Winter Vegetable Casserole

by Health News

Are you looking for tips on how to eat healthy during the holidays or a seasonal side dish that’s out of the ordinary and also really good for you? This recipe makes the most of the season’s natural bounty and is a nice deviation from the standard stand-alone vegetable side dish or salad. It’s only 218 calories per serving and offers a healthy 5 grams each of fiber and protein to boot!

How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays - Vegetable Casserole


  • Cooking spray
  • 1½ potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1½ sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup turnips, sliced
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1½ cups low-fat milk


Spray 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

Clean, peel, and slice potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and turnips; combine. Chop onions and set aside.

In small saucepan, melt butter; add flour, salt, and pepper to make a roux. Gradually stir in milk, cooking over low heat; stir well with wire whisk.

Bring milk to a boil, stirring constantly until milk has thickened into a sauce, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Arrange ½ of sliced vegetables in casserole dish; top with ½ of chopped onion and white sauce; repeat to make second layer. Cover and cook at 350°F for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until all vegetables are tender, about 60–70 minutes.

Let casserole stand 10 minutes before serving.

Healthy vegetable dishes like this casserole are an excellent choice if you are looking for delicious ways of how to eat healthy during the holidays.
What are some of your favorite winter recipes and “how-to” tips for eating healthy during the holidays?


7 Tips For Becoming An Effective Plant Eater

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Health experts agree - one of the best things you can do to be healthy, look good and live a long life is to eat as much fresh plant-based food as possible.

7 Tips For Becoming A Plant Eater | Institute for Vibrant Living

However, it takes some practice to get good at eating a balanced plant-based diet. Here are some tips to start feeling, looking and living well right away -

  1. Do stray from recipes. There is no need to follow recipes all the time. When you eat mostly plants, you need to first learn how you like your plants cooked - or uncooked if you like them raw. Once you figure out how you like your fruits and veggies prepared - be it fresh salad greens, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed onions or boiled edamame - and you learn how to whip up a simple yet delicious dressing, putting together a plant-based meal becomes very simple.
  2. When grocery shopping, spend most of your time in the produce aisle. Fresh produce has a shorter shelf life than canned and frozen foods. An effective plant-eater typically makes short but frequent stops to pick up fresh greens, a bag of lemons or a handful of avocados.
  3. Never stray too far from a blender. A green smoothie or a green juice is a highly effective way of getting all the nutrition from plant-based foods, and they’re easy to make.
  4. Create meals by colors. Plant-based eaters decorate their plates by color, making it simpler to create a balanced meal. They instinctively know when their mostly green plate needs something orange or their very yellow plate needs some purple.
  5. Eat out of one big bowl for all three meals. For instance, breakfast might contain protein (Quinoa), moisture (fresh almond milk), texture (chopped walnuts), fresh produce (blueberries and bananas) and fun flavors (cinnamon and agave).
  6. Get greens at every meal. An effective plant-eater feels something is missing when there are no greens in their food. Whether it’s a smoothie or a side of steamed vegetables, make sure there’s always leafy greens involved.
  7. Plan ahead, whether ensuring your pantry is fully stocked on a regular basis, previewing a restaurant menu or packing snacks for your travels. Effective plant-based eaters ensure they control their food circumstances, rather than letting circumstances control their diet.

If you’re thinking right now that eating greens at every meal is a lot to ask in terms of planning and preparation - then we have just the solution for you!

Just one tablespoon of IVL’s All Day Energy Greens mixed in water makes a delicious and refreshing beverage that exceeds the nutritional equivalent of five servings of vegetables and fruits, with far fewer calories and carbohydrates to boot.

All Day Energy Greens gives your body an instant energy boost because it is easy to digest and your body gets all the nutrients it needs for the day - so why not order IVL’s All Day Energy Greens today?

Source: Seven Tips For Becoming An Effective Plant Eater.   


Healthy Recipe: Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

by Nancy Maneely

There are so many great things about this recipe, it’s hard to know where to begin!

Healthy Recipe: Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad | Institute for Vibrant LivingThe basics are lean, high-protein chicken breast and one of our favorite nutritional superfoods, spinach. The fats, which you can adjust to your taste and dietary preference, consist of just enough oil to sauté the chicken and a little mayo or yogurt for the dressing. Strawberries bring additional antioxidant-rich nutrients, as well as color and flavor. Toss in some almonds for essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and heart-healthy phytochemicals. And, the lime juice, garlic, ginger and black pepper not only contribute unbeatable flavors to this wonderful salad, they provide an extra antioxidant boost as well!

