protein – Diabetic Kitchen https://diabetickitchen.com Tue, 25 Jun 2019 14:49:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 These Colorful Foods Improve Immunity https://diabetickitchen.com/colorful-foods-improve-immunity/ https://diabetickitchen.com/colorful-foods-improve-immunity/#respond Tue, 25 Jun 2019 14:49:06 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=4441

Eating for immunity. While the concept may sound strange, it’s true! The foods we eat can have a huge impact on how our immune systems keep us healthy. How you ask? An astounding 80% of the body’s immune system is in the gut. In order for our digestive and immune systems to function best, a ...

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Eating for immunity. While the concept may sound strange, it’s true! The foods we eat can have a huge impact on how our immune systems keep us healthy. How you ask?

An astounding 80% of the body’s immune system is in the gut. In order for our digestive and immune systems to function best, a number of nutrients are required. Fats, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals are all essential.

Unfortunately, many individuals are consuming fast food, processed and packaged junk foods. Let alone the soft drinks, and massive amounts of sugar and salt. The diet of the average American is the main reason why our country is so sick. The body is getting no quality fuel with which to fight off illness and disease.

So what can we do about it? A balanced diet of fresh, whole foods is the way to go! Some of the most nutritious foods are also the most colorful. The beautiful, bright colors of fresh vegetables and fruits are indicative of their immune boosting qualities.

Brightly colored citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits get a lot of credit for their Vitamin C content. You’ve probably heard that Vitamin C can help prevent or shorten a cold. Did you know that Vitamin C helps your immune system work well even when you aren’t sick? Scientists believe that Vitamin C increases the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream. These white blood cells fight infection and other free radicals in the body helping to strengthen immunity.

Citrus fruits do contain sugar, natural though it may be. They are very high on the glycemic scale, so should be consumed in moderation. Try a few fresh, juicy orange wedges on top of a spinach salad with bacon and goat cheese. Yum!

Don’t let unexpected sources of Vitamin C like bell peppers, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower pass you by. Their fiber content also helps to stabilize blood sugar. Raw bell pepper slices dipped in guacamole, or creamy, decadent almost mac n cheese are two delicious ways to get a boost of Vitamin C! The human body does not produce its own Vitamin C, so enjoy a little every day to help prevent illness.

Bright, fresh berries pack a serious antioxidant punch to power the immune system. Antioxidants help the body fight off and protect against free radical damage. Vitamins A, C, and E are actually classified as antioxidants. Enjoy fresh berries with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey for a delicious treat.

Vitamin A is crucial for the health and well-being of your skin. Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A. The skin is often forgotten as a part of the body’s immune system. It is literally your body’s first line of defense against the outside world. Other orange foods like carrots, pumpkin and cantaloupe are also high in this beneficial vitamin.

Vitamin D also contributes to a stronger immune system. Getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D is especially important for diabetics. It stimulates the pancreas and encourages insulin production, thereby helping to keep blood sugar under better control.

Vitamin D can be found in greens like spinach, and in the bright yellow of egg yolks. Believe it or not, salmon and shrimp are also quite high in vitamin D, (along with containing heart healthy Omega 3 fats.)

The bright green, creamy flesh of the avocado make it a nutritional powerhouse and perhaps the most super of the super foods. The avocado is near perfection – plenty of healthy fat, but fiber as well. Fiber is another essential nutrient in maximizing immune function.

Fiber serves many purposes for the body. It helps to regulate blood sugar and prevents the absorption of cholesterol. Fiber is also responsible for promoting gut health and regularity. All of these benefits are especially helpful for individuals with diabetes. Without fiber our digestive tract suffers, therefore, immunity is compromised. Fiber also lowers blood sugar naturally by slowing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

Avoiding the consumption of sugar is also crucial to improving immunity. Research has found that sugar can negatively affect the body’s immune system. It specifically hinders the ability to fight off bacterial infections. Yet one more way sugar is making us sick… literally! One important thing to note is that as a diabetic, high blood sugar is already compromising your immune system.

Keeping blood sugar under control is a huge way to improve immune strength. Think about it – if your body is less occupied by trying to keep your blood sugar at safe levels, it has more resources available to fight other things. By managing diabetes, you also reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. Managing blood sugar now is a long-term investment in health for years to come.

By including plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits in our diets, we can not only improve immunity, but lower blood sugar and improve overall health. Be it avocado or sweet potato, bell pepper or spinach, including immune boosting foods in our diets is a great way to feel better and live healthier!

 

 

Source:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/05/health/immune-system-diet-food-as-fuel-explainer/index

 

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Simple Snacks To Stabilize Blood Sugar https://diabetickitchen.com/simple-snacks-to-stabilize-blood-sugar/ https://diabetickitchen.com/simple-snacks-to-stabilize-blood-sugar/#comments Tue, 28 May 2019 19:41:44 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=4423

Trying to avoid a snack attack? Diabetics deserve simple, quick snacks that won’t spike blood sugar. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Snack foods are usually highly processed. This means they often contain far too many calories, unhealthy fat, sugars, and sodium. These foods also tend to have little to no nutritional value. This combination ...

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Trying to avoid a snack attack? Diabetics deserve simple, quick snacks that won’t spike blood sugar. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

Snack foods are usually highly processed. This means they often contain far too many calories, unhealthy fat, sugars, and sodium. These foods also tend to have little to no nutritional value.

