The Low Cholesterol Recipe

 

Low Cholesterol Foods - Keys to a Low Cholesterol Diet 

 

Understanding the keys to low cholesterol foods and a low cholesterol diet is essential information for living a life that is free of cardiovascular disease as well as stroke.

 

A low cholesterol food diet doesn’t necessarily imply the absence of cholesterol in one’s foods.

As outlined by health experts, the objectives of the low cholesterol diet are: 
 
bullet decrease overall dietary fat, particularly saturated fat 
 
bullet decrease dietary cholesterol intake 

bullet limit sodium intake

bullet increase fiber and complex carbohydrates intake

bullet decrease calories to attain a healthy weight. 

Furthermore, experts believe a low cholesterol food diet focuses more about the actual lowering of saturated fat intake as opposed to dietary cholesterol intake. This is so because research shows that saturated fats are considerably more effective with elevating levels of cholesterol compared with dietary cholesterol alone.

Moreover, saturated fats push the liver to make four times more cholesterol from the food items we consume.

Although cholesterol in the body is mostly taken from saturated fats. Not all dietary fats are harmful. The unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated or monounsaturated) in our low cholesterol diet, sourced mostly from plants, can actually help in lowering cholesterol levels.

You can actually differentiate between the two of these dietary fats. The harmful saturated fats stay solid at room temperature while the unsaturated fats do not.

When you are on a low cholesterol diet, be aware of the term “hydrogenated vegetable oil” on food labels. Since hydrogenation is a process in making oils solid at room temperatures, hydrogenated vegetable oils are then regarded as saturated irresepective of the vegetable content. These hydrogenated vegetable oils are used as ingredients in snack foods, baked goods, and margarine, all of which should not be a part of your low cholesterol diet.

Remember that lowering cholesterol levels shouldn't be limited to dietary cholesterol management. Thefollowing lifestyle changes are also essential in lowering one's cholesterol in order to assist in avoiding heart disease:   

 bullet engaging  in physical activities

 bullet quitting smoking

 bullet achieving a healthy weight

Although reading food labels may consume a great deal of your time, additionally, it may assist you to ascertain that the foods you're consuming are safe and healthy.

While we can’t alter our family history of high blood cholesterol levels, we can change our eating patterns to lower cholesterol levels. Doing this would mean some of the following: 

bullet increasing intake of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables

bullet eating oats and other sources of soluble fiber

bullet exercising

bullet substituting the ingredients containing high saturated fats with those containing less or none.

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Cholesterol Matters to Your Heart

(ARA) - Everyone knows they should watch their cholesterol, but do you know why? If you have high cholesterol, you may have twice the risk for heart disease --  the number one health problem for both women and men in the United States.

High levels of cholesterol can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Bad cholesterol, known as LDL, floats through your bloodstream, occasionally catching on the inside walls of the blood vessels. If enough cholesterol accumulates in one spot, the buildup -- known as a plaque -- can block the passage of blood. The resulting restriction of blood flow to the heart can cause a heart attack, while restriction of blood to the brain can lead to a stroke.

Luckily, you may be able to reduce your risk of suffering one of these life-threatening events by lowering your bad cholesterol levels. You can check your cholesterol level through a simple blood test. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends LDL cholesterol levels below 130 mg/dL for people without heart disease but at moderate risk for developing heart disease. For those people with heart disease or a disease that puts them at high risk (such as diabetes), the recommended LDL cholesterol levels are below 100 mg/dL. Further reductions to 70 mg/dL are optimal and may be beneficial for those at particularly high risk.

To control your cholesterol levels, you should limit your intake of foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as fatty meats and whole milk. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and other high-fiber foods, and be sure to exercise as recommended by your doctor.

In some cases, however, lifestyle changes alone are not enough. In those instances, medications including statins might be prescribed to lower cholesterol levels further. Thanks in part to the availability of these medications, the average patient today is considerably more likely to reach their LDL cholesterol goals than they were just 10 years ago.

Because high cholesterol doesn’t cause day-to-day symptoms, it can easily go undetected. Many people don’t know they have high cholesterol until they develop symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain. As a result, it is important to monitor your cholesterol levels regularly. And if your doctor has prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug, be sure to stay on your medication.

If you have high cholesterol, or if you do not know your cholesterol levels, here are some important questions to ask your doctor:

* Why should I keep track of my cholesterol levels?

* Am I at risk for a heart attack or stroke?

* What puts me at risk?

* What are my current cholesterol levels?

* What are my cholesterol goals?

* How often should I check my cholesterol?

* How can I lower my cholesterol through diet? Exercise? Medication?

* What are the possible side effects of cholesterol-lowering medications?

* How should I take my medication?

Talk to your doctor to see if you should be doing more to lower your cholesterol levels. Not all cholesterol-lowering medications are the same, so be sure you and your doctor choose the one that’s best for you. Courtesy of ARAcontent
 
 

Make a Difference for Heart Health

(ARA) - With the Internet, blogs and other resource platforms, health information has never been more accessible. Many people know what they have to do in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle; yet taking action can sometimes be difficult. One such example is maintaining a healthy heart.

According to a new survey, while nearly two-thirds of adults report one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease and 87 percent are at least somewhat concerned that they may develop heart disease, many do not take steps that may help them in the fight against this disease.

This survey of more than 2,000 adults, conducted by Harris Interactive for Cheerios, found that 65 percent of U.S. adults reported having at least one heart disease risk factor, including a family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, or being overweight/obese. Despite this, more than one-third of adults have not had their cholesterol checked within the past year and just over half of adults do not exercise regularly (at least three times per week).

As for the reasons why some adults did not have their cholesterol checked, 31 percent cited lack of concern about their cholesterol levels, while one in five adults (21 percent) cited lack of health insurance as a barrier to getting screened. Those with limited access to adequate health care may not get regular cholesterol screenings and thus are at an even greater risk of heart disease.

Wondering how you can help? Now through January 31, 2010, for every code entered at www.cheerioshelpinghearts.com, Cheerios will donate $1, up to $200,000, to raise awareness for heart disease and provide free cholesterol screenings for women in need, through its partnership with WomenHeart. Codes will be featured inside specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal.

It is important to take action toward living a heart-healthy life. Here are some ways to help prevent heart disease and other heart-related illnesses:

* Keep your cholesterol in check.

* Exercise regularly.

* Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes whole grains.

* Keep tabs on your triglycerides.

* Get your blood pressure checked.

* Quit smoking.* See your doctor regularly.
 Courtesy of ARAcontent 

Managing your Cholesterol to Prevent Diabetes and Heart Disease

(ARA) - Want to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease? Managing your cholesterol can help.

But cholesterol, a type of fat in your blood, can be confusing. For example, one kind of cholesterol clogs your arteries. Another kind helps remove the bad cholesterol from your body. What do you really need to know to protect your health?

* Lower your bad cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad cholesterol that blocks your blood vessels. Try to keep your LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dl.

* Raise your good cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the good cholesterol that helps remove deposits from your blood vessels. Aim to raise your HDL above 60 mg/dl.

* Triglycerides raise your chances for a heart attack or stroke if your levels are too high. Aim for triglycerides lower than 150 mg/dl. Your doctor may also give you a “total” cholesterol number. A good total cholesterol goal is less than 200 mg/dl.

Why is managing cholesterol important? “Dyslipidemia, or abnormal cholesterol levels, is a key risk factor for both type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” says Dr. Michael Davidson, Director, Preventive Cardiology at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. “Keeping your cholesterol levels in check can lower your risk for both of these deadly diseases and help you live a longer, healthier life.”

Your doctor can do a simple blood test to measure all your cholesterol numbers. If your levels are off, you’re not alone: about one in four American adults face the same challenge. But many others have learned to achieve a healthy cholesterol balance—and you can, too. Their secret?

