Super Soups

I’ve always thought that one of the quintessential food items perfect for the dog days of winter is soup.  After reading an article called “Soup RX” in the magazine Natural Health, I’ve compiled 5 different healing and rejuvenating ingredients that you can add to your favorite soups.

1.  Green Tea, which will relieve anxiety and worry.  Also, green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that can help you combat distractions, really focus, and complete a task/goal. You can incorporate this into any soup that has a water base.  Once the water has simmered on the stove, remove it from the heat, and add a few green tea bags.  Let the tea steep for about 10 minutes, and you’ll have green tea broth!  A few additions to your soup that will pair nicely with your broth include chicken breast, brown rice, shiitake mushrooms or cilantro (Kadey).

2.  Fresh Red Bell Peppers, which will lower your blood pressure due to the vast quantities of Vitamin C that they contain.  Incorporate the peppers into soups with diced onions, vegetable broth, beets, and fennel seeds for a perfect combination (Kadey).

3.  Honey, preferably the kind that comes in a glass, not plastic container, in order to cure the common cold and soothe sore throats.  Keep in mind that the darker the color of the honey, the more antioxidants it contains.  A few other ingredients that would taste great with honey in your soup would be butternut squash, Granny Smith apples, ginger, and sage (Kadey).

4.  Lentils, which contain the B-vitamin folate act as a powerful force in cancer prevention.  Interestingly, the vitamin folate keeps DNA mutations/changes that cause cancer from occurring in the body.  Add 3/4 of a cup of dried lentils to any soup recipe, and reap the health benefits!  Also, quinoa, fire-roasted tomatoes, and cayenne are a few additions that would pair nicely with lentils in soup (Kadey).

5.  Cinnamon to help people combat Type II Diabetes.  Try cinnamon in a soup with pumpkin, and a dash of cumin and chipotle chili for an extra kick (Kadey).

Let me know if you try to incorporate any of these healing ingredients into your next batch of soup!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Kadey, Matthew.  “Soup rx.”  Natural Health.  February 2012:  70-75.  Print.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

“You have to love yourself.  That’s the single most powerful thing.  Out of that springs: How are you eating?  How are you exercising?  How are you resting?”

-Nia Peeples

Love yourself enough to attain a healthy lifestyle, on Valentine’s day, and the whole year through.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Red Foods that Promote Heart Health

In commemoration of February,  and also American Hearth Month (Dulan), below is a list of four red foods that provide the ultimate heart health.  Enjoy!

1.  Strawberries – Did you know that amount of Vitamin C in an orange is equivalent to the amount of Vitamin C in eight strawberries (Dulan)?  Another health benefit of strawberries is that they contain folate which is great for your heart (Mann).  Try to keep in mind when purchasing these fruits that they are on the “Dirty Dozen” list.  Pesticides from conventional farming practices do adhere easily to these fruits, so if your budget allows, it is best to purchase organic strawberries.

2.  Red Bell Peppers – Unlike green bell peppers, red bell peppers contain lycopene, a compound that not only fights against heart disease, but also certain types of cancers (Dulan).  In addition, red bell peppers have plenty of antioxidants, including Vitamin A and C, and in a mere cup, there are approximately 160 milligrams of potassium (Dulan)!  Again, because red bell peppers don’t have much of a protective exterior, pesticides leach onto them easily; therefore,  if your budget allows, buy organic here too!

3.  Red Grapefruit – Pink grapefruit has just as many health benefits, but try to stay away from the white, which doesn’t contain lycopene (Mann).  Red grapefruit is a great source of Vitamin C, as well as pectin, which helps the body regulate cholesterol levels (Mann).  Keep in mind that red grapefruit are on the “Clean Fifteen” list, making it perfectly legitimate to buy them conventionally grown.  Its firm exterior blocks pesticides from reaching the fruit inside.

4.  Cranberries – These berries have a mega-house of nutrients known as proanthocyanidins which are especially important because they help the body prevent and ward off cancer by defending it against free radicals (Mann).  Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to incorporate cranberries into your diet, so here are a few suggestions:  1)  Whenever you prepare a roasted chicken, use cranberries for the stuffing (Mann)  2)  Toss a handful of fresh cranberries into your morning oatmeal  3)  Add cranberries to homemade bread, muffin, or pancake recipes

Let me know how you like to enjoy these four heart healthy foods!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Dulan, Mitzi.  “5 Red Foods to Eat for Your Heart.”  U.S. News  5 Feb. 2013:  Web.  3 Jan. 2014. <http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/02/05/5-red-foods-to-eat-for-your-heart>

Mann, Denise. “Red Foods: The New Health Powerhouses?”  WebMD.  WebMD, LLC, 2008.  Web.  3 Jan. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/red-foods-the-new-health-powerhouses>