Monthly Archives: March 2014

Beet That!

            Beets are definitely not our first option in vegetables. But, why not? Beets have a beautiful, dark, rich maroon color (I’m not referring to the music band) that can instantly highlight any plate and, on top of that, they’re full of antioxidants. Uh, give me some please! I prefer to eat them raw and grated. If you decide to cook them, try to keep the cooking time under 15 minutes if it’s boiled (otherwise water soluble vitamins will be lost) and under 1 hour if baked. Like almost all fruit and vegetables if you cook them for too long they will lose most of its nutrients. An interesting fact is that you can alter the color of the beets when cooking. If you any acid, like vinegar or lemon juice, it will brighten the color, just like red onions. If you add any alkaline substances, like baking soda, it will darken the color and salt will blunt the color. It grows in the cold seasons and it’s commonly found in northern countries. Being in Finland I’ve seen enough beets for the rest of my life; they are served almost every day in the university’s cafeteria.

This vegetable ruby has precious health benefits and is related to longevity. The pigments that give them their yellow or dark red color are called betalains, which is a powerful-all-natural anti-inflammatory with no known side effects. A funny fact is that not everyone can process betalains properly. In the United States, only 10-15% of adults are estimated to be “betalain responders”. A “betalain responder” is a person who has the capacity to absorb and metabolize enough betalains from beets (and other foods) to gain full antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cellular detoxification benefits#2. Additional benefits from betalains:

  • Reduces the risk of blood clots
  • Reduces bad cholesterol
  • Protects cells from toxins known to trigger tumors.
  • Protects your liver from toxins.

Am I the only one getting hungry for beets? This is vegetable royalty right here. It has a beautiful color, can be prepared in many ways and has so many benefits. Any type of inflammation, be it internal or external, can be relieved with a nice beet smoothie, like any of these. And for those days of the month ladies, this will taste like heaven for those cramps and bloating.

For this superfood’s recipes I have many options, all from this awesome beet lovers site. There are sandwiches, salads, casseroles, drinks, desserts and so much more, starring this superfood.

               But there is a recipe that I have to share with everyone: Red Velvet Cake. This no ordinary red velvet cake; this is red velvet cake on steroids. It is vegan and has no food coloring, by now you can guess what gives it the particular red color. This recipe is by Chef Christina from Christina Cooks, a friend of mine introduced me to her, and he is also a food lover and future Chef: this is his blog. I’ve tried many ways to make this cake and this is -hands down- the best one. If you have time check Christina’s site, she has many delicious vegan recipes.

Okay, beets definitely deserve a place in my superfoods hall of fame.
#beetlove

**I will make a dish with this superfood in the winning category and post it next week. So the poll will be open until 17.03.2014**

References: #1#2#3

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Going Bananas!

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I can count with one hand the number of people that have told me “I don’t like bananas”. It is a pretty popular fruit among people of all ages and nationalities. There are different types of bananas and the flavor depends of the color. There is even a cooking banana that is called plantain that it’s used generally for savory dishes. It is bigger in size and harder, it is used when it’s still green and also when it turns yellow(ripens), it acquires a sweet flavor. But I’m going to emphasize on the regular raw banana we all know and love.

Maybe the most common myth about bananas is that it must be avoided if you want to lose weight. Are bananas really fattening? Bananas do provide carbs, but our metabolism uses fat and carbohydrates as fuel to do any kind of action. It is commonly consumed before physical activity providing a stable source of energy, making you feel more active and helps you perform at a higher intensity than if you had lower energy levels. Since carbs are basically sugar chains if not used or burned as energy it will accumulate as fat in your love-handle area.

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Another myth about bananas is that it has numerous health benefits including: soothing an upset stomach, providing immediate relief from hangovers and premenstrual syndrome. The tryptophan in bananas is also credited with promoting sleep. It is not proven that eating bananas will cure all the diseases or situations. What is proven is that including bananas in a balanced diet can help prevent or soothe those diseases. In the end it all comes down to watching what you eat; bananas do provide many necessary nutrients, but not all of them.

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Here are the mayor nutrients that are present in bananas and how they help us:

Nutrients/Vitamins/Minerals

It Helps…
Potassium Lower blood preassure; reduce stroke risks
Vitamin B6(pyridoxine) Brain function; metabolism process; reduce swelling
Fiber Constipation, diarrhea; better digestion
Copper Conecctive tissues; repare skin; process iron

Tryptophan

Improve mood; relieve stress

Here and here are more facts, detailed, about bananas and the health benefits we can receive.

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Remember: Bananas contain high levels of sugar and carbs, eat the proper amount depending on the degree of physical activity or work to be done and the rest of the food you consume. You’re not going to eat only bananas, right? Here are some easy and healthy ways to eat bananas, but don’t turn into a monkey now.

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Click here for a drink
Click here for a dessert
Click here for a classic
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*Do you know any other myth or fact about bananas? Share it with us in the comment section below.*

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