Shari Duncan

Tag: Antioxidants

Frozen Grapes….Nature’s Popsicle
Shari

by on Apr.04, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Healthy Snacks, Recipes

If you’ve never tried them, you should.  You will be hooked.  PROMISE.

It’s like eating little frosted candies and how I wish I could take credit for this one!   I buy grapes, I eat grapes; but I never once thought about  freezing grapes BEFORE snacking on them… until I tried some this weekend while visiting my son .

Could something so simple REALLY taste THAT good?

The flavor of the fruit is truly enhanced when frozen.  The sweetness is intensified and the center becomes almost “creamy” in consistency. It is the freshest frozen popsicle!

Grapes are rich in vitamins and minerals and rich in antioxidants that are found in the skin.  The deeper the color of the fruit, the  more potent the antioxidant profile.  Grape seed extract is often used as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory agent.

So today I went right to my local market and picked up a bag of the deepest, reddest grapes I could find.    And, yes, I did a side by side tastes test:  Frozen verses fresh.  Hands down. – frozen won. Oh, another plus to frozen; they take longer to eat; which means you won’t eat as many in one sitting!

Frozen Grapes; Better than ice cream - REALLY!

Frozen Grapes; Better than ice cream ? I SAY YES!

Here’s what you do:

1)    Buy grapes (red are more nutritious than green)

2)  “Pluck” grapes from stems.  Wash and dry on paper towels.

3)  Stick them in the freezer in airtight bag or bowl.

4)  Forget about them for a while.

It really is that simple.

Next time you crave a frozen sweet treat, reach for the grapes … instead of the ice cream.    You will be glad you did.

Frozen Grapes (red or green) Serving: 1 cup
Calories: ~104
Fat: 0g
Carbs: 27g
Protein: 1g
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Exercise and Antioxidants
Shari

by on Jan.03, 2010, under General Nutrition, Natural Bodybuilding

Antioxidants are vitally important for general good health, but have additional benefits for those who exercise regularly.

Antioxidants are directly related in the prevention of cellular damage in the body; a common path for cancer, aging, and a multitude of diseases.  Free radicals form when oxygen interacts with certain molecules and start chain reactions that damage the cells.  We are exposed to huge amounts of free radicals from pollution, cigarette smoke and automobile emissions. Every time we eat, we consume free radicals in the form of pesticides and preservatives. Antioxidants create a defense system to prevent free radical damage to the body and assist in slowing down the aging rate of these cells, thereby helping your body to recover from exercise.

We all agree that exercise is extremely beneficial to our health; but it also increases production of extra free-

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radical oxygen molecules. During weight training, certain compounds such as lactic acid build-up in the muscles and generate free-radical damage to cells which further breaks down muscle tissue.   Our bodies need antioxidants to keep oxygen working in a healthy way.  This is especially true for any person who is trying to exercise to help improve their fitness and weight loss.

Although our bodies produce antioxidants, we manufacture insufficient amounts to ward off the internal damage produced by the toxins in our environment. This is why ensuring a well balanced diet is so vital to overall good health and well-being.  5-9 servings of fruit or vegetables per day, along with a balanced exercise program is recommended to meet the needed nutrients for a fundamental antioxidant system. For most of us, it is a challenge to meet these basic, daily nutritional requirements. In this case, supplementation may be a benefit. Many vitamins and minerals contain anti-oxidant properties.

Those of us who participate in weight controlled sports and/or do not consume a well balanced diet may be at risk for vitamin deficiency. Sport nutrition experts suggest that those who exercise regularly take antioxidant supplements daily, particularly vitamin E (400 IU) and vitamin C (1000 mg).  Vitamin E supplementation has been shown to protect against exercise-induced oxidative damage and to enhance recovery following intense exercise. Studies also suggest that vitamin C may quicken recovery time, and decrease muscle soreness.   Other than vitamin C, E, there is no clear scientific evidence that most antioxidant supplements aid in defense against exercise induced oxidative damage.

Foods sources then are our best source for antioxidant.

Small red beans and wild blueberries top the list of foods that have the highest concentrations of disease-fighting antioxidant compounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In general, colorful foods are higher in antioxidant properties, as well as in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

The top 20 ranked foods that interfere with or prevent damage from free radicals are displayed in the table below:

Rank Type Food item Serving size Total antioxidant capacity per serving size
1 Beans/Legumes Red Beans (dried) Half cup 13727
2 Fruit, Berry Wild blueberry 1 cup 13427
3 Beans/Legumes Red kidney beans (dried) Half cup 13259
4 Beans/Legumes Pinto beans Half cup 11864
5 Fruit, Berry Blueberry 1 cup 9019
6 Fruit, Berry Cranberry 1 cup (whole) 8983
7 Vegetable Artichoke (cooked) 1 cup (hearts) 7904
8 Fruit, Berry Blackberry 1 cup 7701
9 Fruit Prune Half cup 7291
10 Fruit, Berry Raspberry 1 cup 6058
11 Fruit, Bery Strawberry 1 cup 5938
12 Fruit Red Delicious apple One 5900
13 Fruit Granny Smith apple One 5381
14 Nut Pecan 1 ounce 5095
15 Fruit, Bery Sweet cherry 1 cup 4873
16 Fruit Black plum One 4844
17 Vegetable Russet potato (cooked) One 4649
18 Beans/Legumes Black beans (dried) Half cup 4181
19 Fruit Plum One 4118
20 Fruit Gala apple One 3903
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Fruits and Fructose
Shari

by on Dec.27, 2009, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Weight Loss

Fruit Sugar.  Good or Bad?

Fructose is a sugar that’s found naturally in fruits and berries, and it’s also the basis of the not-so-healthy high-fructose corn syrup, a common addition to a variety of processed foods.  But the amount of fructose in fruit is something to consider for those trying to limit sugar in their diet.

It is common knowledge that fruits are  low in calories, high in fiber AND nutritionally dense with antioxidants to boost your health. On a  practical level they fill you up, without loading you up with fat and calories.  And when your stomach is filled up with high volume, low calorie food, there is less room for other stuff. There is also documented evidence that shows that plant-based foods help to control food cravings and overeating.

Low in Calories, High in nutritional value. But be aware of sugar content in fruit

Low in Calories, High in nutritional value. But be aware of sugar content in fruit

BUT, fruits are generally abundant in sugar.  So if you are trying to lose weight by limiting the amount of sugars (simple carbs) in you diet, should you also limit your fruit intake?  This is where some of the low-carb diet plans disagree, as some programs depend more upon glycemic index or glycemic load (South Beach, Zone)  while others just look at total carbs (Atkins, Protein Power).

In general, your best bet, whether counting total calories or just carbohydrates, is to select fruits that are lowest in sugar content.

The following information (from About.com) ranks fruits by sugar content. Click on the link associated with a fruit to obtain specific and detailed nutritional information about that fruit.   To maximize your health benefits, be sure to eat a wide variety of colorful fruits (and vegetables) daily. Keep within your recommended daily caloric intake and pair carbohydrates with a protein source with each meal and you will be fine!

Fruits Lowest in Sugar

Fruits Low to Medium Sugar

Fruits Fairly High in Sugar

Fruits Very High in Sugar

Prunes

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