Go Green for healthy snacking

Nutrition in Pistachios

Pistachios are a good source of copper, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and B6. The nuts deliver 30 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, so they pack a considerable wallop from a nutritional standpoint.

Fiber in Pistachios

Pistachios contain fiber. Lots of it! Pistachios, in fact, contain higher amounts of fiber than many high-fiber foods. If you are trying to boost your intake, pistachios are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

Pistachio Protein

If you are looking to replace animal protein with vegetable protein, pistachios eaten in conjuction with protein-rich grains, vegetables, and fruits, can help you to add protein to your diet. Pistachio nuts are an excellent source of vegetable protein.

Pistachios and Antioxidants

Oxidative stress can cause damage to the human body, resulting in diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Dietary antioxidants help to reduce the damage. Pistachios contain phenolic compounds, which are believed to account for the antioxidant capability of certain foods. The pistachio nut is placed in the highest group for antioxidants.

Pistachios and Carotenoids

Pistachios contain significant amounts of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids have been linked to reduced risk of developing macular degeneration, a condition that results in blindness for aging Americans.

Pistachios and Phytosterols

Pistachios are also rich in plant sterols. Current research suggests that phytosterols may lower the absorption of dietary cholesterol from other foods. In fact, plant sterols are now being added to foods because of this beneficial effect.

Pistachios Lower Cholesterol

  • Numerous studies have validated the health benefits of nuts. In particular, nuts render a cardio-protective effect. Dr. Koeyigit (Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Harran University, Turkey) carried out a study to evaluate a pistachio-rich diet as compared to a diet that excluded the nuts to determine whether inclusion of pistachios could affect cardiovascular health. The results demonstrated that the pistachio diet lowered total cholesterol. LDL and HDL levels were also affected.
  • Dr. Hu (Harvard Department of Nutrition) reports in an overview article that nuts render a favorable effect on blood lipids and may also protect against coronary artery disease because of amino acids such as arginine, which is a precursor to nitric oxide, a vasodilator that can inhibit platelet adhesion.
Pistachios and Heart-Healthy Fats

Pistachios are a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease when they replace saturated fats in the diet. (Institute of Medicine, 2002a).

Pistachio Diet

In trials, people on the 4-week pistachio diet showed no weight gain while improving risk factors for heart disease (Journal of the American College of Nutrition). The study showed that a daily dose of pistachios is beneficial in relation to cardiovascular disease. Study participants had moderately high cholesterol levels and consumed 15% of their calories from pistachios. Over a four-week period, blood lipid levels improved.

Benefits of Pistachios

Eating pistachios renders significant benefits in relation to human health. Pistachio nuts deliver a nutritious array of important nutrients and compounds that support and assist body function.

  • Add chopped pistachios to yogurt or cream cheese
  • Pistachios can be added to muffins, pancakes, or oatmeal
  • Try to consume approximately 30 nuts (18 g) 4 times per week
  • Unsalted pistachios are an excellent addition to vegan or vegetarian diets

Including delicious pistachios into any eating plan may be one of the best things you can do to protect your health.

You can eat 50 pistachios and only take in about 160 calories!

Read more at Suite101: Health Benefits of Pistachios: Nutrient Dense Pistachio Nuts Make a Heart-Healthy Snack

Cranberries - like medicine, but taste better

The same mechanism that helps cranberries prevent urinary tract infections also helps them foil ulcers. Just as cranberry juice prevents the E. coli bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract, this tasty beverage also works against Heliobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for ulcers. If H. pylori can't stick to the mucus lining your stomach, it can't colonize there.

Even if you already have an H. pylori infection, cranberry juice may help. In a Chinese study, people who had H. pylori infections drank either two juice boxes of cranberry juice or a placebo beverage each day for 90 days. At the end of the study, those drinking the cranberry juice had significantly more negative test results for the infection.

Smile if you like cranberries: A Japanese study found that cranberries stop the oral streptococci strains of bacteria from sticking to the surface of your teeth. This slows the development of dental plaque and tooth decay. Researchers at the U of Rochester also found that cranberry juice effectively countered oral bacteria. They credited quercetin, as well as proanthocyanidins, for cranberry juice's success.

