Tag Archives: Berries

Green Food That Boost Mental Power

Leafy greens

“Eat your greens.” Long before nutritionists started telling us to eat the yellows, the oranges, the purples, the blues, and the reds, our moms were telling us to eat our greens. Why the greens? Was it because there were so many more of them than the rest of the colors? Did our Moms have a special attachment to the color we didn’t know about? Or maybe it was because our Moms were so smart from eating those greens themselves that they knew something we didn’t. Read on to find out what how green vegetables can make you eleven years smarter.

Brain Power and Greens
According to recent research, eating kale, spinach, mustard greens, and collards can help to prevent the decline of the brain’s mental ability. Martha Clare Morris, ScD, and assistant provost for community research at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, acknowledges that this is good news for older people. “Losing one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older,” she says. “Since declining cognitive ability is central to Alzheimer’s disease and dementias, increasing consumption of leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

Beta Carotene, Vitamin K, and Lutein
A study following 950 people for an average of five years showed that those who ate one to two servings of leafy greens per day had mental powers comparable to someone eleven years younger who ate none. When it comes to maintenance of a healthy brain, lutein, beta carotene, and vitamin K topped the list. Morris explained, “Our study identified some very novel associations. No other studies have looked at vitamin K in relation to change in cognitive abilities over time, and only a limited number of studies have found some association with lutein.” She goes on to cite evident that “eating green leafy vegetables and other food rich in vitamin K, lutein, and beta carotene can help to keep the brain healthy to preserve functioning.”

Healthy group of food

The MIND diet
The MIND diet combines elements of both DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diet to reduce the risk of heart attack, hypertension, and stroke. However, some researchers have found that it may provide protection against mental decline as well. Research shows that followers of the new diet were able to lower the risk of aD by 35 to 53%. The MIND diet has 15 dietary components including ten “brain healthy” food groups and five unhealthy groups. Nuts, berries, green leafy and other vegetables, beans, fish, whole grains, poultry, fish, olive oil and wine comprise the healthy groups, while the five unhealthy groups are represented by stick margarine and butter, red meats, sweets and pastries, fried and fast food, and cheese. As for fruits, berries are the only ones to specifically make the MIND list. Morris says, “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protection the brain.’ Strawberries have also been known to perform well in studies of food on mental function.
Morris concludes, “One of the more exciting things is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for aD. I was so very pleased to see the outcome we got from the new diet.”

How are you filling your head? Let us know what you’re putting in your mouth to boost your brain power.

Skin Friendly Snacks

The frozen snack aisle assaults you with a dizzying array of mini hot pockets, hot wings, fries, chicken nuggets, and cheese filled soft pretzel sticks, while the snack and candy aisle seems to have taken on epic proportions. There are potato chip flavors that you never dreamed were capable of fitting into a potato chip and hybrid candy bars that would have baffled Willie Wonka. And all you can think of is how badly your skin is going to react to all this. If you’re looking to avoid a major skin irritation flare up, here are some skin friendly snacks you may want to include at your next big celebration.

Berries

Berries
When choosing fruits and vegetables, color signals high the presence of natural pigments with antioxidant properties. Berries burst with color and antioxidants, replenishing your skin’s antioxidant defenses and absorbing free radicals from ultraviolet light.

Brazil Nuts
Packed with healthy monosaturated fats, Brazil nuts are a key source of selenium, which is crucial for immune support and a healthy circulatory system. These nuts are also rich in vitamin C, which improves skin circulation for a radiant glow.

dark chocolates

Dark Chocolate
Once thought to be the enemy of adolescent skin, dark chocolate is one of the newest snacks to achieve superfood status. Research in the European Journal of Nutrition and the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology shows that, dark chocolate, in addition to protecting the blood vessels and heart, can also help defend skin from sun damage. When applied topically, natural cocoa butter is an effective ingredient in preserving skin moisture and elasticity.

Yogurt
Low-fat yogurt is a key source of vitamin A, known for its skin enhancing and anti-aging properties. The vitamin boosts the skin’s production of collagen and protects against its deterioration, increasing and preserving skin elasticity.