“The key is simple,” Davidson says. “Healthy lifestyle changes lower LDL and raise HDL at the same time. Combining lifestyle changes with medicines, if necessary, is your best bet to manage cholesterol so you can live a longer, healthier life.”

Here are five tips to help you manage your cholesterol:

1. Eat Smart. One simple way to lower your bad cholesterol is to eat fewer trans fats and high-cholesterol foods like egg yolks, fatty meats, butter and whole milk. You can also help your body absorb less bad cholesterol by eating foods that contain soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, kidney beans, yams and apples.

Other cholesterol-smart foods are salmon, walnuts and olive oil. Eating as many vegetables, whole grains and fruits as you can will help you feel fuller longer and cut your cravings for less healthy snacks. Always check the “Nutrition Facts” labels on foods before you buy to see how they might help or hurt your cholesterol-lowering efforts.

2. Stay Active. You can raise your good cholesterol and lower the bad at the same time with exercise. To get this powerful benefit, exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. And don’t worry about going to the gym—walking briskly is just as effective. And you can head to the mall and walk there when the weather is bad. Or do house work or work in the yard. The key is to get your heart pumping.

This week, why not start with just 10 minutes? Take a 10-minute walk around the block every day during your lunch break or after dinner. Or choose another time that works for you. Then continue to add one lap each week until you’re walking briskly for 30 minutes.

3. Drop a Few Pounds. Being overweight raises your bad cholesterol. At the same time, it lowers your good cholesterol. But eating smart and staying active will help you lose weight—and dropping just a few pounds can raise your HDL. Maintaining a healthy weight will help you keep your cholesterol in balance.

4. Quit Smoking. It’s no surprise that smoking lowers your good cholesterol. If you smoke, quitting can help your HDL jump as much as 10 percent. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help. Options include the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler or nasal spray. Prescription medicines are another option. Talk with your health care provider about which options are best for you. And visit SmokeFree.gov to learn more about how to quit.

5. Consider Cholesterol Medicines. Ask your doctor if medicines such as statins, fibrates and niacin can help you lower LDL while raising HDL levels.

To learn more about how managing cholesterol can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, call the American Diabetes Association at (800)-DIABETES (800-342-2383), e-mail AskADA@diabetes.org or visit www.CheckUpAmerica.org. Be sure to ask for your copy of “What You Need to Know: Cholesterol.” Courtesy of ARAcontent  

Secret to Improving Heart Health Found in Tiny Crustaceans

(ARA) – We have all heard of omega-3 fatty acids and many of us take a fish oil supplement for its heart-healthy benefits. But taking those large pills with a less than pleasant aftertaste might leave you wondering if it's worth it. Recently, the health community has been abuzz about a new omega-3 option shown to be three times more powerful than fish oil for supporting a key marker of cardiovascular health -- krill oil.

Krill oil is supplied from krill -- tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that inhabit the cold ocean areas of the world, primarily the Antarctic and North Pacific Oceans. A study published in the "Alternative Medicine Review" showed krill oil to support cholesterol levels within the normal range. Another study published in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" found that 300 mg daily of krill oil lowered C-reactive protein (CRP). Lower CRP levels are associated with better cardiovascular health. Just 300mg of krill oil daily was also found to improve joint comfort and function.

Like fish oil, krill oil contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, the omega-3s in krill oil are linked together in a different form and are more easily absorbed by the human body. Additionally, krill oil contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant that gives krill its red color and helps the body neutralize free radicals, which are harmful metabolic byproducts that can damage cells and tissues.

"A krill oil softgel about the size of a coffee bean gives cardiovascular benefits similar to fish oil, but without the fishy aftertaste," says Dr. Luke Bucci, vice president of research for Schiff Nutrition, Inc. "Plus, you get the added benefit of powerful, naturally occurring antioxidants."

Antarctic krill make up an estimated biomass of over 500 million tons, roughly twice that of humans, so supplies are plentiful.