Cabbage - a head start on better health

Find new ways to enjoy cabbage and you could add extra muscle to your cancer defense. Here's how:

Some cancer-causing substances don't make trouble until a special enzyme "switches on" their ability to damage cells and DNA. But cabbage contains an isothiocyanate called benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC). Animal studies suggest that BITC may stop most enzymes from flipping the "on switch" so your cells are more likely to escape cancer-causing damage.

But cabbage doesn't just take out inactive cancer-causers. It also delivers sulforaphane to combat cancer-causing substances that are already active. Sulforaphane persuades your liver to produce more of its potent phase-2 detoxification enzymes. These extra shock troops supercharge your immune system, arming it with more power to disarm cancer-causing substances and sweep them out of your body.

Turn up the taste: Spice cabbage with oregano, dill, celery seed, caraway or savory.

Keep seeing Red: Add vinegar or lemon juice to red cabbage when cooking or cutting it. Otherwise, it may turn blue or purple.

Source: "Your body can heal itself" by the editors of FC&A Medical Publishing

Fight Fatigue with apricots

They may just be the perfect snack. Packed with iron, they help battle anemia. Plus, they're an excellent source of beta carotene, an antioxidant you body turns into vitamin A. This nutrient combats hypothyroidism by helping your thyroid absorb iodine. Add to that their natural sugar, and you get a quick, midday pick-me-up. Dried apricots are particularly potent because their nutrients are more concentrated, making them a healthy - and handy - on-the-go snack.

Source: "Your body can heal itself" by the editors of FC&A Medical Publishing


Nutrition Information of Olives


1. Olives have been a dietary staple since ancient times, bearing mention in the Bible, and included in art and history from the Greek and Egyptian cultures. While they have been grown in California for several hundreds of years as well as South Africa and South America, their primary source continues to be the Mediterranean region: Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey. Olives are far too bitter to be eaten in their natural state and require processing before they are edible. The color of the olive depends on their ripeness, from the unripe green to the fully ripe black, as well as the processing method used for them.


2. Olives contain high amounts of monounsaturated fat and sodium, and moderately high amounts vitamin E, iron, copper and dietary fiber. One cup of olives--a little more than 130 grams--contains 155 calories, about 130 of which come from fat. The serving contains about 10 grams of monounsaturated fat, about 22 percent of the recommended daily allowance. A one-cup serving contains 4.44 milligrams of iron, about a quarter of the recommended daily intake, and about 17 percent of the daily recommended copper intake, 0.34 milligrams. The serving provides 4.3 grams of dietary fiber, about 17 percent of what's recommended in a day, and 4.03 milligrams of vitamin E, about 20 percent of what's needed daily. Olives also contain small amounts of other nutrients, including protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine and methionine.

Health Benefits

3. The nutrients in olives provide a number of health benefits. The high levels of monounsaturated fat, which is sturdier than polyunsaturated fats, helps boost the strength of the body's cell outer membranes. The protection, along with the vitamin E and other antioxidants in olives, lowers the risk of cell damage and inflation. Stable cells can help prevent against a number of conditions, including cancer, heart attacks, strokes and gastrointestinal disorders. It also can help control conditions like asthma, arthritis and hot flashes brought on by menopause. Iron and copper, meanwhile, are necessary for the health of the blood and liver. Dietary fiber helps promote digestive health as well as lower cholesterol.


4. Despite their benefits, the high sodium content of olives can be trouble for those on low-sodium diets. High levels of sodium in the body can cause high blood pressure and several other health problems. Some brine types used to prepare olives contain higher sodium levels than others, so always check nutrition labels to be sure. Generally, canned black olives contain the highest sodium levels. They are available in low-sodium varieties, and cooks also can cut down on their sodium content by draining them of their juice and washing them off with fresh water. In addition, eating a large amount of olives on an empty stomach will cause nausea.


5. Although all the various colors of olives are basically the same vegetable in different stages of ripeness, not all olives are created equal when it comes to nutritional value. Ripe, black olives are the healthiest, particularly those cured in water or with sea salt. Green, unripe olives do not have the same level of mineral content and also might be treated with lye. Canned black olives, beside the high sodium content, also lack the same nutritional punch as the jarred variety. Canned olives, in many cases, were not ripened naturally and instead got their dark color from additives used during the canning process.

