Posts Tagged ‘recipes for wellness’

Top 5 Ways to Get Back to the Basics for Better Health

Back to Basics for Better HealthThere’s a lot of hype around health care. For example, there’s been tons of recent chatter around fad dieting and the potential for trendy yo-yo diets to have negative health impacts. Recent news stories have also frightened many about the potential for cell phones to cause cancer. Obesity is at an all time high, with over 34% of Americans now considered to be obese, according to the CDC. Not to take away from any of these issues or the hype around them, but what happened to the basics? What happened to focusing on living healthy, happy lives and taking proactive steps to make this a reality? All too often, it seems, we get caught up in health hype and forget to prioritize healthy living. With that said, below you’ll find some of the easiest ways you can prioritize your health and wellness.

     

  1. Breathe Deeply

  2. Breathing is the only bodily function that we do both on a voluntary and involuntary basis. It is also the key to lots of immediate health benefits. Abdominal, or diaphragmatic breathing can have a tremendous impact on stress levels, and according to the AMSA1, can also help prevent infection of the lung and other tissues and improve the venous return of blood back to the heart.

  3. Nap

  4. As a culture, Americans are becoming more and more sleep deprived. There are countless negative side effects of sleep deprivation, but an easy remedy for most of them– napping! Alertness and physical performance can be improved by napping, and so too can our psychological well being. Remember, no matter how busy you are, sleep is not a luxury, it is a priority.

  5. Drink More Water

  6. We recently did a blog post on hydration and benefits one can realize via sufficient hydration. Weight loss, younger and fresher looking skin, increased mental and physical energy, and disease prevention are just a few of the many benefits of staying hydrated. Learn more on hydration and its benefits and the harms of dehydration.

  7. Think Visually When it Comes to Your Plate

  8. ChooseMyPlate.govAs was mentioned above, it’s easy to get caught up in health hype. One easy way to prioritize health from a nutritional standpoint is to focus on color. In general, the more colors on your plate (not via food coloring), the better. Did you know that white produce, such as garlic, parsnips and brown pairs have respiratory, heart & health benefits? Or how about that red produce, like tomatoes, watermelon, and beets can help lower risk for prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease? For a boost to your health, think in color! Additionally, the dreaded food pyramid, which most of us never used and certainly couldn’t remember, has been updated! Now, you can simply visualize your plate to help you determine how much protein, dairy, produce, and grains you need in your daily diet!

  9. Laugh & Smile…Genuinely

  10. When you were in school, a friend or parent may have advised you to smile while walking into a test to improve your performance. It is true that smiling releases endorphins and can boost your mood, but according to more recent evidence, the smile must be a genuine one. This is good news for you! It means that just by surrounding yourself with people, places, and things that make you happy, your health could be improved. According to recent studies, smiling boosts positive emotions, and “those who experienced high levels of positive emotion were able to recover from a heart attack more quickly.” Furthermore, research conducted in Australia demonstrated that “those who genuinely smiled for a group photo had greater well-being and were healthier, even 30 years later.”2 So smile, it does a body good. And as for laughter? Laughter can improve blood flow, increase infection fighting antibodies, and even burn calories. I don’t know about you, but if happiness can be used to improve my health, I’m by all means going to prioritize smiling and laughing more regularly.

These are just a few of the simple ways we can improve our health. What else? What do you do to decrease stress and improve your emotional and physical well-being? Share your ideas with me in the comments below!

1http://www.amsa.org/healingthehealer/breathing.cfm
2http://mentalhealthnews.org/a-genuine-smile-found-to-improve-health-happiness/84834/

Quinoa – Hard to Say, Easy to Cook!

Quinoa

Quinoa. Ever taken a stab at pronouncing it? Don’t worry; its’ a tough one. It is pronounced KEEN-wa. With or without being able to pronounce it, have you ever tried it?

Quinoa is a nutty brown grain that sounds intimidating, but is packed with nutrition and is as easy to cook as rice. Bring it to your next dinner party and impress your friends with your new, exotic (but oh so easy) ingredient.

Quinoa plants are colorful, flowering plants grown primarily in South America. In areas where it’s grown, people eat the leaves as well as the abundant seeds that we are more familiar with.

It is a great source of folate, manganese, B vitamins and zinc; however, the unique part of quinoa is its protein content. Quinoa includes all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Almost all other complete proteins in our diets are animal products. This makes quinoa a sound protein source for vegetarians and infrequent meat-eaters.

