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Health Benefits of MelonsHealth Benefits of Melons


Health Benefits of Melons

Low in calories

You can fill up on sweet summer melon without blowing your calorie budget for the day. One cup of diced honeydew melon contains 61 calories, a cup of cantaloupe cubes has 54 calories, and diced watermelon has only 45 calories per cup. Melon is also nutrient-dense. While low in calories, it provides valuable fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Satisfies a sweet tooth

The sweetness of ripened melon can help satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sugars. While you will avoid the added sugars and empty calories of a typical dessert, the natural sugars can still cause a spike in blood sugar. Pair your melon with protein and fiber to control hunger.

Full of phytonutrients

The orange flesh of the cantaloupe provides antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients including beta-carotene and lutein. Honeydew melon is full of the antioxidant vitamin C. The vitamin C in melons is especially valuable because the fruit is often eaten fresh, so the nutrient is not destroyed during cooking. Watermelon is high in the cancer-fighting phytonutrient lycopene. Early research also suggests that an amino acid in watermelons, called citrulline, may have a positive impact on cardiovascular health.

High in water content

Water accounts for over 90 percent of a watermelon’s mass, so it can help keep you hydrated. The high water content also keeps you feeling full and satisfied.

Tips for Dehydrating FoodTips for Dehydrating Food


Tips for Dehydrating Food

Dehydrated foods can make a healthy and convenient snack that does not require refrigeration. By making your own, you can reduce the sugar, sodium and fat that is often added to the packaged dried foods found at the store.

  • Completely dehydrating foods can prevent spoiling by limiting bacteria and mold growth.

  • Typically, vegetables become brittle, and fruits and meats become chewy.

  • Foods can be dried in the oven or in a food dehydrator. The drying method should include a warm temperature (140 degrees Fahrenheit), low humidity, and air circulation.

  • Ovens must be able to reach 140 degrees. It will take most foods twice as long to dehydrate in an oven versus drying in a food dehydrator.

  • Peeled, thinly-sliced fruits and vegetables dry the quickest. Make sure all pieces are the same size for even drying. Smaller fruits and vegetables, like berries and peas, can be dried whole.

  • When pureed, fruits can be spread over parchment paper, dehydrated and then cut into pieces for fruit leather.

  • Let dehydrated foods cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

  • Fruits that dehydrate well include apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cherries, figs, grapes, peaches, pears and persimmons.

  • Vegetables that dehydrate well include asparagus, green beans, beets, carrots, corn, kale, peas, peppers and tomatoes.

  • Thin strips of lean meat and fish make the best jerky. Excess fat in meats can cause the jerky to spoil.

10 Ways to Make Pizza Healthier10 Ways to Make Pizza Healthier


Ways to Make Pizza Healthier

Order thin crust.

Thick pizza crusts are loaded with carbohydrates and calories. You can save as many as 110 calories per slice simply by ordering a thin crust instead of a traditional crust.

Try the whole grain crust.

Whole grains pizza crusts contain more dietary fiber than those made with refined white flour. This will keep you feeling full longer.

Stick with red sauce.

Traditional marinara is the healthiest choice of sauce on most menus. Creamy white sauces are often loaded with fat and calories, barbecue sauces can be high in sugar, and buffalo sauce can be full of sodium.

Split it.

Some single-serving pizzas contain more than 1500 calories. Split the pizza with a friend. If you are still hungry, add a side salad with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Build your own.

Take advantage of build-your-own options, so you have the control to put together a healthier meal.

Ask for half the cheese.

Cheese is loaded with calories and saturated fat. Most restaurants add much more than you need to feel satisfied.

Try Parmesan cheese.

Aged hard cheeses, like Parmesan and Asiago, are full of flavor and allow you to use less cheese to reduce calories and fat.

The simpler the better.

Stick with classic, simple flavors. Margherita pizza with marinara, basil and cheese is satisfying without being loaded with the calories, fat and sodium that come with supreme and meat pizzas.

Choose lean meats.

If you prefer meat on your pizza, choose something lean. Canadian bacon, lean ground beef and chicken will help keep the calories under control.

Make it half and half.

If your favorite pizza toppings aren’t the healthiest, order your pizza half and half. Get one side with a few of your favorites, and stick with something healthy on the other half. By simply eating half the amount of meat or cheese, you can still cut calories and unhealthy fat.

Nutrition and HeadachesNutrition and Headaches


Nutrition and Headaches

Whether it’s a dull throbbing in your forehead or a full blown migraine, a headache can throw your healthy habits off track. Research shows that nutrition plays a role in triggering headaches. By monitoring your food and drink intake, you can reduce the chances of a headache that keeps you from working out.


A change in caffeine intake is a common cause of headaches, often called withdrawal headaches. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels that carry blood to the head. When caffeine consumption decreases, these blood vessels dilate, causing blood flow to the head to increase, which results in a headache. Over time headaches will lessen, but if you consume caffeine and want to decrease your intake, consider a gradual reduction to wean your system off of the stimulant.


The effect of alcohol on blood vessels may cause headaches in some people, but they are more likely caused by chemical compounds that lurk in the beverages. Beer and wine can contain tyramine, histamine and sulfites, substances that are commonly linked to headaches.

Common trigger foods

A variety of foods contain amines associated with headaches, such as tyramine, phenylethylamine and octopamine. Eliminating foods that contain these substances can reduce headache pain and frequency.

  • Aged cheeses
  • Chocolate
  • Cured meats
  • Fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut
  • Food dyes
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

If you suspect that these foods and drinks are causing headaches, consider eliminating them from your diet for a few weeks. If reintroducing them into your eating plan results in an increase in headaches, you can identify them as trigger foods that are best avoided. For severe headaches and migraines, consult your doctor to determine a cause and treatment for the condition.

B Vitamins Explained B Vitamins Explained


B Vitamins Explained

While most vitamins and minerals are identified individually, B-complex vitamins are often referred to as a group of nutrients. These eight distinct water-soluble vitamins assist with converting food to energy, controlling appetite and forming red blood cells.

Each B vitamin has two or more names. These are the most commonly used:

  • B1 - Thiamin
  • B2 - Riboflavin
  • B3 - Niacin
  • B5 - Pantothenic Acid
  • B6 - Pyridoxine
  • B7 - Biotin
  • B12 - Cobalamin
  • Folic Acid - Folate

Because these vitamins are water-soluble, the body does not store large quantities. Foods that contain B vitamins should be a regular part of your eating plan to ensure these nutrients are readily available in the body.

B vitamins are found in cereals and grains, meats, poultry, eggs, fish, dairy, legumes and fresh vegetables. If you eat a balanced diet, it’s likely you get the B vitamins you need. If you avoid any of the major food groups that supply B vitamins, it’s wise to check with your doctor or dietician to ensure you are getting appropriate levels. For example, B12 deficiencies are common in those who eliminate animal products, and the symptoms are often not evident right away.

Food is the best source for vitamins, but if you choose to take a supplement, it is wise to avoid mega-doses. Even though the body does not store water-soluble vitamins, there are still risks of toxicity with high doses.

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