Kiwis

Kiwi
When it comes to Vitamin C rich fruits, oranges and grapefruit typically come to mind. That’s why it may come as a surprise to find out kiwifruit is an even more powerful source of the antioxidant. Vitamin C plays a valuable role in skin health, maintaining connective tissue and also prevents scurvy. Although it has since been eradicated, scurvy was once a major cause of sickness among sailors who suffered disfigurement as a result of the deprivation of vitamin C. Other good C sources include papaya and guava.

Olives and Olive Oil
If you are organizing a skin friendly celebration, make sure olives and olive oil are on the grocery list. Besides, being full of healthy monosaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil uniquely contains phytochemicals, health improving chemicals found naturally in plants. Enjoy olives and olive oil in food, or apply the oil directly to skin to receive its nourishing benefits.

Let us know what your skin friendly snack picks are! We love to hear from you!

Foods That Provide A Daily Dose of Citric Acid

Fruit
So you go into your favorite froyo place. You go over to the pump machine and you decide on a red velvet vanilla nonfat swirl. Ok, now the toppings! You’re an Oreo girl, but you’re a smart Oreo girl and you know that one generous tablespoon of those will easily compensate for the fat you cleverly avoided in your yogurt, and besides, yogurt and Oreos are not exactly the best combo. You look longingly at the gummy bears, no danger of fat there, but do you really need more processed food? And then, you see it! The kiwi fruit. The green queen of lean. After decorating your dessert with a heaping spoonful, you stop to add some mango and pineapple and blueberries and head over to the counter. You know what your have there? A whole lotta citric acid!

What are the Benefits of Citric Acid?
Citric acid increases the acidity of bacteria, making it hard for the microbes to survive and reproduce. In the body, it acts as an alkalizing agent and helps flush the system of excess calcium. Citric acid is also found in face packs and skin products and helps skin regenerate to slow the aging process. Its superpowers include the abilities to boost kidney health, fight free radicals and improve mineral absorption.

vine-vera-foods-that-provide-a-daily-dose-of-citiric-acid-citrus Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits top the list when it comes to levels of citric acid. This, along with ascorbic acid and vitamin C, give the fruit their tangy sharp appeal. Citrus fruits include, oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, lemons, limes, kumquat and clementines. Of these, lemons and limes are the heaviest hitters with about 4 grams per 100 grams of fruit.

vine-vera-foods-that-provide-a-daily-dose-of-citiric-acid-berries Berries
Berries may not be as impressive when it comes to percentages of citric acid, but they are a force to be reckoned with. Blueberries, weighing in at 0.6 grams of citric acid per 100 grams of fruit, are the weakest purveyors of citric acid in the berry family. Citric acid also gives strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and kiwi their tart and tangy tastes.

Tropical Fruit Tropical Fruit
Did someone say aloha? Slightly lower then citrus fruits the list of citric acid providers are tropical fruits. Pineapples are considered a high acid tropical fruit, containing about one gram per one hundred grams of fruit. Tamarinds help pineapples round out the tropical fruit list.

Low Acid Fruit
At the bottom of our list are cherries, sweet plums, apples and peaches, mangos, figs, with only about 0.1 grams of citric acid per 100 grams of fruit.

Kiwi Spotlight On Kiwi
Since we feel this fruit doesn’t always get the props it deserves, let’s take a moment to give the kiwi some love. Did you know kiwis are berries? Shocking, but true! Besides providing a whopping 273% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, kiwi is also a great source of citric acid. Just one kilogram of the kiwi’s peel contains 100 grams of citric acid and the fruit has similar citric acid levels. BTW, the peel is totally edible and may be the healthiest part of the fruit. So heap the kiwi on that froyo!

If you love citrus, froyo, kiwi, or all of the above, let us know how you top your yogurt. It might say a lot about the kind of person you are.