Cooking Quinoa

As previously promised, quinoa is simple to cook. As you make it more, feel free to experiment with adjustments and additions to the recipe. As you will find, quinoa is quite forgiving for even inexperienced cooks.

Basic quinoa recipe:

  1. Rinse Quinoa – If you do not have a colander with small enough holes, lay cheese cloth inside your colander to keep the quinoa seeds from escaping.
  2. Add one part quinoa to two parts liquid to a medium-size pot. (Chicken broth works well as a liquid over water for added flavor.)
  3. Bring to a simmer, and then turn on low. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Turn off the burner and allow to sit for five to 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve.

Serve as a simple side item; add to soups; or serve under stews, curries, or thick and chunky sauces. Refrigerate leftovers and add to your salad for lunch the next day.

Dip Happily with Hummus!

Hummus RecipeAre you looking for  a healthy and inexpensive alternative to your average high-fat sour cream and onion dip? Try hummus! Hummus is a pureed blend of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, tahini (a sesame seed paste), garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. It is believed to have originated in the Middle East and has been consumed there for thousands of years. Recognized even in ancient times for its nutritional value, hummus is an excellent source of protein, iron, vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6. Furthermore, hummus contains a fair amount of fiber from the chickpeas, as well as healthy unsaturated fats from the olive oil and tahini.

Traditionally, hummus is served as a dip for flatbread, such as pita bread, and may be served warm or cold. However, it is a delicious dip that can be eaten with anything from pita chips to raw vegetables. Some people even use it as a spread on their sandwiches as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise.

Hummus is available at most grocery stores. However, it is also easy to make. There are many variations of hummus recipes, so you can decide which you like best. Add roasted peppers, garlic or jalapenos to put your own spin on this nutritious treat.

Basic Hummus Recipe

Ingredients
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2/3 cup of tahini (optional)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.
  2. Spoon into serving dish and serve with crackers; raw dip vegetables, such as carrots or celery; or pita bread.

Makes about 3 cups (Recipe can be halved.)

Recipe adapted by Rachel Stroud, EHC dietetic intern, from http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/hummus/

Top 5 Reasons to Try Avocado Spring Rolls

The Emory Facial Center periodically shares new recipes that are good for the skin and overall health. This month, try our Avocado Spring Roll recipe. It’s easy to make, and avocados bring lots of great health benefits to the table. Below, you’ll find our top five reasons to give this delicious recipe a try!Avocado Spring Roll Recipe

1. Good Fat

We’ve all heard of good fats and bad fats, but rarely do we hear information about what foods we can get our good fat from, and what the benefits of doing so are. While they do contain a substantial amount of fat, the fat in avocados is monounsaturated or “good” fat. Monounsaturated fatty acids can actually help to reduce cholesterol levels. In addition, oleic acid, one of the monounsaturated fatty acids present in avocados, has actually been shown to help fight breast cancer.

2. Fight Prostate Cancer

The combination of high levels of vitamin E and carotenoid lutein in avocados makes them a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fighting prostate cancer. In a recent study, when prostate cancer cells were exposed to avocado extract including these two components, the extract was shown to inhibit the growth of these cancerous cells.

3. Support Eye Health

The carotenoid lutein found in avocados and mentioned above provides substantial eye health benefits. Lutein helps protect the eyes from eye diseases such as cataracts and macular generation.

4. Support Heart Health and Prevent Stroke

Those who consume diets rich in folate demonstrate a much lower rate of heart disease than those who don’t. Avocados are packed with folate. In fact, one cup of avocado has almost 25% of the recommended daily value for folate. Consuming folate rich diets is also shown to lower the risk for stroke.

5. Regulate Blood Pressure

Avocados are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Most foods high in potassium (such as potatoes) are eaten cooked. Cooking these vegetables removes about 30% of their potassium content, giving the avocado, which is eaten raw, an extra leg up on the potassium competition.

We hope this gives you an even better reason than just their taste to incorporate avocados into your diet. Let us know what you think of our spring roll recipe in the comments below!

Recipes for Wellness: Watermelon-Mango Salsa

In this episode of Recipes For Wellness, Dr. Yellin of the Emory Facial Center and registered dietician Carolyn O’Neil share a delicious Watermelon-Mango salsa recipe: