Tag - potassium

Whole Foods Spotlight: Black Eyed Peas

“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! This week we focus on the protein/potassium powerhouse.  . . black eyed peas!

If you are from the southern United States, chances are you’ll have your black eyed peas on New Year’s for good luck. If you don’t know about this tradition, check out this article on americanfood.about.com . Today we want to share some of the amazing health benefits packed in this powerful little pea, which is actually a bean.

Black eyed peas are used in cuisines throughout the world. In the southern region of the United States, “Hoppin’ John” is perhaps the traditional dish folks would have on New Year’s to ensure their luck. In Portugal, black eyed peas accompany cod and potatoes. Egyptians call them “lobia” and use them in very popular rice dish cooked with garlic, onions, tomato juice and meat.  Meanwhile, in Vietnam they are used in a sweet sticky rice and coconut milk dessert called chè đậu trắng and in India they are used in many ways, including a curry made with black eyed peas and potatoes. A popular traditional street food of Brazil is called akara, which originates from Nigeria. The black eyed peas are peeled, mashed and then the paste is used to form balls which are then deep fried. They are usually served split in half and stuffed with Vatapá (a dish made of bread, shrimp, coconut milk, finely ground peanuts and palm oil mashed into a creamy paste) and a condiment called caruru which is made from okra, onion, shrimp, palm oil and peanuts or cashews. Akara is topped with diced green and red tomatoes, fried sun-dried shrimp and homemade hot sauce. There are so many delicious ways to use this simple little bean!

Not only are black eyed peas delicious, they are highly nutritious. They are packed with potassium and protein. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure which lowers your risk of heart disease and it supports muscle and bone health too. Getting cramps in your legs or feet? Foods rich in potassium are the first things to reach for. As for protein, they are a smart alternative for those who don’t eat meat. Protein supports the health of most of the parts of your body including muscles, skin, hair and nails and it also helps your cells repair and grow while providing you with energy.  Dried black-eyed peas contain 6.7 g of protein per ½ cup and the same size serving of canned black eyed peas contain 5.7 g.  Be sure to rinse canned beans of any kind to reduce sodium and to help prevent problems with flatulence. They are a great high fiber, low calorie food to rely on if you are trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

We already provided a couple of links to some seriously great black eyed pea recipes above but here are a few more very simple ways to incorporate more of this whole food into your diet. . .

Black Eyed Peas and Dill Potato Skillet

Hot Black Eyed Pea Dip

Black Eyed Pea Salad

Whole Foods Spotlight – Sweet Potatoes

“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! Today we focus on the awesome nutritional benefits of the sweet potato. . . 

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Botanically part of the Morning Glory family, the sweet potato’s origins can be traced back to Incan and pre-Incan races whose ancient pottery even show depictions of many different varieties. By the time it was introduced to European explorers, it was not found growing wild there but another member of its family “wild potato vine” or “wild sweet potato” can still be found in parts of U.S. such as Illinois and Indiana. The sweet potato was brought back to Europe before the continent was even introduced to Irish potatoes. It immediately became a rare delicacy whose popularity spread it throughout the world. The plant only produces seed in warmer tropical clients and in colder climates new plants come from planting roots or cuttings of the vines. They are a prolific producer, yielding more pounds per acre than any other plant including Irish potatoes and corn! This is good news because this tasty orange jewel provides a host of beneficial nutrients to us if included in our diet.

Potassium

Potassium rich foods, such as sweet potatoes are known for improving blood pressure control. Potassium improves kidney function, reduces blood clotting and helps to regulate the opening of blood vessels. If your doctor is concerned about blood pressure control, they may recommend increasing intake of potassium.

Iron

They are also high in iron, an essential mineral vital in producing energy in the body. Whether you are just feeling a little sluggish or are full blown anemic, adding sweet potatoes to your diet is a good idea. Iron deficiency is linked to many health issues such as impaired cognitive and immune function, problems with body temperature regulation and gastrointestinal issues.

Beta-carotene

That beautiful orange color is a signal from nature that a food is high in beta-carotene which provides Vitamin A. This is vital in maintaining and improving both retinal health and bone strength.

Get some more of the delicious sweet potato into your diet! Here are some links to a few delicious recipes. . .

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale Salad

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes