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Mango Nutrition: Calories in Mango

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in food facts, fruits and vegetables | 0 comments

Mango Nutrition: Calories in Mango

About the Mango Fruit The mango is a large fruit that grows on trees in sub-tropical and tropical climates. Originating in Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for 4,000 years. Mango trees are actually evergreens that will grow up to 60 feet tall but fruit an average of 5 years after planting. Mango trees yield the best crops during hot, dry periods. The U.S. imports most of its mangos from Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean and South America but grows them in Florida as well. You’ll find mangos in the produce section of your grocery store. Choose mangos that are slightly firm, blemish-free with a sweet aroma and no sap on the skin. After storing at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, store cut up, peeled mango in the refrigerator. Mango Fruit: Most Interesting Facts You may not know that: there are over 1,000 different varieties of mango worldwide and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mangos are the most widely consumed fruit in the world!! Depending upon the time of year, you can usually find one of six mango tropical fruit varieties available for purchase in the U.S. They are ‘in-season’ in spring. The most widely available commercial variety in the U.S. is the ‘Tommy Atkins’ mango which is available from March – July and October – January. In June look for other varieties, including the Ataulfo, Haden, Francis and Kent mangos. Mangos, like another tropical fruit, the papaya, contains unique enzymes that aid in proper digestion. The enzymes in unripe (green) and ripe mangos are very good tenderizing agents. Mangos are an excellent ingredient addition to any meat marinade recipe. In fact, in India, a sour powder which contains ground up green mango, is used for seasoning and tenderizing. Mango Calories and Nutrition One cup of sliced, raw mango (without skin) offers 107 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 24 g sugars, 3 g dietary fiber and 3 mg sodium. Mangos have a very distinctive, sweet flavor and a yellow-orange flesh. It is an excellent source of vitamin C. One cup of slice, raw mango provides 45.7 mg vitamin C, meeting 3/4 of the average daily requirement for this nutrient. This fruit is also an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), meeting 25% of the recommended daily value. Vitamins A and C act as antioxidants, protecting your body’s cells from free radical damage and giving your immune system a boost. Mangos are a good source of the trace mineral copper, which, along with vitamin C, is needed to form collagen and, along with iron, form hemoglobin to transport oxygen throughout the body. Recipes Eat mango fresh or peel, cut and freeze it (or purchase it in frozen chunks) to use in smoothies. Because they are so sweet, they work well in any smoothie, especially green smoothie recipes to off-set the bitterness of leafy greens. If you’ve got a high-powered blender, try this green smoothie recipe (no measurements, a ‘handful’ works but use your judgement and taste buds for portions): layer, in order: green grapes and/or watermelon; fresh baby spinach, one carrot, 1/4 apple, 1/4 to 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, a handful of frozen pineapple chunks and mango chunks and a splash of coconut milk, soy milk or regular skim milk (may or may...

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Beets nutrition information and benefits

Posted by on Sep 22, 2012 in fruits and vegetables, recipes | 0 comments

Beets nutrition information and benefits

Mighty Beets are Back… Have you ever bought fresh beets? Beets are back ‘in-style’ and add much more to your plate than vivid color. If you have not heard about the health benefits of beets, keep reading…not a fan? Well, maybe that’s because you’ve never tried this hearty root vegetable FRESH. Try ’em the grown-up way (uncanned) and get ready to love a food you never thought you’d like. It’s easy to love fresh beets, and not just for their nutritional advantages. While we often think of beets having a reddish-purple hue, some varieties are white, golden-yellow or even rainbow colored. The sweet, buttery taste of beets reflects their high sugar content making them an important raw material for the production of refined sugar. In fact, they have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, yet are very low in calories. Peak season for beets is June – October (when they are most tender) and are easy to prepare at home. Pass by blemished bulbs with wilted greens and look for healthier bulbs. You’ll find the prettiest beets at your local farmer’s market. By the way, don’t throw out those greens so fast! They are chock full of nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Greens can be sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Beets are rich in folate, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber and contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Preparing Beets: Beet Recipe Beets can be peeled, steamed, and eaten warm with butter as a delicacy; cooked, pickled, and eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and eaten as a salad. Pickled beets are a traditional food of the American South. It is also common in Australia for pickled beetroot to be consumed on a burger. An increasingly popular preparation method is roasting beets. To roast beets, trim the greens away from the beets (leave about 1/4″), thoroughly clean beets with a veggie scrubber and place in a baking dish. Add 1/4″ of water to the dish. Cover. Place medium beets (4-6 oz) in the oven and roast for 40-45 minutes (a little less or more time for smaller and larger beets, respectively). They’re done when a knife easily penetrates the beet. Allow to cool in the baking dish. Cut away the ends and slip off the skins. Roasted beets are wonderful on their own or dressed with a vinaigrette, and they’ll keep, refrigerated, for 5 days in a covered bowl. Approx Nutritional Information: 1 roasted beet: 44 calories; Total fat: < 0.5 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 77 mg; Total carbohydrates 10.0 g; Dietary Fiber 2.0 g; Sugars 8.0 g; Protein 1.7...