This is a tasty summertime treat your whole family will love. And not even the kids will suspect your real motive for serving this is to offer them a healthy alternative to fat and sugar laden, overprocessed meals. 


  • 2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or yogurt)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 4 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in skillet, season with garlic powder and cook 10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, lime juice, ginger and milk.

3. Arrange spinach on serving dishes. Top with chicken and strawberries, sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with dressing. Season with pepper to serve.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 242
Total Fat: 17.3g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Sodium: 117mg
Total Carbs: 7.5g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4g
Protein: 15.8 grams

Source: Allrecipes.com



Healthy Recipes: Brain-Boosting Berry Salad

by Nancy Maneely

One of the best things about summer is looking forward to the bounty of fresh berries. Whether you grow them in your garden or harvest them at the grocery store, it’s the time of year to enjoy them in quantity at lower Healthy Recipes | Superfoods | Institute for Vibrant Livingprices.

Two of our favorites, blueberries and strawberries, recently made news headlines with a study that found that they are brain-boosting superfoods!

Blueberries and strawberries, which are high in flavonoids, appear to reduce cognitive decline in older adults, according to a study recently published in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society. The researchers reported that cognitive aging could be delayed by up to 2½ years in elderly who consume greater amounts of the flavonoid-rich berries.

Flavonoids are compounds in plants that contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Health experts say stress and inflammation contribute to cognitive impairment, and increasing consumption of flavonoids could alleviate the harmful effects.

Fruit salads are always enhanced with the addition of fresh berries. But if you to really power up those brain cells, try this berries-only fruit salad. Serve as an appetizer, summer side dish or dessert. Whether served alone in elegant stemware glasses or with your favorite shortcake recipe, it’s a can’t-miss combination.


  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Mix strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries together in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar.  Delicious just like this – you simply can’t go wrong with this combination of berries! Or, for a special treat, drizzle with a high quality balsamic vinegar, toss and let rest for a few minutes. Then serve over vanilla bean ice cream or frozen yogurt.

What is your favorite way to enjoy fresh berries?

Science Daily: Eating more berries may reduce cognitive decline in the elderly



Top 5 Supplements to Add To Your Smoothie

by Health News

There are a variety of vitamin supplements that can be added to smoothies that have all sorts of healthy properties. These ingredients can all be purchased at your local whole foods store or through natural supplement websites. 

  1. Brewers Yeast: A great source of selenium, chromium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, copper, manganese, iron, and zinc.
  2. Bee Pollen: Contains high concentrations of vitamin B-complex and vitamins A, C, D, and E.
  3. Green Tea Powder: The potent antioxidants in green tea have been said to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol.
  4. Spirulina: Contains over 60% all-digestible vegetable protein with a high concentration of beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron and GLA, an essential fatty acid.
  5. Wheat Germ Oil: A rich source of vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

Top 5 Supplements to Add To Your Smoothie

Check out this smoothie recipe, which offers a healthy and tasty balance of protein and carbohydrates to keep your engine running throughout the day! Bananas, which are an excellent source of potassium, dietary fiber and Vitamin B6, provide a rich and creamy base, and soy milk is a great source of isoflavones which aid in the prevention of many cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.


  • Place all ingredients in a blender:
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced
  • 2 scoops vanilla soy protein powder
  • 1/2 cup chunked cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup chunked canned or fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk

Place lid on blender, and pulse until ingredients begin to mix. Set blender on "blend" for about 30 seconds and then move to "ice crush" or your highest blending button for 20 to 30 more seconds. Pour, and enjoy this quick and healthful smoothie – a taste of the tropics!


Top Health Tips for a Healthy Heart

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you know, diet plays a huge role in determining if your blood pressure levels are normal or frighteningly high. If you have read about blood pressure, then you know that the best diet for blood pressure is an alkaline diet that mirrors the Mediterranean style of eating.

Basically, that includes low- to moderate-acid fruits and vegetables, fish, lean protein, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and some dairy. Pretty straight-forward, right?

But did you know that there are also three really fun—and in one case, downright exotic—foods that have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure levels. These include chocolate, hibiscus tea, and beets.

Download our FREE Healthy Heart Tips and learn more about how adding chocolate, hibiscus tea and beets to your diet can help keep your heart healthy.