This combination is especially dangerous for diabetics as it causes food to be digested more quickly. Without good fats and fiber to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, sugar levels can skyrocket and blood pressure can increase.

Snacking is not evil, and does not have to negatively affect blood sugar. A snack’s purpose is to prevent excessive hunger and to give the body an energy boost. Believe it or not, snacks can help to regulate blood sugar. The key is to choose the right foods!

Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats, packing a seriously positive punch to your health. Research has shown that by eating a diet rich in good fats, you can reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. In other words, go nuts!

Almonds, walnuts, macadamia, pecan and pistachio are all healthy little jewels of deliciousness. Cashews are quite tasty as well, however, consume them in moderation because they do have a higher carbohydrate content. Be sure to pair them with foods that contain fats and protein – like a cheese stick!

Containing both protein and good fats, cheese is another fantastic snack choice for diabetics. Cheeses come in seemingly endless textural varieties: hard, soft, semi-soft, etc. The most commonly consumed hard cheeses are cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Soft cheeses like mozzarella and brie are decadently delicious, as well. (Just be sure to choose full-fat cheeses in order to avoid added sugars.)

Cool, creamy hummus with raw veggies is a delicious and nutritious snack option, as well. While hummus does contain carbohydrates, they are complex and are absorbed more slowly into the blood stream. In this case, hummus contains protein and healthy fats as well, further impeding the absorption of its carb content.

Or dip your veggies into avocado dip for an extra heart-healthy boost! Avocados are a great source of fiber. This makes the avocado an excellent blood sugar stabilizer! Because of their glorious fat content, avocados are high in calories, so enjoy your avocado in 1-ounce servings, which is about 2 to 3 slices or about 1/4 of a small avocado.

When it comes to nutrition, not many foods can beat the egg. (No pun intended.) Packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals with an average of only 78 calories per egg. Fry an egg in butter for a hot filling snack. Or boil a dozen on Sunday and keep them in your fridge for instant grab and go snacking!

How about something a little sweet? Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than traditional yogurt. Greek yogurt differs from traditional yogurt in that it goes through a process to remove the whey. As a result of this process, Greek yogurt contains 40 percent less sugar and more than double the amount of protein found in traditional yogurt.

The best yogurt option is plain, full-fat Greek yogurt. Be sure to always choose the full-fat version. If not, you are guaranteed to consume added sugar! For flavor and sweetness, top with fresh berries or a small swirl of raw honey.

Speaking of fresh berries, blueberries make for another diabetic-friendly snack choice. They are a great source of vitamins and soluble fiber. Studies have found that glucose levels reduce over time when blueberries are included in one’s diet.

Craving something salty? Popcorn is low-glycemic. Therefore, making it a great snack option for diabetics. Make sure you air-pop your popcorn fresh; no preservative-filled bags from the supermarket allowed! Drizzle with olive oil (or indulge with a bit of truffle oil), add some dried herbs, or simply sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Three cups of air-popped popcorn contains more than 3 grams of fiber, while being cholesterol-free, and low in calories.

In conclusion, snacking is an important part of the diabetic diet. By choosing the right snack foods, we can keep blood sugar stable (and avoid becoming ‘hangry’) at the same time! Happy snacking!

 

 

 

Source:

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/ss/slideshow-snacks-blood-sugar

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Skipping Breakfast Makes It Difficult To Manage Diabetes https://diabetickitchen.com/skip-breakfast-difficult-to-manage-diabetes/ https://diabetickitchen.com/skip-breakfast-difficult-to-manage-diabetes/#respond Thu, 21 Feb 2019 15:13:36 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=4306

Breakfast, anyone? The answer should be yes! Starting the day off right is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for diabetics. German researchers recently reviewed a collection of study data on the impacts of breakfast on the body. Their findings were clear – skipping breakfast raises risk of developing type II diabetes! Yes, even ...

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Breakfast, anyone? The answer should be yes! Starting the day off right is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for diabetics.

German researchers recently reviewed a collection of study data on the impacts of breakfast on the body. Their findings were clear – skipping breakfast raises risk of developing type II diabetes! Yes, even if it’s only occasionally.

The review found that skipping breakfast even one day per week results in a 6% higher risk. Skip breakfast 4-5 times per week and risk skyrockets to 55%! This shouldn’t be a surprise – stabilizing blood sugar for the entire day begins the moment we wake up.

Diabetics often experience higher blood sugar in the morning. This is known as the Dawn Phenomenon. Even when the human body is asleep it requires energy. When the body is awake and needs fuel, it turns to glucose in the muscles.

However, in sleep, the muscles are relaxed and not moving. So instead the body turns to the liver to produce the glucose it needs. When the liver releases the glucose, there is not always enough insulin available to control it, so blood sugar rises. The dawn phenomenon is a normal, natural rise in blood sugar that occurs in the early morning hours, between roughly 4-8 AM when the person is about to wake for the day.

This occurrence makes starting the day with the right breakfast even more important for those who struggle with high blood sugar. Not only that, but skipping breakfast has also been linked to increased blood sugar levels following lunch and dinner.

When we skip a meal, blood sugar begins to fluctuate. As soon as we eat, blood sugar spikes in response. Not only does this cause stress and damage to the body, it can lead to overeating and poor food choices. It’s simple – when you’re hungry, you are more likely to reach for the fastest and easiest thing to eat. More often than not, this would lead to a selection that is less then blood sugar friendly.

