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Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

April 14, 2015

This no-bake cherry cheesecake is an easy summertime treat. This no-bake cheesecake recipe has omega-3-rich walnuts in the graham cracker crust and uses nonfat Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cream cheese in the filling to keep saturated fat in check. If you want a bright red topping, use sour cherries. Sweet cherries give it a more purple hue. To make gluten-free no-bake cherry cheesecake, use gluten-free graham crackers.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 cups halved pitted sour or sweet cherries, fresh or frozen (thawed, drained; see Tips)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Half a 14-ounce box graham crackers, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tips)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 8-ounce packages reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 2 cups nonfat plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Recipe Steps:

  1. Combine cherries, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with 4 teaspoons water, then stir into the cherry mixture; return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid thickens and looks syrupy, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  2. Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl; stir in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Drizzle with oil and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  3. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Spread over the crust. Spoon the cherry mixture over the top. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.

Recipe Tips & Notes:

  • Tips: To pit fresh cherries, use a tool made for the job—a hand-held cherry pitter; it also works for olives! Or pry out the pit with the tip of a knife or vegetable peeler.
  • To toast chopped, small or sliced nuts, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 348 calories; 17 g fat (4 g sat, 7 g mono); 20 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 22 g added sugars; 9 g protein; 2 g fiber; 273 mg sodium; 228 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (17% daily value)

3 Carbohydrate Serving(s)

Exchanges: 1 1/2 carbohydrate (other), 1 starch, 1/2 fruit, 3 fat

By EatingWell.com. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.




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




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.

 




How to Get Foods with Omega-3s in Your Diet

March 16, 2015

The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend, “increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.” Why? What’s the benefit of eating more fish and other types of seafood?

The main reason is that fish and other seafood contain two omega-3 fats associated with a reduced risk for heart problems: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Science suggests that eating about 8 ounces of a variety of seafood each week—which provides a daily average of about 250 mg of DHA/EPA—may convey these heart-healthy benefits. Problem is, most of us aren’t getting the recommended amounts of these omega-3s.

Try the following ideas to help you get more:

Go for omega-3-rich fish. While all seafood contains some omega-3 fats, fatty cold-water fish have higher concentrations. Popular omega-3-rich picks include salmon and sardines (both provide more than 1,000 mg per 4-oz.serving) and tuna (about 250 mg per 4 oz. of light tuna).

Try some seaweed. Need a reason to eat sushi? Seaweed (nori) and kelp (wakame, kombu or dulse) are both algae, which provide some DHA/EPA.

Consider fortified foods. More and more food products fortified with DHA/EPA are finding their way to supermarket shelves. The following are foods that you might find fortified with DHA/EPA.

• Eggs: Eggs are fortified by adding flaxseed and/or algae supplements to hens’ feed. One large egg may contain up to 500 mg omega-3s (some of which is DHA/EPA).

• Milk: Some brands of milk add fish oil or algal oil to give a DHA/EPA boost (don’t worry, you can’t taste it!). 1 cup of this fortified milk delivers up to 50 mg of DHA/EPA.

• Peanut butter: As with milk, some brands are adding fish oil. A 2-tablespoon serving provides about 30 mg DHA/EPA.

If you don’t eat a lot of fish, taking an omega-3 supplement might be a smart choice. Talk with your doctor about whether supplementation might be right for you and, if so, what to look for on labels.

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




The Right Diet to Help You Lower Your Risk of Carotid Artery Disease

March 13, 2015

In a recent study, the Mediterranean diet, when followed strictly, was shown to lower the risk of ischemic stroke in women, which can occur as a result of Carotid Artery Disease.

The Mediterranean diet includes fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, whole grains, fish, lean poultry and a lot of olive oil. It restricts the consumption of red meats, dairy, sugar and saturated fats.

Following the diet strictly could help lower your ischemic stroke the most, which occurs as a result of carotid artery disease, as well as cardiovascular risk factors. So what should you pick up at your next trip to the grocery store? Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

Stock up on Plenty of Fruits and Veggies

Fresh, nonstarchy produce is the star of this diet. Eat 5 to 10 servings a day (a half-cup cooked or 1 cup raw equals one serving).

Choose Healthy Fats

Olives and their oil are cornerstones; go for four to six servings per day (a serving could be 1 tsp. of olive oil, 5 olives or 1/8 of an avocado). Olive oil delivers healthy monounsaturated fats and plant compounds called polyphenols.

Fill up on Seeds, Nuts & Legumes

These are a great source of fiber and protein; nuts and seeds also provide healthy fats and antioxidants. Eat a serving of legumes (1/2 cup, cooked)—found in hummus or lentil soup—at least twice a week and a small portion of nuts daily (about 1 Tbsp., or 10 to 12 almonds or walnut halves).

Focus on Eggs & Fish

Aim to eat a 4-oz. serving of fish (about the size of a checkbook) two to three times a week. Eggs are also on the menu: Whip them into a vegetable frittata. Lean meat and poultry are OK, too, in moderation.

Have (a little) Dairy

Work in dairy from cultured milk (kefir, yogurt, fresh curd cheeses like ricotta); it’s easier to digest and supplies beneficial bacteria that contribute to digestive health. Enjoy one to three servings daily (a serving is 1 cup of milk or yogurt or 1 oz. of cheese).

Opt for Whole Grains

Refined carbs lack nutrients and can wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Whole grains are best; have four small daily portions of whole-wheat bread, or try a pasta made from quinoa. And always eat grains with healthy fats and protein. Incorporate sprouted or fermented grains (hello, sourdough!) for easier digestion and better nutrient absorption. Or look for creative ways to swap out grains, such as using spaghetti squash in place of noodles.

Use Plenty of Herbs and Spices

They’re full of plant compounds with antioxidant and inflammation-fighting effects.

Drink Wisely

Make water a go-to. Many Mediterraneans sip espresso after meals to aid digestion. In North Africa, they choose antioxidant-rich green tea combined with mint for the same reason.




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