Asparagus,the spring superfood and it’s health benefits

Asparagus,the spring superfood and it’s health benefits

Health Benefits of Asparagus

This spring superfood is packed with vitamins and minerals that there are many health benefits to be gained from adding asparagus to your dinner plate. There are many ways to enjoy asparagus, including grilled, roasted and steamed. No matter how you enjoy your asparagus, just a few of its health benefits are listed below. 

  • Low in Calories

Asparagus is a super low-calorie vegetable. A 100 grams of fresh spears is only about 20 calories. Asparagus also hard to digest, so it fits into the category of low and negative calorie vegetables. 

  • Loaded with Nutrients

Asparagus is a great source of vitamins A, C, E and K. It also is high in fiber and folate. It is a source of chromium, which is a trace mineral that enhances the body’s ability to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. This is helpful if you are watching your blood sugar levels. 

  • Boosts Your Mood

It is very high in folate, a B vitamin that has been found to improve moods and help ward off irritability. Researchers have found a link between low levels of vitamin B12 and folate and depression, which has led some doctors to prescribe daily doses of both B vitamins to patients with depression.

Asparagus also has high levels of tryptophan, which is the amino acid that has been similarly linked to improved moods. 

  • Brain Booster

Folate does not only boost your mood, it also helps fight cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s. To get this benefit from asparagus, you need to pair it with foods that have high levels of vitamin B12, such as dairy, meat, fish and poultry. In a study done by Tufts University, researchers found that older adults with healthy levels of folate and vitamin B12 performed better on tests of mental flexibility and response speeds. 

  • Natural Diuretic

The high levels of amino acid in asparagus makes it a natural diuretic. It also increases urination, which helps to reduce the excess salt in the body. This is very beneficial for people who suffer from high blood pressure and edema. 

  • May Help Fight Cancer

Along with Brussels sprouts, kale, and avocado, asparagus is rich in glutathione. Glutathione is a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other damaging compounds, like free radicals. It is possible that eating asparagus on a daily basis may help reduce risk and fight certain forms of cancer, like lung, larynx, colon, bone and breast cancers. 

  • Helps with a Healthy Pregnancy

Researchers now know that asparagus can help women have a healthy pregnancy. There is a significant amount of folate in asparagus, which makes it an important vegetable choice for women who want to have children. There are also studies that show asparagus is effective in improving the quality and quantity of the breast milk while boosting the appetite of nursing women.

So, it’s essential for women who are planning to become pregnant to get enough folate because it can decrease the risk of neural-tube defects and low birth weight in fetuses. Folate works along with vitamin C and vitamin B12 to help the body break down, use and create new proteins. It also helps with the formation of red blood cells and produces DNA, which is the building block of the human body that carries the genetic information of the baby.

  • Beats Bloating

Bloating is a common issue that many people face daily. While it is not painful for most people, it is a sign of digestive health. Asparagus promotes overall digestive health due to its high levels of fibre and vitamins. It is also high in probiotics, which are carbohydrates that cannot be digested and help to boost healthy good bacteria in your digestive tract. These probiotics help to reduce bloating and gas, so you can say goodbye to embarrassing belly bulge. 

  • Fights Hangovers

Most of us crave a greasy breakfast in the morning after having one too many alcoholic drinks. However, research suggests that loading up on asparagus may be the better choice to cure a hangover. A 2009 study, published in the Journal of Food Science, found that laboratory-grown cells suggested that the amino acids and minerals in asparagus may help reduce hangovers and protect the liver cells from toxins found in alcohol. Who knew that adding vegetables to your diet could fight hangovers? 

  • Packed with Antioxidants

There has been a lot of talk about antioxidants in the last decade because they help fight free radicals. Purple asparagus is full of anthocyanins, which gives the vegetable the purple, blue and red hues. Anthocyanin is a powerful antioxidant, but is one of the harder antioxidants to add to your diet.

When cooking asparagus, try not to undercook or overcook it. While cooking asparagus helps activate the antioxidants and cancer-fighting potential, letting it sautè or boil too long can negate some of its nutritional benefits. 

  • Healthy Urinary Tract

While it may make your urine smell for a few days, eating asparagus is important for a healthy urinary tract. The amino acids in asparagus are a natural diuretic, which flushes excess salts and fluids from your body. These acids also help reduce your risk of urinary tract infections. 