How is krill oil produced? Approximately 110,000 tons of krill are harvested every year, less than 0.05 percent of existing krill populations, making it an incredibly sustainable resource.

Sound like something you might like to try? MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil from Schiff is a smart choice.

Visit www.schiffmegared.com or call (800) 526-6251 for more information about the health benefits of krill oil. MegaRed is available at club warehouses and drug stores nationwide.
 Courtesy of ARAcontent
 

Take Care of Your Ticker

(ARA) - There is more to February than romance and candy hearts. It’s also the perfect time to jump-start your heart health during American Heart Month.

Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States. While heart-related illnesses are widespread, the good news is your lifestyle choices can have a significantly positive effect on your overall heart health.  

"In celebration of American Heart Month, you can easily improve overall heart health with a few, simple lifestyle choices," says dietician Keri Glassman. "One in four Americans does not get enough exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With obesity on the rise, especially among children, routine daily exercise is a great place to start.  When combined with a healthier diet, particularly one with reduced sodium, you’ll lower the risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension."

True, there are factors that you don’t have control over when it comes to heart health, including age, race, gender and family history. However, by monitoring controllable risk factors such as weight, diet and exercise, you can proactively take the necessary steps to limit the threats and improve your overall well-being.  

Here are five easy tips to get your ticker in tip-top shape:

Heart smart staples
Stock up on whole grains, lean proteins rich in omega-3s, and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are not only low in fat and calories, they are also a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Also, omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, walnuts, soybeans, brussel sprouts and flax seeds, can help lower blood fats called triglycerides, which are harmful to your heart. A diet high in soluble fiber and low in saturated fats along with increased fruits and vegetables may help decrease cholesterol and blood pressure.

Shake the salt habit
Sodium is one of the biggest contributors to heart disease and hypertension; and, as a general rule, you should not exceed 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Buyer beware: high amounts of sodium lurk in many of the everyday foods you love, including soups, breads and even beverages. Help stay within your daily sodium recommendation and opt for the low salt or reduced sodium options of your favorite foods, when available.

Many choices, such as Del Monte’s 50 percent Less Salt Vegetables, are a convenient way to reduce salt while maintaining delicious flavor. Look for heart smart options in the grocery store.  Products such as Del Monte’s 50 percent Less Salt Whole Kernel Corn and Sweet Peas display the American Heart Association heart-check mark on the label as they meet the Association’s food criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people older than age 2.

Other low-sodium options readily available at the supermarket include Pepperidge Farms reduced-sodium breads, lower sodium soups from Campbell’s and Progresso, and Orville Redenbacher’s SmartPop popcorn. For great ways on switching out those high sodium foods with lower salt versions, visit http://delmonte.com/solutions/recipeTools.html   for delicious recipes.

Your heart will gleam with lycopene
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a leading ingredient in reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies indicate that canned tomato products may be even better than their fresh counterparts,  so go ahead and use that can of spaghetti sauce. In fact, research finds that lycopene in tomatoes can be absorbed more efficiently by the body once processed into juice, sauce, paste and ketchup.

Get moving
Statistics show that 1.3 million people will have a new or recurrent heart attack in 2009 according to the American Heart Association, and one major contributor is a lack of daily exercise. Tired of your old routine or going to the gym? Sign up for a fun salsa, ballroom or meringue dance class at a local community center. You’ll get your blood moving, heart pumping and have fun with friends and others while you’re doing it.

Snuff out the smoke
Quitting smoking is an important and necessary life change to dramatically lowering your risk of a heart attack. Smokers have more than twice the risk of suffering a heart attack as non-smokers and are more likely to die from a heart-related illness.
For more heart-healthy tips visit http://delmonte.com/solutions   or the American Heart Association at www.heartcheckmark.org  .  Courtesy of ARAcontent

 

Rice Helps the Heart, and the Wallet

(ARA) – With the rising cost of groceries, families are trying to make their hard-earned dollars go farther. Buying staples -- as opposed to manufactured mixes -- and using them in several different recipes is one way to reduce costs and yet provide a healthy meal for the entire family.