One survey found that more than half of Americans skip breakfast at least once a week. Over 10% of us don’t eat breakfast at all! The reported reason? Not enough time.

For many people, life is so busy and hectic that they simply don’t have time to eat. Let alone, plan to ensure that healthy meal options are readily available.

That same poll found that when the majority of people did eat breakfast, they got it on the go. Fast food drive-thrus and coffee shops were the most popular breakfast choices. Needless to say, not many healthy, blood sugar stabilizing foods are waiting for us in those locations. However, it is totally possible to up the breakfast game with minimal time and effort.

Let’s define a healthy breakfast first. While it is true that the body uses carbohydrates for energy, diabetics must get their fuel from other sources in order to keep blood sugar under control. The key to a blood sugar stabilizing, high-energy breakfast is the balance of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Eggs are a great source of morning protein, and are a great base for our high-energy breakfast. Add half an avocado and a side of sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon and you’re good to go! The next question is – how do you like your eggs?

If you love a perfectly scrambled egg, the keys are heat and a little patience. Keep the stovetop on medium heat. With one hand, gently move the pan in a circular motion over the heat.

With your other hand, stir the eggs in the opposite direction until they are set. (Keep in mind, they will continue to cook in the hot pan even after you turn off the stovetop, so you may want to pull them off the heat just before they are set to your preference.)

In a hurry? Make a 60-second omelet instead! In the bottom of a large coffee mug, microwave one tablespoon of butter for 15 seconds. Crack two eggs into the mug, along with a splash of whole milk, salt and pepper.  Add any additional fillings (cheese, ham, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. and whisk with a fork. Microwave for one minute and its omelet time.

If you’re not an egg fan, don’t despair. A healthy, delicious breakfast is still within reach. Diabetic Kitchen Cinnamon Pecan Granola Cereal is the perfect way to get your day off to a sweet start!

Daily blood sugar management starts with breakfast. By combining healthy fats, protein and fiber, the body is fueled for success (and for more stable blood sugar throughout the day.) The moral of the story? Eat the right breakfast and enjoy better blood sugar!

 

 

Source:

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/skipping-breakfast-can-increase-your-risk-for-type-2-diabetes#Who-has-the-time?

 

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Is Unhealthy Snacking Sabotaging Your Diet? https://diabetickitchen.com/is-unhealthy-snacking-sabotaging-your-diet/ https://diabetickitchen.com/is-unhealthy-snacking-sabotaging-your-diet/#respond Sat, 19 Jan 2019 19:31:24 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=4311

It’s 2019 and you’re ready for better health. You’ve been putting time and effort into your diet. Grocery shopping for healthy foods, cooking more at home, and eating out less. Great job! A word of warning – if you aren’t snacking smart, your diet could be heading for disaster! Frequent snacking, especially on foods that ...

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It’s 2019 and you’re ready for better health. You’ve been putting time and effort into your diet. Grocery shopping for healthy foods, cooking more at home, and eating out less. Great job!

A word of warning – if you aren’t snacking smart, your diet could be heading for disaster! Frequent snacking, especially on foods that lack any nutrition, can increase body weight. Not to mention increases in blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk for heart attack or stroke.

Snack foods are usually highly processed. This means they often contain far too many calories, unhealthy fat, sugars, and sodium. These foods also tend to have little to no nutritional value, vitamins, minerals, or fiber.

This combination is especially dangerous for diabetics as it causes food to be digested more quickly. Without good fats and fiber to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, sugar levels can skyrocket and blood pressure can increase.

Frequency of snacking can also complicate blood sugar management. Snacks give us permission to eat at non-traditional mealtimes. We all know breakfast is in the morning, lunch is in the afternoon, and dinner is at night… snacks however, have become any time free-for-all opportunities to chow down.

Snacking is not evil, and does not have to negatively affect blood sugar. A snack’s purpose is to prevent excessive hunger, give the body an energy boost, and even help to regulate blood sugar.

It’s important to listen to your body; when it needs a little boost, you’ll know. Don’t let yourself get hungry. This is especially important for diabetics. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar will drop. As soon as you eat, it will rise.

The level to which blood sugar rises depends on what you consume. It’s important to choose a snack that will give you the energy you need without spiking your blood sugar. Combine protein, fats, and fiber to get the most out of your snacks. The combination of healthy fats, protein and fiber will not only prevent blood sugar spikes, but will help keep you full and satisfied until your next meal.

For example, trade in that whole banana for a bowl of berries and full-fat plain Greek yogurt. Instead of crackers or potato chips, try air-popped popcorn or a few kale chips. Or up the fat and protein content of your snack with these pepperoni chips.

Some thinly sliced veggies accompanied by a nice hummus or pesto dip won’t weigh you down as the afternoon drags on.

In a rush? An easy grab-on-the-go snack is string cheese with a handful of nuts. Choose full-fat string cheese and some pistachios, cashews, or almonds. Or mix them together for variety.

Believe it or not, snacks can be helpful to your diet instead of hurtful. Snacks can help supplement nutrition that you otherwise wouldn’t have in a standard meal. For example, if you can’t stand the texture of cooked broccoli, dip some raw broccoli into this creamy avocado dip for a cool and crunchy snack.

Eating mindfully also goes a long way when making snacks a positive addition to one’s diet. What is mindful eating you ask? Being aware of what you’re eating, how much you are consuming, and acknowledging the value of the foods you choose.