Summer Foods We Love

Ah, summer! There are so many things that the human mind associates with summer: Long days, warm nights, the beach, the pool, short shorts.  But an all time  favorite has to be the ice cream truck.  That creepy sound of some kind of sick jack in the box being played has, for years, triggered that Pavlovian response – ice cream time.  Kids with their dollars clenched in  sweaty fists, would cue up anxiously for their favorite treat; a snow cone, a strawberry bar, that weird frog with the bubble gum eyes….Yes, ice cream has to be on the top of the list of summer foods we love. But what are some other great foods associated with summer?

 berry desserts

Fruit
One of the greatest sensations of summer must  be the taste and texture of a perfectly ripened peach on a summer day.  They are also a great source of vitamin A and potassium.  Although they are great alone,  the more motivated of us might want to whip up some peach ice cream or a peach pie.  And while you’re at it, how about some honey vanilla poached apricots.  Peaches distant cousins, apricots are a source of Vitamin A which is great for your vision and promotes cell growth.  Blue and Blackberry shortcake?  Yes, please, over here.  Berries are abundant in the summer and are low in calories and high in antioxidants.

barbecue

Barbecue
What would summer be without the tiki torches and the smell of brats hitting the grill.  Although we most commonly associate the barbecue with dogs and burgers, nowadays you can put just about anything on the grill.  How about some Tangy Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Marinated Grilled shrimp, Asian Beef Skewers or Aloha Chicken burgers.  And vegetarians, take heart!  Even if veggie burgers and tofu aren’t your thing, summer squash can be delicious with tomato and basil and is also full of omega 3 and fiber.  Or how about some Mediterranean stuffed tomatoes.  Mouth watering yet?  Tomatoes are full of good stuff like niacin for maintaining cholesterol levels and lycopene, which is an antioxidant.

Cocktail

Cocktails
Ok, so summertime is party time and, while it is always important to keep safety and good judgment at the forefront, what would the summer barbecue be without those pretty mimosas and margaritas?  While some of us have no compunctions about downing these sweet concoctions, others are concerned about the calorie count.  Well, you might enjoy a Bombay Magic.  Consisting of tequila, lemon juice and club soda, this beauty weighs in at a mere 109 calories.  Or if vodka is more your speed, how about the Skinny Iced tea with vodka and lemonade, for only 70 calories. And, how can you possibly resist the Fruity White Sangria with pineapple, mango juice and white wine.  And only 94 cals! Have I died and gone to heaven?  And if you prefer straight vision, there is always the alcohol-free 86 calorie Grapefruit Mocktail with cranberry juice.  Don’t forget the toothpick umbrellas!

So enjoy the summer fare!  Eat up!  Be healthy, have fun, take advantage.  You only live once!

Foods That Protect Your Skin From the Sun

We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat” and here’s another reason to believe that’s true. Did you know that by eating certain plant compounds, you could gain some of the same sun protection for your skin that plants themselves use? Of course, that’s not a license to go lay out in midday sun all summer without protection, but the following foods may increase your skin’s ability to ward off damage from the sun.

Berries in a basket

Berries
It’s not hard to find a reason to eat berries, but add them to the list of foods that can protect your skin from the sun. These fruits are full of vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant, which boosts collagen production in the skin.

Citrus
One medium orange not only contains about 75 percent of the RDI of vitamin C, but it also contains the skin-protecting pigment beta-carotene, which a study published by Molecular Biotechnology showed decreased skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.

Carrot juice and carrots

Carrots
The same pigment that gives the carrot its protection from the sun may also keep your skin from getting blistered. Besides being rich in beta-carotene, carrots also taste delicious dipped in hummus or mixed into homemade coleslaw.

Leafy Greens
Rich in both Vitamin C and carotenoids, leafy greens, such as leaf lettuce and spinach, protect your skin with an antioxidant double whammy! P.S. The darker the greens, the better!

Almonds

Almonds
Not only does the vitamin E in almonds help prevent and reduce the severity of sunburn, but combined with vitamin C-rich foods, the protection offered from both foods is maximized. Try tossing some almonds and strawberries into a salad for a delicious and skin-loving combo.

Cantaloupe
A summer staple, cantaloupe protects your skin by helping you stay hydrated and giving you a dose of lycopene, another naturally occurring plant pigment. Research done by the Journal of British Dermatology shows lycopene may decrease skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. Bonus: you guessed it; cantaloupe is a vitamin C powerhouse!

Bell peppers

Bell Peppers
Rich in both vitamin C and carotenoids, bell peppers are an easy-to-use food in your healthy skin diet.

Tomato Paste
Tomatoes are another lycopene-rich food but according to a 2011 study from the British Journal of Dermatology, the bioavailability of the carotenoid may be greater in processed tomato products. Try using tomato paste as a base for soups or in a sauce.

green tea

Green Tea
A 2010 review in the Archives of Dermatology suggests that a diet rich in polyphenols can defend skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. One to two cups a day of this light-tasting tea can help you take advantage of its skin-protecting

Flaxseed
Like almonds, flaxseed is full of vitamin E. Take advantage of the C & E combo by mixing some ground flaxseed into a smoothie with some kale and blueberries.