Of all the products on supermarket shelves, one of the most versatile is rice, a complex carbohydrate that is free of sodium, cholesterol and trans fat. It is also gluten-free, non-allergenic and easy to digest. Purchasing plain rice allows consumers to use the versatile grain in multiple recipes and is more cost-effective per serving. For example, a jar of RiceSelect’s Texmati rice is 30 cents per serving whereas seasoned mixes can range from 60 cents to $1.20 per serving.

“One great time -- and money-saving tip -- is to cook all of your rice for the week at once and store the leftovers in the refrigerator,” says Deborah Locke, product manager for RiceSelect. “The next time you are preparing a pilaf, casserole or rice salad, you are halfway there.”

September is Whole Grains Month, and numerous studies have shown that people who eat whole grains, such as brown rice, as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Eating whole grains may help regulate blood glucose levels in those with diabetes and studies also show people who consume more whole grains are better able to maintain a healthy weight. Plus, whole grains, like Texmati brown rice and RiceSelect’s Royal Blends, make a great compliment to other healthy foods like vegetables and lean protein.

Rice tastes great as well, which makes it perfect for the whole family to enjoy. But when you head to the grocery store, don’t just pick up any generic brand. Seek out a brand that you know was grown close to home.

Buying locally-grown food is becoming more and more important for consumers who are concerned about minimizing their carbon footprints. RiceSelect, for example, grows and packages all of its products here in the United States.  And regardless of what you may have heard, there is currently an abundance of U.S. grown rice.

More than 100 recipes for the family to enjoy are available at www.riceselect.com. The recipes range from salads and side dishes to entrees and desserts. Here are a few of them:

* Brown Rice Black Bean Burrito
Yield: Makes six servings

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
3 cups cooked Texmati Brown Rice
1 15- or 16-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 11-oz. can corn, drained
6 8-inch flour tortillas
3/4 cup or 6 oz. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup prepared salsa

Directions:
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until onion is tender. Add rice, beans and corn. Cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is thoroughly heated. Remove from the heat.

Spoon 1/2 cup of the rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. Top each with 2 Tbsp. cheese, 1 Tbsp. green onion and 1 Tbsp. yogurt. Roll the tortilla up and top with 1 Tbsp. salsa.

To save time, when cooking the rice for the burritos, double the recipe on the label and use the leftover rice in another dish, like Cremini Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Rice Soup, later in the week.

* Cremini Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Rice Soup
Yield: Makes eight to 12 servings

Ingredients:
1/3 cup butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large sweet mild onion, finely chopped
3 cups cooked Texmati Brown Rice, divided
1 (6 1/2-oz.) container Garlic and Herbs Spreadable Cheese
2 (14-oz.) cans roasted garlic seasoned chicken broth, divided
2 cups water, additional if desired
8 slices pre-cooked ready-to-serve smoked bacon
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Melt butter in a large non-stick stockpot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion; cook about 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Let the mixture cool slightly. In a food processor or blender, combine mushroom mixture, 1-1/2 cups rice, cheese and 1 cup broth. Pulse mixture until mushrooms are finely chopped but not pureed and mixture is thoroughly combined. Return mixture to stockpot; stir in remaining rice, broth and water. Bring to a boil; cook uncovered over medium heat 5 minutes. Heat bacon slices between paper towels in microwave according to package directions. Chop bacon and set aside. Add salt and pepper to soup to taste. To serve, ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with bacon.
 Courtesy of ARAcontent

 

Tips to Keep Your Appetite in Check with a High-protein Breakfast

(ARA) – Staying on track with your weight is difficult. You might be tempted to skip breakfast as a way to save calories, but this plan usually backfires. Bypass breakfast and you’ll end up being ravenous and unable to make smart eating decisions at lunch.