Free Heart Health Tips

Additional heart health tips:

Limit Unhealthy Fats
Saturated fats and trans fats are the cause of raised cholesterol which in turn causes a build-up of plaque in your arteries – the cause of heart attacks. Every packaged food shows its exact content on the label so you can start to learn which products to avoid. 
Butter, margarine, cream and shortening are high in saturated and trans fats, and anything made from them such as pastry, cookies, gravy, cream-based sauces and fried foods. Substitute butter with a low-fat substitute and choose monounsaturated fats such as canola oil or olive oil for cooking, in moderation.
Choose Low-Fat Protein
Protein is essential for a healthy body, but cut out the fatty options. Substitute fatty meat, beef burgers and processed meat products such as sausages with low fat options such as chicken breast, lean ground meats or soy products. Fish is heart healthy as oily fish has omega-3 fatty acids which actually lower blood fats called triglycerides. Change to low-fat milk and use egg whites or egg substitute in place of cholesterol-laden egg yolks.
Eat More Fresh Vegetable and Fruit
Bulky and high in vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fresh fruit are a good source of dietary fiber. Raw vegetable croutons or fresh fruit make it easy to have a heart-healthy snack. Stir-fry vegetables and fruit salad made with a little sugar-free apple juice make an excellent meal or dessert in themselves. The things to avoid are high sodium canned vegetables, fried vegetables, canned fruit in syrup and fruit with sugar added.
Reduce Salt (Sodium)
Sodium has been found to cause high blood pressure which raises the risk for heart disease. The recommended daily maximum intake is 2,300 mg which is about a teaspoonful. Few of us add that much salt at the table, but salt is present in many processed foods. Canned soups, prepared meals and savory snacks, nuts and chips are very high in sodium so check the label and restrict your intake accordingly. Buy reduced sodium versions of salt, soy sauce and canned soups where possible.
Substitution rather than total abstinence is the best way to tackle your new heart healthy diet. Choose whole grain bread, flour, rice and cereal rather than refined “white” products which have had all the fiber and goodness processed out. Whole grains help regulate healthy blood pressure which leads to a healthy heart. Pies, cakes, corn bread, doughnuts, buttered popcorn and high-fat crackers should be a very rare treat for those serious about keeping their heart healthy. 

What are the Best Recipes to Keep Your Heart Healthy

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Your diet can make or break your best health intentions. And this is especially true when it comes to your blood pressure

If you are eating an inflammatory, acidic, highly processed, sugar-laden, salt-filled diet, then medications and even supplements will only hold you over for so long. Soon, you’ll need to either up your dosage, take it more frequently, or start adding in prescription after prescription just to offset your damaging diet.

Fortunately, the reverse is also true. If you clean up your diet and choose foods that are alkaline rather than acid, rich in antioxidants and fiber, and low in sodium, then you can not only work to get off medications, you may be able to maintain healthy blood pressure levels for life. And, best of all, the solutions can be downright delicious!

To help you lower your blood pressure naturally and delectably, download and try these heart-healthy recipes.They all boast high antioxidant levels, amazing amounts of fiber, powerful anti-inflammatory oils and spices, and low to no sodium. 

Heart Healthy Recipes 



National Pie Day. What is your favorite kind of pie?

by Health News
Today take advantage of National Pie Day and make a decadent crustless, sugar-free pumpkin pie. Not only can you indulge guilt-free, but the cinnamon and cloves have even been shown to boost your sex life. 
Healthy Recipe Crustless Pumpkin Pie | National Pie Day
Crustless Pumpkin Pie   
Serves 8   
 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk   
1/2 Truvia or powdered stevia   
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon   
1 teaspoon ground ginger   
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves   
1/4 teaspoon salt   
3 large eggs  
15 ounces canned pumpkin puree  
1/4 cup ground flaxseed  
1/3 cup raw walnuts, chopped   
1 teaspoon safflower oil   
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon   
1/2 teaspoon stevia   
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Coat 9" pie plate with coconut oil and set aside   
  3. Mix almond milk through flaxseed in large bowl and mix well. Pour into pie plate.   
  4. In small bowl, combine walnuts, safflower oil, cinnamon, and stevia.
  5. Stir until the walnuts are well coated.   
  6. Sprinkle walnut mixture over pumpkin and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.   
  7. Let cool for one hour, then cover and chill overnight. 

Happy Hot Head Chili Day!

by Health News
Happy Hot Head Chili Day! What a great opportunity to try a vegetarian option. Toss in inflammation-fighting cayenne pepper and blood sugar-lowering cinnamon and you have a meal that is healthy AND delicious.
Hot Head Chili Day Vegetarian Chilli
Bean-There Chili   
Serves 4   
2 tablespoons olive oil   
2 onions, chopped   
1 carrot, chopped   
2 red peppers, chopped   
1 tablespoon garlic, minced   
24-ounce can kidney beans   
12-ounce can black beans   
2 teaspoons cinnamon   
1 tablespoon chili powder   
2 teaspoons cumin   
2 teaspoons oregano   
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg   
1 cinnamon stick   
1 teaspoon sea salt   
1 teaspoon pepper   
2 cans low sodium tomatoes, chopped and undrained   
1. Saute onion, carrot, pepper, and garlic in olive oil. Cook until all vegetables are soft.
2. Add beans and cook five minutes.   
3. Add cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon stick and cook 2-3 minutes.
4. Add salt, pepper, and tomatoes and simmer 45 minutes.   
5. Serve warm.   

Top 3 Mocktails Recipes

by Health News
Top 3 Mocktails RecipesOne of the easiest habits is to have a stash of delicious "mocktails" to enjoy when you want to relax and unwind without undoing all your healthy choices.


Virgin Mary   

  • 1 cup low-sodium spicy V8 juice   
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce   
  • 2 dashes celery salt   
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice   
  • dash hot sauce   
Instructions: 1. Mix well and serve over ice. Garnish with a celery stalk.
Kissing on the Beach   
  • 1/3 cup mango puree   
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice   
  • 1/3 cup orange juice   
  • 1/3 cup mineral water   
  • ice   
 Instructions: 1. Blend well in a blender and serve in margarita glass. Garnish with orange wedge and mango.
 Lemon Drop Faux-Tini   
  • 1 cup mineral water   
  • 1 dropperful liquid lemon stevia   
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice   
 Instructions:  1. Shake well and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Heart Healthy Recipes

by Health News
When it comes to heart health, you cannot do much better than omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Omega-3s help promote optimal blood flow, blood pressure, and coagulability or "thickness" of the blood, while studies have shown a stunning 29 percent reduction in heart disease for every 10-gram increase in fiber.
Fortunatly, you can benefit from both of these nutrients in one delicious meal. Not only is this salad packed with heart-healthy omega-3s, but it is also has natural, plant-based fiber. Heart Healthy Recipes
Salmon Salad
Serves 2
2 grilled fresh salmon steaks (about 4 ounces each), sliced into 1/2” thick slices
2 cups romaine lettuce torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, divided
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 pound fresh green beans, cooked
2–3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
10–20 small black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  1. Place lettuce in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar. 
  2. Portion the dressed lettuce and tomato slices onto two large plates. 
  3. Toss green beans with other 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar. 
  4. Place egg slices around outer rim of plates and green beans in the center. 
  5. Top with salmon slices and chopped olives. 

Low GI Recipe: Grandma Ginny's Granola

by Health News

Whole grains and raw nuts and seeds are a mainstay for great digestion. However, there’s only so many slices of bread, servings Low GI Recipe: Grandma Ginny's Granola | Institute for Vibrant Livingof rice, or handfuls of walnuts a person can consume.

Fortunately, you can get all the amazing benefits of whole grains with Grandma Ginny’s Granola. In addition to oatmeal and flaxseed, this recipe also boasts fiber-rich coconut and currants.

Grandma Ginny's Granola

Serves 20

  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • 2 cups soy flour
  • 1 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, raw
  • 1 cup coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 cup flaxseed, ground
  • 2/3 cup currants
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease 13x9-inch baking dish.
  3. Combine oats, flour, almonds, sunflower seed, coconut, flaxseed, and currants in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine oil, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour over oat mixture and blend well.
  5. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes or until browned. Stir mixture every 10-15 minutes.          
  6. Cool on baking rack. Can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.


Other healthy recipes for you to try:

Natural Recipes: Anise Cookies with Pignoli

Healthy Recipes: Oatmeal with Sautéed Apples

Healthy Recipes: Bilberry Maple Cornbread Muffins

Healthy Recipe: Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry

Healthy Recipes: Chholar Dal


Are You At Risk For Osteoporosis?

by Health News

Nearly nine million US adults suffer from osteoporosis, while more than 48 million have low bone mass - placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones.

Which can you do to lower your risk? You can protect your bones by trying a new bone healthy recipe or adding a new exercise to your regular routine.