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Avocado nutrition information and benefits

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in food facts, in season | 0 comments

Avocado nutrition information and benefits

The avocado is a very unique fruit. Yes, it is a fruit. Though an avocado is a high-calorie, high-fat fruit, its nutrition and health benefits are beyond compare. This is definitely a food you should incorporate into your diet. This abundant cash crop was introduced to the United States, by Mexico, in the 19th century and today, roughly 95% of U.S. avocado production is located in southern California. Avocados are cultivated in Florida as well. Avocado: Varieties There are two flowering types of avocados (categorized as “A” or “B”) and they are differentiated according to the timing of the male and female flowering phases. There are a whopping 500 avocado varieties! However, seven varieties are (commercially) grown in California and include the Bacon, Hass (year-round), Fuerte, Gwen, Pinkerton, Reed and Zutano. The Lamb Hass is a  relatively newly cultivated summer variety of the Hass avocado. The Hass varieties accounts for nearly 95% of the total California crop. “A” cultivars: Hass, Gwen, Lamb Hass, Pinkerton, Reed “B” cultivars: Fuerte, Sharwil, Zutano, Bacon, Ettinger, Sir Prize, Walter Hole All varieties are creamy and delicious with similar nutrition profiles, though certain varieties are ‘summer,’ others are ‘year-round’, etc. They also differ slightly in flavor, shape and color. You are probably most familiar with Hass and Fuerte avocados. The Hass avocado is also the most cultivated variety worldwide, accounting for 80% of the all cultivated avocados. The Hass avocado has a rich, nutty flavor. The flesh is a light green color and the fruit oval in shape with black, pebbly skin. It ripens to a purplish-black color. Top producers of the Fuerte avocado (also abundant in the U.S.) are (in order) Mexico, Indonesia and the Unites States. This type of avocado is medium-sized and pear-shaped fruit. The skin is leathery, green and easy to peel (ripens green). The creamy flesh is a yellow-green color, rich and mild-tasting. Avocado: Nutrition Facts Avocados are nutrient-rich. This fruit contains roughly a dozen different essential nutrients. Avocadoes have some carbohydrate, protein and lots of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They are also high in dietary fiber and offer vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, pantothenic acid (B5), potassium, riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3).  A 1-oz. portion (about 1/5th of the fruit) meets 4% to 8% of the Recommended Daily Value (DV) for each of the vitamins and minerals mentioned. The nutrition facts vary slightly according to the variety and origin. Just 1-oz. provides about 45 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, no cholesterol and no sodium. Obviously, the larger your portion the more nutrients you consume. One cup of cubed avocado, or about 150 grams (unspecified variety) provides 240 calories, 22 g fat (only 3 g saturated fat), 3 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 10 g dietary fiber, no cholesterol and only 11 mg sodium. Though that is probably more calories and fat than you wish to consume in a 1-cup serving of fruit, the amount of dietary fiber and vitamin C (meets 25% of the DV) alone is astounding. In addition, most of the fat is very heart-healthy (monounsaturated) and yes, you do need fat in your diet! Try this fresh, quick and easy avocado (guacamole) recipe: Not only is this heart-healthy and tasty, but it is colorful and festive. Roughly mash one large ripe avocado and add 2 Tbsp diced sweet onion, 1/4 of a large, ripe tomato (seeded) or a handful of...