While it may sound complicated, mindfulness is the foundation of healthy eating. For example, if the TV is on while you snack, your hand could hit the bottom of the bag but you were completely unaware of the amount of food you were consuming. Eliminating distractions can greatly increase mindful eating.

Pre-portioning your snacks can also be helpful. After coming home from the grocery store, go ahead and wash, slice and dice your veggies and fruits and bag them up. Some find it helpful to have a specific drawer in the fridge for fresh, healthful snacks. Super easy to grab and go.

It really is true! Snacking can positively affect your diet goals instead of sabotaging them. A little preparation in combination with mindfulness can have you snacking happy!

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2019-01-03/snacking-for-diet-success

https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/snacks/healthy/13-healthy-snacking-strategies/

http://www.eatingwell.com/article/15314/10-ways-to-snack-smarter/

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/can-mindfulness-help-with-weightloss#Improving-your-health

 

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Food Labels De-Coded – Which Words Really Matter? https://diabetickitchen.com/food-labels-which-words-really-matter/ https://diabetickitchen.com/food-labels-which-words-really-matter/#comments Sat, 22 Sep 2018 20:36:33 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=3928

There are seemingly endless descriptors starting to pop up on the labels of our favorite foods. Some supermarkets are even creating entirely new sections in their stores which are fully dedicated to some of these labels. Let’s first define each product label ‘mystery word,’ then find which ones really matter, and which ones do not. ...

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There are seemingly endless descriptors starting to pop up on the labels of our favorite foods. Some supermarkets are even creating entirely new sections in their stores which are fully dedicated to some of these labels. Let’s first define each product label ‘mystery word,’ then find which ones really matter, and which ones do not.

The first is of utmost importance to diabetics. The words ‘Sugar’ and ‘Added Sugar’ can both appear on food labels. The words are found on the product’s nutritional label itself, but don’t forget to check the ingredient list, as well. Some manufacturers try to hide the sugar in their products under different names: corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, maltodextrin. All of these are forms of sugar, and all are detrimental to your health.

Check your food and beverage labels very carefully, sugar is hiding in places you may never expect. Condiments like barbecue sauce, ketchup, and spaghetti sauce all contain sugar. Even ‘healthy foods’ like fruit juices and yogurt can shoot blood sugar through the roof.

Speaking of yogurt, nearly every container your find in the dairy section is labeled ‘low-fat.’ What’s worse, many people think that those words make yogurt a healthy choice. The next time you’re in the supermarket, pick up one container of low-fat yogurt with one hand, and choose a full-fat yogurt with your other hand.

Flip both containers over and check the labels – the low-fat yogurt will contain nearly double the grams of sugar that the full-fat yogurt contains! This is because manufacturers add sugar in place of the fat they remove. Full-fat dairy is always the best choice, even more so for diabetics. Full fat, unsweetened Greek yogurt makes for the most stable blood sugar.

A similar offender to ‘low-fat’ products are those bearing the label ‘light.’ These products are manufactured to have fewer calories, as well as less fat. We know what that means… more sugar! However, to keep calories low, manufacturers use artificial sweeteners instead of real sugar.

This fact does not make these foods more beneficial. Science is now showing us that artificial sweeteners could be just as harmful to the body as real sugar. Heck, some artificial sweeteners literally destroy your body from the inside out on a cellular level. Aspartame, anyone? Sucralose, saccharin, and acesulfame are all names for artificial sugar and can wreak havoc in the body.

When it comes to food labels, the opposite of artificial is organic. Organic fruits and vegetables are farmed using natural compounds instead of industrial pesticides, and organic meats come from animals who do not consume hormones or antibiotics. To name themselves organic, farms must become certified, a process which can take five years.

The ‘organic’ label is regulated at the federal level, providing benchmarks and standards that the products must live up to. This allows the certification of ‘organic’ to be more transparent, and offers reassurance to consumers regarding the maintained quality of the products they purchase. That quality comes with a price tag – most people cannot afford to eat 100% organically, but there are a few foods you should pay the extra dollars for.

Vegetables and fruits which you eat whole, including the skin, like apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, lettuces, etc. are worth the extra few dollars. This is because the industrial pesticides used in non-organic farming remain in the skins of the fruits and veggies, which you then consume. Avocados, grapefruits, cantaloupe, onions, etc. are considered ‘lower pesticide’ foods; while selecting organic is preferable, it is not critical for these foods. When it comes to organic meat choices: beef should be grass-fed, chicken (and eggs) should be free-range, and seafood should be wild-caught. Farm-raised seafood is not the healthier choice, and wild-caught seafood cannot be certified as organic because… well, it was created in the wild instead of on a farm!

Do not confuse ‘all-natural’ food products for organic ones. This term is so over-used and under-regulated that it means essentially nothing when it comes to product quality or nutrition.  For example, an apple is picked off the tree in an orchard… natural, right? Then it’s sprayed with a preservative to keep it fresh longer, and then with a gloss coating to make it look shiny and appealing to the consumer. Still natural? Not anymore! Because the apple was natural at the point of harvest, its label will bear the words ‘all- natural.’ Pretty sneaky! This fact makes the ‘all-natural’ label essentially meaningless.

Another label you’ll see more frequently is ‘GF’ meaning gluten-free. Gluten is comprised of two proteins, and contributes to the chewy texture of foods like bread, pizza crust, and bagels. Some individuals are especially sensitive to gluten and the foods that contain it, as it can cause damaging inflammation in the gut. Your physician can easily test for Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity in your next round of blood work. If you do not have Celiac and are not gluten sensitive, don’t let the presence of (or absence of) the GF on a product label worry you.