The first and most important thing is to be aware of the factors that increase your risk for osteoporosis, which include but are not limited to:

  • Gender - women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.Osteoporosis Risk Factors
  • Age - the older you are, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Race - you're at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you're white or of Asian descent.
  •  Family history - having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk.
  • Frame size - people with small body frames are at higher risk because they have less bone mass to draw from as they grow older.
  • Hormone levels - osteoporosis is more common in people who have too much or too little of certain hormones. For example, reduction of estrogen levels at menopause is one of the strongest risk factors for osteoporosis. Similarly, men experience a reduction in testosterone as they age, which weakens bone.
  • Thyroid problems - if your thyroid is overactive or if you take thyroid hormone medication, you may experience bone loss.
  • Dietary factors - osteoporosis is more likely to occur with low calcium intake, which contributes to reduced bone density, bone loss and a greater risk of fractures. So always make sure you consume enough calcium, vitamin D, lean protein, fruits and veggies and healthy fats in your diet to keep your bones strong and healthy.  
  •  Eating disorders - people with anorexia are at higher risk.
  • Gastrointestinal surgery - reduction in stomach size or a bypass or removal of part of the intestine limits the amount of surface area available to absorb nutrients, including calcium.
  • Sedentary lifestyle - lack of sufficient movement and exercise raises risk, while any weight-bearing exercise is beneficial, such as walking, running, jumping, dancing and weightlifting. Health experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes or more 5 days every week for overall health and lowered risk for many diseases, including osteoporosis.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption - regular consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks a day raises osteoporosis risk, likely because alcohol interferes with calcium absorption.

If you have any further questions about your risk for osteoporosis, consult your physician or healthcare giver - in the meantime, you can work on reducing your risk by altering your lifestyle habits as described above.

Other blog posts that might be of intrest:

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Protecting Your Bones

Natural Health Solutions: Eating to Prevent Osteoporosis

Natural Supplements and Vitamins: Why They Are Important


What is Your Osteoporosis Risk?


ADHD Diets for Children - Top 10 Foods

by Health News

Do diets help children with ADHD?

Children’s brains grow and change dramatically during their formative years - and what they eat affects their brain development and cognitive skills. Here are some brain-healthy foods that can help your kids stay sharp while also benefiting their brain development:

ADHD Diets for Children

Eggs - are rich in protein and contain important nutrients such as choline, omega-3 fats, zinc, and lutein, which help your kids concentrate better. Combine with whole-grain breads or tortillas for a satisfying meal.

Greek yogurt - fat is important for brain health. A full-fat yogurt keeps your child’s brain cell membranes flexible, efficient and active. Combine with fiber and colorful fruits like strawberries and blueberries for a healthy snack.

Greens - full of folate and vitamins, greens like spinach and kale lower odds of getting dementia later in life. You can either whip these greens into smoothies or add them to soups and omelets; or simply sauté them for dinner drizzled with a little olive oil - which helps your body absorb vitamins.

Purple cauliflower - low in sugar, high in fiber, and full of folate and vitamin B6 that manage mood, memory and attention, purple cauliflower also contains inflammation-fighting nutrients. Add as a component to stir-fries or roast and puree to make a nutritious dipping sauce for carrots and other veggies such as peppers, celery, and radishes.

Fish - cold-water oily fish are an excellent source of vitamin D and omega-3s, which protect your child’s brain against cognitive decline and memory loss. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all rich in omega-3s. The simplest way to prepare fish is to grill, or roast it with herbs and spices.

Clean, lean meat - animal fat is where pesticides and antibiotics accumulate, which can contribute to brain fog. For better behavior and focus in your child, choose lean, grass-fed meats free of artificial ingredients, dyes, flavoring, preservatives and sweeteners.

Nuts and seeds - packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, nuts and seeds boost your child’s mood and keep his or her nervous system working well. To get the full benefits of seeds, spread sunflower seed butter - rich in folate, vitamin E, and selenium - on a whole-grain cracker or bread. Or make pesto by combining nuts with olive oil and dark leafy greens to make a healthy sauce with whole-grain pasta. You can also simply lightly sauté them in olive oil and add to salads.

Oatmeal - protein- and fiber-rich oatmeal helps keep your child’s heart and brain arteries clear. In one study, kids who consumed sweetened oatmeal performed better on memory-related tasks than those who ate sugary cereal. For extra flavor, add cinnamon - which has been shown to protect brain cells.

Apples and plums - satisfy your child’s sweet tooth and also contain quercetin, an antioxidant that fights cognitive decline. Always buy organic and wash well.

