healthy pears

Healthy foods to lose weight – Pears

Healthy foods can be very, very sweet. Yes, we are talking about the pear. By taking one pear, you are already fulfilling 15% of your daily fiber needs.

Not only are pears really sweet, they are very filling, so you would tend to eat less when you have consumed a pear. This, of course, is because of the high fiber content found in the skin. The skin of the pear actually contains more phytonutrients than the fleshy part.

Like most fruits, the pear is a powerful anti-oxidant food. But what many people do not realise is that a lot of the goodness is found in the skin. So, make sure that you do not remove the skin, and if you juice it, do not filter the drink. The “cloudy” drink filled with the pulp and skin is far more healthy than clear pear juice.

healthy green tea

Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – Tea

Traditionally, green tea has always been a source of good health and even weight loss. But here are some other benefits of Green Tea:

Weight Loss. Green Tea increases your metabolic rate. It increases the level of fat oxidation.

Diabetes. Many sufferers of diabetes have experienced the effect of green tea helping to regulate glucose levels and actually seeing lower levels of blood sugar after meals.

Heart Disease. Green tea works by preventing clots, one of the main causes of heart diseases. It also has beneficial effects on the linings of blood vessels.

Oesophageal Cancer. It is widely believed that Green Tea no only has positive effects of preventing oesophageal cancer, but also kills cancer cells in general.

Cholesterol. The balance of good vs bad cholesterol is important. Green tea helps to regulate this and also increases the amount of good cholesterol.

Depression. Theanine is a substance that is believed to provide a relaxing effect and hence, it is a great benefit found in green tea.

Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial. Catechins found in tea are powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents. This means that they can help fight against a multitude of problems, from tooth decay to throat infections, from the common flu to cancer even.

Here is a simple Green Tea Recipe:

Ingredients

1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed
3-4 green tea bags
Ice
Honey or agave, fresh lavender leaves (optional)

Preparation

Place mint leaves in a large glass or BPA-free plastic pitcher. Crush gently with clean hands. Add tea bags, and pour hot water over top, leaving a few inches of room. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Remove tea bags; serve over ice. Add honey or agave to sweeten and a few fresh lavender leaves, if you have them on hand.

broccoli

Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – Broccoli

Broccoli is well known for its richness in vitamin C, vitamin A (mostly as beta-carotene), folic acid, calcium, and fiber – excellent if you want to lose weight.

While it is true that the calcium content of broccoli is less than that of milk, broccoli is a really key source of calcium for those who do not take diary products for any reason.

For those interested in losing weight, the fiber content of broccoli is incredible. Not only is it very rich in fiber, it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. This is important as each type of fiber serves its own purpose.

Broccoli has always been touted as a “must-have” food in any healthy diet. This is because broccoli is believed to really help in preventing cancer. In fact, all cruciferous vegetables fall in this cateogry. This is because broccoli contains two important phytochemicals – indoles and isothiocyanates. Besides, broccoli has been shown to stimulate the production of our body’s natural enzyme that removes cancer causing agents.

Besides broccoli, broccoli sprouts are also very popular in healthy diets. China, India and the United States are the world’s top producers of broccoli. So, never fear that there would be any shortage of this wonderful, healthy food.

healthy brocoli stir fry

Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe

Broccoli is one of the most misunderstood food. You see, children seem to “hate” them. But that is because many people believe that the only way to have “healthy” food is to boil it. Yucks!

Boiling removes so much of the goodness. Instead, they this stir fry recipe. You can make everyone into a broccoli fan!

Total Time Taken: 15m

Ingredients
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets (6 cups)
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Directions
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
Add the bell pepper, broccoli, and scallions and cook, tossing often, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the hoisin sauce and ¼ cup water and cook, tossing, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – Oats

Healthy eating does not mean that you have to eat bland or tasteless foods, especially when you are trying to lose weight. Oats have always had a bad reputation with common remarks like “yucks!” and “children hate them”.

Frankly, that is not true. There is only one reason why food taste bad – poor cooking. Try this delicious recipe for Oatmeal Chewies, you will learn to love oats: Oatmeal Chewies Recipe

Here are the benefits of oats:

Low Calories – one serving is only 130 calories!
High Fibre – fills you up so you don’t crave
High Protein – among the highest concentration of proteins among grains
Stabilize blood sugar – helps to reduce the risk of diabetes type 2
Removes Bad Cholesterol – helps with heart health and blood pressure
Contains Anti-oxidants – removes LDL, free radicals and improves heart health

There are many other benefits of Oats. Most importantly, it contains many essential nutrients and is a wholesome meal that will help fill you up without adding unwanted calories.