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Fig Nutrition Facts

Posted by on Jul 24, 2012 in fruits and vegetables, recipes | 0 comments

Fig Nutrition Facts

Q: What is the succulent fruit of the ficus tree? A: The fig of course! The fig is actually not a fruit but a flower that has inverted itself, producing an edible, sweet, chewy, seed-filled flesh. If your only exposure to or taste of a fig is via a “newton,” (aka cookie) then you’re missing out on one of the world’s healthiest and tastiest fruits! Cleopatra’s favorite fruit, the fig, originated in western Asia and is thought to have been introduced to the U.S. by a Spanish missionary in the late 1500’s. The nutritional benefits of figs are astounding. They are low in calories, delicious, a good source of dietary fiber and contain vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin B6 and manganese. They are rich in disease fighting phytochemicals (flavonoids and polyphenols). A fig can be eaten both fresh and dried and are primarily grown in California (where they are known as ‘mission’ figs). There are over 100 varieties that vary in texture, color, flavor (slightly) and size. Fig Calories, selection and preparation One fresh fig (2.5″ in diameter or about 64 grams) provides only 47 calories, 0 g fat and 2 g dietary fiber. California varieties  are in season June through September. Beware: fresh figs are very perishable fruits (meaning they go bad fast). Purchase yours two days maximum before you plan to eat them. Choose figs that are plump and tender but not mushy, have firm stems and are bruise-free. Avoid figs that have a sour smell. Choose those with a mildly sweet scent. Wash fresh figs before you eat or cook them under cool water. Gently remove stems before wiping them dry. You can simply pop dried figs right in your mouth, use fresh or dried figs in recipes (below) or simmer them in water/fruit juice for a few minutes to make them plump and juicy. FIG RECIPE Fig and Arugula Salad with Parmesan Ingredients 2 Tbs minced shallots 1 1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper 16 fresh figs, each cut in half lengthwise 6 cups trimmed arugula (about 6 ounces) 1/4 cup shaved (about 1 ounce) fresh Parmesan cheese Directions: Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add figs; cover and let stand 20 minutes. Add arugula and pepper; toss well. Top with cheese. Serve immediately. Nutritional Facts for Fig and Arugula Salad with Parmesan (per serving): 152.7 calories; 32% calories from fat; 5.7 g total fat; 5.5 mg cholesterol; 253 mg sodium; 371 mg potassium; 24 g carbohydrates; 3.8 g fiber; 16.8 g sugar; 4.4 g...

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Snacks: Best Low Calorie Dairy Snacks

Posted by on Apr 7, 2012 in dairy products and substitutes, eat smart | 0 comments

Snacks: Best Low Calorie Dairy Snacks

Snacks are no longer considered to be ‘bad’ or a diet taboo. These days, as long as you watch your calorie intake and choose wisely, you can graze on small meals and low calorie snacks several times daily and still maintain or even lose weight. So, what is the criteria for ‘healthy’ snacks? Keep the following in mind when choosing your snacks: Offer between 100 and 200 calories Are fat-controlled, providing 0g trans fats and 3g saturated fat or less per serving Are relatively low in sodium; strive to limit the sodium in your low calorie snacks to 400mg or less Are nutrient-rich: a good food source of protein, dietary fiber and/or key vitamin and minerals (such as iron, vitamins A, C or calcium) Offer a little something extra: are available in calorie-controlled portions, contain no high-fructose corn syrup and little added sugar; are gluten- or lactose-free, have added omega-3 fatty acids, etc… There are low calorie snacks for every craving: sweet, smooth and creamy, crunchy and salty and everything in-between. For part 1, we will concentrate on those that fall under the ‘dairy’ category, such as cheese, milk, puddings, etc. Unless you are lactose intolerant, or have an allergy to milk, there is no reason to avoid dairy products. These snacks are all about convenience – they are widely available and take no preparation time/work. Dairy: Top 5 low calorie snacks Cheese snacks Cabot 75% reduced-fat sharp cheddar (block) or Laughing Cow mini Babybel light cheese rounds (individually wrapped, comes in small bags). These cheeses offer less fat but lots of flavor without being rubbery. Cheese is rich in both protein and calcium. A 2-oz. serving of the 75% reduced-fat Cabot sharp cheddar (lactose-free) provides 120 calories, 5g fat, 3g saturated fat, 18g protein and 400mg sodium. Two Babybel cheese rounds provide 100 calories, 6g fat, 3g saturated fat, 12g protein and 320mg sodium. Fermented dairy snacks (yogurt & kefir) There aren’t many snacks that compare in texture and flavor to Greek yogurt. Though more expensive than other varieties, the difference is substantial. Choose plain or flavored, non-fat varieties and you’ll stay under 150 calories and take in more protein that you would choosing regular yogurt. If you like a little crunch try YoGreek vanilla + granola. It comes in a 4.6-oz. cup with a little ‘sidecar’ of granola. The snack provides 140 calories, .5g fat, 11g protein, 22g carbohydrates and is a good source of calcium. Kefir is a thick dairy beverage (like ‘drinkable’ yogurt) made by fermenting milk with kefir grains (lactic acid bacteria, yeast and polysaccharides). It’s a tangy, slightly effervescent drink that promotes digestive health and supports a healthy immune system. Choose non-fat or low-fat plain or flavored for snacks that are high in protein and  calcium. This fermented dairy beverage also contains magnesium, riboflavin and vitamin B12. One cup of low-fat strawberry kefir provides about 140 calories, 2g fat, 11g protein and 20g carbohydrates. Sweet snacks All Kozy Shack puddings are made with only all natural ingredients. They come in a variety of sizes (including ‘snack’ packs) and many flavors though the original rice pudding was the first and is a favorite. A 1/2 cup serving provides 130 calories, 2.5g fat, 4g protein and 24g carbohydrates. It’s also a good source of calcium and is a treat. They also make ‘no added sugar’ puddings that are sweetened with Splenda and offer only 70 calories per serving. Who doesn’t love chocolate milk? It was good for you when you were a child and is still a great choice, especially as a post-workout snack. Obviously regular...

