Recipes | MIGRELIEF

Recipes Category

Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds for Healthy Eyes, Heart, Skin, Hair, Weight Loss & More!

September 30th, 2019

Commonly viewed as a vegetable, pumpkin is scientifically a fruit, as it contains seeds. Nutritionally it is more similar to vegetables than fruits. Pumpkin has a range of fantastic health benefits, including being one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene.

Eye Health:  Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. It also gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color.  The body converts any ingested beta-carotene into vitamin A.  Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. One cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health.  Studies show that vitamin A can also strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. (1) (2)

High Antioxidant Content:  Free radicals are molecules produced by your body’s metabolic process. Though highly unstable, they have useful roles, such as destroying harmful bacteria.  However, excessive free radicals in your body create a state called oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells.  Pumpkin may lower you risk of cancer. (3)  (4)

Heart Health:  Pumpkin contains a variety of nutrients that can improve your heart health.  It’s high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, which have been linked to heart benefits.  For instance, studies have shown that people with higher potassium intakes appear to have lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of strokes which are both risk factors for heart disease. (5)

Weight Loss:  Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  It is low in calories as it is 94% water and contains only 50 calories per cup (245 grams).

Healthy Skin:  Pumpkin is great for the skin for many reasons.  Studies show that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock. (6)
Once ingested, carotenoids are transported to various organs including your skin. Here, they help protect skin cells against damage from harmful UV rays (7).
Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin. Your body needs this vitamin to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. (8).
Moreover, pumpkins contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and many more antioxidants that have been shown to boost your skin’s defenses against UV. (9) (10)

One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:

Calories: 49
Fat: 0.2 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
Potassium: 16% of the RDI
Copper: 11% of the RDI
Manganese: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 8% of the RDI
Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.

When making pumpkin dishes… Don’t throw away the seeds!

PUMPKIN SEEDS ARE POWER SEEDS

Pumpkin seeds were discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico back in 7,000 B.C.  North American Indian tribes were the very first to observe the dietary and medicinal properties of pumpkin seeds.  The nutrition in pumpkin seeds improves with age; they are among the few foods that increase in nutritive value as they decompose. Pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months increase in protein content. They can be consumed raw or toasted, plain or tossed in salads and other fresh or cooked dishes.  Containing a variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are extremely healthy and are a good source of B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates), magnesium, iron and protein.  100 grams of pumpkin seeds contains about 30 grams of protein. They are the most alkaline-forming seed.

PUMPKIN SEED BENEFITS

Heart Healthy:  Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of healthy fats, fibers and various antioxidants that are beneficial for the heart.  The high levels of essential fatty acids help maintain healthy blood vessels and lower unhealthy cholesterol in the blood.  Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Healthy Sleep:  Pumpkin seeds contain Serotonin, a neurochemical which promotes health sleep.  They are also high in Tryptophan, an amino acid that further converts into Serotonin in the body, to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Prostate Health:  High in zinc these seeds are useful for promoting men’s fertility and preventing prostrate problems. The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.  Pumpkin seeds also have DHEA (Di-hydro epi-androstenedione) that helps reduce the chances of prostate cancer.

Stabilize Blood Sugar – Pumpkin seeds help improve insulin regulation in diabetics and decreases oxidative stress. These seeds are a rich source of digestible protein that helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Hair Growth:  Pumpkin seeds consist of cucurbitin, a unique amino that may be responsible for hair growth. They also contain vitamin C that also plays a crucial role in hair growth. Apply pumpkin seeds oil on scalp to see the results or just consume a handful of them daily.

Bone Protection:  High in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis, since zinc deficiencies can lead to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.

Other benefits:  According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.  These seeds reduce inflammation and counter arthritis pain without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.  They are also used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

Take advantage of the abundance of pumpkins during the fall season and give your health a boost. Enjoy these healthy pumpkin recipes.

 

PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE

Tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass and will satisfy all your pumpkin cravings.  It combines pumpkin purée with almond butter, milk, delicious spices, and honey. It’s an excellent source of filling protein and fiber, plus it provides eye-helping beta-carotene. (Can’t get enough pumpkin?

Ingredients:

1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
4 ice cubes

Directions:  Blend ingredients together, and enjoy! Serves 1.

 

**********************************************************************************************************************************

HEALTHY PUMPKIN MUFFINS (No Flour, Sugar Free, Oil Free, Dairy Free Gluten Free)

Healthy pumpkin muffins are a better-for-you alternative to traditional pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread.
Gluten free, sugar-free, oil free, and dairy free. Your taste buds will love the healthy fall flavors.

Prep Time – 20 min
Cook Time – 20 min
Total Time – 32 mins
Servings: 14 muffins
Calories: 123  calories

 

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (toasted & ground) * 9.3 ounces
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (toasted, 2 Tbsp reserved for muffin tops) * 2.8 ounces
1 1/8 cups pumpkin puree * 10.7 ounces
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
6 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk or dairy milk (full fat, skim or 1 %,)
2 tsp real vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 ½ tsp pumpkin spice (or 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 ground nutmeg)
½ cup walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325. Place all oats on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, stirring once (about 4 to 6 minutes).
Let cool to room temperature. (If you are in a hurry you can skip this step and use plain old-fashioned oats, however the toasting adds flavor.)
Place 2.5 cups of oats in a food processor and blend/pulse until they reach a rough, flour like consistency.
Combine pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Add both ground and unground oats to wet ingredients and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes (this allows the oats to soak and soften).
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just incorporated. (The batter will be very thick.)

Optional: Fold in approximately 1/2 c walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or dried cranberries.

Scoop batter into muffin tin, lined with muffin wrappers (makes 12-14 muffins). Fill the muffin tins 7/8 full.
Bake at 350 for about 23 – 25 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean and the top of the muffin should feel firm.
Recipe Notes
Use parchment muffin liners or lightly spray liners lightly with oil to make the baked muffins easier to remove.

 

GREAT PUMPKIN SOUP

Ingredients
1 small pumpkin
1 onion
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1.5 cups of vegetable broth
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil (to brush on pumpkin flesh)
Pumpkin seeds and fresh rosemary (to garnish)

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F before cutting your pumpkin in half. Spoon out the strings and seeds, saving the seeds for roasting.

2. Using olive oil, brush the flesh of the pumpkin and place the halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately one hour — a fork should be able to pierce the skin. When cooked, allow to cool.

