Sharing a post
from my friend Judith Mabel @ Nutrition Boston
February Nutrition Boston Newsletter
What is the connection between February and chocolates? If you guessed that you get chocolates mainly on Valentine’s Day, you have one possible answer. In addition, February is Heart Health Month, and chocolate can be very good for your heart’s health. OMG, did I say that chocolate is a health food? Absolutely. A new study from Harvard examined the chocolate-eating habits of over 31,000 Swedish women and concluded that women who consumed an average of one to two servings of high-quality chocolate per week were at 32% lower risk of developing heart failure. Scientists believe that the flavenoids in chocolate help the heart pump blood more smoothly. So if you got chocolates for Valentine’s Day, go ahead and enjoy it, but ask for dark chocolate. The higher the cocoa content the more good compounds are in it. If it tastes bitter, start with a lower percent of cocoa and build up. Look for 60- or 70-percent cocoa which should provide all the flavanols you need plus taste as sweet and delicious as you expect chocolate to taste. And what is the perfect “dose?” Not as much as some of us would like, maybe only a square or 2 a day.
Other non-food treats can be a gift certificate to a massage, facial or manicure. And of course flowers are never out of style.
How are the resolutions going? Mine are doing pretty well. I got “back on the wagon” after the holidays and am working on making my new behaviors permanent, as I do with my clients. Here are a few foods I really like on a healthy food program.
Nuts: Nuts should be a staple of a weight controlling food plan. Some people are stuck in the thinking that nuts have a lot of fat and fats are fattening. Well, not true. Nuts have the good omega-3 fats, and this has been shown to reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A small handful (1 to 1 ½ ounces) every other day is fine.
Berries: One of my all-time favorites, berries have phytonutrients which can fight cancer, And they are low in calories. They are great in cereals, shakes, salads and desserts.
Kale: There is a neighbor down my street who grows some veggies on the sidewalk where many people walk by. When I get there later in the day, the tomatoes are gone, but the kale is plentiful. It gets no respect, but I am thrilled to have it!! It’s rich in potent cancer fighting substances called indoles, and loaded with bone-building vitamin K. Kale also contains sulforaphane, a powerful nutrient that helps the liver detoxify carcinogens and other toxins. Kale has the highest antioxidant rating of any vegetable and is ridiculously low in calories.Try it tossed with olive oil, garlic, a few dried cranberries and some pine nuts.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT:
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood flowing against artery walls.If this pressure is too high, a person can be at risk for a heart attack or a stroke.
Regular check-ups with your physician are the best way to keep track of your blood pressure. There are no symptoms so only a health professional can tell you if your blood pressure is too high. Your nutritionist can also assist you to help create a nutritional program to lower your blood pressure naturally. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should monitor this on your own by using a blood pressure cuff that can be purchased at your local drug store.
GENERAL STRATEGIES TO HELP CONTROL HYPERTENSION:
1. Eat plenty of foods that help reduce blood pressure, such as garlic, onions, celery, vegetables, beans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and cold water fish.
2. Begin a weight-bearing exercise as approved by your physician.
3. Cut down or eliminate smoking and alcohol consumption.
4. Improve your stress management techniques.
5. Eat a diet rich in essential nutrients. Sometimes I will recommend supplements to insure that adequate amounts of important nutrients are supplied.
6. If you have high blood pressure, do not take more than 50 IU’s of Vitamin E.
7. Restrict sugar intake as much as possible,
8. Lose weight if necessary. I can help you achieve your weight goal and make sure that you are meeting your body’s nutritional needs.
3/4 C cocoa powder
2 cups drained/rinsed garbanzo bean (= about 1 can)
1.5 cups sugar (can be reduced or half and half with Stevia)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 C chopped almonds or walnuts
Chocolate chips can be added, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place above ingredients in food
processor and blend. Coat bottom of a 9 in cake pan with oil/spray.
Bake on center rack for 45 min or until knife inserted in center
comes out clean.
Recipe courtesy of Nutrition Coach in Environmental Nutrition