It’s important to remember that while adding these foods to your diet may prevent burns or lessen the intensity of damage done by the sun, you should always take proper caution when being outdoors for an extended period of time. Along with eating these foods, you can avoid the sun altogether during peak hours (from around 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), wear protective clothing when you will be in direct sunlight, and wear sunscreen daily.

Foods That Relieve Stress

The American Psychological Association reported that in 2010, 40% of Americans reported either overeating or eating unhealthy foods in direct response to stress. When you’re super stressed your cortisol levels rise and it is true that cramming your face full of cookies or chomping down on french fries can make you feel better initially because cortisol causes food cravings. Although your favorite ice cream may soothe you immediately, ultimately this will result in more negative feelings like irritability or mood swings on top of the stress you were trying to get rid of to begin with. But, when your cortisol levels tell you need something this second, there are foods that you can eat that can actually help you to relieve stress, feel calm and help you to feel focused and balanced so you can tackle stressful situations head-on.

Avocados

Avocados
Technically a fruit, avocados are often considered a source of fat, so it’s best to eat this stress-busting food in moderation. One of the potential problems when overindulging in unhealthy fats and sugars is more oxidative damage, and a substance, glutathione, in avocados specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of these fats. In addition to glutathione, avocados contain beta-carotene, lutein, folate and vitamins B and E. A serving of avocado is roughly ⅓ of the fruit and you can eat this is so many ways. Mash some with fresh chopped cilantro, onions and tomatoes and a squeeze of lime juice for a healthy, stripped-down guacamole or simply slice some thinly and add to your favorite sandwich.

Berries.

Berries
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries…take your pick. Berries are an excellent source of vitamin C and a German study indicated that vitamin C is helpful in the fight against stress. In the study, researchers asked 120 participants to give a speech and then complete difficult mathematical problems. The participants who have been given vitamin C had lower blood pressure and cortisol levels (two indicators of stress) following these exercises than participants who had not been given vitamin C. Berries are delicious on their own, in healthy smoothies or on top of your favorite Greek yogurt.

Dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate
You may have reached for chocolate before when you were feeling particularly stressed and ended up regretting doing so. This is most likely due to the variety of chocolate you decided to eat. Milk chocolate is loaded with extra sugar and it’s easy to polish off an entire bag of milk chocolate candies pretty quickly. The resulting sugar crash probably only made you feel worse. Good news, you can continue to eat chocolate during times of stress if you choose dark chocolate and enjoy it in moderation. Dark chocolate lowers your blood pressure, which leads to feelings of calm. Additionally, dark chocolate contains two important types of antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols, that are helpful to your overall health. Keep a few squares of dark chocolate in your purse or in a drawer at work and enjoy when you’re feeling particularly stressed. Remember that moderation is important, though it is easier to curb the amount of dark chocolate you eat because it is so rich tasting. Stick with dark chocolate that is 70% or more cacao to get the full stress relieving benefits of this sweet treat.

Reaching for food during periods of stress is a completely normal response in both men and women, but it often is done in an unhealthy manner. Training yourself to choose the right foods when you feel frazzled can help to reduce levels of stress, increase feelings of calm, help you feel energized and keep you focused so that you can meet your challenges head on.

Summer Snacks for Great Skin – Vine Vera Reviews

We’ve said it before; when it comes to skin care, what you put into your body is just as important as what you put on to your skin. You take great care selecting skin care products and cosmetics that contain the best ingredients for your skin type, so why not take the same care with the food that you eat? Not only will your skin benefit from a nutritious, healthy diet, but you might find that you are able to lose a few pounds or tone up a bit more easily as well. Summer is full of activities and with your busy work-life and packed social calendar, it is tempting to grab foods that you can snack on easily and on-the-go. This summer, resolve to snack on foods that will do more than satisfy your hunger, pick summer snacks that help you achieve great skin.

Citrus fruits in a basket.

