Pear : Good for your gut

Pears are valuable fruit that has been savored widely for its delicious flavor. Pears are one of the lowest calorie fruits. A medium size pear (170g) provides 5-6g of fibre and 100 calories.  Pears are also packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre.

Easiest way to increase the fibre intake is to increase consumption of fruits & vegetables. Fibre in the pear help prevent constipation and promote a healthier digestive tract. Most of the fibre in pear functions as laxative in the gut that supports regular bowel movement, for the excretion of toxins from the body. The pear fibre binds to cancer causing toxin and chemicals of the colon and help prevent the membrane of the intestine from contact with these harmful chemicals. Also high-fibre foods help lower the risk of developing diabetes and maintain blood sugar levels.

In addition to fibre pears are packed with hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acid that help prevent  cancer.

Pear contains vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins like folate, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and minerals like potassium, iron, and  magnesium. Boron  in pear help bolster the calcium in our bodies and help prevent osteoporosis. These vitamins and minerals are found concentrated underneath the skin. So, pears should be eaten with its skin to get the maximum nutrients benefits.

Pear also contains carotenoids, flavonols, anthocyanin ( the red skinned pears) and these compounds along with vitamin C & A help protect the body from harmful free radicals.

Keep unripe pear in a basket at room temperature for 1-2 days for the fruit to ripe.

Pears also contain fructose (6g/100g). Recommended fructose intake is 15-25g. It is wise to  consume pear,100g, once or twice a week.

Regular exercise and balanced food will help maintain weight and reduce the risk of developing cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

 

Betalains: The body armor

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Like carotenoids and porphyrins pigments, betalains too is a signalling molecule in nature. These powerful nutrients, help support the body’s ability to fight inflammation at the cellular level. Betalains contain a powerful anti oxidant and anti inflammatory characteristics. Betalains strengthens the cells and make them resistant to toxins and harmful bacteria. They are water soluble and are found only in very few plants in the world. Nopal fruit, Dragon fruit, Beets and Swiss chard are few foods, loaded with betalains. It is the betalains pigment that gives the beet its rich red color and the nopal fruit and dragon fruit the vibrant magenta color!

Radical scavenging activity

Betalains, are the most powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants scavenge the damaging particles in the body known as free radicals, which damage the cell membrane and tamper with DNA. It is critical that we consume natural foods rich in antioxidant properties. So, choose betalains rich foods to shore up the protective layer of the body.

Betalains protect againts premature aging

Betalains helps us to make our skin look young, help resist infections from harmful bacterias and viruses. Our skin gets damaged due to pollutants, toxins, and radiation that leads to thinning, sagging, and withered skin. Betalains fill in the gaps of the cells and gives them a firm, roburst, glowing nature at any age. They stimulate cell production & repair that keep your skin firm and youthful. Betalains, the  wonderful & powerful antioxidants, protect the skin from premature aging and wrinkles. No wonder they are the real body armor around the cells!

Improves blood sugar levels

Betalains contains soluble fiber that controls blood sugar and reduces LDL cholesterol. Dragaon/nopal fruit consumed before meals keeps full for a longer time that prevents food craving, later. The soluble fiber in the fruit that helps attract water and form a gel, will slow down the digestion. It also delays the emptying of the stomach that makes you feel full. Slower stomach emptying affects the blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity.

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The soluble fiber interferes with the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Bio-available betalains from these foods are involved with the reduction of LDL cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.

The redox potential

Betalains protect cells from toxins, especially those in the brain. Betalains neutralizes toxins by increasing the liver detoxification enzymes that help eliminate the toxins from the body. This redox potential helps protect the brain, liver and kidneys!

Good health is everything. So opt for complex carbohydrates with high biological value proteins, vegetables & fruits and of course aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity, every day.

References

Pietrzkowski Z, Argumedo R, Shu C, Nemzer B, Wybraniec S, Reyes-Izquierdo T, Betalain-rich red beet concentrate improves reduced knee discomfort and joint function: a double blind, placebo-controlled pilot clinical study, Nutrition and Dietary Supplements 2014:6

Luisa Tesoriere, Mario Allegra, Daniela Butera, and Maria A Livrea Absorption, excretion, and distribution of dietary antioxidant betalains in LDLs: potential health effects of betalains in humans Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:941–5. Printed in USA 2004 American Society for Clinical Nutrition

Nurliyana, R., Syed Zahir, Mustapha Suleiman, K., Aisyah, M.R. and Kamarul Rahim, K. Antioxidant study of pulps and peels of dragon fruits: a comparative study International Food Research Journal 17: 367-375 (2010)

http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/non-starchy-vegetables.html

http://www.eatright.org/

Go Salad

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Have you ever thought of a quick and easy meal rich in vitamins and minerals, but low in calories and fat? A meal is considered healthy when  it is rich in essential nutrients. A salad plays vital in improving a meal with its nutrients, vibrant color and flavor! Salad is an excellent way to fill your plate and your body with more nutrients and at the same time low calories.