Read more: Nutrition Information of Olives |


Virgin Coconut Oil Benefits

Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is one of the most popular whole foods being used to prevent sickness and disease. Referred to as the Tree of Life, the coconut palm has a number of wonderful health giving benefits. Coconut oil is also referred to as coconut butter and is derived from the kernel of the coconut, which is also known as the copra. However, the difference between standard coconut oil and virgin coconut oil is that virgin coconut oil is not derived from the dried copra, but rather comes from fresh coconuts.

One of the most abundant substances in virgin coconut oil is saturated fat. With a composition of 90% saturated fat. The saturated fat is comprised of seven different fatty acids, and is revered for its ability to withstand oxidation. When stored properly, virgin coconut oil will last up to two years.

Virgin coconut oil is recommended for its many benefits. It has been shown to improve the health and beauty of hair, skin, and nails. Additionally, it has helped lower stress levels, brings cholesterol levels into balance, helps speed up weight loss, and has an important role in proper digestion. Virgin coconut oil has also been used in the treatment of kidney and heart disease, and diabetes. Known for its antibacterial properties, virgin coconut oil also fights funguses, is an antioxidant, and has germicidal properties.

For those who are worried about their blood pressure, virgin coconut oil is a good choice. Since virgin coconut oil does not increase or raise cholesterol levels, it is perfect for those who are dealing with heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and those who are trying to lose weight. Virgin coconut oil is a great solution for those who are looking for healthy cooking oil. Not only will coconut oil not increase these levels, but it is also a good choice for balancing levels as well.

When your cholesterol levels are under control, your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease decreases. This in turn makes your chance of developing diabetes decrease as well. Since virgin coconut oil has antibacterial, anti fungal, and anti microbial properties it does not encourage or promote Candida growth. This helps those who are dealing with yeast, thrush, or conditions such as athlete's foot.

Virgin coconut oil can be taken both internally and topically. For conditions on the skin, or to revitalize the hair, adding coconut oil topically is an effective remedy. However, you can also use virgin coconut oil for your cooking, as well as take between three and four tablespoons on a daily basis. This will promote benefits and help bring the body's systems into balance. Many clinical trials and research have been conducted on the effects of virgin coconut oil in the daily diet and the results have been tremendous. Virgin coconut oil regularly makes news headlines for its results. From helping those suffering from conditions such as psoriasis and eczema to bringing health to those with Alzheimer's and pneumonia, virgin coconut oil is one of the most powerful health remedies available today.


Raw Unrefined Sea Salt

The human body is comprised on nearly 75% water. Because the body relies so greatly upon water, it is important that the human body stays well hydrated. However, what many people may not realize is that the chemical composition of the water that is vital to all human life bodily functions is nearly identical to that of ocean or sea water.

In fact, ocean or sea salt is healthy and good for us. This may come as a surprise to those who have repeatedly heard how harmful salt is to the body. Yet, it should be realized that the negative effects of salt that has been studied comes from refined white or table salt, not unrefined raw sea salt.

Athletes have understood the importance of maintaining the body's electrolytes through salt. However, even sports drinks don't compare to the amazing benefits derived from raw unrefined sea salt.

In addition to restoring and balancing the body's electrolytes, it also helps to increase energy, restore the body's ph balance, and increases the immune system.

Salt is a vital source of many minerals including iodine. Unrefined raw sea salt contains numerous trace minerals and these help protect the body from toxins, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and other illnesses. There are over one hundred minerals in unrefined sea salt that all help keep the body in balance.


Trans Fats - Unsafe at any meal

Trans fats are dastardly! Here is a list of their damage on our systems:

* Lower HDL (the "good" one, which we want to be high)

* Raise LDL (the "bad" one, which we want to be low)

* Raise Lp(a), which promotes atherosclerosis and clotting (a bad thing)

* Reduce blood vessel function

* Promote obesity, diabetes and hypertension (really bad thing)

* Alter fat cell size and number (shudder! another really bad thing)

* Reduce cream in breast milk

* Reduce fertility and correlate with low birth weight

* Increase asthma

* Reduce immune response

* Interfere with the conversion and use of DHA and EPA

* Disrupt enzymes that metabolize carcinogens and drugs

* Damage cell membranes

* Create free radicals (Cancer! A really, really bad thing!)