We hope this information offers helpful insight into the constantly changing product labels appearing on our supermarket shelves. When it comes down to it, whole, clean foods are the best fuel for our bodies. So when it comes to your next grocery list, cross your T’s, dot your I’s, and choose the letters (and labels) that are best for you!

 

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/03/smarter-living/the-terms-on-a-food-label-to-ignore-and-the-ones-to-watch-for

 

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Unexpected Protein Sources – Eat More Nuts & Seeds https://diabetickitchen.com/eat-more-nuts-and-seeds/ https://diabetickitchen.com/eat-more-nuts-and-seeds/#respond Tue, 29 May 2018 23:45:07 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=3753

Including enough protein in our diets can be a struggle, especially as we get older. Most of us rely on meats like chicken and beef as our main sources of protein. While it’s true that there is nothing wrong with the old stand-by choices like chicken, salmon, or steak, it’s important that we consume protein ...

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Including enough protein in our diets can be a struggle, especially as we get older. Most of us rely on meats like chicken and beef as our main sources of protein. While it’s true that there is nothing wrong with the old stand-by choices like chicken, salmon, or steak, it’s important that we consume protein from a variety of sources.

Nuts and seeds are excellent non-meat sources of protein (and a host of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.) An observational study of more than 6,000 adults also associated a high intake of nuts and seeds with reduced inflammation. With inflammation being the root cause of so many chronic diseases, that is a very exciting finding when it comes to improving health!

Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds are among some of the healthiest nuts and seeds to consume. Let’s learn a little more about each of them.

Almonds

Packed full of healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, almonds are hard to beat from a nutritional standpoint. Almonds are also an excellent source of vitamin E which has been credited with a reduced risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, even some cancers.

A bonus for diabetics – research has shown that almonds may contribute to better blood sugar control. This is thought to be due to the high concentration of magnesium found in almonds. Some individuals with type 2 diabetes also have low magnesium levels. When research study participants with type 2 diabetes who had low magnesium levels took a magnesium supplement, a connection was found between higher magnesium levels and improved insulin resistance!

Walnuts

Healthy fats are all the rage these days, as studies continue to validate the importance of making them a bigger part of our diets. Just one quarter cup of walnuts provides more than the daily recommended amount of omega-3 fats!  Walnuts also contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits, especially for individuals who are at increased risk of heart disease, or those who have already been diagnosed with heart disease.

Walnuts are a superfood in their own right! They contain several powerful antioxidants, most of which are not found together in other commonly consumed foods. Research has shown that walnuts may help reduce risk of some cancers, prostate and breast to be specific. For men, they have also been found to improve sperm quality, and help both men and women maintain a healthier weight.

Pistachios

These salty, addictive little jewels are better for you than the average snack. One study found that eating between two and three ounces of pistachios per day lowered levels of bad cholesterol and improved blood lipid levels. Research has also shown that pistachios help stabilize blood sugar after participants consumed a meal high in carbohydrates. Improved blood vessel and body motor functions were also observed after eating pistachios.

Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fats. Although, those good fats are found in the outer shell of the seed, which is difficult for humans to digest. To get the most nutrition out of this seed, buy ground flaxseed. That way, you are getting all the nutrition, but it will be much easier for your body to digest and absorb.

Flaxseeds also contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally-occurring chemicals found in plants. Their health benefits are mostly due to their role as antioxidants (free-radical fighters that reduce cell damage.) Type II diabetes, heart disease, even cancer – all show decreased frequency when intake of polyphenols is increased.

For Type II diabetics, polyphenols may be especially helpful in lowering insulin resistance. By increasing the body’s insulin sensitivity, the body absorbs sugar more slowly. This results in lower blood sugar!

Chia & Hemp Seeds

Boosted immunity, better blood sugar control, sharper vision, anti-inflammatory properties, reduced anxiety and lower blood pressure. These are just a few of the benefits attributed to the  combination of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals in chia seeds. A true superfood!

For a true protein punch, try hemp seeds.  Believe it or not, the hemp seed is actually 30% protein! Better yet, that protein is of extremely high quality (better than most any other seed) and it’s what’s called “complete protein” – meaning the seeds contain all of the essential protein amino acids that your body cannot produce itself.

We hope this inspires you to add more nuts and seeds to your diet. Not only will it help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, but your blood sugar, immune system, even your waistline, can benefit, as well. Don’t’ be afraid to get nutty!

 

 

Sources:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180403111106.htm

 

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Encourage Kids & Grandkids To Eat Healthier With These Tips https://diabetickitchen.com/encourage-kids-grandkids-to-eat-healthier/ https://diabetickitchen.com/encourage-kids-grandkids-to-eat-healthier/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 22:47:33 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=3678

Diabetics know that positive food choices are essential to our health… but what about that of our children or grandchildren? Do you have picky eaters, or sneaky snackers? It is so important to foster healthy choices in childhood, as those early years are absolutely crucial to determining lifelong health. The foods we are taught (and ...

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Diabetics know that positive food choices are essential to our health… but what about that of our children or grandchildren? Do you have picky eaters, or sneaky snackers? It is so important to foster healthy choices in childhood, as those early years are absolutely crucial to determining lifelong health.