“Skipping breakfast only delays hunger, and often leads to overeating later in the day,” explains Bob Greene, an exercise physiologist, personal trainer to Oprah Winfrey and author of ‘The Best Life Diet Cookbook.” “But not just any breakfast will do. Some standard options like Danishes or doughnuts are simply empty calories. Instead, choose a balanced, nutritious dish.”

That means your breakfast should include all three “macronutrients”:  carbohydrates, such as whole-grain toast; healthy fats like nuts or nut butters; and lean protein (such as egg whites and nonfat or 1 percent dairy). This combination offers a wealth of nutritious ingredients, but is also the most satisfying for the calories and will keep your hunger in check until lunch, Greene explains.

Protein -- especially high-quality protein, such as eggs -- helps quell appetite. Greene recommends Crystal Farms AllWhites and Better’n Eggs as a convenient way to add lean, high-quality protein to your morning meal. Made from real eggs -- but with no fat, no cholesterol and half the calories -- AllWhites and Better’n Eggs are optimal sources of protein. Both products come in easy-to-pour cartons and can be found in the dairy case of your local grocery store.

“We all have busy lives, but it couldn’t be easier to add lean protein to your breakfast,” Greene says. “From traditional scrambled eggs to increasing the protein in a smoothie recipe, egg alternatives bring healthy convenience right into your fridge.”

For an on-the-go breakfast option packed with protein, Greene recommends this makeover of the traditional greasy breakfast sandwich. Prepared in just 10 minutes, the Spicy Bacon and Cheese Eggwich combines high-protein egg substitutes with cheddar cheese and lean turkey bacon in a whole-wheat English muffin. With 17 grams of protein, this sandwich also includes good sources of fiber and calcium -- two other essential nutrients that are often lacking from morning meals.

Spicy Bacon and Cheese Eggwich
Time to Table: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup  (8 ounces) Better'n Eggs
1/4 teaspoon cayenne hot pepper sauce
1/8 cup (1/2 ounce) shredded Cheddar cheese
2 slices turkey bacon, cut in half crosswise
2 whole-wheat English muffins, split

Directions:
Spray 10-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat over medium heat.  Add Better’n Eggs and stir in hot pepper sauce.  As egg substitute starts to set use spatula to lift edge of eggs, letting uncooked eggs flow to bottom of skillet.  Cook until egg substitute is set but still moist.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and then fold over the egg substitute so the cheese melts in the middle.

Place turkey bacon on microwave safe plate.  Cover with paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 to 40 seconds or until warmed.

Toast each half English muffin in toaster.  Spoon about 1/2 cup mixture on top of two toasted muffins.  Top each with one piece cooked bacon.  Top with remaining toasted muffins.

Makes two servings. Nutrition per serving: 226 calories, 54 from fat; 6 grams total fat; 2.5 grams saturated fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 534 mg sodium; 27 grams total carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 17 grams protein.

For more healthy on-the-go recipes, visit www.betterneggs.com and Bob Greene’s Web site, www.TheBestLife.com .
  Courtesy of ARAcontent
 

Delicious Ways to Add Whole Grains to Your Diet

(ARA) – Adding grains, especially whole grains, to your diet provides many healthy benefits. Unfortunately, most Americans consume less than one-third of the daily recommended amount, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The good news is that now, more than ever, there are easy and delicious ways to add whole grains to your menus.

People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, largelybecause of the fiber they provide. Eating whole grains, like brown rice, may help regulate blood glucose levels in those with diabetes and studies also show people who consume more whole grains are better able to maintain a healthy weight.    

When most people hear the term “whole grains” they think of a slice of wheat bread. While wheat bread is one source, there are many others like rice and pastas, cereals and breads made with 100 percent whole grain instead of white processed flours.

“Many people are surprised to learn that rice is a whole grain,” says Deborah Locke, product manager for RiceSelect. “So many of our favorites, from traditional Asian dishes to Cajun dishes like dirty rice, can be made healthier and more delicious by using Texmati brown rice.”