3. On your stove top, saute garlic and onions until translucent — then add turmeric to toast slightly.

4. Add all remaining ingredients (pumpkin flesh, broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper) and bring to a simmer.

5. Once incorporated, use an emulsion blender to create a smoother consistency and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. When ready to serve, garnish with rosemary and pumpkin seeds. If you’d like to roast your own, simply toss seeds in olive oil and salt, baking for around 40 to 45 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Enjoy!

For more great recipes, visit BrenDid .com

Refreshing Green Juice Recipe for Migraine and Headache Help

September 7th, 2019

Migraines and headaches can be caused by a variety of reasons including dehydration.  Drinking plenty of water is always helpful, however certain juices could also provide help due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Each ingredient in this recipe was selected based on benefits it could provide in this situation.

 

INGREDIENTS

16 oz filtered water or coconut water
1 cup pineapple
1 cup kale (3-4 leaves)
1 stalk celery
½ lemon, juiced
1 cup cucumber (about ½ a large cucumber)
½ inch ginger root
1-1/2 cups ice

INSTRUCTIONS

Place all ingredients into a blender.  Secure the lid and blend well for at least 60 seconds.

Note: You can omit the water and ice and extract the ingredients with a juicer, or leave it as is for a whole food juice by keeping the fiber.

Enjoy! (Recipe makes 2 servings)

The ingredients in this drink are very healthy and may help with headache, migraine, nausea and/or stomach upset. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, and is a potent herb that has been known to help with any type of pain or swelling of the tissues. Fresh pineapple contains bromelain, a natural enzyme that has been known to be a form of natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory as well. Cucumber is 95% water and can help with dehydration. It is thought that the chemicals in celery act to cause sleepiness, increase urine to decrease fluid retention, decrease blood pressure, decrease blood sugar, decrease blood clotting, and increase muscle relaxation.

 

For more health tips, help for migraine headaches, coupons and more, visit MigreLief.com and subscribe to our newsletter!

 

Fruit Infused Water – A Great Way to Stay Hydrated and Beat the Heat

August 30th, 2019

 

Recipes Fruit Infused WaterSummer is in full swing and with rising temperatures comes the need for everyone, especially migraineurs to stay well hydrated.  Helping to prevent migraines is only one of the benefits to drinking plenty of water.  Water helps with controlling calories, energizing muscles, and keeping your skin looking good.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water helps keep your body temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and gets rid of wastes through urination and perspiration.

Your body needs more water in hotter climates, on hotter days and when your more physically active.  If you think you are not getting enough water, carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. Choose water over other beverages when eating out and freeze water in a freezer safe bottle for icy cold water all day long.  To jazz it up a bit, make your own fruit infused water.

Fruit Infused Water

Making your own fruit-infused waters is a great alternative to drinking sugary sports drinks and sodas with additives and dyes. Fruit infused water doesn’t really require a specific recipe. You can experiment by making small or large batches and adding as much or as little fruit as you would like to increase flavor and sweetness.  Let your concoction stand for 2 to 8 hours then enjoy!  Popular fruits:  raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, pineapple, oranges, lemons, limes, and cucumbers.Popular herbs:  mint, basil and rosemary.  Slice strawberries but keep other berries whole and press lightly with a spoon to release some of the flavors.  Add your favorite ingredients to a 1/2 gallon pitcher of water, cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Or make by the glass.

Star Spangled Frit Infused Water – Red, White & Blueberry

Ingredients:  1 pint of blueberries, 1 pint of strawberries, and a pineapple.
Cut pineapple with star cookie cutter and combine in a pitcher with strawberries and blueberries for star-spangled beverage.  You can infuse water or mix fruit with white sangria or lemonade for a festive punch.

Mango-Ginger Water
This is a delicious drink that boosts your metabolism, acts a natural pain reliever for migraines to menstrual cramps, aides in digestion and boosts your memory.
Ingredients:  1 inch Ginger Root, peeled and sliced + 1 cup Frozen Mango (or fresh)
Drop into a pitcher of water and cover with 3 cups of ice.  The ice is important to hold down the ingredients to help infuse the water.  Chill 1-3 hours and enjoy!

OTHER GREAT FRUIT AND HERB COMBINATIONS FOR FLAVORFUL WATER

Ginger-Lemon-Mint Water
1 lemon slice, 2 sprigs mint, slice of fresh ginger (2 oz)

Strawberry-Lemon-Basil Water
4-6 strawberries, 1/2 lemon sliced, and a small handful of basil, scrunched.

Blueberry Orange Water
2 mandarin oranges, cut into wedges, handful of blueberries.
Squeeze in the juice of one mandarin orange and muddle the blueberries to intensify flavor.

Raspberry-Lemon
1 cup of raspberries and 1/2 lemon sliced.

Mango-Pineapple
1 cup cubed mango and 1 cup cubed pineapple.

Cucumber-Lemon
Cucumber slices and lemon wedges.

Rosemary-Grapefruit Water
1/2 grapefruit sliced, several springs of rosemary.

Lemon-Jalapeno-Cilantro Water
1 lime sliced, 1 halved jalapeno, and fresh cilantro to taste.
Cover and let sit over night in the refrigerator.

Watermelon-Mint-Lime Water
1 lime sliced, 2 sprigs mint, 1 cup watermelon chunks.

Watermelon-Mint Water
1 cup watermelon chunks and 2 sprigs mint.

 

 

 

Many stores carry various “Infusion Water Bottles” but any container may be used.

 

Fruit infused water bottles

 

 

HOW TO LIVE FOR 100 YEARS OR MORE! Copy

February 5th, 2019

On behalf of myself and the MigreLief team at Akeso Health Sciences, I would like to thank you all for following and “Liking Us” on Facebook.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting MigreLief’s goal to improve quality of life worldwide for sufferers of debilitating migraines. In part, because of your support we are reaching more men, women, and children whose lives are disrupted by extremely painful migraines.

As a way of saying thank you, I would like to share, what I believe to be extremely valuable science that you and your loved ones can begin implementing today, in order to significantly reduce your risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and thereby increasing the likelihood of living to a ripe old age while remaining vibrant, strong, energetic and young looking.

Chronic degenerative diseases such as,

  • * Heart disease
  • * Cancer
  • * Arthritis
  • * Diabetes
  • * Asthma
  • * Alzheimer’s disease

Though seemingly distinct and different diseases, all have remarkable similarities when we measure certain biomarkers in the blood and spinal fluid that are acknowledged indicators or precursors of disease progression.