The foods we are taught (and allowed) to eat as children become the foundation of our diets as adults. If you think back on your childhood, are the foods you loved then still some of your favorites even now? Do the foods you were “forced” to eat as a child ever make an appearance on your plate… no? See, it’s true! We learn very early on what we like and what we don’t, and those likes and dislikes follow us for the rest of our lives.

By saying no to sugary, junk foods on your own plate and replacing them with nutritious foods, you are encouraging the children watching (and they are always watching) to do the same with their plates.

When it comes to getting kids to eat healthier, it’s crucial for the adults to be good role models. You can’t simply talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. If kiddos feel that you are not holding yourself to the standard you are trying to hold them to, they will immediately disengage and you’ll be out of luck. After all, how can you convince someone else to do something that you yourself are not willing to do?

While you’re at it, toss out the threats and the bribes. Sending children to bed without their supper is not constructive nor is it helpful. Neither is giving up your role as the adult by catering to their every culinary whim. Luckily, with the following tips, threats and bribes should never be necessary!

Now, don’t be afraid. Healthy foods can (and should be) fun! Have you ever been told “Don’t play with your food!” While this statement is correctly applicable to food fights, forget it when it comes to feeding the kids. Try making a “game” out of which foods they have on their plate.

For example, “How many different colors are on your plate? Did you know that the more color a food has, the better it is for you, and the better it tastes! Which are your favorite colors to eat?”

This simple “game” teaches children to choose foods that are vibrant in color and high in nutrition like bell peppers, fresh berries, and sweet potatoes, instead of beige or white foods without nutrients like potatoes, white rice, and pasta.

Children like to choose what they eat. It helps them to feel more independent and in control of themselves. They key is to allow them to choose between two healthy options.

For example, “Would you rather have broccoli or asparagus with our chicken tonight?” “We’re having fish for dinner, would you like mahi or salmon?” “Would you like to try a little pineapple salsa on your mahi, I can put it on the side?” This fosters the child’s independence while teaching them to take responsibility for the foods they choose to eat.

This next tip is a game-changer. By getting them involved in menu selection, grocery shopping, and meal preparation, children feel even more independent, as well as, valued for their tangible contributions to the family. They also develop a sense of pride and ownership over the foods they helped to select and prepare. This makes them much more likely to eat what’s on their plate – because they helped put it there!

These planted seeds will grow as the children age. When they go for a sleepover at a friend’s house, will they eat 5 slices of pizza and snack on candy, or will they eat one slice of pizza and a small salad with popcorn as a snack?

When they go off to college and have to fend for themselves will they eat macaroni and cheese every day because that is the only food they know how to make in their dorm? Or will they enjoy a healthy, balanced diet because they have been planning their menus, grocery shopping, and preparing meals for years already? One day will they choose to feed their children the way you chose to feed them?

Those questions are not answered at the time, the answers are determined years before while they are children! It’s up to you to set that foundation now to ensure they value nutrition and health as highly as you do. Good luck!

 

Source:

https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/30/health/kids-healthy-eating-parent-tips/index.html

 

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Feeling Down? These Foods & Recipes Can Boost Your Mood! https://diabetickitchen.com/foods-and-recipes-to-boost-mood/ https://diabetickitchen.com/foods-and-recipes-to-boost-mood/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 01:32:01 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=3606

Does eating make you happy? For most of us, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Most of the time, the level of happiness we derive from our meal depends on what we are eating. Believe it or not, there are foods out there that not only fuel the body, but have the ability to boost ...

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Does eating make you happy? For most of us, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Most of the time, the level of happiness we derive from our meal depends on what we are eating. Believe it or not, there are foods out there that not only fuel the body, but have the ability to boost mood, as well!

Do you consider vegetables to be “happy foods?” Admit it, you’d probably rather have macaroni and cheese, right? Give veggies like mushrooms and spinach a chance, and you can enjoy a brighter outlook.

Mushrooms, especially the shiitake variety, are packed with vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, so upping your mushroom consumption can also help up your mood.

Spinach contains folic acid which helps to reduce fatigue and improve mood. Spinach is also rich in iron, a mineral that helps deliver oxygen to your cells, giving the body energy on a cellular level. Spinach is also rich in Vitamin C and magnesium which are crucial to the production of serotonin and dopamine – two brain chemicals responsible for making us feel happy and joyful.

There should be a picture of an avocado in the dictionary next to the word Super-food. If you’re wondering why the avocado was not included with the veggies above, it’s because avocados are technically fruits. Other fruits like bananas and berries are fantastic mood-boosters, as well.

Because avocados contain choline, when you eat them, your body’s levels of serotonin are increased. Serotonin impacts the entire body, helping with sleeping, eating, and digestion. It is considered a natural “mood stabilizer” and helps reduce depression, and regulate anxiety. Avocados don’t get any better than they do in this Creamy Avocado Dip!

Full of vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium, bananas provide plenty of energy to give your brain and body a boost. They are also high in fiber, making them a natural probiotic. Bananas are also an excellent source of magnesium (a natural stress-reducer.).

Delicious, nutritious, full of vitamins and a variety of antioxidants, fresh berries are a great “happy snack.” Blueberries and acai berries are especially high in these nutrients and antioxidants. Try them by the handful, sprinkled over a bowl of Greek yogurt, or blended into a cool, refreshing slushie.

Need some protein to make you happy? You got it – oysters and salmon fit the bill perfectly!

