Portabella mushrooms are one of the most widely consumed mushrooms in the world. They are commonly thought of as vegetables, but are actually classified as fungi (1). They are low in fat, low in calories, high in fiber, and a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which can enhance your health and help prevent disease (2).
Nutrients Found in Portabellas and Their Benefits
The most abundant nutrients that are found in Portabella mushrooms include selenium, niacin, riboflavin, copper, pantothenic acid, and potassium.
How to Incorporate Mushrooms into Your Diet
You can enjoy portabellas in stir fries, casseroles, soups, omelets, and salads. You can also enjoy them on a bun as a meatless burger, or grind them up with ground meat to make a delicious burger while saving on meat. You can also stuff mushrooms with creamy spinach or a cheese of your choice. Portabellas can be sauteed and served as a side dish as well, but whichever way you use or cook them, you must start by cleaning them properly. Use a damp paper or kitchen towel to brush away any dirt or debris clinging to the caps. Don’t dunk them in water or rinse under cold running water because most mushrooms have sponge-like cells that soak in the water, which then makes it hard to get a good brown sear on them when cooking if they are waterlogged.
Portabella mushrooms are the dietitian’s choice for the weekly ad of 8/23/19-8/29/19. Stop in Mackenthun’s to pick some up for $2.99 or add them to your shopping cart online by clicking the following link: Portabella Mushrooms!
Try this Delicious Recipe!
BAKED PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS - makes 2 servings
2 large portabella mushrooms
2 TBSP soy sauce (use tamari if gluten free)
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. Minced garlic
¼ tsp. Minced or grated ginger root
½ TBSP olive oil
Fats are an essential part of the human diet. They help synthesize hormones, promote overall brain and mental health, and help keep us full. While you may have a general idea of what fat sources are good for you - like salmon, grass-fed butter, avocado oil, nuts and needs - and which fats should be avoided (think trans fats and industrial seed oils), you may feel a little lost with understanding the healthiest fats and oils to cook with. The reason this topic is so complicated is because you not only have to consider the overall nutrient profile of the oil and how it was processed, but you also have to consider the smoke point.
Every type of cooking oil has a different smoke point - the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke. Heating an oil beyond its smoke point causes it to oxidize, which results in the release of harmful free radicals and other compounds. Ultimately, this can lead to you consuming pro-inflammatory compounds.
Oils with higher concentrations of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are more stable and typically pretty good for high-heat cooking, while oils with a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats are more likely to be damaged when exposed to heat. Here is a list of healthy cooking oils and how to use them:
Some oils are extremely healthy, but should not be heated due to their lower smoke point. These oils are great to use in salad dressings and finishing oils and include: almond oil, walnut oil, and flaxseed oil.
Some oils that are recognized for their high-heat cooking are not necessarily smart picks. These oils include industrial seed oils such as canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, and soybean oil. These oils tend to be loaded with omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which fuel the body’s inflammation pathways if consumed in excess (which is why moderation/limiting is key with these oils). These oils also go through processing that is thought to damage the essential fatty acids and reduce the number of antioxidants and vitamins in the end product.
Blackberries and raspberries are both delicious fruits packed with powerful nutrients, including several antioxidants and fiber. These two fruits supply the body with many potential health benefits and are also great at filling you up without feeling guilty! Check out the nutrients and potential health benefits of these two fruits below, along with a recipe for each.
The Benefits of Blackberries
The blackberry is a delicious and versatile fruit and is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals and fiber. Blackberries offer a number of potential health benefits including: better digestive health, healthy functioning of the heart, strengthened immune defense, potentially preventing cancer, aiding in cognitive function, helping with weight management, skin care, keeping strong bones, normal blood clotting and improving vision (1).
Blackberries are nutrient dense and contain vitamins (1):
A Few of the Major Health Benefits
Antioxidants. Blackberries contain many powerful antioxidants which protect the body in several ways. These antioxidant compounds include phenolic acids, flavonoids, and flavonols, which protect the body from a range of diseases caused by oxidative damage (1).
