Tag - bone health

Whole Foods Spotlight: Sweet Peas

How many times did you hear, “Eat your peas!” when you were growing up? That piece of parental wisdom is definitely one to follow because sweet peas are tiny little powerhouses of nutrition. Today we share some reasons why you should put another spoonful of peas on your plate.

Packed with anti-oxidants including flavenoids, carotenoids, phenolic acid and polyphenols, peas provide protection to the immune system and protection against the effects of aging. Pisumsaponins and pisomosides, primarily found in peas, are two anti-inflammatory phytonutrients providing protection against heart disease. Also at work to keep the heart healthy? Generous levels of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6 and folate which lower homocysteine levels linked to a risk factor for heart disease.

While peas are low in fat, they are jam packed with fiber and only have 100 calories per cup making them a great choice for weight management. They contain a phytonutrient called coumestrol which has been linked to stomach cancer prevention. The high fiber content helps stave off constipation and keep the bowels running smoothly.

For optimum bone health and osteoporosis prevention, getting enough Vitamin K and B is key. Once cup of peas contains over 40% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K.

Peas are one of the best plants you can have in the garden to maintain healthy soil. The plant works with bacteria in the soil to replenish nitrogen levels. The plant easily breaks down into the soil after a crop has been harvested. They are also able to grow with minimal water, saving that valuable resource as well.

Soon after harvesting, much of their sugar content rapidly converts to starch so it’s best to consume them as soon as possible after they are picked. They can be kept in the refrigerator for two to three days, which helps to keep the sugars from turning to starch. If you are looking to freeze them for later use, blanch them for 1 to 2 minutes prior to putting them in the freezer where they can last from 6 months to a year.

Potassium and It’s Many Functions in the Human Body

Wanna hear a joke about potassium?

 

K.

 

If this one doesn’t have you laughing, think back to chemistry class and the periodic table of elements. While the symbol for potassium is a “K”, it is not the same as vitamin K. Each are essential micronutrients but potassium is not a vitamin, it’s a mineral that is used for different functions in our bodies than vitamin K. Potassium is vital for good health and today we’ve got some great reasons you should make sure you’re getting enough in your diet and why we included the mineral in re:iimmune!

Image via periodictable.com

While it is classified as a mineral, it’s also an electrolyte. These conduct electrical impulses and are important for a range of essential functions of the body including regulating blood pressure, muscle contractions, digestion and heart rhythm. It’s not produced by the body so we must be sure to include potassium rich foods in our diet such as fruits like kiwi, bananas, apricots and pineapple and vegetables like leafy greens, potatoes and carrots. The mineral can also be found in lean meats, beans, nuts and whole grains.

 

There are negative effects associated with too much potassium (hyperkalemia) including upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, mental confusion and tingling sensations in the extremities. Some drugs can cause levels to rises such as ACE-inhibitors, blood thinning agents like heparin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A severe deficiency in potassium (hypokalemia) is often associated with use of antibiotics such as penicillin, magnesium deficiency, kidney disease and overusing diuretics.

 

Most potassium ions are stored in the muscle cells. Required for the regular contraction and relaxation of muscles, it also helps keep our reflexes sharp as it stimulates the neural connectivity between the muscles and the brain. If your levels are too low, it can cause muscle cramps, spasms and weakness. Studies also show that consuming foods that have high levels promote higher mineral density in bones as it assists the body in retaining and preserving calcium.
It also assists in metabolism, helping to process nutrients like fats and carbohydrates and the synthesis of proteins positively affecting tissue regeneration and cell growth. Lack of the mineral weakens the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and can lead to abdominal pain, constipation and bloating. This is why the re:iimmune formula includes 11% of the daily value of potassium. Along with a prebiotic and probiotics for promoting healthy intestinal bacteria and L-Glutamine for repairing intestinal tissue, potassium helps to support intestinal health and optimal function!

Whole Foods Spotlight: Collard Greens

 

 

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! Bone health booster, collard greens is our focus this week!

collards

Collard greens are a cruciferous vegetable belonging to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale. This family of veggies is known for their cholesterol-lowering abilities and collard greens are the king of the family when it comes to it’s impressive means of binding to bile acids (which are made of cholesterol) in the digestive tract, making it easier for them to be excreted from the body. They are much more effective at this when cooked than when ingested raw.

Collard greens are also a rich source of vitamin K, beneficial for bone health as it helps improve calcium absorption. Which is great because collard greens are also loaded with calcium! Two cups contain over 450 mg of calcium, which is almost 90% of daily recommended intake. They are also high in folate which is one of the B vitamins necessary for red and white blood cell formation in bone marrow. It also assists in converting carbohydrates into energy and producing DNA, so it’s doubly important to increase folate intake during pregnancy, infancy and adolescence, all periods of rapid growth. In addition, collard greens are loaded with choline which assists in good restful sleep, muscle movement and memory. Collard greens also contain thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and potassium.

When purchasing collard greens, you want to look for firm, unwilted, vivid green leaves. Smaller leaves mean tenderness and milder flavor. Be sure to store them in the refrigerator to prevent wilting and bitterness and to minimize loss of nutrients. Collard greens are also relatively easy to grow. Planted in spring and fall, gardeners typically prefer fall plantings as the frost brings out sweetness in the leaves. They need fertile, well drained soil and at least 4 to 5 hours of full sun to bring out their flavor.

Black Eyed Pea Soup with Collard Greens and Sausage

Sweet Potato and Collard Green Frittata

Chicken and Collards Pilau