What You Didn’t Already Know About Eggs

You probably eat eggs, in some form or another, weekly or maybe even daily. While eggs have likely been a food you’ve eaten throughout your life, have you ever actually looked into the health details of eggs? Read on and I’m fairly certain you’ll walk away even happier about eating your eggs.

First off, in general, eat your yolks! The yolk is the main source of vitamins in your egg. Egg whites have some vitamins, but there are greater amounts of almost every one of the vitamins in the yolks. When you eat the yolks, you are getting calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and many more vitamins. At the same time, don’t plan on using eggs instead of fruits or vegetables to be your main source of vitamins. While egg yolks do contain a wide variety of vitamins, they are all in small amounts relative to what your recommended daily intake is. Fruits and vegetables are much more effective in giving you the high amounts of vitamins your body needs.

An even more important reason to eat the yolk, though, is that the yolk is where a good chunk of the protein and amino acids are. Each time you say no to the yolk, you are missing out on 2.7 grams of protein and on about half of the full amount of amino acids eggs can give you.  Protein helps with many different body processes and is known for its role in muscles function and growth. Amino acids help directly with protein, as amino acids are the different components of protein. One reason eggs are especially good for you is that they have all nine of the essential amino acids in them, which means eggs fuel your body with the amino acids your body is not able to make on its own.

One reason a lot of people pass on the egg yolk is for its high cholesterol levels—but know that for most people, you can still eat the egg yolk without worrying about increasing your cholesterol levels. For the general population, eating one full egg daily hasn’t been shown to increase cholesterol levels. 

If you are trying to use eggs as a major protein source, try adding in egg more whites. Egg whites are where even more protein is in the egg-- specifically, there are 3.6 grams of protein in each egg white.  Simply eating one full egg and one extra egg white in the morning will bring your morning protein intake to about 10 grams of protein. In other words, you can get about 20% of your recommended daily intake of protein with a full egg and an extra egg white combination in the morning.
 

With all of this talk about eggs, I am starting to get hungry and I am thinking eggs might be just what I am craving. Go and eat some eggs too and let me know any creative ways of how you like to cook your eggs in the morning!
 

Resources:

https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2011/10/11/the-nurtional-value-of-egg-whites-versus-egg-yolks-what-do-you-use/

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064928.htm

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs/

https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/protein-foods/eggs

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/3454/1/Why-We-Need-Amino-Acids.html

Fruits You Can Grow… Indoors?

They say that fruit is nature’s candy—so let’s get more of that candy in our lives.  One way to do so is to grow your own fruit. If you have daydreamed about growing your own fruit before but then remembered you are lacking the yard with acres of space for trees, don’t you worry. For those living in apartments or without much of a backyard, growing fruit indoors is surprisingly doable. With these plant suggestions, you’ll be happily snacking on your own homegrown fruit in no time (plus growing time)!

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Calamondin Orange Tree

Picture combining a kumquat and an orange and you will end up with the calamondin orange. One perk of this fruit is that it is self-fertile and after its first two years, it will be in bloom almost year round.  You'll know that these fruits are ready when they are firm and yellow or yellow-orange. You want to use these little guys soon after you pick them from your tree. These fruits are used in similar ways as limes or lemons and can be used to make a yummy marmalade.

Strawberry Plants

Ahh, strawberries are many people's favorite fruit. Thankfully strawberries are one of the easiest plants to grow indoors! Be deliberate in choosing the ever-bearing strawberry variety if you want more than one harvest a year, which of course you do! Make sure you keep these plants by your windows and after you plant them, water them daily when they are still growing and then switch to watering them only when the top inch of the soil is dry after.

Figs Trees

Fig trees are great for two reasons: one, they self-pollinate and two, you get to choose the size your fig tree grows to. You decide the fig tree size based on how you prune your tree and what size pot you choose. With this plant, you’ll want to fertilize your tree monthly and if you want to have fruits in your first year, make sure to buy a tree that is at least two years old! With these details, go and plant your own fig tree. Soon you’ll be making your own fig bars and some fancy salads.

Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree

One of the great things about lemon trees is that you get to enjoy them twice. You’ll enjoy the smell of lemon wafting throughout your apartment and you’ll also get to enjoy their flavor as you start cooking with your new citrus plant. Because normally lemon trees grow in sunny, more humid environments, make sure to keep your lemon tree by a window and to spray its leaves with a water in a spray bottle. These tart fruits are hardy once they are grown so you don’t need to be in a rush to pick them as soon as they are ripe.

Now you can fulfill your daydreams about picking a fresh fruit and casually eating it in the comfort of your own home. Enjoy an extra piece of fruit for me!

 

References:

http://www.marthastewart.com/264339/indoor-fruit-plants

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/patiocitrus/Calamondin.html

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/strawberry/strawberry-plants-indoors.htm

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-fig-trees-indoors-49098.html

http://www.almanac.com/plant/figs

Coffee and What It Means For Your Body

Mmmm, coffee. Coffee means many things to many people. For some, it feels like the only way they can actually wake up and start their days and for others, it’s a boost only reserved for times of major need; some people love sipping their coffee in the solitude of their house, yet others live for the coffee shop experience. No matter what type of coffee drinker you are or where you prefer to sip your coffee, coffee surely makes a difference in your life. Even better than counting on coffee for its happy buzz, you can also drink your cup of coffee knowing you are helping your body too.

As long as you drink within a moderate amount of 3-5 cups of coffee, or up to 400 mg of caffeine, a day, you may be protecting your body against three diseases. The first two are diseases that can affect adults relatively early on as they age: type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Coffee also seems to be protective against a disease that affects adults later in life: Parkinson’s disease. We can thank the coffee gods for moderate coffee consumption being associated with decreased risks of these three diseases!

Is there a health difference between light and dark coffee roasts? For a sure answer, the jury is still out. What has been seen in the beginnings of research is that dark roast coffee, compared to light roast coffee, helps reduce body weight and plays a greater role in the antioxidant defense system. While the evidence is not conclusive, it nonetheless found that dark roast coffee is healthier for reducing body weight and the role of antioxidants so, personally, I’ll be switching to dark roast coffee.

While you can sip your coffee knowing you are helping your body, how you take your coffee makes a difference. Black coffee is, of course, the healthiest way to drink your coffee because there are no added sugars. Nonetheless, it's not necessarily bad news for those that can’t quite take their coffee black as long as you are conscious about how much sugar you are adding and adjust what you eat throughout the day accordingly. For reference, one sugar packet has 4 grams of sugar and it is recommended by the American Heart Association that men consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar and that women consume no more than 24 grams of added sugar daily. 

With all of this information, it makes sense to think about how many coffees you have each day and what you normally add each time to get a full idea of how healthy your coffee habit is. In the meantime, I’ll be drinking my dark roast coffee and weaning myself off of how much sugar I currently take in my coffee.  Mmmm, coffee.

Resources:

https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/10-chapter-5/d5-5.asp

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21809439

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WHwg3rYrJsM

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=whole+milk&qt=&manu=&SYNCHRONIZER_URI=%2Fndb%2Fsearch%2Flist&SYNCHRONIZER_TOKEN=cf8ed99d-2817-4e10-9264-6f3d66f6ec4b&ds=

Herb Gardens: How and Why To Plant Your Own

Springtime is a beautiful season where the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. The return of warm air and pastel colors brings with it a renewed desire to eat fresher and to eat healthier. Subsequently, just as it is a wonderful time to plant your flower garden, it is a wonderful time to plant an herb garden. 

Herb gardens are easy to plant with rewards that reap well into fall. With minimal effort, you can have three seasons of fresh herbs! These fresh herbs offer health benefits, inspire more creative cooking, and may even encourage you to eat healthier overall. For someone who is newer to the kitchen, using fresh herbs from your own herb garden is an easy way to feel more accomplished and for someone who is very comfortable in the kitchen, you’ll enjoy basing recipes around the herbs in your garden or adding a new twist to a classic dish.

