyanin).

More recent health claims suggest beetroot can help lower blood pressure, boost exercise performance and prevent dementia.

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Chard 

Chard is a colorful, leafy green that can be confused for spinach. This super food is a variety of beet that comes from the same family as beets and spinach. Chard has many health benefits. They are armed with carotenoids, antioxidants, and many vitamins and minerals. Chard is a good source of vitamin A, calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium. Betalains and beta-carotene are considered antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Lutein is the main carotenoid found in chard that works to maintain eye health. Carotenoids and antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals in the body. Manganese is also a form of antioxidant. Beta-carotene can transform into a form of vitamin A. This vitamin is good for maintaining healthy skin, teeth, and bones. It is also known as retinol that helps to protect your eyes.

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Chicory

Chicory root fiber increases calcium absorption while helping to maintain a healthy balance of ‘good’ bacteria in the colon. It helps lower cholesterol levels and has minimal increasing impact on blood sugar. Gradually add to your diet to prevent gas and bloating.

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Dandelion leaves

Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. It has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems, and as a diuretic.

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Leaf lettuce

Good source of vitamins A and C, magnesium, iron and potassium, including chromium. Chromium is a component of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF) which helps maintain normal blood glucose levels by making insulin more efficient. This will fight insulin resistance which is often associated with PCOS. Furthermore, chromium promotes weight loss due to its ability to help control cravings, reduce hunger, and control fat in the blood.

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Spinach

Spinach is known for its high levels of vitamin A, giving every forkful of spinach immunity boosting, vision protecting, skin enhancing powers. A cup of cooked spinach packs up to 12% of the recommended daily dose of calcium and enough vitamin K to help prevent bone loss. spinach’s glycolipids may help prevent the development of tumors, Plus, the galactolipids in spinach have been linked to the prevention of inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Spinach is also a good source of iron.

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Superfruits

Blueberries

Blueberries, a popular example of a superfood, are not especially nutritious, having high content of only three essential nutrients: vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.

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Cape gooseberry (inca berry)

Low in calories and contains modest levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B3, while other nutrients are at low levels. Basic research on the cape gooseberry has provided preliminary evidence that its constituents, possibly polyphenols and/or carotenoids, may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Goji berry (wolfberry)

Goji berries are small red berries, smaller than an average sultana, that are generally dried and then rehydrated to be traditionally consumed in teas, soups, sauces and alcohols of China and Japan. They are known to be exceptionally high in antioxidants, and studies have shown consumption “increases plasma zeaxanthin and antioxidant levels” which suggests a general health benefit with particular respect to reducing vision degradation due to aging.

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Kakadu plum

Kakadu Plum is the latest “super fruit” to emerge on the world market. A traditional “bush food” native to Australia’s Northern Territories, the kakadu plum is said to have nature’s highest concentration of vitamin C as well as unique phytonutrients not found in other fruits.

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Camucamu

A small tropical fruit (Myrciaria dubia) shaped like a cherry that contains high vitamin C content, flavonoids and anthocyanins. A 2008 study suggested that it may have powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.

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Citrus (including oranges,grapefruits and lemons)

Citrus fruits are considered to be a superfood for skin care because they contain phytonutrients that function as antioxidants, protecting you from free radicals that damage skin cells and lead to signs of aging. Plus, just one orange provides more than the daily requirement of vitamin C needed to fortify muscles, blood vessels, bones and teeth.

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Coconuts

Coconuts may help benign prostatic hyperplasia. The hexane fraction of coconut peel may contain novel anticancer compounds.  Young coconut juice has estrogen-like characteristics.

The coconut water has been marketed as a natural energy or sports drink due to its high potassium and mineral content. Low levels of fat, carbohydrates, and calories.

imagesLúcuma

Pouteria lucuma (one of two species sometimes known as “eggfruit”) is a subtropical fruit native to the Andean valleys of Peru. It has high levels of carotene, vitamin B3, and other B vitamins.

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