Food In Focus: Health Benefits of Eating Onions!

Onions; they’re chopped, diced, or sliced, and found in various assortments of recipes. But did you know that there are significant health benefits for including them in your meals?

 

 

 Let’s start with the facts. Onions, scientifically identified as Allium cepa, belong to the lily family. (The same family as garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots!) There are over 600 species of Allium distributed all over Europe, North America, Northern Africa and Asia. Onions are normally used in meals/recipes, as spices, or as medicine, and there are over 120 different documented other uses!

 The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of onions for the treatment of poor appetite and to prevent atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries due from plaque build up. In addition, onion extracts are recognized by WHO for providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis; in fact, one onion extract was found to decrease allergy-induced bronchial constriction in asthma patients!

Tip from the Editor: “To obtain the maximum nutritional benefits from this vegetable, onions should be eaten either raw or lightly steamed. You can find several healthy & delicious recipes with onions by typing “onions” in the “Find A Recipe” search bar on the right, or by clicking HERE.” –David Jones II, Editor

 Here are a few other positive health benefits:

  • Onions are an excellent antioxidant, and they contain anti-allergy, antiviral and antihistamine properties.

  • The sulfur compounds in onions help to detoxify the body!

  • Onions aid in cellular repair.

  • Onions are a rich source of quercetin, a potent antioxidant!  

 We think that it’s absolutely incredible that this vegetable can do all of the above things for your body! Vegetables, like onions, are essential to a healthy & balanced eating lifestyle; let’s remember to incorporate them whenever the opportunity to do so arrises! If you have any additional pointers on onions, or just want to tell us your favorite way to eat them, make sure to share your comment below. Happy Cooking! -Tasty25 Staff

Food In Focus: 3 Simple Tips on Sweetening Food for a Healthy Lifestyle!

If you’re ready to whip that body of yours into shape and start pursuing a healthy lifestyle, there’s definitely one topic you must address: SUGAR! Because let’s face it, no one likes bland foods; but without sweetening our meals properly, we’re undermining any efforts to live a healthy life! We’ve made a list of 3 EASY Tips on sweetening your foods naturally without sabotaging your health, and we encourage all of our readers & subscribers to learn ’em and live ’em! Add any additional tips you have by commenting below, and Happy Cooking! -Tasty25 Staff

 

 

3 Simple Tips for Sweetening Foods Naturally:

  1. Use natural sugars! – All complex natural sugars such as honey, and maple syrup are healthy alternatives to using any kind of sugar or artificial sweeteners. They’re natural, and come from the Earth just like our fruits & vegetables, so incorporating these into your diet is always a better decision than using processed or refined sugars!

  2. Utilize nature’s candy! We all know that it isn’t necessary to pour sugar over our apples, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, or other fruits to make them sweet. Why? Because these foods are considered the “candy” of our produce! Use these natural sweeteners to add flavor to your meal instead of sugar; they can be used in a variety of foods such as salads, cereals, yogurts, or even smoothies and protein shakes.

  3. Run away from artificial sweeteners! Be mindful and aware that anything containing aspartame is not a healthy choice for sweetening your food or drink. Many scientific studies show that products containing aspartame can lead to seizures, blackouts, headaches, memory loss, blindness, nausea, and gastrointestinal disorders. That’s pretty serious! So put aside your packets, and choose natural sweeteners; your taste buds & your body will thank you!

Tasty25 Health noteHoney should not be fed to children less than one year old because it can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism.

Need naturally sweetened food & meal ideas? Check out our healthy & delicious recipes that were sent in from people all over the world by clicking HERE!

Food In Focus: 10 Simple Tips for Eating Whole Grains!

Most all of us know that whole grains are an essential part of a healthy diet, but how practical is it to make this adjustment in our nutrition? It’s easier than you think!

 

 

 Let’s start with the facts. The Whole Grains Council, a non-profit consumer advocacy group working to increase consumption of whole grains for better health, gives a definition that whole grains or foods made from them must contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed in order to be considered whole grain. 

 In addition, according to the US Department of Agriculture, any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples. All grains are divided into two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm.

 It’s been proven that people who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Which is great news for those of us who want to live full & vibrant lives, right? The WGC shows us that some of the benefits of whole grains most documented by repeated studies include:

  • Stroke risk reduced 30-36%.

  • Type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%.

  • Heart disease risk reduced 25-28%.

  • Better weight maintenance.

Other benefits indicated by these recent studies include:

  • Reduced risk of asthma.

  • Healthier carotid arteries.

  • Reduction of inflammatory disease risk.

