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Archive for March, 2015

Whole Roasted Lemon-Herb Chicken on a Bed of Vegetables

March 27, 2015

When you season roast chicken under the skin, as in this recipe, the meat itself gets flavored and the skin becomes nicely browned and crisp. Here, the chicken is roasted on a bed of carrots, turnips and celeriac—but any mixture of root vegetables will work. You’ll need about 8 cups of chopped or cubed vegetables.
 

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme sprigs, divided
  • 2 lemons, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 4- to 4 1/2-pound chicken
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 medium turnips, peeled (see Tip) and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 celeriac roots (1 1/2-2 pounds total), peeled (see Tip) and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

 

Recipe Steps

 

  1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 400°F.
  2. Chop 8 sage leaves and place in a bowl with 2 teaspoons thyme leaves. Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon into the bowl. Add garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; mix well. Set aside.
  3. Pierce the remaining lemon all over with a sharp fork. Cram the lemon, onion and the remaining sage and thyme into the chicken cavity.
  4. Place the chicken breast-side up on a cutting board. Use your hands to gently loosen the skin covering the breast, thighs and the top end of the drumsticks. Smear the lemon-herb mixture under the skin, covering as much of the meat as possible.
  5. Toss carrots, turnips and celeriac in a large bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper until well coated.
  6. Place the chicken breast-side up in a large roasting pan (but not on a rack). Scatter the vegetables around the chicken. Bake, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  7. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Transfer the vegetables from the roasting pan to a serving dish with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much of the fat as possible. Serve the chicken with the vegetables.

 

Recipe Tips & Notes

 
Tip: To peel turnips and celeriac (also called celery root), cut off one end of the root to create a flat surface so you can keep it steady on the cutting board. Follow the contour of the vegetable with your knife to remove the skin. Or, if you use a vegetable peeler, be sure to peel around the root at least three times to ensure that all the fibrous skin is removed.
 

Recipe Nutrition

 
Per serving: 308 calories; 9 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 100 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 7 g total sugars; 34 g protein; 5 g fiber; 691 mg sodium; 1012 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (162% daily value), Vitamin C (50% dv), Potassium (29% dv), Magnesium (19% dv), Zinc (17% dv), Iron (16% dv).

1 Carbohydrate Serving(s)

Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 1 fat




Is Cottage Cheese or Greek Yogurt a Healthier High-Protein Snack?

March 26, 2015

Picking healthy snacks at the grocery store can feel pretty confusing. There are thousands of foods, many touted as beneficial or nutritional, to choose from. We put two popular high-protein snacks—cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt—head-to-head to find out. Which is healthier: this or that?

Winner: Greek yogurt. But when it comes to high-protein snacks, it’s close to a draw!

Greek yogurt, with fewer calories and sodium, and more calcium and probiotics, ultimately takes the win

Protein-Rich Snacks: They’re both rich in lean protein, with cottage cheese having slightly more. Nonfat cottage cheese has 24 g of protein per cup, while Greek yogurt comes in just under at 20 grams. Both the yogurt and cottage cheese are available in low-fat and fat-free versions.

Calcium: But Greek yogurt has a slight edge in calcium—a mineral most people need more of. A cup has 150 mg, while a cup of cottage cheese only has 125 mg.

Lower in Calories: Greek yogurt contains fewer calories—120 per cup, vs. 160 for cottage cheese. It’s also more likely to contain probiotics (live active cultures of gut-friendly bacteria).

But one clear distinction steers the choice: Cottage cheese can be loaded with sodium. Just 1 cup of cottage cheese can deliver more than 5 times the sodium found in Greek yogurt.

Some cottage cheese brands have 700 mg of sodium in 1 cup, which is almost one third of the recommended daily limit of 2,300 mg.

The same amount of Greek yogurt delivers just 85 mg. That’s a game-changer for us.

With fewer calories and sodium, more calcium and probiotics, Greek yogurt takes the win. Look for plain low-fat and nonfat varieties, though, as flavored Greek yogurt can contain a lot of added sugar.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 




Cleaning Up Your Kidneys – The Top Foods and Drinks that Can Help

March 25, 2015

More than 26 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) which makes this disease a serious issue. Kidney disease is linked to other major health issues such as heart and carotid artery disease. Carotid artery disease, when in advanced stages, can increase an individual’s risk of stroke.

So how do you take care of your kidneys? The same way you take care of your overall health – diet and lifestyle choices. Healthy behaviors such as exercise, drinking plenty of water, and a balanced diet with the recommended amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are good for your body, inside and out. For individuals with chronic kidney disease, there are plenty of foods out there that can help. If you don’t have chronic kidney disease, it is still important to protect your kidneys from disease. Check out these top drinks and foods to help you take care of your kidneys!

 

Top Drinks and Foods for Your Kidneys

 

Water

 For obvious reasons, water is the best tool for balancing water balance in your body. No need to go overboard, but you should always aim for 6-8 glasses a day depending on your body weight. If you are more active, you will need additional water. Water helps flush out toxins that can lead to bacterial infection or kidney stones, along with harmful particles in the blood.

Cranberry Juice

Be careful with this choice, some juices contain little fruit content and are loaded with sugar, so be sure to pick 100% cranberry juice (organic and water based) is a great option for cleaning out your kidneys.

Cranberries

Eating cranberries can also protect your kidneys. Cranberries prevent the development and growth of ulcers and bacteria in your urinary tract, and can help manage current bacteria/ulcers because they make urine more acidic and help keep bacteria from attaching to the inside of the bladder. At the grocery store, add fresh cranberries to your cart over dried.