Oysters naturally improve circulation throughout the body and are very heart-healthy. Oysters are also a great source of zinc and vitamin B12, which keep us energized, help us fend off stress and encourage our brains to regulate mood. Whether you enjoy them raw or Rockefeller, oysters are delicious!

Salmon is full of vitamins B6 and B12. Vitamin B12 is used by the body for energy, and vitamin B6 is essential to the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleeping and waking cycles. Salmon is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with improving symptoms of mood disorders. Check out these 25 Super Salmon Recipes!

Where are the sweets? Good news – there are ways for diabetics to enjoy a treat, while boosting your mood. Chocolate (yes, chocolate) and Greek yogurt are two great options.

Yes, chocolate makes you happy (literally and chemically!) The phenylethlyamine in chocolate makes you feel alert and cheerful. Phenylethlyamine is also known as the “love drug” because it can trigger the same feelings of excitement and contentment as being in love. Chocolate also contains a fat called anadamide which triggers dopamine production, leading to a feeling of intense well-being.

Eating chocolate releases endorphins which are known to decrease levels of both stress and pain. As a side benefit, research has suggested that cocoa’s flavanols (phytonutrients with antioxidant properties) may contribute to maintaining a healthy brain. These protective benefits could positively affect learning and memory functions. Here’s a great chocolate treat that’s low carb and sugar-free!

Don’t forget to add some walnuts to your favorite chocolate treat. The high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in walnuts improve focus, alertness, and provide a boost of energy. The vitamin E found in walnuts has also been shown to decrease risk for Alzheimer’s dementia. Enjoy a handful of walnuts as an afternoon snack, or add walnut butter to your favorite cookie recipe.

Many people are not aware that the type and amount of bacteria in your gut can affect your mood. Dairy products containing active cultures increase the probiotic bacteria in your gut. One study found that women who ate probiotic yogurt twice a day experienced less stress than those who ate none.

You can also drink your way to happiness. While a glass of red wine now and again can work wonders for mood, we’re talking about coffee and green tea in this article!

Research has found that drinking coffee in the morning is tied to increased levels of energy, as well as feelings of kindness and pleasure. Coffee enjoyed with friends or family is connected to feelings of affection, friendship, and satisfaction. Even when had only occasionally, a cup of coffee brings on calm and tranquility.

A Japanese study of over 40,000 people found that drinking five or more cups of green tea per day reduced stress levels by over 20% compared to those who drank less than one cup. Green tea contains L-theanine, an antioxidant thought to be the bringer of relaxation for green tea drinkers.

The fact that what you eat has a direct impact on how you feel is an astounding one. It should empower us to make better food decisions in order to live life feeling our best!

 

 

Sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/lifestyle/5-foods-boost-your-mood-make-you-happier-n743776

 

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How To Make The Perfect Salad – In A Jar! https://diabetickitchen.com/how-to-make-mason-jar-salad/ https://diabetickitchen.com/how-to-make-mason-jar-salad/#respond Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:21:45 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=3584

Mason jar salads are everywhere on the internet… and now it’s time to put them in your own refrigerator! Your mason jars need to be wide-mouthed with tight-fitting lids in order to keep your salad fresh. For an entrée salad, use a larger mason jar (more room for deliciousness.) If you only want a side ...

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Mason jar salads are everywhere on the internet… and now it’s time to put them in your own refrigerator! Your mason jars need to be wide-mouthed with tight-fitting lids in order to keep your salad fresh. For an entrée salad, use a larger mason jar (more room for deliciousness.) If you only want a side salad, use a smaller jar.

The absolute key is to put wet ingredients in the bottom of the jar, while keeping your greens dry at the top of the jar. Always start by pouring your dressing of choice into the bottom of the jar. This first step will make or break your salad.

Pause before pouring in your favorite dressing. Thick, creamy dressings are delicious, but can skyrocket the calorie content of your salad to that of a cheeseburger! A simple oil and vinegar dressing really can be delicious. Olive oil with red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper will enhance, not hide, the freshness of your salad.

If you must have your ranch, thousand island, or blue cheese, be sure to enjoy it in an appropriate two tablespoon portion. Be very mindful of the sugar content in prepared and bottled dressings. As always, avoid the words “low-fat” as they equal “added sugar.”

Next up are the veggies! Vegetable additions to your salad are seemingly endless: beets, bell pepper, black beans, broccoli, carrots, chickpeas, cucumbers, tomato… the list goes on and on!

When layering a mason jar salad, put “hard” vegetables like carrots, bell pepper, or cucumber on top of the dressing to act as a barrier. “Softer” veggies like avocado, tomato, or sprouts should go on top of the hard veggies.

Salads aren’t just for vegetables – why not try adding fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries? Fruits would go on top of the “softer” veggies as you continue to layer your salad.

Now it’s time to add the protein. It’s especially important for diabetics to include a little protein with their salads. Grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon, or steak are all delicious and versatile salad additions. If you aren’t a meat eater, add some extra garbanzo beans, or cubed tofu to your salad.

You can also add extra protein and healthy fats by sprinkling seeds or nuts on top of the meat. This not only increases the nutrition factor, but adds texture and crunch!

Finally, add in the greens. Choose your greens wisely. While iceberg lettuce is high in water content, it is low in actual nutrition. It’s low in calories and can help fill you up, but your body does not get much in the way of fuel. There are a few varieties of salad greens that pack a more nutritious punch.