Anti-cancer Properties. The micronutrients present in this fruit exert a chemo-preventive effect and prevent a rapid increase of malignant cells. This anti-cancer activity may be due to the abundance of anthocyanins and other phytochemicals (1).
Healthy Heart. The vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber in blackberries may help to lower your risk for heart disease by limiting inflammation and oxidative stress (3). The magnesium in blackberries also helps in regulating blood pressure and prevents cardiac arrhythmia and irregular contraction (1).
Improves Digestion. Blackberries are a source of both insoluble and soluble fiber, which are essential for optimum function of the digestive system. Insoluble fiber helps
add bulk to the stools, leading to regular bowel movements and lessens constipation while soluble fiber helps absorb water in the large intestine and slow down digestion (1).
Boosts Immunity. Thanks to their nutrient density, blackberries help in improving the immune system. Their components can help fight various pathogens and protect the body from infections and other illnesses (1).
Maintaining Healthy Bones. Magnesium and calcium are both found in this fruit and essential for maintaining healthy bones. Calcium strengthens the bones while magnesium facilitates the absorption of calcium and potassium into the body. Blackberries also contain phosphorus, which is another mineral that aids in the regulation of calcium (1).
Ways to Include Blackberries in the Diet
Blackberries can be eaten raw or added to fresh fruit salads, baked goods (i.e. tarts, cakes, and pies), and they can be used to prepare jellies or preserves. They can also be combined with other fruits to create a fruit salsa (1).
BLACKBERRY KALE PEACH SALAD - makes 2-4 servings
For the salad:
3 cups chopped kale (or spinach or any dark leafy green of your choice)
20 mint leaves
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 large peach, diced
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup toasted almonds
For the dressing:
½ TBSP lemon juice
½ TBSP apple cider vinegar
½ tsp honey
1 TBSP olive oil
¼ tsp poppy seeds
The Benefits of Raspberries
There are many types of raspberries - including black, purple and golden - but the red raspberry is the most common (4). Along with their delicious flavor, raspberries are also filled with many nutrients despite their low calorie content. This fruit is a great source of fiber, packing 8 grams per 1 cup serving (32% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for women and 21% for men (4). Raspberries are also a great source of (5):
Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Benefits
Raspberries are high in several powerful antioxidant compounds, including vitamin C, quercetin and ellagic acid (4). The diversity of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in raspberries is remarkable! The amount of phytonutrients in raspberries is significant in terms of protecting us against the dangers of oxidative stress and the dangers of excessive inflammation. These nutrients help lower the risk of chronic diseases that are associated with chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis. Specifically, ellagacid acid is an anti-inflammatory compound that has been shown to help prevent overactivity of certain pro-inflammatory enzymes as well as their overproduction (5).
High Fiber and Tannin Content May Benefit Blood Sugar Control
For people who are watching their carbohydrate intake, raspberries are a great choice as they are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber. One cup of raspberries has 14.7 grams of carbs and 8 grams of fiber, meaning that they have only 6.7 grams of net digestible carbs per serving. Raspberries are also a low-glycemic food, and studies have shown that they may lower blood sugar and improve insulin resistance. This fruit also has a high amount of tannins, which block alpha-amylase, a digestive enzyme necessary for breaking down starch. By blocking alpha-amylase, raspberries may reduce the number of carbs absorbed after a meal, lessening the impact on blood sugar (4).
May Have Cancer-Fighting Properties
Due to the high levels of antioxidants in raspberries, this fruit may protect against cancer. Berry extracts, including those of red raspberries, block the growth of and destroy cancer cells in test-tube studies on colon, prostate, breast and oral cancer cells. However, this has been shown only in animal studies, and therefore human studies are needed (4).