Trans fats do a lot of damage in addition to causing heart disease. Recall that all of your cell walls are made of fat. Like natural fats, trans fats enter the tissues and become part of the cell membrane, where, unlike natural fats, they disrupt every cellular activity, from metabolism to immunity. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are walking around with cell walls made of trans fats, which have no place in the diet or the body.

The sooner we ban trans fats - as Denmark has - the better!

Credited to Nina Planck in her book: "Real Food - what to eat and why"

Why coconut oil is good for you

"The main fat (49%)in coconut oil is lauric acid, an antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral fatty acid all but unique to coconut oil and breast milk. Lauric acid kills fat-coated viruses, including HIV, measles, herpes, influenza, leukemia, hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr, and bacteria, such as Listeria, Helicobacter pylori, and strep. Monolaurin, an agent the body makes from lauric acid, fights the herpes and cytomegalovirus viruses.

The medium-chain fats in coconut oil don't need to be emulsified by bile acids before they are digested, as long-chain polyunsaturated fats do. Thus the body burns coconut oil more quickly than long-chain polyunsaturated fats like soybean oil, which it tends to store for later. For this reason, lauric acid is easy to digest, and for decades doctors have fed coconut oil to patients unable to digest polyunsaturated fats.

Medium-chain fats can also aid weight loss. Ultimately, of course, the most important thing is how much energy you consume and spend, but metabolism is more subtle than that. For example, lean protein has a higher "thermic effecct" than fat or carbs; that means it gives metabolism a boost. Lauric acid has a similar effect. A large number of studies in both animals and people show that coconut oil, when compared with polyunsaturated fats, enhances weight loss. Many people take a spoonful of coconut oil daily to aid weight loss and boost immunity.

What about heart disease? In the last thirty years, a number of studies have cleared coconut oil of any role in heart disease, and recent research confirms those findings.

Coconut oil even improves the all-important ration of HDL and LDL.

How then, did coconut oil get a bad reputation? Partly because we misunderstood cholesterol. We used to think that any fat that raised total cholesterol, as coconut oil can, was unhealthy, but we now know that total cholesterol is a poor predictor of heart disease and that raising HDL is good. Moreover, hydrogenated coconut oil was used in some studies.

Credited to Nina Planck in her book: "Real Food - what to eat and why"

Fats - Good with vegatables and to help omega-3 absorbtion

"Without fats, even vegetable are less nutritious. Brightly colored vegetables are rich in antioxidant carotenoids. They go better with butter. In 2004, Iowa State University researchers who compared people eating salads with traditional or fat-free dressing found those shunning fat failed to absorb lycopene and beta-carotene, powerful antioxidants that boost immunity and fight cancer and heart disease.

'Fat is necessary for the carotenoids to reach the absorptive intestinal walls,' said the lead researcher, Wendy White. Lycopene is found in tomatoes and beta-carotene in orange, yellow and green vegetables.

The chemistry of fats can explain the long tradition of serving fish with butter and cream. Saturated fats are required to assimilate omega-3 fats, and they make omega-3 fats go farther in the body."

Credited to Nina Planck in her book: "Real Food - what to eat and why"

Protein + fat = nutrition absorption

"Eating protein with fat makes nutritional sense, because all food, and protein in particular, requires fat for proper digestion.

Consider, for example, two near-perfect foods: eggs and milk. Both foods are a complete nutritional package, designed for a growing organism's exclusive nutrition, and must contain everything the body needs to assimilate the nutrients they contain.

Thus the fats in the egg yolk aid digestion of the protein in the white, and lecithin in the yolk aids metabolism of its cholesterol. The butterfat in milk facilitates protein digestion, and saturated fat in particular is required to absorb the calcium.

Calcium, in turn, requires vitamins A and D to be properly assimilated, and they are found only in the butterfat. Finally, vitamin A is required for production of bile salts that enable the body to digest protein.

Without the butterfat, then, you don't get the best of protein, fat-soluble vitamins, or calcium from milk. That's why I don't eat, and cannot recommend, egg white omelets and skim milk. They are low-quality, incomplete foods."

Credited to Nina Planck in her book: "Real Food - what to eat and why"

Vegetables that need to be cooked...