  • Weight-Loss Aid

For many people, losing weight is their goal and it can be a challenge. Asparagus is low in calories and fats, and high in fibre. The high levels of fibre mean that it takes longer to digest, so you feel full between meals. To help you keep feeling full, it is recommended to pair asparagus with protein, like a hard-boiled egg.  

  • Improved Immune System

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant because it strengthens the immune system and protects cells from free radical damage. The best way of getting vitamin E from asparagus is to cook it with a healthy oil like olive oil, so you are getting a healthy fat and the vitamin E.

  • Filled with Vitamin K

Like other green, leafy vegetables, asparagus is filled with vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for the process of coagulation, which helps stops cuts from bleeding. It also helps with bone health because vitamin K aids the body in its absorption of calcium.  

Vitamin K is also a major player in supporting heart health. It helps to prevent hardening of the arteries, which includes keeping calcium out of your artery linings and other body tissues, where it can cause damage.

Why does Asparagus Make My Urine Smell?

Mercaptan is what causes asparagus to make urine smell. The process of breaking down of mercaptan by the digestive system only takes 15 to 30 minutes of eating asparagus. However, this does not happen to everyone and the smell depends on your genetic makeup. There are no harmful effects of the compounds or the odor, so there is no need to worry about eating asparagus. 

Asparagus is a commonly overlooked vegetable that more of us should be enjoying in our diet, especially in the spring when it is in season. There are many ways of preparing asparagus, either cooked or raw, so you should really give it another shot. Asparagus has a delicate flavor and can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted or grilled. You can also add it as an ingredient to pickles, soups, and salad recipes.

When you are shopping for asparagus at most supermarkets, you will most likely find green asparagus. However, there are two other types of asparagus that you can choose from. The white asparagus from Spain that is more delicate and difficult to harvest and the purple asparagus from France that is smaller and has a fruitier flavor. So, if you have never had asparagus before, keep an open mind and give it a try. 

Approaching Healthy Eating For Kids With Stealth

Approaching Healthy Eating For Kids With Stealth

As children’s taste buds are still forming, they can get used to not liking the taste of fruit. We’ve all done this ourselves when you get fruit and vegetables in your school lunchbox, and your parents expect you to eat it, but you end up throwing it in the trash at school. This is why as parents, who know the tricks that children might pull, have to introduce fruit and vegetables to their diet without their knowledge. Making them a part of other foods, and making them inseparable, forces your children to have to consume the foods they don’t like, while they are eating foods which they do like. It’s about being inventive and always being creative with how you can make these healthier options seem like they are normal and even, more appetising than unhealthy foods.

Source Kathryn Cartwright

Homemade flapjacks

Use your standard flapjack making recipe, and infuse some fruits in it that will make eating healthy a tasty treat. With flapjacks, you can add chocolate chips, as well as little fruit chunks which have been dried and in order to eat the bits that are sweet, the fruit must also be consumed. A great option for parents who want to give their children fruits like berries, peaches and pineapples which are especially high in vitamins, but can’t think of an idea to make them fun and interesting. Children like fruit which comes in a snack form, so it doesn’t feel like it’s a punishment or chore to do. This is why fruit bars are loved by kids, as will the homemade flapjacks that you make.

Substitute the soda

Kids love sugar, just downright love it. It hits their system a lot harder, and they become full of relentless energy. But rather than something that we all know is bad for them, why not substitute this out for something that tastes just as good, but won’t give them a high and crash at the end of the day. Rather than just plain water, something that is all natural, but charged with fruity flavors would be superb for hot days out in the park or strolls on the beach with your children. Products like Hint fruit flavored water do just that because, without any harmful chemicals, the drink doesn’t taste like juice and doesn’t have the fizzy consistency of soda. You have a choice from pineapple, cherry, watermelon and blackberry which gives you a variety of flavors to choose from and children won’t get bored because of it.

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Homemade ice lollies

Making ice lollies has been something mothers have been doing since the 1960s. Not only are they simple to make but you can add fruits into them. You can make homemade lemonade, pour it into a lolly mould, and add some cut up fruits like strawberries and apples. The further your child bites and eats the lolly, the more fruit bits are exposed, and they have to be eaten in order to get further down the tasty treat.

Sometimes tricking your children into eating healthily has to be done in a stealthy manner. It’s also fun for children because their favorite foods get new flavors infused into them and they may actually build up a liking for healthier eating.