Three of the most important destructive aging and disease causing phenomenon that occur and can be measured in the body are:

  • 1- Oxidative Stress
  • 2- Systemic Inflammation
  • 3- Excessive Glycation – (the damage that sugar does to tissue and cellular proteins.)

Oxidative Stress – Many of you have probably heard about the damage that “free radicals” can do to our bodies. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that are missing an electron and steal electrons from healthy cells and damage them or cause them to die or mutate (cancer). Removal of the electron from the healthy cell by the free radical is called oxidation and thus the term “oxidative stress”. To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control oxidative stress!

Systemic Inflammation – Believe it or not, inflammation, when under control is actually a signal used by the body to call white blood cells to an injured/damaged area within our bodies to start healing.  For example, if a cut becomes infected it becomes inflamed. The inflammation is actually a signal for certain types of white blood cells to come to the injured area to “clean” up the infection.

Once the wound is healed the inflammation goes away and we return to normal. But due to poor diets, excessive sugar consumption, and excessive oxidative stress from not consuming enough antioxidants contained in fruits and vegetables, we develop a consistent “low grade” level of circulating inflammatory compounds that over time, if not checked, actually erode our bodies, brains and other organs which accelerates oxidative stress and the on-going damage that occurs over time. To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control “systemic inflammation!”

Excessive Glycation – The chemical process by which part of a sugar molecule attaches to and changes/destroys a protein molecule is referred to as glycation.  Many of you have probably heard how Type II diabetes is becoming rampant in our American population. Due to poor diets, many of us stop responding efficiently to insulin produced by the pancreas that is supposed to make sure that sugar in our blood is transferred to the cells where it can be used for energy and carrying out cellular functions.

When we become less sensitive to insulin, more sugar “hangs around” in the blood and as the blood circulates the sugar in it does damage to the organs like our hearts, kidneys, lungs, brains and eyes. This is why heart disease is associated with diabetes.  To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control “excessive glycation.”

IF WE WANT TO LEAD LONG, PRODUCTIVE, HEALTHY LIVES WELL INTO OUR 80’S, 90’S AND BEYOND, WE NEED TO CONTROL – “OXIDATIVE “STRESS,” “SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION,” AND “EXCESSIVE GLYCATION!”

HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:

1- The Indian spice TUMERIC and its active ingredient CURCUMIN – Tumeric is the yellow spice that is used in Indian cooking. Extracts of turmeric that contain 95% curcumin are among the most medicinally researched herbal compounds in the world. From cancer, to heart disease, to Alzheimer’s and arthritis, there are studies in animals and humans that show the incredible protective and healing powers of curcumin.

Curcumin is at the same time a powerful antioxidant, powerful anti-inflammatory and also demonstrates some ability to slow down glycation. So there is no wonder why it is on my list of things to take if you want to live to 100 and maintain exceptional health, and resist disease and aging. Take 1000-1500 mg a day of the turmeric extract. Make sure it states it is 95% curcumin on its label.

2- GREEN TEA EXTRACT – Many of you have heard about the multiple health benefits of drinking green tea. I suggest in addition to drinking it, that you take green tea extract as well, because you can never be sure the specific green tea you are drinking has any or enough of the specific phyto-compounds in it that make it so healthy and protective. Take 800-1000 mg a day of a green tea extract in capsule or tablet form that contain 50% EGCG (the most important active compound found in green tea). Several studies that have been published indicate that combining green tea with curcumin is synergistic and enhances the protective and health promoting benefits of each.

3- R-ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID – is a dietary supplement that helps to prevent the advanced glycation end products caused by sugar that do harm to our cells and tissues. It also helps us to maintain our ability to remain sensitive to insulin and reduces the risk of developing Type II diabetes.

In addition, lipoic acid protects the energy producing organelles in our cells called mitochondria. As we age the effects of oxidative stress, inflammation and toxins damage the energy producing ability of our mitochondria and thus we experience the lack of energy often associated with advancing age. Lipoic acid helps to reduce this mitochondrial damage from occurring. Take 400-600 mg a day of R-alpha-lipoic acid. (Be sure that the supplement you get says “R” lipoic acid as it is believed to be the active isomer of this compound.)

4- Multivitamin and Fiber – To the above recommendations I strongly suggest that you take a daily comprehensive multiple vitamin/mineral product (that contains at least 25 mg each of Vitamin B-1, 2, 3, 5 and 400-800 mcg of folic acid and 100 mcg of vitamin B-12).  Finally, make sure that you get at least 30 grams a day of soluble and insoluble fiber into your diet. Hi-fiber cereals that contain 8+ grams per serving are good places to start. Then you can sprinkle either psyllium or ground FLAX SEED on top of the cereals or into yogurt or salads to further increase your fiber intake.

Healthy Item List:

Tumeric (95% curcumin): 1000-1500 mg/day

Green Tea Extract (50% EGCG): 800-1000 mg/day

R-alpha-lipoic acid – 400-800 mcg/day

plus

Multiple Vitamin – containing at least; 25mg of Vit B-1, B-2, B-3 B-5, 100 mcg of B-12 and 400-800 folic acid

Ground Flaxseed or Psyllium -30 grams (sprinkled on food or mixed into smoothies etc.

I sincerely hope that you take this advice to heart and follow it daily. It will make a profound difference in how you age and how young and healthy you stay throughout the oncoming decades.

To the Best of Health,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

HEALTHY EASTER EGGS – Hunting for the Truth About Eggs and Cholesterol

March 30th, 2018

Easter Eggs ImageHow many times have you heard (perhaps even from your physician) to limit the consumption of eggs because they contain a lot of cholesterol and that by eating too many eggs, you will negatively affect your cholesterol levels?

Well, for those of you who love eggs but feel guilty eating them, there is some really good news.  All of those warnings about egg consumption were JUST PLAIN WRONG!

First of all, for about 70% of people, consuming cholesterol in your diet (from any source) has absolutely no meaningful effect on your cholesterol levels! There are several studies proving this and NOT one study showing that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease.