* At less than 110 calories per serving, brown rice is rich in nutrients as well as a filling and satisfying grain. In addition to being cholesterol-free, less than one percent of the calories in rice come from fat. Texmati brown rice is an all-natural whole grain with a popcorn aroma and nutty flavor that contains more fiber and antioxidants than refined grains.

Other delicious and easy ways to add whole grains to your diet include

* Start your day with a serving of whole grain breakfast cereal such as whole wheat flakes, muesli or a hearty bowl of oatmeal.

* Substitute white bread, rolls, crackers and tortillas with whole wheat and rye products. Not only are they better for you, the taste of whole grain bread products is more complex and flavorful.

* Instead of snacking on greasy chips, enjoy healthier handfuls of air-popped popcorn. Add flavor by sprinkling on garlic salt or other herbal seasoning.

* Branch out and try less common whole grains such as amaranth, bulgur or quinoa. Amaranth can be added to soups and stews, bulgur can be added to meatloaf and stuffed into peppers, and quinoa can be mixed with egg and spices, made into patties and fried.

The experts at RiceSelect offer this easy, delicious, whole-grain summer recipe.

Wild Thyme Summer Salad
Yield: Four servings

3 cups cooked Texmati brown rice
2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (chilled or at room temperature)
1 (8.5 ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/2 cup of your favorite prepared vinaigrette
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves

Allow Texmati rice and chicken to cool. In a large bowl, combine rice, chicken, tomatoes, olives, vinaigrette and thyme. Toss well and serve chilled.
 Courtesy of ARAcontent

To Lose Weight, Take a Breakfast Break

(ARA) – It is often difficult to prepare a nutritious breakfast when your mornings are already short on time. But you may want to think twice before skipping the meal altogether.There’s ample evidence to show that eating a nutritious, balanced breakfast is a must if you’re trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Starting your day with a healthy meal not only improves your stamina and memory during those busy first hours, it also jumpstarts your metabolism for the day, says Bob Greene, an exercise physiologist, personal trainer to Oprah Winfrey and author of “The Best Life Diet.” In fact, several studies have found that breakfast eaters consume fewer calories throughout the course of the day than breakfast skippers.

“People often pass on breakfast thinking that it will help cut calories,” Greene says. “Instead, they make up for those calories later on, often in the evening, as they raid the cupboards for chips, cookies and other high-calorie foods. And, if people skip both breakfast and lunch, their metabolism may start slowing down. That’s the last thing you need if you’re trying to shed pounds. If you’re short on time, try a protein smoothie. It provides a refreshing, on-the-go pick-me-up to keep you energized until lunch.”

Smoothies are one of the easiest things to whip up at home with a blender and a little creativity. When you begin with a lean protein base like egg whites (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup per smoothie), you’ll have a beverage that will help keep you full and satisfied. Egg whites are an all-natural protein source that is fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories, making them ideal for a power breakfast.  

Because they’ve been pasteurized and packaged in ready-to-pour cartons, AllWhites offer a safer and more convenient alternative to cracking and separating eggs. Look for AllWhites 100 percent all-natural egg whites in the dairy case of your local supermarket.  

With your protein base in place, you can get creative with your favorite fruit and juices.  The following recipe has just 282 calories, and is packed with 7 grams of fiber and antioxidants from green tea, raspberries and grapefruit juice to support healthy cells. Pair it with a whole grain cracker spread with a little peanut butter, or a couple of tablespoons of nuts, and you’ll have a complete breakfast to enjoy either at home or on the way to work.

Raspberry Green Tea Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup white grapefruit juice
1/3 cup ready-to-drink green tea
1/2 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
3/4 cup (6 ounces) fat-free vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup AllWhites 100 percent liquid whites

Directions: Combine all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

1 serving (16 ounces)

For additional great tasting smoothie recipes and other healthy breakfast ideas visit www.betterneggs.com  or www.thebestlife.com .
  Courtesy of ARAcontent

The Heart Health Benefits of Pistachios

(ARA) – Pistachios are a “super food” for health and fitness-focused Americans, according to a new Penn State study that examined the effects of pistachios on multiple cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, including cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation.