Turmeric - the compound curcumin in turmeric can actually help your child’s brain grow. In fact, studies show curcumin fights inflammation and blocks Alzheimer's plaque formation. Visit an Indian restaurant or experiment with Indian recipes.

Another blog post that might be of interest to you: Brain Foods: How To Concentrate Better 


Top 10 Brain Foods for Kids.


Can Heart Attack Risk Factors Be Lowered By A Mediterranean Diet?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet uses olive oil for cooking and is typically rich in fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grain bread and unrefined cereals. Dairy products, eggs, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, with little or no red meat and moderate consumption of wine.


Combined with a healthy lifestyle - increased physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption and not smoking - this diet has previously been shown to lower death rates caused by heart disease. 

Further, the Lyon Diet Heart Study tested the effectiveness of a Mediterranean-type diet in people who had already suffered a first heart attack. During a 4-year follow up period, patients following this diet showed an amazing 50-70% reduction in their risk of recurrent heart disease.

Now the results of the PREDIMED study, aimed at assessing how effectively the Mediterranean diet prevents heart disease, show that when supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or tree nuts it reduces the risk of death by heart attack, myocardial infarction or stroke by 30 percent.

A total of 7,447 people with major risk factors for heart disease participated in this new study. They were divided into three groups: those who consumed either a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts), or a low-fat diet.

A dietician visited the patients every three months, who also attended dietary training group sessions. Moreover, they were provided with shopping lists, menus and recipes adapted to each type of diet and each season of the year.

Participants who followed the two types of Mediterranean diet freely received either extra-virgin olive oil up to one liter per week or 30 grams of nuts every day. After five years, those who followed the two types of Mediterranean diet both showed a significant reduction in their risk of risk of death by heart attack, myocardial infarction or stroke.

These results are both novel and promising because they prove that a high-vegetable fat diet is healthier for the cardiovascular system than a low-fat diet.

Maybe it’s time you added extra-virgin olive oil and nuts to your diet? What is your favorite Mediterranean recipe?



Smart Choices in Seafood: Benefits vs. Risks

by Nancy Maneely

If you want to gain the health benefits of fish, the experts recommend eating at least three servings a week. But what about the risk of mercury and other toxins contained in some kinds of seafood?

You shouldn’t worry if you avoid eating fish with high levels of pollutants, because the benefits far outweigh the risks, according to a group of researchers at Umea University in Sweden who reported their findings recently after years of weighing the risks of mercury content against the advantages of healthful fatty acids.

Seafood contaminants include metals (such as mercury, which affects brain function and development), industrial chemicals (PCBs and dioxins) and pesticides (DDT). These toxins are most often found on land and make their way into the ocean food chain through the smallest plants and animals. Then, as the smaller species are consumed by larger ones, these pollutants are concentrated. That’s why large predatory fish, like shark and swordfish, end up with the most toxins.

We can minimize the risks by making smart seafood choices. One of the best resources for information is the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, which has identified seafood that is "Super Green," meaning that it is good for human health and does not harm the oceans. The Super Green list highlights products that are currently on the Seafood Watch "Best Choices" (green) list, are low in environmental contaminants and are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

As an example, take canned tuna – one of the most popular fish consumed in the United States. Media reports have caused much confusion about the safety of eating canned tuna due to varying levels of mercury. Here’s what Environmental Defense, a partner organization with Seafood Watch, has to say on the subject:

The two most popular types of canned tuna – white and light – vary greatly in their average mercury content. Overall, it’s best to exercise caution in how much tuna you (or especially your children) consume.

  • Canned white tuna consists of albacore, a large species of tuna that accumulates moderate amounts of mercury, but it also contains high levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Therefore, Environmental Defense recommends that both adults and children limit their consumption of canned white tuna.
  • Canned light tuna usually consists of skipjack, a smaller species with approximately one-third the mercury levels of albacore. Therefore, it is generally recommended only that young children (ages 0-6) limit their consumption of canned light tuna.

The following fish varieties constitute the healthy “Super Green List”:

  • Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
  • Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
  • Rainbow Trout (farmed)
  • Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)


Other Healthy "Best Choices" include:

  • Arctic Char (farmed)
  • Barramundi (farmed, from the U.S.)
  • Dungeness Crab (wild-caught, from California, Oregon or Washington)
  • Longfin Squid (wild-caught, from the U.S. Atlantic)
  • Mussels (farmed)

Do you have a favorite recipe for a fish from the “Super Green List”?