Secondly, it has been shown in the 30% of people whose cholesterol levels rise modestly when consuming eggs, that their LDL cholesterol particle size gets bigger….AND THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences summarized the results of egg consumption on blood cholesterol levels. In children aged 10-12, in men aged 20-50, in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, in whites and Hispanics:  two or three eggs per day has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of over two thirds of the population. (1)

But there was even good news in the less than 1/3 of the population whose cholesterol did go up with egg consumption.  Their good and bad cholesterol went up equally and there was no change in their ratio of LDL to HDL or even the ratio of LDL to total cholesterol both of which are considered much more important than total cholesterol levels.

But the good news continued. It turns out that the LDL in egg eaters actually became safer. When LDL particles are small and dense, they can more easily penetrate into the lining of your arteries and cause plaque. The LDL in egg eaters got larger and fluffier making it safer and less susceptible to damage from oxidation and less susceptible to causing plaque in the arteries.

In addition, other health benefits of eggs are:

1- Eye health – May help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts because of lutein and zeaxanthin levels they contain
2- Provide high quality protein and essential amino acids
3- Contains Vitamin D
4- Possible breast cancer prevention – in one study, 6 eggs per week reduced risk by 44%
5- Healthy hair and nail due to high sulfur content

Enjoy your Easter holiday.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix,  M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

(1)-Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9:8-12.

Nuts – A Great Source of Vitamins, Antioxidants, Fiber & Healthy Fat – Great Recipes for Roasting!

January 6th, 2018

Nuts are nutritious snacks which have been linked to lower cholesterol, better heart health, weight control, and even a lower cancer risk.  Compared to people who avoid nuts,  those who eat nuts on a regular basis also tend to have:

Lower systolic blood pressure
Fewer risk factors for metabolic syndrome and a lower risk for diabetes
Better cardiovascular health
Reduced mortality risk by 23%
Greater longevity

 

A 30-year long Harvard study found that:

People who ate a small handful (approximately 1 ounce or 28 grams) of nuts seven times per week or more were 20 percent less likely to die for any reason, compared to those who avoided nuts.

Eating nuts at least five times per week was associated with a 29 percent drop in mortality risk from heart disease, and an 11 percent drop in mortality risk from cancer.A Dutch study of 120,000 men and women ages55-69 for 10 years researchers found that people who ate just 10 grams of nuts each day had a 23 percent lower risk of death from any cause.A Dutch study of 120,000 men and women ages 55-69 for 10 years researchers found that:

People who ate just 10 grams of nuts each day had a 23 percent lower risk of death from any cause.
43 percent decrease in neurological disease, 30 percent decrease in diabetes and 39 percent decrease in respiratory disease plus fewer deaths due to cancer and heart disease.Nuts per ounce (28.5 grams):
49 pistachios, 23 almonds, 10 macadamia, 20 pecans halves, 16 cashews, 14 walnut halves, 16 cashews

RAW NUTS VERSUS DRY ROASTED/SALTED NUTS 

I don’t know how many people actually monitor their daily salt intake, but limiting salt consumption to no more than 2,500 mg/day is recommended.   For those who are sensitive to salt for blood pressure reasons, perhaps no more than 1,500 mg/day is better, and eating raw forms of nuts would be preferable.

But studies have shown that dry roasting of most nuts does not reduce their health benefits.
So if you like the taste of raw nuts, go with them but if you don’t, then dry roasted nuts that are either not salted or lightly salted are the way to go. Either way you get in your daily one ounce of your favorite nuts.

I suggest switching between your favorite nut choices because they all have slightly different nutritional make-up.  Pecans for example, a one ounce serving of pecans includes over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and zinc.  Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ranked pecans in the top 20 out of 100 foods for antioxidant capacity.  Walnuts contain a number of neuro-protective compounds, including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants.

HOW TO ROAST NUTS AND TASTY RECIPES:

Below you will find tasty recipes for; Rosemary Roasted Walnuts, Roasted Almonds with Honey & Cinnamon, Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts, Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds, Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts, Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans, Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds and more.

Roasted nuts are delicious and make healthy snacks, party treats and great gifts.  Roasting nuts deepens their flavor making them even more nutty and complex.

Dry Roasting vs. Roasting
There are two basic ways to roast nuts in the oven – dry or with a small amount of oil. Roasting nuts with a touch of oil is a really nice way to add flavor and crispness. You can use a neutral oil like grape seed oil, or match the oil to the nut such as almond oil or walnut oil. Various spices can also be added to the oil for flavored nuts. Roasting in oil is great when adding nuts to salads, or when using as a garnish. Dry roast the nuts if they are going to be used in baking recipes because the extra oiliness can throw off the recipe.
If a recipe requires chopped, roasted nuts, chop AFTER roasting as it is easy to burn chopped nuts during the roasting process. Warm nuts also chop more cleanly and with less flaking.
ROASTING NUTS IN OIL
Ingredients:
Nuts (any amount)
Oil (a neutral oil such as grape seed or a nut oil, almond, walnut etc.)

Equipment:
Heavy baking tray or cake pan
Plate or tray for cooling

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F
Spread nuts in an even layer on the baking sheet.
If you are roasting the nuts with oil, drizzle a small amount over the nuts and toss to coat evenly. A cake pan can be used for small amounts allowing you to shake the pan to evenly distribute them.
Use as little oil as possible, starting with just a teaspoon or two.
Roast in oven for 5 minutes.
Remove after 5 minutes to check, and stir so that the outer nuts are moved towards the middle and the middle nuts are moved towards the edges. If using a cake tin, gently shake to redistribute.
Check the nuts again after 3 minutes. You are looking for the color to be a few shades darker. Return to the oven and check again in 3 more minutes. If they need longer, give another stir. Nuts rarely take longer than 15 minutes to properly roast, usually closer to 8 to 12 minutes.
Check for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool by immediately transferring to another plate or baking sheet. DO NOT COOL ON THE TRAY THEY WERE BAKED ON or you run the risk of scorching them.
ENJOY!
Note: While roasting, nuts can go from “just right” to “burnt” in under a minute… so monitor carefully.

Tasty Variations – Roasted Nut Recipes
Sweet and Spicy Party Nuts, Roasted Almonds with Honey and Cinnamon, Spiced Rosemary and Thyme Nuts, Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts, Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds, Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans, Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds and more…

You may use any type of nut or combination with the recipes below.