Oats Recipe – Oatmeal Chewies

Desserts and snacks are the bane of many people struggling to maintain their weight. That is why, it is important to know great recipes for fantastic tasting snacks that do not ruin your diet plan.

Try this delicious oatmeal chewies from QuakerOats.com.

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup caramel ice cream topping

Preparation
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of 13×9-inch metal baking pan.

In large bowl, combine oats, 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in butter; mix well. Reserve 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of baking pan.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with chips and nuts. Mix caramel topping with remaining flour in small bowl; drizzle over nuts to within 1/4 inch of pan edges. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Continue baking 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack; refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars.

healthy blueberries

Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – Blueberries

During your search for healthy foods to help you lose weight, you must have heard about blueberries.

It is truly in a class of its own. How often have you heard anyone say that they hate blueberries? But surely, that negative sentiment has been placed on spinach, celery and many other healthy foods; even green apples!

Blueberries are ranked right up there in terms of “favourite” fruits. Only Strawberries have beaten them. Blueberries are well know for their anti-aging properties. But the real power of this fruit is in its abundance of anti-oxidants. Weight for weight, volume for volume, blueberries have the highest levels of anti-oxidant among all fruits. It is also rich in fibre, which helps to make you feel “full” with just one serving. This is a great help if you want to lose weight. You really do not want to over-eat, and rich fibre foods will help you achieve feeling full without actually loading you with excessive calories.

Health claims for blueberries are plenty. It is claimed that blueberries help improve your memory. Despite blueberries being a “sweet fruit”, it has been shown to have positive effects on regulating blood sugar levels. This is good news for those suffering from diabetes.

So, blueberries are not only good for your health, good to help you control your weight, but they are also a really delicious food that everyone enjoys.

healthy blueberries squares recipe

Blueberries Squares Dessert Recipe

Here is a nice simple recipe from http://www.canadianliving.com/ which you might like to try.

Ingredients
Squares:
2-1/2 cups (625 mL) rolled oats, (not instant)
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated orange rind
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar

Filling:
3 cups (750 mL) fresh blueberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) orange juice
4 tsp (18 mL) cornstarch

Preparation
Filling: In saucepan, bring blueberries, sugar and orange juice to boil; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Whisk cornstarch with 2 tbsp (25 mL) water; whisk into blueberries and boil, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cooled, about 1 hour.

In large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar, orange rind and salt ; with pastry blender, cut in butter until in coarse crumbs. Press half into 8-inch (2 L) square parchment paper–lined metal cake pan; spread with blueberry filling. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture, pressing lightly.

Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until light golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool on rack before cutting into squares. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or overwrap with heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.)

healthy avocado

Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – Avocado

Definitely, you will always hear about Avocados when there is any discussion going on about healthy foods to lose weight.

The reason for this is simple – its true.

Although Avocados are usually found in the vegetable section of the supermarket, they are actually classified as a fruit. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. It is also very high in potassium. In many weight loss program, you are usually asked to cut down on your carbohydrate intake. When you cut down on carbohydrates, you need to increase your intake of healthy fats. Avocados are rich in healthy fats. Oleic acid, a compound in avocados, may help your body to actually stop feeling hunger.

You may want to look at our recipe for Avocado Bread, which will help you get your regular intake of Avocado without having to worry about how you are going to incorporate it into your meals.

Extra Folic Acid may Reduce Risk of Autism

Doctors prescribed folic acid to pregnant women. Folic acid helps protect the unborn child, this is nothing new. However, the latest news is EXTRA folic acid may reduce risk of autism.

A Norway research team led by Dr Pal Suren from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health from Osio claimed that women who took extra folic acid in the weeks before or just after pregnancy were less likely to have a child with autism.

Why? Because the lack of folic acid (also known bas Vitamin B9) has been tied to brain and spinal cord birth defects, groups, including the United States Preventive Service Task Force are calling women who are planning to or could become pregnant to take Continue reading

healthy black beans

Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – Black Beans

Eating the right healthy food can help you to lose weight, and Black Beans would be one of these super foods.

The black bean is a variety of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) typically used in Latin American cuisine. But it can be used in many different ways.

It is important to add these super foods into your diet. Not only are they good to help you control your weight, but they have many other benefits.