 

The Gizmos And Gadgets We Love In The Kitchen

The Gizmos And Gadgets We Love In The Kitchen

No twenty-first-century kitchen is complete without a plethora of amazing tech to help with the cooking. If you love healthy eating as much as we do, you might find you are often disappointed by the ranges carried by the supermarkets. No wonder more and more of us are enjoying home cooking. It offers us the food we want when we want it. No need to worry about additives, poorly sourced ingredients and unethical transport of produce.

Prepping

Food processors are an essential part of home cooking and preparing foods. They can help you create the size, shape and consistency you need for a wide range of recipes including ice-cream, butter, soup, and salads. Preparing vegetables can put many people off home cooking. We simply don’t have the energy for the time and hassle it causes when we’ve been at work all day. The humble food processor comes with many attachments to make light work of all your prepping and mixing needs.

This picture is from Flickr

Hand Blender

These mini blitzers can whip up a mousse, smooth out soup, whisk an egg and mash a banana smoothie. They’re really handy because they are small enough to pop away in the drawer when you’re not using them. Many parents with babies love these because you can pop in a small amount of your meal to puree for the baby. The whole device can fit into the pot or cup you’re using, then comes apart easily for washing.

Countertop Cookers

Anything that can offer a different texture or style of cooking is great when you cook for yourself. Websites like Healthy But Smart detail things like air fryers that offer a healthier way of getting that fried outer texture we all love. Single loaf bread machines are another favorite. You can control every last ingredient that goes in there, but you won’t have to mix or knead a thing! Add seeds, choose wholegrain flour, and even whip up a healthy pizza dough. Soup makers are like kettles, but they’ll whip you up a healthy veggie soup in minutes. Pick the consistency you want and enjoy your soup fresh every day.

 

This picture is from Pexels

Microwave Oven

These are most handy if you are a fan of batch cooking. Reheating single portions is what this beauty does best. Of course, most microwave ovens come with a wealth of programs and features to cook anything and (almost) everything you could want. Yes, you can cook scrambled eggs. Yes, you can enjoy hot, freshly popped popcorn. And yes, it is possible to enjoy healthy fish dishes and meats without succumbing to food poisoning. A handy food thermometer will confirm your food is cooked throughout.

The Almighty Slow Cooker

Perhaps one of the most popular kitchen worktop appliances available today is the slow cooker. They can cost less than a week’s grocery shopping. They cost almost nothing to run (nothing at all if you use your solar panels). Best of all, there are more and more tasty recipes available to make good use of this. It’s the most convenient way of enjoying fresh, home-cooked food when you’re too busy to cook. What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?

 

 

This is a collaborative post with YourOrganicChild.com 

 

Delicious And Nutritious! Healthy Snacks Your Kids Won’t Be Able To Refuse

Delicious And Nutritious! Healthy Snacks Your Kids Won’t Be Able To Refuse

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Do you find that it is incredibly difficult to get your kids eating healthy food? Even though they know that they should be eating it, they still won’t be able to resist something sweet and sugary! Unfortunately, that is exactly the kind of food that can cause health problems down the line. So what type of healthy snacks will kids not be able to say no to? Here are some of the best.

Nuts

Nuts are packed full of power so will be able to keep your kids going until their next meal time. They are also quite dense in nutrients, which means that there is a whole lot of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in them. That means that kids don’t have to eat quite as many in order to reap all the benefits from their nutrients. Not only that, though, but they are high in fibre which can greatly help improve children’s digestive systems. There is a great variety of nut snacks; you can see various ones online at nutsnco.com.sg.

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Whole-Grain Cereal

If you kids get particularly hungry, don’t be worried about giving them a bowl of cereal. Just make sure that the cereal is whole grain and not too sugary! Whole-grain cereal is a great source of energy, and also full of calcium, vitamins and fibre. If you want to make your kid’s bowl of cereal even healthier, try adding a handful of berries or sliced banana as a topping!

Fresh Fruit

If your kids are asking for something sweet, you can satisfy their sweet tooth with a piece of fresh fruit. This can be anything from a banana or apple to a small bowl of chopped fruit and berries. All fruit is good for children as it provides plenty of nutritious vitamins and minerals. However, don’t just stick to one type of fruit. Make sure your kids are getting a good variety so that they are getting plenty of different vitamins and minerals. You can find out more about the most important nutrients for your kids on sites like https://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/health-article/6086.