Recipe #1 – Roasted Almonds with Honey and Cinnamon

Ingredients:

¼ cup honey
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
12 ounces shelled almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoon salt
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner. In a skillet warm honey, cinnamon and ginger over low heat, stirring until combined. Add almonds and stir to coat almonds. Remove from heat. Sprinkle in brown sugar and salt and combine. Spread coated almonds on lined baking sheet and bake at 325-degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Slightly adjust cook time to toasted/roasted preference. Allow to cool, tossing a couple of times as they cool to avoid them sticking together. Break apart once cooled before storing.

Recipe #2 – Spiced Rosemary and Thyme Nuts 

Ingredients:

3 c. large whole nuts – such as 1 c. cashews, 1 c. pecans, and 1 c. almonds
2 T. olive oil
2 T. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300°. Place nuts in a medium heat-proof bowl. Pour oil into a small heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat until warm. Do not let it get too hot – the oil will burn. Add rosemary and thyme and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in cumin and cayenne pepper. Pour the flavored oil over the nuts and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir again. Transfer to a jelly roll pan or a baking pan with sides. Bake for about 15 minutes total, stirring after the first 10 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

 

Recipe #3 – Italian Rosemary Garlic Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you could cut the amount of olive oil in half, if preferable)
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 teaspoons flaky sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix up the nuts in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix the olive oil with the seasonings. Pour the oil mixture over the nut mixture and stir to coat all the nuts. Spread the nuts out onto a rimmed baking sheet. A 11 x 15 jelly roll pan works really well for this. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

 

Recipe #4 – Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

2 (6-ounce) packages pecan halves
1 (6-ounce) can whole natural almonds
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle seasoning
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 egg whites
Cooking spray
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine pecans, almonds and next 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in maple syrup and egg whites, stirring well. Spread evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated well with cooking spray. Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes. Stir mixture and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Cool and break into pieces, if needed.

Recipe #5 – Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp. agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions:
Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, pour 1 cup almonds into a large mixing bowl. Add your cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt — toss to coat. Drizzle the agave and vanilla extract on the almonds and stir until all almonds are coated with the spices and sweetener. Spray a foil lined cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the almonds on the sheet in a single layer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping once, until almonds are roasted. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Recipe #6 – Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans

Ingredients:

8 ounces raw pecan halves
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B – the darker, more flavorful syrup)
pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon orange extract
pinch of ground ginger
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Place nuts in a single layer on a parchment or Silpat lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until fragrant about 10 minutes. Flip once during with a pair of tongs. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Turn off the heat. Toss roasted pecans in the mixture with a heat proof spatula. Evenly spread the pecans back onto the lined cookie tray. Be sure they are in a single layer. Bake nuts for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let the nuts cool before serving. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe #7 – Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts

Ingredients:

1 cup untoasted walnut halves
1 cup untoasted pecan halves
1 cup unsalted, dry roasted almonds
1 cup unsalted, dry roasted cashews
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine walnut halves, pecan halves, almonds, and cashews in a large bowl. Add salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper; toss to coat. Heat the sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat. Slowly pour butter mixture over the bowl of nuts and stir to coat. Transfer nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake nuts in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir nuts until the warm syrup coats every nut. Spread into a single layer, return to the oven, and bake until nuts are sticky and roasted, about 6 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

Recipe #8 – Rosemary Roasted Walnuts

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups walnuts
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the olive oil, rosemary, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine well.

 

Recipe #9 – Barbecue Roasted Mixed Nuts

Ingredients:

3 c. mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts etc.)
1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Instructions:
Heat oven to 325°F. Line 15x10x1-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, extending foil over edges.
Melt butter in oven in foil-lined pan. Combine sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and salt in bowl; set aside. Place egg whites into bowl. Beat at high speed, scraping bowl often, until soft peaks form. Continue beating, gradually adding sugar mixture, until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in nuts and orange zest. Spread nut mixture over melted butter in pan. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, 25-30 minutes or until nuts are browned and no butter remains. Cool completely. Store in container with tight-fitting lid.

Recipe #10 – Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom (for a more subtle cardamom flavor, use just 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
3 cups raw almonds
Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon liner or parchment paper, and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, cardamom, and salt. Whisk to remove any lumps. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla bean paste until frothy. Add the almonds and toss in the egg mixture. Pour the sugar and cocoa mixture into the almonds and stir until the almonds are evenly coated. Transfer the almonds to the prepared baking sheet, and spread into an even layer. Roast for about 40 – 45 minutes, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet, continuing to stir occasionally. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe #11 – Chai Spiced Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

3 cups whole almonds
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Few drops of water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon chai spice mix (or half cinnamon, half ginger would work)
Pinch salt
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white, vanilla bean paste, and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, chai spice mix, and salt. Add the almonds to the whisked egg mixture and stir to evenly coat all of the almonds. Add the sugar and spice mixture, and toss until all of the almonds are covered. Spread the almonds out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring twice. Spread the almonds out on waxed paper or parchment paper to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Not only are roasted nuts great snacks and party treats, they make great gifts. Place in small half pint mason jars, labeled and decorated, or in plastic bags tied up with ribbon.

 

To the Best of Health,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

Enjoying Thanksgiving Heartburn-Free, Tips for Avoiding GERD Over the Holidays.

November 23rd, 2017

Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that revolves around food and can be challenging for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, heartburn or acid reflux.

What is heartburn?  It is the burning, bloated feeling in the chest and sometimes throat that is caused by the leaking of stomach digestive juices containing acid and pepsin (a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins) into your esophagus (the tube connecting your throat to your stomach) and sometimes this reflux travels up into the throat which can irritate both your throat (larynx) and voice box (pharynx), cause difficult, painful swallowing, and lead to coughing, phlegm and hoarseness. When these symptoms develop in the throat instead of the chest cavity they are referred to as extraesophageal reflux (outside of the esophagus or LPR/ laryngopharyngeal reflux).

It is pepsin that causes most of the tissue damage to the esophagus, throat and voice box because it breaks down the protein structure in our tissues.  When left untreated GERD can lead to Barrett’s syndrome which is pre-cancer of the esophagus.

Though reflux can occur during the day, by standing up, gravity helps keep it somewhat under control but when we lie down at night its much easier for the stomach juices to flow back into the esophagus and start the symptoms discussed above.

If you are often bothered by heartburn and GERD (or possibly LPR) you may take antacid medications to try to control the acid and burning symptoms by using the most popular drugs for this purpose which are known as PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors) these are drugs like Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec.