"Be aware that that some vegetables are more nutritious when cooked. The broccoli and cabbage family contains goitrogens, which depress thyroid function. Spinach, beets and chard contain oxalic acid, which blocks calcium and iron absorption. Goitrogens and oxalic acid are reduced by cooking.

Betacarotene in vegetables is more available to the body once it has been liberated from tough cell walls; thus shredding, juicing and cooking beets and carrots are all ways to make them more nutritious."

Credited to Nina Planck in her book: "Real Food - what to eat and why"

Industrialized diet and poor health

"What can be the blame for our poor health? The culprit is industrial foods. Sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils raise cholesterol and triglycerides. Eating oxidized - or damaged - cholesterol leads to unhealthy oxidized LDL in the body. The main, dietary source of oxidized cholesterol is powdered skim milk and powdered eggs, commonly found in processed foods.

The experts are right: our diet is killing us. But traditional beef, butter, and eggs are not to blame for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The so-called diseases of civilization are caused by the food of civilization. More accurately, the diseases of industrialization are caused by the foods of industrialization."

credited to Nina Planck in her book: "Real Food, what to eat and why"


The Trans Fat Deception

0 Grams Trans Fat!

That is what the package says, but what does it mean? Could it be true?

You would think that if a package says zero grams of trans fats, then the food would have no trans fats in it, right?

Wrong! The label above lists partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as the third ingredient! (According to FDA guidelines, the ingredients must be listed in order - the most listed first, in order down to the least ingredient listed last).

If the food is broken down into serving sizes small enough so that there is less than 1/2 gram per serving, then they can put ZERO on the label. It appears that this is the case even if there is 0.49 grams of trans fat in that serving.

This is nothing new, however, and has been the case with regular fat as well for a long time. If a serving of a food had less than 1/2 gram of fat in it, then the manufacturer could put 0 grams fat on the label.

Why this is so important NOW is because trans fats are unlike any other fat - they are the worst fat out there. They wreak havoc with your body, causing irreparable damage to your cells.

What Trans Fats Do: They fool your body. Your cells are designed accept fatty acids - good fats. But trans fats are NOT good fats, and trick your cells. They are accepted by your body, but cannot be metabolized like a real fatty acid, and cannot be rejected. The integrity of your cell membrane is compromised and your cell is no longer able to function properly.

New Products Are Being Released...

That claim to be trans-fat free. Many truly are. Many are not. The only true way is to check the labels for ANY of these phrases:

* Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
* Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
* Partially Hydrogenated ANYTHING Oil
* Shortening
* Margarine

Trans Fat Free Margarine is being released now by many manufacturers. There is only one brand that we have seen that, when you check the ingredients, is truly trans fat-free, and that is Smart Balance (which can be found in most any grocery store).

The manufacturers that produce foods that claim to be trans fat-free (but contain trans-fats) rest their public position on the idea that the FDA has said that "the FDA .... recommends keeping your intake of both saturated and trans fats as low as possible."

Note that the manufacturer is lumping trans fats in with saturated fats as though they were even close to the same hazard - they are not.
(For the truth about Trans Fats and Saturated fats, we highly recommend reading this book: Trans Fats, by Judith Shaw).

How do they do it, then? Their explanation is with somewhat tricky language like this: "As a result, some products qualify, according to FDA guidelines, for 0g trans fat per serving although they have as one of their components partially hydrogenated vegetable oil."

The FDA has released new labeling guidelines that go into effect in 2006. Until that time, you will see many manufacturers adding the labels "No Trans Fats", "0 Grams Trans Fats", and other trans fat related information to their labels.

Unfortunately, the guidelines fall short, and there is only one way to truly know. That is to read the ingredient lists.

Trans Fat Tips:

** Zero Tolerance. Zero is the only amount of this poison that you should allow into your body.

** Read Ingredient Lists. Frustratingly, you cannot trust even the nutritional panel when it indicates "0 grams" of Trans Fats.

** Go Natural. You will find that natural foods (nuts, milk, butter, vegetables, fruits, etc) are all trans fat free.

** Choose Wisely. Olive oil for cooking. Butter for baking. Butter or Smart Balance as a condiment.

** No Margarine. Some claim to be trans fat free, but they aren't!

----FormulaZone Staff, November 28, 2004