Apples

An apple a day really does help keep the doctor away! High in fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, apples help reduce cholesterol, prevent constipation, protect against heart disease and decrease your risk of cancer.  These can be cooked or raw – it’s up to you!

Mushrooms

If you have chronic kidney disease, you probably know that vitamin D is extremely important since it helps regulate kidney function, and mushrooms are an excellent source.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal (not the sugary kind) can be a good source of iron and B6, both of which play in important role in preventing kidney stones. Be sure to read the ingredients and be sure that what you are purchasing includes whole oats and it’s not overly processed.

Kale

Kale is a good source of Vitamins A and C to prevent inflammation and protect the immune system. It’s also lower in potassium than other greens and contains a large amount of iron.

Cauliflower

This vegetable brings lots of vitamin C to your plate, along with folate and fiber. In addition it contains compounds that help your liver neutralize toxic substances. Feel free to eat this veggie raw, add it to your salad, or substitute it for mashed potatoes.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other healthy options that will do your kidneys, and your body, plenty of good. If you do have chronic kidney disease there are a few nutrients you should watch carefully. Your kidneys regulate potassium, which is why it’s so important to monitor how much you are eating on a regular basis. Your kidneys also have a role in red blood cell production, meaning that if they aren’t functioning correctly your count may be low. Eating iron-rich foods can help prevent this and help keep up your energy level.

 

Importance of Kidney Disease Screenings

Kidney disease screening from Life Line Screening uses a simple finger-stick test to assess how well your kidneys are functioning. It uses an FDA-approved device adopted by more than 250 hospitals across the country.

Common risk factors for kidney disease include increased age, family history, race and ethnicity (African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians and Pacific Islanders are at increased risk), diabetes, high blood pressure, hereditary factors and abnormally elevated creatinine levels or decreasing glomerular filtration rates (GFR).

If you have any of the above risk factors, or if you’re over the age of 60, you should seriously consider a kidney disease screening. Learn more now or contact us with any questions you might have.




4 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

March 23, 2015

Two out of three Americans over age 60 have hypertension (BP ≥ 140/90), which puts them at increased risk for health problems such as stroke. Always check with your doctor first, then try these foods to naturally reduce blood pressure.

Beets

Don’t just eat ’em, drink ’em too. When people with high blood pressure drank 8 ounces of beet juice, their blood pressure dipped an average of 10 points for up to 24 hours afterwards, notes a study published in Hypertension. While this study was relatively small (and beet’s long-term effects on blood pressure weren’t studied), research suggests that eating nitrate-rich foods like beets and green leafy vegetables could help people with hypertension by widening blood vessels and aiding blood flow.

Try It

Besides sipping beet juice, slice and roast beets to top a salad with goat cheese.

Walnuts

Research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition now suggests walnuts, long touted as healthy, may lower blood pressure. When adults ate about ½ cup of walnuts daily for four months, they had better blood flow, lower blood pressure and smaller waists. Plus, they didn’t gain weight even though they added over 350 calories of walnuts daily. Walnuts deliver healthy fats, magnesium and fiber, which may be the reason they’re good for BP.

Try It

They’re yummy solo or try subbing walnuts for pine nuts in pesto.

Flaxseed

Eating 3 tablespoons of these nutty seeds daily for 6 months helped people with hypertension lower their blood pressure by an average of 10 percent, says a study published in the journal Hypertension. People who didn’t eat flaxseed saw no change or even a slight increase. Researchers believe the anti-inflammatory effect of the omega-3 fats in combination with lignans (a phytoestrogen) and fiber may be the reason flax is good for blood pressure.

Try It

Sprinkle ground flaxseeds into your yogurt, smoothie or homemade granola.

Go meatless.

Vegetarians had lower blood pressure compared to omnivores by an average of 7 points systolic (the top number) and 5 points diastolic in a JAMA Internal Medicine review.

Put a ring on it!

Married couples experienced lower dips in blood pressure readings overnight than single people, according to a new study in the Journal of Hypertension. Researchers chalk the drop up to better social support or the tendency for married couples to have better overall health.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 




Vitamin A Deficiency Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

March 18, 2015

Type 2 diabetes affects over 29 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association, and it accounts for almost 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States.

Type 2 diabetes develops when insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when any insulin that is produced, fails to work properly.

Although a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication are often used to treat type 2 diabetes, a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found a potential link between vitamin A deficiency and the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A strengthens immunity against infections and aids in the growth of cells, along with helping maintain and improve vision. Vitamin A also boosts beta cell activity. Beta cells produce and secrete insulin, a hormone that regulates levels of glucose in the blood. Research found, significant beta cell loss, resulted in the reduction of insulin production and increased blood glucose levels – key factors involved in development of type 2 diabetes. It is for this reason Dr. Lorraine Gudas, the primary author in the recent study, suggests a lack of the vitamin may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, make sure to eat foods high in vitamin A so you do not become vitamin A deficient!

Foods High in Vitamin A

Good sources of vitamin A include cheese, eggs, yogurt, and liver. You can also make sure you have enough vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet. Add a few of these foods to your next grocery list:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Winter Squash
  • Swiss Chard

 

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the goal is always prevention. With diabetes affecting more than 26 million Americans and quickly growing, it’s more important than ever to know your personal risk factors:

  • Family History
  • Race (African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Asian Americans are at an increased risk)
  • Being Overweight
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal fasting glucose screening results

If you have any of these risk factors, or are above the age of 45, it is recommended that you have a blood glucose screening once every three years.




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