Berry Fresh Smoothie

Healthy Fast Food
Berry Fruit Smoothie

Fresh fruit smoothies are an easy way to consume several servings of fruit at one time. I prefer to make my smoothies at home so I know exactly what’s in it. I purchase fresh berries, freeze them and use them throughout the week. This smoothie is high in folate, potassium, manganese, magnesium, vitamins C and K, antioxidants and flavonoids. Fresh fruit smoothies are also a great source of fiber. The berries are my smoothie staples, but I will vary the other ingredients. Sometimes I add a fresh banana, pineapple, oranges, grapes, cherries, peaches, etc. Be creative.

Ingredients

5-10 Strawberries
½ cup Blackberries
½ cup Blueberries
1 Kiwi
2-3 tablespoons yogurt (optional)
½ cup 100% juice

Combine in the blender until all ingredients have liquefied.

Mediterreanean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is more than a diet, it is a way of life. Instead of focusing on what you cannot have, it focuses on what you can have — the very best, freshest, healthiest foods.

Research supports the health boosting qualities of the Mediterranean diet. This way of life can significantly decrease body weight, blood pressure, blood fats, blood sugar and insulin levels — health benefits that contribute to a longer life expectancy than that of people who follow a Western diet.

Basic ingredients of the mediterranean diet

Fresh, healthy food

The staples of the Mediterranean diet include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, seafood, yogurt, olive oil, and small amounts of wine.

Healthy fats

found in olive oil, nuts, avocados and polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout; and fat from plant sources, like flaxseed and chia seeds.

Whole grains

Whole grain foods like bread, pasta, millet, quinoa, brown rice, and couscous are a key part of the Mediterranean diet. In their natural state, grains are full of cancer and heart disease-fighting fiber, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Whole grains provide energy and calories with little fat.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Found in abundance in the Mediterranean diet, omega-3 fatty acids are bursting with health benefits. Fatty acids have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart attacks, blood clots, hypertension, and strokes; and may prevent certain forms of cancer and lower the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

More vegetables, less meat

A diet higher in plant foods and lower in animal products has been linked to decreased incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers. The traditional Mediterranean diet is practically vegetarian, with lots of fish and very little meat. As for vegetables, Mediterranean people feast on tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, capers, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, white beans, lentils, and chick peas.

Wine

Many Mediterranean people drink a glass or two of wine each night with dinner. But portions are small, generally about three ounces. When taken in small amounts, wine has been linked to lower rates of heart disease, likely due to the presence of antioxidants like transresveratrol and oligomeric proanthocyanidin, which keep blood circulation healthy and prevent blood clots from forming.

Olive oil

The Mediterranean people use olive oil in almost everything they eat, including pastas, breads, vegetables, salads, and fish. It is the principal fat in the Mediterranean diet, instead of butter or margarine. Olive oil may reduce inflammation, which could prevent heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, as well as certain cancers.

Portion control

The Mediterranean diet focuses on small portions of high-quality food. Healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, are staples of the Mediterranean diet and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Fruit for dessert

For Mediterranean people, fresh fruit is the typical daily dessert. Taking advantage of fruit’s natural sweetness has double benefits. First, what you gain: the fiber and nutrients in fruits like apples, grapes, and oranges. What you lose: the added sugar, calories, chemicals, and unhealthy fats in sweet, processed desserts.

In addition to eating healthy meals, the Mediterranean people spend a great deal of time walking. When you can, include exercise, laughter, and spending time with loved ones in your day.

Nuts and Seeds

Researchers have found that people who eat nuts regularly have lower risks of heart disease.

Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium. Nuts and seeds are also high in plant sterols and fat – but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3-the good fats) which have all been shown to improve total cholesterol numbers.

Nuts and seeds both fall into the “super immunity food” category, with a number of health benefits associated with adding these to one’s daily intake. Snacking on seeds is also a very healthy nutritious alternative to eating empty calorie foods such as chocolate and chips, while adding seeds or nuts to a salad or a bowl of yogurt is a simple way to boost immunity.

Although nuts and seeds are high in calories, so are often shunned by dieters, the good news is that one does not need to consume many to receive nutritional benefits. Simply eating a handful of nuts and seeds a day will provides a whole range of goodness, without piling on the pounds.

Key health benefits associated with consuming nuts and seeds

  • Help reduce fatigue
  • Decrease feelings of irritability
  • Reduce insomnia problems
  • Improve asthma
  • Lower risk of heart attack by 15% by lowering cholesterol
  • Provide essential mineral-magnesium
  • Reduce constipation and kidney stones
  • Boost immune system
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acid
  • Provide essential vitamin C
  • Contain plenty of antioxidants

As highlighted above, both nuts and seeds are super immunity foods, which help boost the immune system, reduce fatigue and heart problems. Walnuts help lower the risk of suffering from anxiety and depression while almonds contain biotin for healthy hair and skin, with pistachios reducing constipation by providing plenty of fiber. Eating flax seeds help lower cholesterol and treat menopausal symptom.

The best approach is to reap the health benefits of eating nuts but not add excessive calories to your daily intake. So instead of simply adding nuts to your diet, eat them in replacement of foods that are high in saturated fats and limit your intake of these tasty treats to 1 to 2 oz per day. For instance, instead of adding chocolate chips when making cookies, sprinkle on some raw nuts. Or instead of making a deli meat sandwich, try a nut butter sandwich. Nuts are most beneficial and nutritious in their raw, natural state.

Examples of nuts of seeds

  • Pistachio
  • Almond
  • Walnut
  • Brazil
  • Cashew
  • Filbert
  • Pecan
  • Hazel
  • Macadamia
  • Pine Nuts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax
  • Sunflower
  • Pumpkin Seeds