Citrus Fruits
You already know that refined sugars are not only bad for your weight and overall health, but did you know that they wreak absolute havoc on your skin as well? When it comes to summer snacking, there are all kinds of fresh fruits that are in season and that are a quick, convenient snack. While you do have to spend a bit of time prepping fruits like kiwi, papaya and mango, but the benefits are well worth it. These fruits are high in vitamin C which helps your skin retain its elasticity and firmness. Additionally, these fruits contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives you radiant, glowing skin.

Avocados on a wooden board.

Avocados
Another fruit (yes, it has a seed so it is technically a fruit) that is in season in the warm months of summer is avocado. This rich, creamy treat can be used in a variety of ways as a summer snack. Slice some on top of your salad or prepare a delicious breakfast of whole wheat toast, mashed avocado and tomato slices. Avocados contain monounsaturated fats that help fight wrinkles. Tomatoes, which could also be added to a fresh, homemade guacamole, contain lycopene which is thought to help prevent damage from the sun.

Berries overflowing from a basket.

Berries
Sticking with sweets that are not refined sugars, berries are another great tasting and convenient summer snack. Additionally, these summer snacks are packed with antioxidants that help your skin fight free radicals and the early signs of aging. Grab a handful or fresh blueberries to top your yogurt in the morning, or freshly slice some strawberries for an after-dinner snack that tastes delicious while being healthy for body and skin.

Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate
So, dark chocolate is available year-round, but it makes a great summer snack when you really crave something indulgent. Dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) contains flavanols, which are powerful antioxidants that can benefit your skin.

Just because a summer snack is great for your skin (and body), it does not have to be bland or boring. The above foods are all super tasty ways to snack during the summer while improving your skin as well. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, particularly when you are outside in the heat, to maintain your beautiful, plump, glowing skin.

Why Berries Are Nature’s Super Food

Bowl overflowing with different berries It’s no surprise that berries are being touted as one of nature’s finest super foods. From Blueberries, to Acai berries, they pack a mean punch in terms of antioxidants, the component known for preventing different forms of cancers. Aside from this, they provide an incredible amount of nutrition, vitamins, flavonoids, which have been known to prevent heart disease.

Over recent years, Vine Vera has discovered studies which have been done to detail the specifics as to why berries play such an integral role in health. The findings show valid proof that berries are indeed one of nature’s best super foods.

Some of the benefits found in berries include:

  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps to prevent sickness and disease, as well as keeping your heart healthy. It also creates collagen, which in turn creates healthy joints and bone structures. Vitamin C, aside from the obvious health benefits, provides healthy skin and hair, and gives your skin a healthy glow. It may also prevent other conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and other vision problems such as macular degeneration.
  • Anthocyanins – Anthocyanins are great for managing and even preventing joint problems and arthritis. Typically, anthocyanins work together with quercetin,another important antioxidant,  which prevents inflammation, and also helps to slow memory loss. Due to this, it’s safe to say these components may be able to help deter diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Fiber – Fiber is mostly known for its ability to keep you full. Berries contain a large portion of water, which is an added benefit to eating them. The water content, in conjunction with the fiber, allow you to feel fuller longer – and not at the cost of your waistline. Fiber is also important to a healthy intestinal tract and regular bowel movements.
  • Folate – Folate is an important vitamin which is also known as B9. It is essential to all functions throughout the body, and aids in the production and development of red blood cells. It also prevents the growth of tumors, and repairs and generates DNA. Folate is especially important for pregnant women. The human body isn’t capable of self-producing this important vitamin, and therefore we need to obtain it through means of nutrition (food) or supplements.

The above list is a small excerpt as to what berries can do for health. All berries have benefits, and if you’ve never tried them or haven’t attempted to incorporate them into your diet, there is no better time than now to start.

Some of the various types of berries you could consume are:

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Acai berries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cranberries

Among others, the above listed types of berries provide optimal health and added nutritional benefits. Try incorporating these berries into your daily diet through including them in your breakfast cereal, yogurt, as a midday snack, in a salad, or smoothie. The berries should be eaten whole, and not cooked, to maintain nutritional value. Always look for fresh or frozen berries which are firm and in date. It’s a good idea to buy berries fresh and freeze some in freezer bags to have at your leisure.

Research shows berries are one of the healthiest things we can eat, and therefore getting into the habit of actually eating them is great way to get on the road to health.