It is not healthy to be on these drugs for longer than a month or two yet many people are threatening their health by being on them for much longer periods of time.  These drugs have been shown to:

1.  Increase the risk of early death,

2.  Increase the risk of kidney disease, heart disease, bone fractures, dementia, and infections.

3.  Decrease absorption of important compounds like magnesium, iron and vitamin B-12 to name a few.

So here’s what to do:

1-      Never eat within 2 ½-3 hours of going to bed.

2-      Sleep with your upper back and head raised

3-      Try to sleep as much as possible on your left side – The anatomy of your stomach makes it much more difficult for gastric juices to flow into the esophagus when you are on your left side.

4-      Decrease your use of the PPI’s slowly over 2 weeks and replace with H2 blocker like Zantac or Pepsid if you need relief and wean off those as you proceed with the other recommendations

5-      Don’t eat your next days first meal for at least 15 hours after your last meal from the previous night.  This in essence gives you a 15 hour fast which calms down your digestive symptoms, lowers the risk of reflux, and helps with blood sugar and weight control for added benefit.

6-      Consider adding a forkful of natural sauerkraut during the day. It helps the stomach to maintain healthy acid levels and adds many good bacteria that can offset ingested pathogenic bacteria that can get into the stomach, release gas and cause pressure that can force the gastric juices to reflux into the esophagus.

7-      Eliminate as much sugar as you can from your diet.  In addition to the danger of sugar to your overall health, it has been associated with GERD.  The same applies to processed meats and foods.

8-      Try using ½ teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in ½ glass of warm water for relief. Gargle it your mouth for a few seconds and then swallow it.  If your stomach acid levels are sufficient you should burp in no more than one or two minutes.  Often “too little” stomach acid is the cause of reflux and NOT “too much.”  Even if you have too little acid in your stomach when it refluxes it still burns, so it is the act of refluxing not necessarily that you have too much stomach acid!  In fact too little acid leads to poor control of gas-producing bacteria and the gas pushes the stomach juices into the esophagus.

If you need additional relief during the same day, instead of taking more medicine or another dose of baking soda, try swallowing a glass of 8.8 alkaline water which is sold in supermarkets.  The combo of baking soda and alkaline water works very well together for both GERD and LPR.

9-      If you have LPR symptoms and the above after a month or so hasn’t brough much relief, you can add a ½ teaspoon of sodium alginate to your ½ teaspoon of baking soda in warm water.

Though the sodium alginate does not dissolve too well in water, mix it as best you can, it will be clumpy but swallow it anyway.  The sodium alginate and the baking soda combo form a harmless bridge that covers the stop of your stomach fluids and prevents them from flowing backward into your esophagus.

TIPS TO ENJOY A HEARTBURN FREE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

Juicy turkey, savory stuffing, creamy casseroles, and buttery mashed potatoes make the perfect spread for a traditional Thanksgiving table, but if you suffer from GERD, these rich, indulgent foods, can aggravate acid reflux and lead to hours of discomfort long after you’ve put away the leftovers.

The key to enjoying a heartburn-free holiday lies in knowing which foods to choose and which ones to avoid.  Also, eating too much overall or within a short time can trigger reflux,  Here are some tips for a heartburn-friendly Thanksgiving meal:

Choose lean cuts of turkey – Turkey is relatively safe for GERD sufferers, but try to choose cuts of white meat instead of dark, as they contain less fat. You can also limit the fat content by removing the skin and keeping the gravy to a minimum.

Fix mashed potatoes with chicken broth – Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving tradition, but when you load them up with butter and sour cream, they become a reflux nightmare. Adding chicken broth to your mashed potatoes gives them a rich flavor without ramping up the fat content.

Season stuffing with herbs – Everyone loves a heaping scoop of warm, savory stuffing, but if it’s seasoned with garlic and onions, it’s likely to cause heartburn. Prepare your stuffing with a variety of freshly chopped herbs instead.

Make casseroles with low-fat ingredients – If your casserole recipe uses a cream soup base, you can instantly make it more heartburn-friendly by using low-fat condensed soup. Look for other ingredients that come in low-fat or fat-free varieties like cream cheese, sour cream and whipping cream.

Skip the alcohol – It may be tempting to indulge in a glass of wine or champagne at dinnertime, but alcohol is a major heartburn trigger. Keep your beverage heartburn-friendly by sticking to water, non-citrus juice or decaffeinated tea. You can still participate in holiday toasts with a glass of sparkling cider or club soda!

Go easy on dessert – It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving dinner without the pumpkin pie, but just one slice has over 300 calories and 14 grams of fat.  Keep the fat content to a minimum by choosing a smaller slice, skipping the whipped cream, and removing the buttery crust from the back portion of your pie.

Have a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

To the Best of Heath,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S. C.C.N., C.N. S.

 

Fourth of July – Healthy Cake Recipes with Summertime Berries

July 3rd, 2017

Summertime is berry time.  When the hot days of summer hit, these small bites of juicy sweetness are a perfect pick-me-up.  Work fresh berries into your 4th of July celebration with one of the cake recipes below and have a happy 4th of July!

Berry tip:  Do not wash berries until you’re ready to use them. Wash strawberries with the hull on, then hull and slice them.

Angel Food Cake Stuffed with Whipped Cream and Berries

Note – for those of you who do not like to cook, you can purchase the whip cream and angel food cake pre-made (or use box mix)

See below for tastiest version from Recipes.com

This summery sweet takes three basics–cake, whipped cream, and berries–and elevates them to showstopper status with a few neat tricks. Ginger and orange juice brighten the light, spongy angel food cake, while vanilla bean seeds perfume the whipped cream. The berries are stashed inside the cake itself, their bright color offering a visual surprise with every slice.

 

 Ingredients

  • Berries:
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries $
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries $
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries $
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar $
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice $
  • Cake:
  • 1 cup cake flour (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar $
  • 12 large egg whites $
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice $
  • Whipped cream:
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Remaining ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Grated orange rind (optional)

Preparation

  1. To prepare berries, combine first 5 ingredients; toss to combine. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. To prepare cake, place a rack in the lower third of oven. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sift together flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and ginger in a medium bowl. Sift together remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in another bowl. Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add powdered and granulated sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Sift flour mixture over egg white mixture, 1/4 cup at a time; fold in. Fold in 2 tablespoons juice.
  4. Spoon batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert the cake onto a plate.
  5. Cut 1 inch off top of cake using a serrated knife; set top of cake aside. Hollow out bottom of cake using a small knife, leaving a 1-inch-thick shell; reserve torn cake for another use.
  6. To prepare whipped cream, place cream in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into bowl; discard pod. Gradually add 3/4 cup powdered sugar, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  7. Spoon all but 1 cup of berry mixture into cake shell; top with whipped cream. Replace top of cake; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Serve immediately with additional berry mixture; garnish with orange rind, if desired.
Note:  For perfect whipped cream, use a bowl that’s large enough to allow the cream to double in volume. Refrigerate the bowl and beaters for at least half an hour, or place them in the freezer for 15 minutes, and make sure the cream is very cold. Use the freshest whipping cream available, and add sugar, vanilla, or any other ingredients near the end of whipping; adding them too soon in the process will decrease the amount of volume.