Science Daily
Monterey Bay Seafood Watch
Environmental Defense


5 Tips to Avoiding Memory Loss

by Health News

5 Tips to Avoiding Memory LossThere are proactive ways to enhance the memory.  Simple, healthy changes in lifestyle can have a positive impact on brain health.  Take a look at these five easy tips to avoiding memory loss.

Exercise the brain.  To challenge the mind and enhance memory skills, play board games that involve strategy; do word, number or jigsaw puzzles; read; try new recipes; learn a foreign language or take up a musical instrument.

Eat a healthy diet, and stay hydrated.  Adequate nutrition can go a long way toward preventing memory loss.  Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are high in brain-boosting antioxidants.  Foods rich in omega-3 fats, like salmon, walnuts and flaxseed are also good for the brain.  Avoid high saturated and trans fat content, which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of stroke. 

Make sure to consume six to eight glasses of pure water daily.  Aging adults are especially prone to dehydration, which left unchecked can cause confusion, drowsiness, memory loss, and other dementia-like symptoms.

Control alcohol intake.  Excessive alcohol can be poisonous to brain cells and cause temporary memory loss.  Alcohol abuse can also raise the risk of dementia over time.  Health experts suggest a limit of one to two drinks for daily alcohol intake.

Get plenty of sleep.  Lack of sleep affects memory consolidation, which refers to the process of forming and storing new memories.  Limited sleep can also inhibit the growth of new neurons in the brain, cause memory loss, disturb concentration and affect the ability to make decisions.

Don’t smoke.  Smoking can cause constriction in the arteries, preventing the delivery of oxygen to the brain. This can increase memory loss and the risk of stroke.


10 Superfoods For The Holidays

by Nancy Maneely

Superfoods Health Recipes HolidayWhen you’re a kid, the holidays are a time to anticipate Santa, toys and treats. But let’s face it: Most of us grownups are looking forward to the food! This is THE time of year when indulgence is permissible – even expected.

While a certain amount of gastronomic revelry is OK, remember to indulge in small portions or you will pay the price after the New Year. And sampling foods that would be off-limits any other time of year is fine, too, within limits.

Still, there’s no reason to skip smart, healthy food choices when they can be part of your seasonally scrumptious menus. Here are the nutritional superfoods that deserve a place of honor at your holiday table.

  1. Sweet Potatoes – These contain Vitamin A as beta-carotene, more than any other fruit or vegetable ... plus, a unique combination of heart healthy nutrients: potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C.
  2. Cranberries – High in overall antioxidant capacity per gram. One cup contains up to 18% of the recommended Daily Value of fiber, 20% manganese and 18% Vitamin C.
  3. Pumpkin  – Your favorite squash pie packs a healthy dose of Vitamin A as beta-carotene, as well as the eye-healthy phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin.
  4. Tangerines and Apples – Add some to your salad! They contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps you feel fuller and may protect your heart by supporting healthy blood cholesterol levels.
  5. Nuts – Make your green beans almondine! Sprinkle walnuts over your salad or dessert! Walnuts, almonds and other nuts contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids: They help lower your cholesterol when eaten as part of a balanced diet. Add them to recipes, and leave a bowl of whole nuts (along with a festive nutcracker) on display for holiday guests.
  6. Wild Rice, Quinoa – If you are feeling adventurous, substitute these protein-rich whole grains for bread in stuffing. Here’s a great recipe from the Mayo Clinic staff.
  7. Carrots – With a simple yogurt dip, these will be a hit with all ages. Rich in beta-carotene, a sweet/savory side dish featuring carrots (add a little lemon juice, salt, butter and sugar substitute) will add color and nutrition to your holiday table.
  8. Acorn Squash – A good source of Vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. Cut in half, bake add a dash of maple syrup and sprinkle with crushed nuts.
  9. Cauliflower and broccoli – High in Vitamin C, low in calories, these cruciferous vegetables also contain compounds known as isothiocyanates, which inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Broccoli is also high in beta-carotene and calcium.
  10. Red Wine – Polyphenols, specifically the antioxidant resveratrol, support heart health. If you drink alcohol, health experts recommend limiting yourself to moderate levels (a glass or two a day). 

Healthy Recipes: Oatmeal with Sautéed Apples

by Nancy Maneely

Healthy Recipes: Oatmeal with Sautéed ApplesHow do you like your oatmeal? Growing up, I knew only the boxed oats made with water. We were invited to add a little milk or sugar to our taste so, being kids, that meant drowning it in milk and adding a ton of sugar!

