Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

As we push beyond the 40-year mark, we detect slight physical changes. Maybe eyesight isn’t as keen. We have difficulty keeping up with that two-year old grandchild, or even our teenager. What other changes draw our attention? Along with our bodies reminding us of creeping age, our brains no longer function as we would like. We notice subtle decreases in our ability to recall names of people or events. Maybe forgetting a friend’s name is far into the future, but for many, by the time 50 rolls around, remembering facts and faces could require more effort.

The 60s may send attacks of panic as we go from room-to-room and wonder why we are there. While memory losses occur with advancing years, many can be slowed and become less frequent. What can we do?

Someone recently asked me if any foods are directly related to health or disease conditions. Well, yes. Let’s start with memory (See “Part 1: Can Diet Affect Memory?” and “What’s On Your Mind?”).

An article published in Neurology on December 20, 2017 reported the effect of green leafy vegetables on the aging brain. Researchers found that one serving daily of green leafy vegetables helped slow cognitive decline―that’s thinking and remembering. For the approximately 1,000 participants over a period of almost five years, that lone serving was equivalent to being eleven years younger mentally compared to those who rarely or never ate their spinach or similar greens. However, eating greens does not guarantee slower brain aging, but it does suggest an association between the two.

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And what are the best choices? Spinach, kale, and collards seem to top the list. As a side note, if you have a yard, kale grows easily among flowers or shrubs. The curly type adds a nice touch to the landscape. Kale prefers a sunny location. Generally, plants die down during the hot summer season but revive in the fall to produce until frost. If you live in an apartment, try sowing seeds in planters or pots. You can enjoy this healthy food for salads or cooked as a vegetable serving. It’s great mixed with other types of greens or in many entrees.

Growing your own kale gives you the option of omitting pesticides and harmful chemicals. To harvest, clip or pinch stems close to the base of the plant. Within several days or a week, new leaves will produce enough for another harvest. While other green leafy vegetables are good, I find kale the easiest to grow. Before using wash thoroughly and remove any thick stems. Store in the refrigerator in a covered plastic container (not bag) for a few days. To leave in the refrigerator longer, place in a covered container and wait until ready to use before washing. This food is not only rich in antioxidants to help the brain, it is also high in vitamin A and other nutrients that are part of a healthy diet.

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While green leafy vegetables aren’t the only foods to thwart aging brains, it is one easy way. Try adding to your diet, regardless of your age. It’s worSee the source imageth a try.



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Each year media, current research, or consumer groups prompt changes in the food market. Sometimes restaurants initiate new eating trends by promoting certain foods.

I grew up with meals of mustard greens and turnip greens―both nutritious choices. Kale, unknown to me as a child, has replaced those as one of my favorite powerhouses for nutrients. A favored nutrient-loaded food of last year, newer trends in 2016 pushed kale aside. Personal food selections and exposure to new foods change how and what we eat. With shifts in taste and preferences, what can we expect for this year?

  • Food and Meal Delivery:  Not all changes involve food choices. Ranked high on the list for 2016 is how we choose to get our meals. Food delivered to our doorstep has moved beyond pizza. More companies now cater to complete menus or provide ingredient-ready versions that require minimum preparation for a home-cooked meal. For those with super busy schedules or limited cooking skills, delivered meals may be an economical choice compared to the time to shop, prepare, and purchase onetime-use ingredients that languish in cupboards until ruined or out of date.
  • Clean Food:  This unusual term means different things to different people. Consumers have become conscious of what is added to foods. Alert manufacturers now state what products don’t have. These “free-from” labels may include GMO, antibiotics, or additives. The term may also refer to high-quality protein and carbohydrate or even a reminder of local food sources.
  • Veggie Entrees:  We don’t have to be vegetarian to make vegetables a mainstay in our diet. Increasing numbers of consumers lean toward healthful dishes with vegetables at the forefront. Many of us fail to get enough vegetables in our diets. With veggies as the focal point for entrees, with or without added small portions of lean meat, it’s a win-win situation. Dishes primarily from vegetables may also cost less.
  • Beans, Beans, and More Beans: What we know as legumes are more specifically recognized as pulses. Pulses, a part of the legume family, refer only to the dried seeds. The most common ones are dried peas and beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Pulses have several nutritional advantages (high protein and fiber) and usually provide less expensive meals.
  • Spice It Up:  For several years researchers have claimed the benefits of certain spices. While they are used sparingly, they contribute to flavor while adding nutrients. Some commonly used healthful spices include black pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric.
  • From Sweet to Bitter: Consumers seem to be moving more toward bitter vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and collard greens. Expect these vegetables to be touted this year, especially in restaurants.
  • Less Pasta:  This popular food has waned in favor. Manufactures report reduced sales and revenue from pasta products.

What will you eat this year? You can choose to follow emerging trends or not. Whether you do or don’t, the best option during 2016 is to choose more nutritious foods and diets.

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