MORE GREAT BERRY 4TH OF JULY CAKES

Angel Food Cake – Whip Cream & Berries
If you are really in a hurry, you can bake or buy a plain Angel Food cake, slap on whip cream and top with berries for simple refreshing desert.

 

Angel Food -Berry Skewers

Even more simple, and fun to eat are skewers with alternating berries and slices of Angel Food cake.
You can also, take out much of the preparation time if you just serve a plain angelfood cake, with sides o
berries and whipcream so your guests can help themselves.

Easy Fourth of July Cake – (white cake- blueberries and strawberries)

2 pints of strawberries
1 box white or yellow cake
1 1/3 C of blueberries
1 tub of whipped topping

  1. Mix up and bake your cake according to the box’s directions.
  2. Slice 1 cup of strawberries, set aside. Halve remaining strawberries, set aside.
  3. Top cake (in pan) with 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup blueberries and all of the whipped topping. Arrange remaining strawberry halves and blueberries on whipped topping to create a flag design.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fourth of July Flag Cake – Chocolate with Cream Cheese Frosting – Blueberries and Raspberries
– from Epicurious
Fourth of July Cake Recipe

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for dusting pan
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional butter for greasing pan
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the decorations:

  • 1 1/2 pints raspberries (about 3 cups total)
  • 1/2 pint blueberries (about 1 cup total)
  • Equipment: 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan, stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, pastry bag, star-shaped pastry tip (such as Wilton #2110)

Preparation

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan and line the bottom with wax or parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pan with flour, knocking out any excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the boiling water, cocoa powder, and instant coffee granules until smooth. Whisk in the milk and vanilla.

In a second medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium until fully incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and cocoa powder mixtures in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (The batter may look curdled.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top, and bake the cake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack, remove the wax or parchment paper, and let it cool completely. DO AHEAD: The unfrosted cake, can be cooled, wrapped securely in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature up to 24 hours, before assembling and serving.

Make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until creamy and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, add the sifted confectioners’ sugar in three batches, mixing until fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is smooth. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before assembling the cake.

Assemble and serve the cake:
Frost the top and sides of the cake with 2 1/2 cups of the frosting. Transfer the remaining frosting to a pastry bag fitted with the star tip.

Using a toothpick or small knife, outline a 4 1/2-inch-long by 3 1/2-inch-wide rectangle in the top left corner of the cake. This area will be reserved for blueberries.

Starting with the longer side of the cake that is closest to you, pipe a line of frosting along the top edge of the cake then arrange two horizontal rows of raspberries directly above the line of frosting. Pipe a second line of frosting above the raspberries and arrange two more horizontal rows of raspberries directly above the frosting. Repeat this process two more times, making sure to exclude the top left corner that is reserved for the blueberries. Arrange the blueberries in horizontal rows in the top left corner of the cake.

Slice and serve the cake immediately or store it, covered securely in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

4th of July tip for migraineurs…
Avoid your migraine triggers if you can and stay well hydrated.
In case you do run into a migraine trigger or two, keep your MigreLief-NOW on hand at all times and take at the first sign of discomfort.
Have a wonderful holiday.
 MigreLief-NOW stars

4th of July Online Coupon – $5.00 of MigreLief-NOW.
Redeemable at MigreLief.com or by calling 1-800-MigreLief
Expires 7/15/16 – One per customer – May not combine offers.

The Truth About Eggs and Cholesterol

June 20th, 2017

How many times have you heard (perhaps even from your physician) to limit the consumption of eggs because they contain a lot of cholesterol and that by eating too many eggs, you will negatively affect your cholesterol levels?

Well, for those of you who love eggs but feel guilty eating them, there is some really good news.  All of those warnings about egg consumption were JUST PLAIN WRONG!

First of all, for about 70% of people, consuming cholesterol in your diet (from any source) has absolutely no meaningful effect on your cholesterol levels! There are several studies proving this and NOT one study showing that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease.

Secondly, it has been shown in the 30% of people whose cholesterol levels rise modestly when consuming eggs, that their LDL cholesterol particle size gets bigger….AND THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences summarized the results of egg consumption on blood cholesterol levels. In children aged 10-12, in men aged 20-50, in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, in whites and Hispanics:  two or three eggs per day has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of over two thirds of the population. (1)

But there was even good news in the less than 1/3 of the population whose cholesterol did go up with egg consumption.  Their good and bad cholesterol went up equally and there was no change in their ratio of LDL to HDL or even the ratio of LDL to total cholesterol both of which are considered much more important than total cholesterol levels.

But the good news continued. It turns out that the LDL in egg eaters actually became safer. When LDL particles are small and dense, they can more easily penetrate into the lining of your arteries and cause plaque. The LDL in egg eaters got larger and fluffier making it safer and less susceptible to damage from oxidation and less susceptible to causing plaque in the arteries.

In addition, other health benefits of eggs are:

1- Eye health – May help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts because of lutein and zeaxanthin levels they contain
2- Provide high quality protein and essential amino acids
3- Contains Vitamin D
4- Possible breast cancer prevention – in one study, 6 eggs per week reduced risk by 44%
5- Healthy hair and nail due to high sulfur content

 

Click here to listen to my radio segment about cholesterol, discussed on the Dr. Tony O’Donnell Show!

 

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix,  M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

(1)-Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9:8-12.

Life Extension Smoothie – Powerful & Important Health Benefits

May 29th, 2017

I created the Life Extension Smoothie to provide some of nature’s most protective, healing and perfect nutrients to protect against those factors that cause aging and disease.  There are numerous benefits to combining ground organic flax-seed, omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids and blueberries in a delicious protein smoothie.  These benefits are described below following the recipe.