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Asparagus nutrition information and benefits

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in food facts, fruits and vegetables | 0 comments

Asparagus nutrition information and benefits

Did you know that the tender spears (of asparagus) were very popular in the royal households of 17th century France? Asparagus was believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac! Well now spring is here and you can enjoy this ‘in season’ fresh vegetable for its many benefits (aside from the above)! If you have tried asparagus and loved it, good for you. If not, perhaps you have eaten asparagus that was prepared incorrectly (under-seasoned and over-cooked), making it mushy and bland. At only four calories per spear, asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable packed with nutrients and disease-fighting compounds. Asparagus: nutrition information In addition to being low in calories, asparagus is a great source of the B-vitamin folate and a good source of both vitamins A and C. Five spears provides 20 calories, no fat and 110 micrograms (mcg) of folate, which meets 28% of the recommended Daily Value (DV). Optimal folate intake is crucial for a healthy pregnancy, making new cells and forming neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers in the brain. Folate is also important for reducing your risk of developing heart disease. It controls the amount of homocysteine (an amino acid) in your bloodstream. When folate levels plummet in your system, homocysteine levels increase, causing damage to the delicate arteries which supply brain to your brain and heart. Keep in mind that folate is highly susceptible to destruction through cooking (heat, air, light) so cook your asparagus whole (briefly) and don’t submerge it in water. Vitamins A and C are antioxidants. They protect cell membranes from damage and promote a healthy immune system. Vitamin A plays a role in the creation of new cells, reproduction, growth and development, promotes healthy eyesight among other functions. Vitamin C is needed to form collagen, a fibrous protein that acts like cement in your body, along with elastin it gives your tissues form and provides firmness and strength. Without these substances, your body would fall apart. One serving of asparagus, or five spears, meets 10% of the DV for vitamin A and 15% for vitamin C. Asparagus contains a powerful compound which acts like an antioxidant, offering protection against cancer. It is called glutathione (a small protein). Like vitamins A and C, glutathione protects cells against free radical damage which can, at worst, lead to cancerous changes. In fact, in an analysis of nearly 40 green vegetables, fresh cooked asparagus came in #1 for glutathione content. Asparagus selection and storage Choose odorless asparagus with dry, tight or compact tips (most of the nutrients are in the tips!) versus loose, frayed tips. You can refrigerate fresh asparagus for up to four days. Simply wrap the ends of the stalks in a wet paper towel and placing the asparagus in a plastic bag. When preparing, remove the woody stalk or the point where it naturally ‘snaps’ off toward the bottom of the stalk. If they are very thick stalks, try using a vegetable peeler to remove some of the exterior and make it easier to find the woody part, which you can cut off with a knife. Preparing flavorful asparagus Never overcook your asparagus. It is best ‘al dente.’ Try grilling it or cooking it in a pan with a bit of oil (browning the sides). Make a orange-soy dressing or marinade with about 1 TB each of reduced-sodium soy sauce and fresh orange juice, 1/2 tsp each grated fresh ginger, orange rind and sesame oil. Toss it in the mixture before...

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