Packed with fibre and protein, they will quickly give you the feeling of being “full”. Also, black beans can help regulate glucose levels in your body, helping you to burn calories. The high fibre helps to absorb bile acids, thus reducing cholesterol. High fibre content also helps your digestive system operate more efficiently. Black beans also contain anti-oxidants which help to fight the free radicals in your body.

Black beans are the secret weapon against cancer and is an anti-aging food.

Here is a Black Bean recipe (taken from www.health.com) you might enjoy:

Spiced Black Bean Hummus with Marinated Peaches

Ingredients

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
1 large lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 firm ripe avocado
Sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 ripe large peach
Freshly baked pita chips
Preparation

Put black beans, garlic clove, tahini, olive oil, chili sauce, and the juice of 1 large lemon in a food processor; pulse until smooth. (If the hummus is too thick, you can drizzle in some of the black bean liquid from the can.) Season with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Transfer hummus to a bowl, and let chill. Meanwhile, dice avocado, and place into a small mixing bowl. Season with sea salt, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Dice peach, and add to avocado mixture; toss gently. To serve, place hummus into a serving dish, and top with marinated peaches and avocado. Serve with freshly baked pita chips.

healthy avocado bread

Avocado Bread Recipe

When you try to add healthy food like Avocado into your diet, it can get cumbersome figuring out multiple recipe. Try this unusual recipe and have the Avocado right in the bread itself.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons mashed, ripe avocados
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. In a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add avocado and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrap down sides as necessary. Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed for 1 minute after each addition. Scrap down sides if needed. Beat in vanilla.

With mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Add the buttermilk and the rest of the flour mixture. Beat until incorporated. Divide the batter between the pans and bake on the upper third rack for 30 minutes. Bake on middle rack for an additional 15-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 20 minutes. Bread will last for several days, well wrapped, at room temperature.

Home Made Hair Mask, Aloe Vera, Really Works for Dry Hair!

Referring to my previous post Hair Care – Treating Dry Hair Naturally with Aloe Vera, I shared about using the gel from the Aloe Vera plant to create a hair mask.

It is really a hassle free recipe that works wonderfully for my dry and frizzy long hair.

I bought a leaf of about 35cm long from the supermarket and cut it in half. One half was wrapped up and kept in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator for other uses. The other half was sliced horizontally from one end to another. I used a spoon to scrape off all the gel from the leaf. I took only the gel and not any of the green or yellow portions from the leaf. Next I put the gel in a mini food processor and blended it until it was very fine.

All the blended Alor Vera gel was then gently rubbed into the scalp and spread all over my long hair. There might be little bits and pieces of Aloe Vera but that’s fine because the result was totally worth it. I kept the gel on my head for  an hour. Once the time was up, I simply rinsed off the gel with water and dried my hair with a towel.

When my hair was completely dry, I saw a gleaming sheen that seemed to dance off my hair. I could also run my fingers through my hair without difficulty. My hair was  darker, shinier and definitely much, much smoother than before.

I have decided to apply this Home made Aloe Vera Hair Mask at least twice a week until my hair condition improves permanently.

Aloe Vera is a wonder plant that you can easily plant in your garden or even in a pot. You can use it as food, make it into a drink, use it as medical aid to heal wounds or like me, hair mask. Small wonder that people call it a miracle doctor

Additional Readings on Aloe Vera:  Aloe Vera – Fight 80 Disorders from Your Own Kitchen!

Smoking Ban linked to Drop in Pre-Term Births

A team of researchers led by Dr Tim Nawrot at the Centre for Environmental Science at Hasselt University in Belgium confirmed that smoking during pregnancy can stunt the growth of unborn babies and shorten gestation; and that a smoking ban in public places can lead to a drop in pre-term births (births of babies before 37 weeks of gestation).

He and his team conducted the research on 606,877 single born babies delivered between 24 and 44 weeks of gestation in Flanders for 9 years from 2002 to 2011. This covered a period before, during and after the introduction of the smoking ban in Belgium. Smoking was banned in public places and most workplaces in Jan 2006 in Belgium. This was followed by a smoking ban in restaurants in Jan 2007, and in bars serving food in Jan 2010.

The results show a 3.13% reduction in the risk of pre-term births after Jan 2007 , and further reduction of 2.65% after Jan 2010.

The Belgium team said that there is a consistent pattern of reduction in the risk of preterm delivery with the successful prevention of smoking in public places.

Another study from Britain also found that smoking bans could lead to a swift and dramatic fall in the number of children admitted to hospital because of asthma attacks.