Salads are loaded with heart-healthy, cancer fighting, bone building vitamins, minerals and enzymes. They are a real good weight-loss and weight-maintenance tools, for they are good source of fibers both soluble and insoluble! Fiber along with water prevents constipation and lowers the cholesterol level!

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Cucumber, celery, mushrooms’ water content helps to fill up and keeps you full for a longer period.

Healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination.” Small consistent changes in your daily eating behavior can result in gradual weight-loss and developing healthier eating habits. Make a simple change to your diet -like add a salad every day, to reap the health benefits and to make you look pretty and fit!

A good salad contributes heart-healthy nutrients like Vitamin – C, a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E , folate, Viamin A.

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Bell peppers, berries, citrus fruits, broccoli are good sources of Vitamin C. Nuts like almond, peanuts & seeds like sunflower, pumkin seeds, sesame seeds, and cooked spinach, swiss chard, avocados are good sources of Vitamin E. Romaine lettuce, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, mustard greens are loaded with heart-healthy, folate. Romaine lettuce, spinach and tomatoes, great for salads, are considered good sources of carotenoids. Carotenoids turned into vitamin A in human body, are essential for immune system, healthy skin and for good eye health.

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A study at Tufts University in Boston found that low dietary intake of vitamin K in women was associated with low bone mineral density (BMD). Spinach and watercress are good sources of vitamin K. In addition, watercress modulates the anti cancer pathway, too!

Many of us count salad as vegetables. I love to make my own salad. My first salad was a simple mixture of diced cucumber, tomato and onion with lemon & mint dressing. Making salad is an art. Thoughtfully, paired ingredients that complement one another in color, taste and texture creates a spectacular and appetizing salad. Chopped salads are incredibly simple and easy to make.

Build a perfect salad! Go raw and brighten up with carrots, tomatoes and pineapple. Vegetables and fruits add different taste & texture while nuts add richness and complexity to salads.

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Dress your salad to your taste. You can make a good dressing with simple and easy ingredients like lemon juice, olive oil, chopped mint, honey and pepper. Why bottle dressings when it can be whipped up in seconds?

Plain yogurt is versatile, and nutritious. Use yogurt in place of mayonnaise for egg, tuna, or potato salad. The probiotics in yogurt help inhibit the growth of some harmful bacteria in the gut.

Herbs like parsley, mint, sage, rosemary, thyme have been associated with  lowering blood pressure and controlling blood cholesterol. Incorporate them to your diet by just sprinkling them on your salad or adding them to vinaigrette.

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If you want your salad with extra protein, add some chopped turkey, chicken or fish. Salad can be a beautiful side dish or a spectacular main dish. A classic salad is a meal by itself. Protein rich salmon salad sandwich is a great post-workout meal!

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Fruit salads are very light, refreshing, and more beautiful that can be served as side dish or as dessert

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Some produce is most nutritious uncooked, while other kinds need heat to bring out the best in them. For example, enzymes in papaya and pineapple, will enhance the digestion of protein, and spinach -cooked, will enhance the absorption of more calcium, iron, and magnesium. 

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One cannot live with raw salad alone, for fruits and vegetables are low in calorie and poor sources of protein. So, just combine salad with whole-grains, beans, egg or meat to balance your diet with adequate protein, carbohydrate and good fat. 

A salad can transform a simple meal to an “Extra-value” meal!

References

  • Sarah L Booth, Kerry E Broe, David R Gagnon, Katherine L Tucker,  Marian T Hannan, Robert R McLean, Bess Dawson-Hughes, Peter WF Wilson, L Adrienne Cupples, and  Douglas P Kiel,Vitamin K intake and bone mineral density in women and men 1’2’3’4Am J Clin Nutr February 2003 vol. 77no. 2 512-516
  • Johanna W Lampe, Health effects of vegetables and fruit: assessing mechanisms of action in human experimental studies 1’2’3 Am J Clin Nutr September 1999 vol. 70 no. 3 475s-490s