6 Things that Make Healthy Foods Unhealthy6 Things that Make Healthy Foods Unhealthy

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Making Healthy Foods Unhealthy

A salad, baked sweet potato, or grilled chicken breast makes a great base for a healthy meal. Ensure that your nutritious meal doesn’t take a turn for the worse by watching out for these things that quickly make healthy food unhealthy.

Loading up on sauces

A drizzle of your favorite condiment is a good way to add flavor to food, but don’t use so much that it’s dripping. Cheese sauces and mayonnaise-based spreads can be loaded with calories and unhealthy fat. Ketchup, barbecue sauce, and pickle relishes may not pack the same calories, but they can be full of added sugar and sodium. If you prefer saucier foods, stick with lighter options like brown mustard or those that use fresh vegetables like pico de gallo.

Choosing a fat-free dressing

Fat-free salad dressings may be low in calories, but they can reduce the nutritional potential of your salad. Research shows that adding heart-healthy fat to a salad helps the body absorb the valuable fat soluble vitamins in the vegetables. Skip fat-free dressings and add a drizzle of olive oil with balsamic vinegar or a few slices of avocado.

Too many toppings

Cheese, butter and margarine, sour cream, dried fruits, and mayonnaise-based dressings are just a few of toppings that cause the calories and unhealthy fat to pile up. Sprinkle and drizzle lightly and try swapping them for healthier options like salsa, fresh herbs, olive oil, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruits.

Ignoring portion sizes

Controlling portion sizes is one of the best ways to enjoy your favorite foods and satisfy cravings without getting off track. One small cookie after dinner will likely only add 100 extra calories to your day, but an extra-large cookie is like eating a fourth meal. A grilled burger at the neighborhood cookout can work into a healthy eating plan, but a ½ pound restaurant burger loaded with toppings can contain a whole day’s worth of calories.

Selecting store-bought

Store-bought sauces, marinades, and seasoning packets often have added sugar and excess sodium. It only takes a few minutes and a few extra ingredients to make your own. Whether it’s a sauce for a stir-fry, marinara, or a rub for grilled meats, making your own allows you to control ingredients that contain salt, sugar, and trans fat.

Passing up plain

Frozen and canned vegetables can be a healthy option, but added flavorings can ruin the nutritional benefits. Some frozen vegetables contain sauces and seasonings that add unhealthy fat and sodium. Canned foods can be high in sodium and sugar. Check to make sure that the vegetables are the only thing listed on the ingredient list and look for “low sodium,” “no salt added,” and “low sugar.” This allows you to season the food to your tastes, often reducing excess calories, fat, sodium, and sugar.

Tex-Mex Chopped Salad RecipeTex-Mex Chopped Salad

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Tex-Mex Chopped Salad Recipe

This salad uses seasonal ingredients for fresh flavor and beans for protein. Lightly sautéed vegetables and chopped avocado eliminate the need for salad dressing, which decreases total calories and fat. Enjoy it as a side dish at dinner, or take it to work for a healthy lunch.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving
206
Calories
% Daily Value*
14%
Total Fat 9.3g
6%Saturated Fat 1.3g
Trans Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
9%
Sodium 196mg
9%
Total Carbohydrate 26.6g
31%
Dietary Fiber 8.7g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 7.7g
*
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kernels from 1 ear of fresh corn (about 2/3 cup)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp fine ground sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 to 10 cups spring mix lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup no-salt-added kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 avocado, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat ½ tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to become tender. Add the corn and cook 2 more minutes.
  2. Stir in the chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle the vegetables with the lime juice. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Divide the greens evenly on 4 serving plates. Top with ¼ cup of the beans. Divide the cooked vegetables into 4 portions and place an equal amount over each salad. Add ¼ of the chopped avocado to each salad and serve.

Tips to Prevent High Blood PressureTips to Prevent High Blood Pressure

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Prevent High Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 millimeters of mercury over less than 80 millimeters of mercury. Maintaining a normal blood pressure reading is important for heart health, but lifestyle, food, and the environment can cause numbers to creep up to unhealthy levels. Here are a few ways to prevent high blood pressure and promote heart health.

Monitor your weight and waist

Being overweight increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. If you are overweight, losing as little as five pounds can help lower your reading. In addition to the number on the scale, waist circumference also plays a role in your risk level. Men who have a waist greater than 40 inches and women with a waist greater than 35 inches are at greater risk for high blood pressure.

Pay attention to more than sodium

Health experts recommend that sodium intake be limited 2,300 milligrams per day, but regulating blood pressure involves more than sodium. Potassium helps to lessen the effects of excess sodium and regulate blood pressure. Research also shows that getting adequate amounts of calcium and magnesium also helps to keep blood pressure at healthy levels.