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Milk

Milk is incredibly important for kids. It is a fantastic source of calcium, and getting enough dairy in your kid’s diet can help them bones develop and stay strong. However, it is important to remember that cow’s milk can’t be digested by babies under twelve-months-old. Once they turn twelve months, you can start giving them a calcium-rich full-fat milk. Make sure that you are incorporating dairy into their snacks as well, with foods like yogurt and cheese.

Tomatoes

Do you find it hard to get your kids to eat fruit? Maybe you might have more success with tomatoes! You can give them to your kids whole, like an apple, or sliced. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a great chemical for fighting against numerous cancers. So getting your kids to eat tomatoes now will certainly prepare them for the future!

Feeling hungry? Why not try one of these snacks with your kids!

Calling All Parents: It’s Much Easier Than You Would Think To Go Organic!

Calling All Parents: It’s Much Easier Than You Would Think To Go Organic!

There’s no doubt about it, eating organic foods is better for you. Various studies have shown the damage that pesticides and other additives found in foods can do to our bodies. Hence why so many people now choose to eat only organic foods. Of course, the downside to going organic is the price, or at least, that’s what a lot of people believe. However, the truth is that being an organic family doesn’t have to take the cost of your food up by much. This is especially true if you’re smart about how and where you shop.

 

If you love the idea of going organic but are put off by the idea of food being more expensive, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of tips and tricks for going organic on a budget, have a read and see what you think.

 

Be a smart shopper

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When it comes to going organic on a budget, the most important thing is to be a smart shopper. By being careful about what you buy and where you buy it from, you can help to keep your food shopping prices low. For example, meat is the most expensive organic food to buy, so aim to eat less meat. Studies show that the healthiest people eat no more than three portions of meat a week. So aim to have four plant-based meals each week and three meat-based ones. This will give your health a boost and will keep the price of your food shop low. Another way to keep food costs low is to shop locally and only buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. Local shops tend to be cheaper than supermarkets. This is because the produce hasn’t had to travel far, meaning it can be sold for a cheaper price.

 

Grow your own produce

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One of the best ways to keep organic food costs down is to grow your own produce. It might sound like a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t have to be. Growing your own fruits and vegetables costs a fraction of the price it costs to buy them at the supermarket. Depending, of course, on what you choose to grow. Obviously, if you’re going to grow your own produce, it’s important to take it seriously. This means reading up on how to grow different fruits and vegetables, picking what you want to grow, and learning about the process. It also means investing in things like forks and spades, organic garden fertilizer, and perhaps even a greenhouse.

 

Take advantage of your freezer

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Lots of supermarkets now sell frozen fruits and vegetables, from spinach and sweetcorn to mango and raspberries. Instead of buying fresh, buy frozen organic produce and pop it in your freezer. This tends to work out cheaper as most frozen food is cheaper than fresh food. Another option could be to order fruits and vegetables online in bulk to cut cost and then freeze the surplus. This will help to keep food costs low. Believe it or not, going organic doesn’t have to be as difficult or costly as you would think.  

 

This is a collaborative post with Yourorganicchild.com 

Homemade Pizza Bites Made In a Cupcake Maker

Homemade Pizza Bites Made In a Cupcake Maker

 

Homemade Pizza Bites

: This is a good recipe for kids for an after school snack and perfect when you don’t want the kids to turn on the stove or oven.  I found that a cupcake maker can be used to make all sort of different things. I have made eggs in them and the kids loved them.  They come out shaped like little muffins and are easy to hold and eat.  That

recipe is here.  Anyway, I was thinking that with some fresh dough that it would be pretty easy to make little pizza bites that also are easy to hold and eat. 

I bought some fresh pizza dough from my local grocer that makes it fresh every day and some shredded mozzarella and pizza sauce. First  spray or butter the cupcake maker on the top and bottom.  Then pull a piece of dough off and smash it down flat in each cupcake spot. Put a small amount of sauce and mozzarella cheese on each piece of dough and shut the top for about 4 minutes. When you see the bottom get brown then they are done.  Most kids are that picky about their pizza so it doesn’t have to look perfect.  Below are pictures of how mine turned out.

homemade pizza bites

homemade pizza bites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before baking                                                                                                                                                 <

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished 

homemade pizza bites

homemade pizza bites