Other Potential Health Benefits
Raspberries have a short shelf life and are best eaten shortly after purchasing (4). Some ways to enjoy this delicious fruit includes eating raspberries plain, topping your yogurt with them (along with some granola), adding raspberries to cereal or oatmeal, topping whole-grain pancakes or waffles, adding them to a smoothie, making a berry fruit salad, adding raspberries to a salad with chicken and goat cheese, blending them with water and using it as a sauce for meat or fish, using them to make a crumble, stuffing them with dark chocolate chips, or sprinkling fresh raspberries with balsamic vinegar (4,5).
RASPBERRY YOGURT CEREAL BOWL - makes 1 serving
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
½ cup mini shredded-wheat cereal
¼ cup fresh raspberries
2 tsp mini chocolate chips
1 tsp pumpkin seeds
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Blackberries and Raspberries are the Dietitian’s Choice in the weekly ad of 8/16-8/22. Pick up blackberries in-store or online for 2/$6 and raspberries in-store or online for 2/$7. To purchase raspberries or blackberries online, just click the following link and then +Add: Blackberries & Raspberries
Several studies have established the role of positivity and optimism on health, specifically the power of positive thinking. The way that we think and view situations is powerful and being a positive thinker can impact your life more than you realize. Several studies have shown that optimists are physically and psychologically healthier than pessimists. Positive thinking is powerful because it increases individuals’ coping abilities and helps to overcome adversity. Here are some surprising benefits that can come from positive thinking:
Optimism may need to start out as an intentional activity, but over time the brain may begin to have a more positive outlook naturally. Even expressing gratitude and appreciation for others can make a huge impact on your health. It’s important to understand that positive thinking does NOT mean you need to ignore unpleasant situations, but rather that you approach these situations in a more positive and productive way. This way of thinking often starts with self-talk. If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic and vice versa. Listed below are some ways of identifying whether your self-talk and thinking is more negative than positive.
It is possible to turn negative thinking into positive thinking; it just takes time for this new habit to form. Here are some ways that may help promote more positive thinking:
Identify negativity: what areas in your life do you tend to think negatively about (i.e. work, relationships, etc.)? These are the areas to pinpoint. Focus on one of those areas to start thinking about more positively. Do not try to tackle them all, just start with one and work from there!
Find humor: allow yourself to smile or laugh at life’s circumstances, especially during the difficult times. Laughing at life can help you feel a lot less stressed.
Surround yourself with other positive and supportive people: be around people who will encourage you and who can give helpful advice and feedback. Being around negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
Be kind to yourself: if a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. Think about the things that you are grateful for in your life. Being kind to yourself also means taking care of yourself and following a healthy lifestyle. Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes most days of the week, as exercise can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Following a healthy diet also helps to fuel your mind and body. It is important to learn techniques to help manage stress as well.
Be mindful: take time each day to connect with the present moment. This allows worries to get put on hold as you focus on the moment. Positive psychology research has shown that being mindful can improve mood and health. Truly take in your surroundings and current experiences - what are the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, textures?
Positive thinking and optimism comes with time and practice, so remember to be kind to yourself while this new habit develops.
Nutritional status plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin. What we eat has a big impact on our internal health and internal organs (think metabolism, heart, liver, kidneys, etc.), and it also impacts other organs, such as the skin. Macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids) and micronutrients (vitamins and nutritionally essential minerals) work together to maintain the barrier function of skin in the face of everyday challenges. Many of the best foods for healthy skin also promote good health overall. Concentrating on a healthy diet in general rather than specific foods can boost the health of your skin. Here are some of the best foods you can include in your generally healthy diet to keep your skin at its best.
Fatty fish - including salmon, mackerel and herring. These are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Avocados - high in healthy fats; they’re a great source of vitamin E and vitamin C which are both important for skin health.
Nuts & Seeds - Walnuts are a great source of essential fatty acids (fats that your body cannot make itself); high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium and protein. Sunflower seeds also contain vitamin E, zinc, selenium and protein.