No wonder I grew up with a dislike of oatmeal.

When I had my own kids, I revisited the oatmeal situation. Steel-cut oats made for a chewier, more interesting mouth texture. But they took so long to cook, I found myself keeping the old boxed oats in the pantry for those in-a-hurry mornings. I’d keep lots of fruit on hand – berries (in season), bananas, apples. Brown sugar is wonderful and beats the white sugar of my childhood hands-down. Maple syrup, yum.

Then I came across this recipe from Slate.com and realized I had been doing it wrong. Cooking the oatmeal with some milk (in addition to water) really does result in a creamier texture and taste. And sautéing the apples in a little butter and brown sugar … wow! So much more “comfort-foody” than raw fruit.

So, make your tummy happy by following this recipe on a cold fall or winter morning. Oats are a high protein, fiber rich, heart healthy food – a smart choice for breakfast no matter how you like it. 

Oatmeal With Sautéed Apples
Yield: 2 or 3 servings
Time: 15 minutes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or omega-3 butter substitute like Smart Balance spread)
4 medium apples, thinly sliced
1½ cups rolled oats
1½ cups milk
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus more for serving

1. Put the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it melts, add the apples and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, put the oats, milk, and cinnamon in a medium pot with a pinch of salt and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oats are tender and the mixture is creamy and thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat, and stir in the vanilla.

3. When the apples are tender, add the 2 tablespoons brown sugar and stir just until it melts, about 1 minute. Serve the oatmeal topped with the apples and additional brown sugar, if you like.

What's your favorite way to enjoy oatmeal?



Natural Ways to Prevent Cold and Flu

by Nancy Maneely

Natural Ways to Prevent Cold and FluAs flu season approaches, it’s a good time to assess your overall health regimen and adopt protective measures. The cold winter months are a time when we spend more hours indoors, surrounded by friends, family, schoolmates and co-workers with their myriad germs. Our exposure to sunshine often is diminished, which effectively depletes our body’s natural Vitamin D defenses.

Aside from frequent hand washing – recommended by health experts everywhere – there are steps you can take to support your body’s immune system in its constant battle against viruses and bacteria. Here are some suggestions:

Clean your stuff – Doctors and other health professionals know how important this is in preventing the spread of germs. Use an alcohol-based cleaning agent to clean surfaces you and your family frequently touch: doorknobs, countertops, faucet handles, kitchen appliances, cell phones, the TV remote. At work, make it a daily ritual to clean your computer keyboard, phone, and desktop.

Eat more onion and garlic – Both are rich in antioxidants and selenium, members of the Allium family known for its health-promoting effects. Garlic contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, so add it to your recipes in abundance. Supplements are a good idea, too.

Keep your head clear – Healthy mucus membranes and mucus flow help your body flush toxins. When your sinuses and throat feel dry, they’re more likely to attract and harbor nasty microscopic invaders. Avoid treating a stuffed nose with nasal sprays, which tend to dry delicate tissues (you can use a saline spray or flush with a neti pot containing a saline solution). Make good old-fashioned chicken soup a mainstay of your winter menu. Researchers are discovering what grandma suspected all along – the ingredients in chicken soup (stock, carrot, onion, and celery) might actually have a medicinal effect on the body’s immune system.

Get plenty of exercise – Just because it’s cold outside, that’s no excuse for cutting out your workout sessions. Exercise boosts the immune system by clearing out the lymph system. It also boosts mood which is a protective factor in the prevention of illness.

Cut down on sugar – Just a few grams can diminish your white blood cells’ ability to resist infections for several hours. If you must sweeten your food and beverages, choose stevia.

Sleep better – Keep your body’s melatonin levels in balance with regular, good quality sleep. The immune system works best when the body is well rested.

Keep stress levels in check – Another way to wreak havoc with your immune system is to walk around with high levels of stress and anxiety. Practice a few minutes of deep breathing several times a day. Laugh more. Play with your pet. Start and end your day with a brief meditation – there are many good books and CDs that will help you.

Helpful supplementsProbiotics attack pathogenic bacteria and support your body’s white cells in their reaction to invaders. Vitamin D3 will help balance appropriate levels to support immune system function. Echinacea and zinc help protect against colds. And Vitamin C is an essential year-round immune system booster.

What is your favorite tip for keeping winter colds and flu at bay?

Natural Society