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vine vera banner presents Big Fruit With Big Health Benefits

Big Fruit With Big Health Benefits

Part of the beauty of fruit is that most of it comes in the perfect serving size. One apple is equal to one serving of an apple, one banana is equal to one serving of a banana, and so on. These fruits require little preparation, it’s simply a case of peeling and eating. Moving along in the world of produce, however, the category of the “big fruit.” comes into play. This phenomenon is mostly intended for sharing or for being eaten in more than one serving, which means it requires a little more elbow grease, but the nutritional benefits may be worth the extra work. Here are some of the big rewards of the big fruits, which may make them worth the big deal of energy.

Papaya
There is a good reason that the papaya tree is known as “The Tree of Good Health” in Costa Rica and Mexico. The papaya is packed with nutrients that protect against cancer and enzymes that can aid in healthy digestion. The fruit packs more than three times the body’s daily requirements in vitamin C, and vitamins A, E, and K give it a powerful kick of antioxidants. With a resume like that, it’s little wonder that Christopher Columbus dubbed the papaya the ‘fruit of the angels.”

Jack Fruit
Although a number of calories in jackfruit may be high, the source of these calories makes it a better option than other highly caloric foods. Jackfruit contains no cholesterol and no saturated fats which make it a good source of energy, and also 25% of the daily requirement of the powerful B6 vitamin, which we love so much. Its high concentration of vitamin C makes it efficient in fighting free radicals and increasing the function of the immune system, and its fiber content makes it helpful in food digestion.

vine vera banner presents Big Fruit With Big Health Benefits

Watermelon
The name says a lot. Water melon is over 90 percent water, making this fruit an ideal summer hydration, and like its namesake, it also provides a plethora of health benefits. Watermelon is great for the skin because of its vitamin A content. Researchers believe that the content of the amino acid L-citrulline in water melon can improve muscle soreness, and its water and fiber content help to prevent constipation and promote digestive health.

Cantaloupe
Bursting with flavor, the cantaloupe is very low in calories and rich in health promoting polyphenolic derived compounds and vitamins for optimum health. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, a powerful antioxidant essential for healthy vision and the maintenance of healthy skin and mucosa. The zeaxanthin found in cantaloupe is an antioxidant capable filtering of UV light, protecting against macular degeneration, and the loupe’s high potassium concentration helps control blood pressure and heart rate.

What is your favorite big fruit with big benefits? Let us know!

Kale

10 Ways To Include Kale and Swiss Chard In Your Diet

You may be wondering why, if veggies like Swiss chard and kale have been around forever, why haven’t you heard much about them until recently? Well, the sad truth is that there was a time in history when these greens were considered the “ugly ducklings” of the vegetable family. While their better tasting relatives, like spinach and broccoli, were enjoying the limelight, kale and chard were consigned to a lesser position, largely ignored, until one day, their superfood powers were revealed.

Suddenly, they became all the rage. No one could consume these darlings quickly or often enough, and more and more new and innovative ways were found to incorporate them into meals and snacks. If you are among those who are see in kale and Swiss chard in a new light, here are ten ways you can give these veggies their proper due.

Veggie Soups
Healthy comfort food? Why not? Chop or puree some kale and Swiss chard into your next soup recipe.

kale chips

Kale Chips
Just remove the stem and center ribs and tear leaves into chip size pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, salt or cumin. Bake at 300 until crisp.

Smoothies
Smoothies and green protein juices can be great sources for packing in nutrients. Add one or two handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, or spinach to your morning or afternoon concoction. However, you may want to keep in mind that juices do not provide the same fiber benefits as eating greens and drinking smoothies do, as juices tend to have high sugar content due to other added vegetables.

Green Veggies With Eggs
Not to be confused with green eggs and ham, green veggies can make a great addition to an egg scramble or frittata.

Green powder

Green Powders
Green powders contain a large variety of concentrated green veggies, and usually include plant algae like chlorella and spirulina. Look for organic green powders at health food stores and make sure to take into account what type of sweetener and how much sugar the powder contains. Try to keep sugar levels under five grams per serving.

Baked Goods
Fool your family, fool yourself. Puree some Swiss chard or kale into your muffins or brownies. According to Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, “You won’t even feel like you’re eating vegetables.”

Pasta
Cheryl Forbero, RD suggests foregoing the basil or pesto on your pasta for some heartier greens. You can even work them into your lasagna or pesto recipe, says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD.

kale pizza

Pizza
Kale pizza anyone? Why not? After you finish heaping on the mozzarella, how about heaping on the greens? Drizzle with oil and vinegar and mangia!

Beans
Add texture and color to your bean dish with a few cups of chopped Swiss chard or kale. Just add it along with the garlic, onions and seasoning.

Stir-Fry
If your sautéing some beef, chicken or tofu, stir in some carrot, red pepper and Swiss chard stems. Then, remove from heat and stir in the leaves for a healthy and delicious stir fry.

How are you adding kale and Swiss chard to your diet? Let us know how your keeping healthy!

Alternatives To Stress Eating

If you want to see the most dire examples of stress eating, you need look no further than the 1980 classic, “Fatso.” Fatso documents the tale of Dominic DiNapoli, played by the late, great Dom DeLuise who is brought up by a mother who offers him comfort by feeding him whenever he becomes upset. To say Dominic grows up with a love of food would be an understatement.

Woman eating junk food If all this sounds like normal behavior to you, you may be looking to find alternatives to padlocking your refrigerator. Well, before you go to Home Depot, you may want to read further.

Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is usually used as a way to soothe or suppress negative emotions caused by anything from major life changes to the hassles of day to day life. They can include work, financial pressures, and relationship, and health problems among others. Eating can serve as a distraction to take the focus off a painful situation, or it a may be more of a reflexive response to strong emotions, resulting in an impulse binge, wolfing down food without enjoyment. However, whatever the cause of your emotional eating, it is almost never a satisfying solution, with emotions returning along with added guilt over your recent calorie intake.

Preventing Emotional Eating

1. Start keeping a food diary. Keep track of what you eat, how hungry you are, how much you eat, and how you feel after eating it. You will begin to see how your mood is connected with your food intake.

2. Lower stress. If stress is a big factor in your overeating, try to manage it with techniques like mediation, yoga, and deep breathing.

3. Check your hunger. If you ate recently, your hunger is probably more emotional than physical. if your stomach’s not rumbling, give yourself some time before eating to see if your craving passes.

Woman eating sweets
4. Avoid temptation. If you don’t keep the ‘go to’ comfort foods in your house, you are less likely to need to padlock the fridge. Also, avoid emotional food shopping and save grocery store expeditions for less temperamental periods.

5. Try not to deprive yourself. If you limit your calories too severely, you may just increase your cravings. Try instead to make healthier choices, eating more satisfying portions of lower calorie foods, allowing for the occasional treat.

6. Prevent boredom. Overeating is often a side effect of lack of stimulation. Try to distract yourself with things besides food, like a book, a movie, or the computer.

Or, you can always distract yourself by writing to us! Tell us how your feeling and what you’re eating or trying not to eat. We love to hear it!