  • Lower risk of colorectal cancer.

  • Healthier blood pressure levels.

  • Less gum disease and tooth loss.

 

 Ok, ok, so now that you get the importance of whole grains, check out our 10 tips supported by the USDA for incorporating whole grains in your healthy diet each day. Learn em, and live em!

 

10 Simple Tips for Eating Whole Grains:

  1. Make simple switches. In order to make half your grains whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined-grain product. For example, eat 100% whole-wheat bread or bagels instead of white bread or bagels, or brown rice instead of white rice.

  2. Whole grains can be healthy snacks! Popcorn, which is a whole grain, can be a healthy snack for your healthy diet! Wow, who knew?! Make it with little or no added salt or butter. Also, try 100% whole-wheat or rye crackers.

  3. Save yourself some time. Our lives are always going 200 mph each day, so pursuing health while saving time is a huge plus! Cook extra rice or barley when you have time. You can freeze half to heat and serve later as a quick side dish.

  4. Mix it up with whole grains. Use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soups or stews and bulgur wheat in casseroles or stir-fries. Also, try a quinoa salad or pilaf.

  5. Try whole-wheat versions. For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Try brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes, and whole-wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese. Remember, small changes in our nutrition can have huge effects in our lives!

  6. Bake up some whole-grain goodness. Experiment by substituting buckwheat, millet, or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin, or other flour-based recipes. (Note: They may need a bit more leavening in order to rise.)

  7. Parents, be a good role model for your children! Set a good example for your children by serving and eating whole grains every day with meals, or as snacks!

  8. Check the label for fiber. Use the Nutrition Facts label to check the fiber content of whole-grain foods. Good sources of fiber contain 10% to 19% of the Daily Value; Excellent sources contain 20% or more.

  9. Know what to look for on the ingredients list! Read the ingredients list, and choose products that name a whole- grain ingredient first on the list. Look for “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “whole-grain cornmeal,” “whole oats,” “whole rye,” or “wild rice.”

  10. Be a smart shopper! The color of a food is not an indication that it is a whole-grain food! Foods labeled as “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not 100% whole-grain products, and may not contain any whole grain.

“Whole grains are essential to my personal nutrition, and Tasty25 Magazine is excited to bring you 10 tips to help you become more mindful of this essential area of healthy eating. Learn them, live them, and Happy Cooking!” – David Jones II, Editor

Food In Focus: Fruits & Veggies; Facts You Never Knew!

Fruits and vegetables are essential to a balanced & healthy diet; but is the produce we buy from our local grocers helping or hurting our wellness? Continue reading

Food In Focus: Louisiana Gumbo

In Louisiana, Gumbo is a tasty tradition. By definition, it is a stew or soup that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It typically consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and seasoning vegetables, which can include celery, bell peppers, andonions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used: the African vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder(dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either the Bantu word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw word for filé (kombo).

Several different varieties exist. In New Orleans, what is known as Creole gumbo generally contains shellfish, tomatoes, and a thickener. Cajun gumbo varies greatly, but often has a dark roux with either shellfish or fowl. The Creoles of Cane River make a gumbo focused much more on filé. Sausage or ham are often added to gumbos of either variety. After the base is prepared, vegetables are cooked down, and then meat is added. The dish simmers for a minimum of three hours, with shellfish and some spices added near the end. If desired, filé powder is added after the pot is removed from heat. Gumbo is traditionally served over rice. A third, lesser-known variety, the meatless gumbo z’herbes, is essentially a gumbo of slow-cooked greens sometimes thickened with roux, with rice served on the side.

 

 

 The dish combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including French, Spanish, German, West African, and Choctaw. Gumbo may have been based on traditional West African or native dishes, or may be a derivation of the French dish bouillabaisse. It was first described in 1802, and was listed in various cookbooks in the latter half of the 19th century. The dish gained more widespread popularity in the 1970s, after the United States Senate cafeteria added it to the menu in honor of Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender, and is now the official cuisine of the state of Louisiana. Gumbo can be a wholesome meal, but to ensure that you’re not being unhelathy, here are a few tips to remember:

  • Hold off on the salt! – High levels of sodium can adversely affect any persons health or fitness goals, so when enjoying this Louisiana delicacy, use seasonings that do not contain high levels of sodium.

  • Go Green! – Use organic meats & vegetables in your gumbo; It’s better for you, and tastes better too!

  • Go lean! – Portion control with any meal is key to watching your weight; Eat a little bit at a time instead of a huge bowl!

 Know of a place to get great gumbo? Does Louisiana gumbo mean anything special to you? Let us know by leaving a comment below!