LIFE EXTENSION SMOOTHIE

  • 8 oz. (227 gm) Frozen Blueberries
  • 2 Tbs (30 gm) Ground Flax Seed Powder
  • 1 Tbs (15 ml) Barlean’s Omega Twin (Organic Flax & Borage oils)
    • May substitute another brand or just flax oil)
  • 1 scoop  MRM Natural Whey Protein Powder (low carb and no sugar or artificial sweeteners)
    • May substitute with any nutritious  low/no sugar whey protein powder.  A vanilla protein powder will add to it’s delicious taste.
  • 16 oz. Water (474 ml)
  • 1 tsp (5 gm) Cinnamon Powder
  • 4 Ice cubes (adjust to preferred thickness)

Blending Instructions

Add the ice, blue berries, flax-seed powder first, then add the oil and cool water.  Blend on low for about 10 seconds, then on high for a minute or more.  Drink first glass.  Re-blend for 20-30 seconds, drink balance.

Health Benefits:

Flax Seed Powder – Flax is a blue flowering plant that has attracted the attention of medical researchers around the world.  Not only is it a source of two different kinds of dietary fiber (soluble & insoluble, each with different health benefits), it is also a source of powerful, health promoting Omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Flax seed is the single highest source of”LIGNANS” which protect our body against cellular damage and unhealthy cellular changes.  Flax seed has been studied for the following conditions: heart disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cancer, menopause, PMS, kidney disease, constipation, Irritable Bowel syndrome, diabetes, peptic ulcer, hemorrhoids, weight loss and mineral absorption.

Flax Seed Oil – Flax oil contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids or EFA’s.  These are the “anti-fat” fats that make foods like flaxseed and certain cold water fishes like salmon, herring and mackerel so healthy. The EFAs are the good fats that fight the bad fats we get in our diet from junk food and processed foods that are almost impossible to avoid.  The highest quantities of Omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is present in flax-seed.  ALA is the parent from which EFA and DHA (the healthy fish oils) are derived.  ALA converts to compounds called prostaglandins. These compounds can be either inflammatory and anti-inflammatory. ALA converts to anti-inflammatory types of prostaglandins and since most degenerative disease all have inflammatory components, ALA is a welcome ally.  In fact studies have shown that ALA prevented platelets (red blood cells) from clumping together which can be a factor in heart attack. It has been known to increase the elasticity of heart arteries, and lowers risk of heart attack and stroke. A study also showed that women who have breast cancer had very low levels of ALA in their breast tissue compared to women with healthy tissue.

Borage Oil – Borage is a plant whose flowers and leaves as well as the oil from its seeds are used as medicine.  Borage seed oil contains a high content of the essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is part of the inflammatory mediation process and therefore the oil might be expected to have an impact on a variety of diseases and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and atopic eczema.  Combined with fish oil, borage seed oil has shown improvement in bone density in a study of elderly osteoporotic women.  A study also concluded that GLA may hold promise for treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

Every cell in our body is enclosed by a cell membrane which plays a role in determining many cell functions, including what healthy or unhealthy things get in or out of our cells. Almost 25% of the cell membrane is conmposed of what should be healthy “phospholipids” (good fats).  Unfortunately because you get so very little of the good fats from sources like flax oil and borage oil, and so many of the bad fasts from the typical western diet, that the body uses what it has (the bad fats, disease-causing trans and saturated fats) and incorporates the bad fats into these very critical cell membranes.  The very nature, integrity and function of the cell membrane worsens, and a critical mechanism that we rely on to stay healthy and stay alive is seriously changed and compromised.

THE GOOD NEW IS... By switching to a combination of flax-seed oil and borage oil (such as Barlean’s Omega Twin or various brands of the individual oils combined), the body will begin to incorporate the “good fats” back into your cell membranes and re-establish cell membrane integrity and give you back the powerful protection that healthy cell membranes provide to our bodies. Matter of fact, the very process of AGING is associated with organic and biological changes in things like cell membranes.  These EFA’s by protecting cell membrane integrity are combatting some of the cumulative negative effects of aging and poor dietary habits.

Blueberries – All fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of some powerfully protective and health promoting compounds called phytochemicals.  One class of phytochemicals, “flavonoids” has an impressive range of heath benefits.  Blueberries seem to have the most impressive combination of phytochemicals, especially flavonoids compared to other fruits and vegetables.  A 2017 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial has shown that blueberries can improve some aspects of cognition in older adults. Studies also suggest blueberries can inhibit the growth of liver cancer growth, and can help preserve cognitive function in post-menopausal women and decrease their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.   Blueberries also have amazing anti-oxidant powers that can protect you and your loved ones from most of the illnesses and diseases we all worry about.

We all know that we need oxygen to stay alive.  But one of the byproducts resulting from the burning of oxygen is the production of potentially dangerous and unstable molecules called “FREE RADICALS”  These free radicals are missing an electron and want to get that missing electron from somewhere in our bodies.  They do this by attacking a healthy cell. This attack can cause the cell to die or to mutate… Neither option is a good choice!  Fortunately both our bodies and certain foods can provide us with antioxidants that can neutralize these dangerous free radicals before they attack our cells.  Because there are many different types of free radicals the real trick is to know which of the many antioxidants can neutralize as many of the different types of free radicals as possible.  This is where the simple blueberry shines. The United States, National Institutes of Health found that blueberries containing antioxidants may act to protect the body against damage from oxidative stress, one of several biological processes implicated in aging and in the development of a number of neurodegenerative diseases.  Compared to 40 other fruits and vegetables measured for their anti-oxidant activity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ranked blueberries, by far and away the best.

Cinnamon – Proven health benefits of cinnamon are:  high source of antioxidants, contains anti-inflammtory properties, protects heart heath, fights diabetes, helps defend against cognitive decline and protects brain function, may help lower cancer risk, fights infections and viruses, while protecting dental health and freshening breath naturally.

Whey Protein – Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content. People commonly use it as supplementation, alongside resistance exercise, to help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean tissue mass. Whey protein enhances immune function, may lower blood pressure, treat type-2 diabetes, reduce inflammation, may be beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease, and enhance the body’s antioxidant defenses as well.

The “Life Extension Smoothie” makes it easy for people to incorporate these incredibly healthy ingredients and nutritional treasures into their diet effortlessly. Enjoy.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.