Perhaps the most widely advertised lately is kale. Kale is all-the-rage, with its high levels of vitamins A, C, and K. It can be difficult to digest, however, especially if you aren’t used to eating it often.

Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse in any number of recipes, but most especially when raw and enjoyed in salads. Vitamins A, C, and K, iron and fiber. While usually regarded as a simple garnish, watercress is another delicious and nutritious salad green option, with over half your daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a 2.5 cup serving!

Arugula is another of those “garnish” greens, but it can be so much more than that! It’s bright, peppery flavor really goes a long way in adding zip to your salad, and it’s an excellent source of fiber, protein, and a host of vitamins and minerals.

We’ve made our way to good ole’ romaine lettuce. This popular salad green contains vitamins A and K, but not in the levels of our other greens choices. The same goes for red and green leaf lettuce varieties, and butter lettuce – they’re mild tasting and very versatile, but not quite as nutritious. Try enhancing those lettuces with a little spinach, kale, or arugula to increase flavor along with vitamin and mineral content.

The combination of dressing, veggies, and protein can be random, or can allow you to “theme” your salad. For example, guacamole at the bottom of your jar, bell pepper, onion, black beans and tomato for your veggies, and grilled chicken as your protein. Spinach and arugula for greens, with some chopped cilantro added in = southwest mason jar salad!

Once you’ve crammed in the greens, be sure to seal the jar tightly. Store your jars of salad goodness in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. (Good luck trying to make them last!)

 

 

Sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/better/how-pack-perfect-salad-jar-ncna756256

 

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Still Hungry? Eat More Of These Filling Foods https://diabetickitchen.com/eat-more-filling-foods/ https://diabetickitchen.com/eat-more-filling-foods/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 21:30:33 +0000 https://diabetickitchen.com/?p=3399

You just had breakfast an hour ago, and now you’re hungry again! Sound familiar? Well, if you’re noshing on sugary breakfast cereal, or granola bars, it makes sense – your body is craving nutritious food to use as fuel. Eating nutrient-rich foods is not only important in the morning. You can help combat hunger (and ...

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You just had breakfast an hour ago, and now you’re hungry again! Sound familiar? Well, if you’re noshing on sugary breakfast cereal, or granola bars, it makes sense – your body is craving nutritious food to use as fuel.

Eating nutrient-rich foods is not only important in the morning. You can help combat hunger (and subsequent snacking) by including these filling foods in your daily diet. Use these foods and tips to feel fuller, longer.

Apples

The fiber in the fruit and skin of an apple helps you feel full and satisfied. Also, an apple is stimulating to multiple senses when you eat it: you see the whole apple in your hand, you smell and then taste its sweet tart flavor, and hear the crunch as you take a bite. All of these little stimuli combine to make that apple super-satisfying!

Avocados

Dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Lori Zanini, emphasizes that avocados are one of the only fruits that contain monounsaturated fats; “Including healthy fats in our meals during our day is important in order to keep us full and satisfied after meals.”

An avocado is a great source of fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar, as well. Fiber also promotes a healthy gut and colon, helps to control appetite, and can be helpful in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Complex Carbs

Oats are a complex carbohydrate and take longer to digest. As the oats are digested, they release energy slowly, allowing you to hold onto your feeling of fullness. It also helps to keeps blood sugar and insulin levels stable. To get the full benefits (and flavor) choose steel-cut oats made at home – stay away from microwave packets!

Quinoa is a great source of both protein and fiber. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. This combination not only fills you up, it helps stabilize your blood sugar, too!

Greek Yogurt

A 5 oz. container of plain full-fat Greek yogurt contains 15 grams of protein. Some studies are now suggesting that protein may be even more filling than fat or carbohydrates.  Other high-quality sources of protein include lean poultry, meats and fish, milk, eggs, lentils, and peanut butter.

Nuts and Seeds

Raw, unsalted nuts like almonds and walnuts are full of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. This makes nuts a great addition to meals and desserts, and also qualifies them as an exceptional snack. A handful of nuts can keep you full (and energized) far longer than a bag of potato chips would!

Flaxseed is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fats and fiber to keep you feeling satisfied. One tablespoon of whole flaxseed has 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of healthy fat. Try adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to a smoothie, or sprinkle it on top of yogurt.

Appetizer Soup or Salad

A bowl of soup before your entrée helps to take the edge off of hunger, increase feelings of fullness, and reduce the total number of calories consumed during the entire meal. (Keep in mind, this doesn’t work well if you eat 500 calories worth of soup before dinner, so keep your appetizer soup to about 150 calories.)

Similar to the bowl of soup, eating a salad before a meal has been associated with increased feeling of satiety and decreased calorie intake. Research has shown that when the first course of a meal is a large salad, people eat fewer calories for the entire meal compared to skipping the salad.

Vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes have a very high water content. Combine that with their abundance of fiber, and you’ve got yourself a full stomach!

Sneak in extra ingredients!

The next time you make an omelet, toss in some spinach, mushrooms, or bell pepper. Not only are you upping the nutritional ante, you get to eat more food! Same goes with adding spinach, zucchini, or carrots to your next batch of spaghetti sauce or chili.

The key is to enjoy these filling foods often, and in the right combinations. By choosing foods that contain protein, fats, and fiber, you will not only make your tummy happy, but keep it that way!

 

 

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/weight/ss/slideshow-filling-foods

 

 

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