Bountiful Beans

We are happy to spill these beans: Whether drained, canned, frozen or fresh, these special seeds, which come in many varieties, are filled with major health-boosting benefits.  Sometimes referred to as pulses or legumes, these fiber-filled vegetables – half a cup of cooked chickpeas contains 5 grams of fiber – also pack quality protein – 7 grams in half a cup.  Did we mention beans are virtually fat-free?  The soluble and insoluble fiber in beans helps the body maintain regularity, control cholesterol levels, regulate blood glucose levels and reduces risk for certain cancers.  And, beans are a super source of potassium, folate, magnesium and thiamine.  Large-scale studies have shown that bean-eaters are less likely to be obese than their non-bean consuming peers.  All beans, from black and kidney to fava and navy are soft when cooked making them easy to eat with dentures or a tired jar.

Concerned about gassy side effects?  There is no need to be embarrassed by nature.  To calm an active gastrointestinal system, ease into bean eating with a small amount each day.  Eventually your body will adjust to the habit of consuming more fiber.  Some of Williamson chefs’ favorite ways to serve beans: In soups, salads, dips, with Mexican food and in vegetarian casseroles.

Published by Anna Bullett, MS, RD, on August 8th, 2011 at 9:00 am. Filled under: Diet,Fiber,Health,nutrition,Protein,Uncategorized,VegetablesNo Comments

5 Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Everyday

  1. Kick it off with breakfast.  Jazz up your morning hot or cold cereal by adding blueberries, sliced bananas or diced peaches.  Instead of jelly on your peanut butter smeared toast, sprinkle on some raisins.  Remember to ask for spinach and mushrooms in your scrambled eggs or omelet.
  2. Super-size it.  If there is a certain fruit or vegetable you love, don’t hesitate to ask for a double portion or second helping.  Williamson team members are always at the ready with serving spoons and smiles.
  3. Try Something New!  Choose a fruit or veggie you’ve never had before.  Go for ones with interesting colors and textures.  Reach for cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices and carrot sticks with hummus for an afternoon snack.  Or nosh on strawberries dipped in chocolate syrup.
  4. Pair up veggies with your favorite foods.  Instead of extra cheese or meat on pizza, ask for vegetable toppings like broccoli and peppers.  Add extra lettuce and extra tomato to an old-fashion BLT sandwich.
  5. Write yourself a vegetable prescription.  You would never skip a does of an important medication prescribed by your doctor, so why would you skip two of the most essential foods in your diet?  Post a brightly colored note on your bedside table or in another visible location, like on the bathroom mirror, to remind yourself of your daily goal: At least three to five ½-1 cup servings of fruits & veggies every day.
Published by Anna Bullett, MS, RD, on July 28th, 2011 at 9:00 am. Filled under: Antioxidant,Calcium,Fruit,nutrition,Vegetables1 Comment

Fabulous Fiber

People who eat a fiber-rich diet are not only less likely to become constipated; they enjoy many health benefits beyond regularity.  Fiber helps fight against heart disease, defend against diabetes, combats some cancers, aids in the lowering of cholesterol, slows digestion, helps with a weight loss diet and prevents hemorrhoids and bowel disorders.  What a list!  Despite fiber’s fundamental role in a healthy diet, most Americans only consume one-third of the daily recommended amount from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 25 – 35 grams for adults.

To make sure you are eating enough fiber, have fresh vegetables with every meal.  Choose fruit instead of juice and eat the skin (on apples, pears, peaches, etc, not on citrus).  Eat cooked lentils, peas and beans often.  Choose whole grain breads and cereals.  Start the day with oatmeal.  All of these fiber-rich options are readily available in Williamson Healthcare dinning rooms and cafes.

If you are just starting to increase you fiber intake, start slowly, add a few more grams per day until you reach the recommended intake level.  Make sure to increase your fluid intake to prevent cramping or gastric distress.

Published by Anna Bullett, MS, RD, on July 15th, 2011 at 12:00 pm. Filled under: Diet,Fruit,Health,nutrition,Vegetables,Whole GrainsNo Comments

Ease Inflammation with a Mediterranean Style Diet

The Arthritis Foundation recommends a calorie-controlled diet low in saturated fat, high in beneficial fats found in fish, olive oil and nuts and high in vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains.  If you are familiar with the healthy-fat filled Mediterranean diet, it might sound similar to the Arthritis Foundation diet recommendations.  That’s because it is.  Research has documented a connection between a Mediterranean lifestyle and lowered risk of many diseases, not to mention a longer life expectancy.  With all of the touted benefits, following the guidelines of a Mediterranean diet may be an inflammation-free step in the right direction.  Two blue-zone Mediterranean countries, Greece and Italy are home to communities with shockingly high centenarian (100+ year-olds) rates.

Mediterranean menu musts:

1. Reach for whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, barley, bulgur, quinoa, oats, rye, etc.

2. Drizzle olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil and nut oil in place of butter.

3. Dish up fish or shellfish at least 2-3 times per week.

4. Limit red and processed meat consumption to 1 time per week.

5. Nosh on fresh fruit instead of sweets and pastries for snacks and desserts.

6. Eat large amounts of vegetables and beans.

7. Make time for physical activity everyday.

Published by Anna Bullett, MS, RD, on July 12th, 2011 at 9:00 am. Filled under: Diet,Fruit,Health,nutrition,Vegetables,Whole GrainsNo Comments