Carrots, apricots, and other yellow & orange fruits and vegetables (bell peppers, sweet potatoes, etc.) - sources of beta-carotene & vitamin C.
Broccoli - packed with zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, and lutein and other antioxidants.
Tomato - great source of vitamin C and contains all the major carotenoids, including lycopene.
Just as there are foods that are associated with healthy skin, there are some foods that seem to be associated with skin damage. Some research suggests that a diet high in processed or refined sugars or other carbohydrates and unhealthy fats promotes skin aging. Concentrating on a healthy diet in general - including plenty of fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds and beans, whole-grain breads and pastas - can help promote healthy skin as well.
Zucchini, a small summer squash that resembles that of a ridged cucumber, is available in yellow, light green and green colors. This vegetable can be eaten raw, sliced or cooked, and used in various recipes, making it a highly versatile food. Young zucchini has a subtle taste, soft covering, and buttery white flesh. It reaches its peak/best form during the months of July and August. However, zucchini can still grow at other times of the year provided it is shielded from extreme cold. Almost all parts are edible, including the flesh, seeds and skin and they all hold valuable nutrients that may bring along great health benefits (1).
Health Benefits of Zucchini
Zucchini is a high fiber, low-calorie food that does not contain any fat. It is rich in flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, carotenes, and lutein, which all play a major role in preventing diseases and slowing down aging. Zucchini is also a great source of potassium, is rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, choline, zinc and magnesium. It also contains essential minerals such as iron, manganese, phosphorus and calcium, and it is also higher in water content (95%) (1, 2).
How to Select and Store Zucchini
Look for zucchini with a slightly prickly, but shiny skin. The skin should be firm and free of cuts and bruises. You can store zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Do not wash it until you are ready to use it. If the zucchini has been cooked, you can store it in the refrigerator, but it should be used within 2 days (4).
Ways to Enjoy Zucchini
Make a zesty zucchini stir-fry (5)
Add pureed zucchini to ¾ of a jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce (5)
The Dietitian’s Choice for the weekly ad of 8/2/19-8/8/19 is Green or Yellow Zucchini. Stop in to Mackenthun’s to pick some up for $1.29/lb or add it to your online shopping cart! To add the zucchini to your online cart, just click the following link and then click “Add”: Zucchini. Try them in one of the recipes below!
Try One of These Delicious Zucchini Recipes!
ZUCCHINI RIBBON SALAD - yields 4 servings; serving size about ⅔ cup
14 baby zucchini (about 12 oz.) - or 12 oz. of regular zucchini
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
BAKED PARMESAN ZUCCHINI - yields 4 servings
4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley leaves
ZUCCHINI SHRIMP SCAMPI - yields 4 servings
2 TBSP unsalted butter
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
1/4 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds (4 medium-sized) zucchini, spiralized
2 TBSP freshly grated Parmesan
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley leaves
GRILLED LEMON GARLIC ZUCCHINI - yields 4 servings
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 medium zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Sources: 5 Amazing zucchini benefits (2018). Organic Facts. Retrieved from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-zucchini.html
Mercola, J. (2018). What is zucchini good for? Food Facts by Mercola. Retrieved from https://foodfacts.mercola.com/zucchini.html
Zucchini nutrition facts - health benefits of zucchini (2018). Vegetable Facts. Retrieved from http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-benefits/benefits-of-zucchini/
Zucchini: nutrition, selection, storage. (2018). Fruits & Veggies More Matters. Retrieved from https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/summer-squash
Top 10 ways to enjoy zucchini. (2018). https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-zucchini
9 Impressive Health Reasons to Eat More Zucchini - A nutrient-Dense Food
Eyesight is probably one of the most important of your five senses and eye health goes hand-in-hand with general health. However, there are a few nutrients that are especially important for your eyes. These nutrients help maintain eye function, protect your eyes against harmful light, and reduce the development of age-related degenerative diseases. Listed below are the top nutrients that benefit your eyes:
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