Keep moving

Regular exercise helps keep blood pressure within normal ranges as you age. It is also a key component of losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. If your blood pressure begins to increase, research shows that regular physical activity can decrease systolic blood pressure (the top number) by four to nine millimeters of mercury. This is similar to the effect of some blood pressure medications. Be patient and stay active. It takes one to three months for exercise to have an influence on blood pressure levels.

Create stress outlets

Too much stress can lead to high blood pressure, but it is still unclear how this happens. It could be that stress affects other factors that contribute to elevated levels like overeating high-sodium foods, weight gain, or lack of exercise. It may also be the effect of elevated stress hormones. The bottom line is that reducing stress promotes healthy blood pressure. Finding outlets that relieve your stress will help to reduce its impact on your health. Take breaks for relaxation exercises, get in regular workouts, use your vacation days, or try yoga and meditation.

Stay smoke-free

Smoking and second-hand smoke cause damage to the blood vessels, which increases the risk for high blood pressure. Stay away from smoky environments, and if you smoke, stop.

Sources

10 Nutritious Summer Foods10 Nutritious Summer Foods

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Nutritious Summer Foods
Blackberry season peaks in July and August

Blackberries

All berries are rich in antioxidants, but blackberries are gaining attention for their full nutrient content. They contain gallic acid, rutin and ellagic acid, which are all associated with protecting against cancer as well as having anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Cherries

All types of cherries do their part to protect health. Sweet cherries provide potassium that helps control blood pressure. Tart cherries are associated with reducing pain and inflammation. One study showed that tart cherries may help reduce post-exercise pain. Another study found that drinking two, eight ounce servings of tart cherry juice daily improved the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. Tart cherries also contain melatonin, which has been found to lower body temperature and improve sleep.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers contain plant lignans, which are associated with reduced risks for cardiovascular disease and some cancers. They also contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins that may work to block the development of cancer cells.

Eggplant

Research shows that eggplants contain the phytonutrient nasunin that has been found to protect cell membranes from damage. In animal studies, juice made from eggplants reduced blood cholesterol and improved blood flow. These results were attributed to the nasunin and other phytonutrients in the vegetable.

Heirloom tomatoes

Lycopene is well known for its cancer-fighting properties, but it was once thought that this phytochemical was only found in red tomatoes. New research has revealed that tomatoes in varying shades of orange also contain beneficial amounts of lycopene. This is good news as more varieties and colors of heirloom tomatoes grow in popularity. Tomatoes also have the potential to improve heart health. Studies have shown that consuming fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts may reduce total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Hot peppers

Capsaicin is an antioxidant responsible for the heat in hot peppers. A hotter pepper indicates higher antioxidant levels. Capsaicin has been found to produce endorphins, or feel good hormones. Some research shows it may also help fight cancer. Capsaicin has also been found to reduce appetite and raise body temperature, which could be beneficial for weight loss.

Purple Potatoes

Purple or blue potatoes are full of flavonoids that have been linked to fighting heart disease and cancer. One study found that eating plain, microwaved purple potatoes two times per day lowered blood pressure. These results have been attributed to the colorful potato’s high concentration of antioxidants.

Red Bell Peppers

While bell peppers contain very small amounts of capsaicin, they are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids that act as antioxidants. Research has revealed that bell peppers are also a source for the cancer-fighting sulfur compounds most often associated with cruciferous vegetables.

Watermelon

Like tomatoes, the red flesh of watermelon is rich in the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. The more ripe and red the melon, the greater the concentration of the phytonutrient. Watermelon also contains citrulline. Citrulline is converted to arginine in the body, an amino acid that is important for cardiovascular health.

Zucchini

A summer squash, zucchini is loaded with carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, which are associated with eye health. In addition to providing vitamin C, zucchini supplies B-complex vitamins, zinc, and magnesium, which all help regulate blood sugar levels.

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps RecipeChicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

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Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Traditional chicken salads are often loaded with mayonnaise, but this recipe uses Greek yogurt and brown mustard to reduce the fat and calories without sacrificing flavor. Wrap it with crunchy lettuce leaves to create a meal with fewer calories and carbohydrates than traditional chicken salad.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving
180
Calories
% Daily Value*
9%
Total Fat 5.9g
6%Saturated Fat 1.1g
Trans Fat 0g
20%
Cholesterol 60mg
5%
Sodium 116mg
2%
Total Carbohydrate 5.9g
4%
Dietary Fiber 1.1g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 23.5g
*
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cups chopped roasted chicken
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped unsweetened dried fruit (such as cherries, raisins, or apricots)
  • 2 tbsp chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 small lettuce leaves

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, make the dressing by stirring together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and mustard. Stir in the chicken.
  2. Add the onions, dried fruit, walnuts, and black pepper and stir well until all ingredients are coated in the dressing.
  3. Divide the chicken salad into 4 servings. Place half of each portion on a lettuce leaf and serve.
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