A diet rich in pistachios packs a powerful nutrition punch, the study shows. Nutrition experts nationwide are now recommending pistachios as a heart-healthy snack or heart-smart ingredient to incorporate in favorite dishes.

Snacking on pistachios has proved once again to have a positive impact on improving cardiovascular health, helping decrease common CVD risk factors. CVD remains the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., with millions of Americans currently living with the disease.  

In recent years, other promising research has shown the beneficial effects of consuming pistachios as part of a daily diet. Eating pistachios may reduce your body’s response to the stresses of everyday life. Lifestyle changes, along with a healthy diet and exercise, can lessen biological reactions to stress.

“Pistachios contain many important nutrients that contribute to their positive effect on health. Every new study adds another piece to the puzzle of how eating pistachios may benefit heart health,” says Dr. Constance Geiger, nutrition expert for the Western Pistachio Association (WPA), a voluntary association representing pistachio growers throughout the nation.

In July 2003, the Food and Drug Administration announced that eating most nuts, including pistachios, mayhelp reduce the risk of heart disease when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Since then, the U.S. pistachio industry has committed to learning more about the nutritional benefits of pistachios and their impact on other health issues affecting Americans today.

Consider the following facts about the nutritional benefits of pistachios:

* Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack.

* They are a great source of protein.

* Pistachios contain more than 10 percent of the Daily Value of dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals.

* One serving of pistachios has as much potassium as half of a large banana.

* The nuts primarily contain monounsaturated fat that has been linked with lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

* Scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

For more information about the health benefits of pistachios and how to incorporate them into your diet, visit www.westernpistachio.org .
  Courtesy of ARAcontent 

More Meat-eaters Trying Vegan Foods for Taste, Health and Safety

(ARA) – Ah, the love of the burger – it’s a unifying American experience. But if the fat content in fast food burgers makes your heart burn with shame, and meat recalls have you worrying about what’s in that burger you made at home, you’re not alone. Is it any wonder that interest in vegan alternatives to traditional meat meals is on the rise – even among people who still consider themselves meat-eaters?

“People are understandably concerned about what they’re serving their families,” says Gary Torres of Food for Life, a vegan food company that is seeing increased interest in meat-free foods. “But it’s not just confirmed vegans who are seeking these alternatives. We’re seeing increased interest in vegetarian and vegan foods by people who don’t consider themselves to be followers of either lifestyle.”

The health advantages and expanded availability of more vegan choices seem to be key factors inspiringmore people to incorporate meat-free meals into their lifestyles, Torres says.

Not sure if you can incorporate vegetarian or vegan foods into your family’s diet? Consider the following:

* A simple Google search turns up hundreds of Web sites designed to help you “go vegan.” In fact, you can even find sites that will help you locate restaurants in your area that serve vegan or vegetarian dishes.

* It’s easier than ever to find cookbooks filled with delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes you can prepare at home.

* Numerous studies point to the health benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets – from help in losing weight to alleviating symptoms of some types of arthritis and diabetes.

* Vegan and vegetarian food products are going mainstream in grocery stores. Many products deliver the benefits of vegan foods without sacrificing the flavor and texture consumers demand. For example, Food for Life’s new baked (not fried) Moophrey burgers mimic the flavor and texture of quality ground beef. And in taste tests conducted by the company, more kids chose baked Cluckphrey Patties over traditional chicken nuggets. Both products are made with all-natural, non-genetically modified vegetable ingredients. Visit www.FoodforLife.com to learn more.

And if you’re still not convinced that vegan foods fit into your family’s lifestyle, consider this – you may already have vegan foods in your pantry. Items you already use, but never knew were vegan range from Kool-Aid and Fritos to Sunbeam bread, Krispy Kreme fruit pies and Ore-Ida Tater Tots, according to Peta.org.
 Courtesy of ARAcontent 

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