The best part about planting an herb garden is that you can personalize it to fit you--it can be indoor or outdoor, it can be however big or small you want it to be, and it gets to be made up of herbs all chosen by you! To start, decide where you are going to keep your herb garden. If you have a deck or other outdoor space with easy access to your kitchen, I recommend putting your garden there. If you don’t have an outdoor space, indoor by a window works as well. After you know where you are going to put your herb garden, decide what size and style of garden you want. You can have one planter or multiple small pots where you put an herb in each pot. You have a lot of flexibility here, but definitely make sure to plant herbs in a container rather than directly into the ground because some herbs will spread farther than you meant for them to. Next, choose which herbs to plant. Think about the herbs you commonly use and expand to herbs you could see yourself trying out.

As you are deciding which herbs to plant, here are a few herbs with their health benefits and uses:

Basil

Health Benefits: Basil is high in vitamin K, which helps with strong bones and blood clotting when you have a cut.

Uses: This herb is widely used and common in Italian recipes. More directly, a few ways to use basil are chopping up and putting in your salad, putting on top of pizza, and making your own homemade pesto.

Spearmint

Health Benefits: Mint is a great way to increase your water intake and may help ease cramps or an upset stomach.

Uses: Mint is my personal favorite herb because you can put it in your water to add a little flavor and style. Simply put it in your water each morning and refill your cup! Mint is also great to use for marinades or Middle Eastern recipes.

Parsley:

Health Benefits: Parsley has a very high amount of vitamin K, which helps with bone strength and proper blood clotting, and vitamin C, which is an antioxidant to contribute to your overall health.

Uses: Parsley can be used in many, many ways. You can put it in your meat marinade, chop it up in salads, and put in sauces and soups.
 

After you have planned out your herb garden, the rest is easy. You buy your planter or pots, your herb plants (which should be small and around 8 inches tall), and a bag of soil from your nearest home garden store and then you plant them! Water them whenever the soil feels dry. Now, you are done and ready to use your new herbs. Enjoy!
 

Sources:

http://www.rd.com/home/gardening/growing-herbs/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20705274,00.html/view-all

http://permaculturenews.org/2016/06/29/top-10-herbs-and-their-health-benefits/

http://www.tastefulgarden.com/How-to-Grow-Herbs-d22.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=85

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=112

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266128.php

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=109


What's the Deal with Carbonated Water?

Is carbonated water just as healthy as regular water? Carbonated water, sparkling water, seltzer water, club soda, fizzy water- just as carbonated water has many names, carbonated water has as many myths. A simple Google search may scare consumers with the many claims that has put a bad taste on carbonated water’s reputation. Let’s investigate some of these myths!

Carbonated water does not hydrate as well as water

Carbonated water is basically just regular, plain water that contained added carbonation. Therefore, it absorbed by your body just as well as plain water (1). Carbonated water may make you feel more satiated versus drinking regular water due to the gas bubbles expanding in the water. Regular water may be the best option for those who are physically active.

Carbonated water leeches calcium from bones

This claim originated from the connection between cola drinks and lower bone density. However, the lowered bone density from the cola drinks have nothing to do with the drink’s carbonation. While researchers found that carbonated cola beverages are associated with a slight decrease in bone density, non-cola carbonated beverages were not (2).

Carbonated water erodes tooth enamel

This claim isn’t completely false. Tooth erosion usually occurs through the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks alongside its carbonation, which causes the drink to be highly acidic (3). Carbonated water isn’t nearly as acidic, simply because the beverage only has added carbon dioxide. However, you should be cautious when consuming flavored carbonated waters because they may contain added sugars. Still, the levels of erosion from carbonated water beverages are very low (1).

Carbonated water irritates the stomach

Those who have consumed any type of carbonated beverage should already know how all those bubbles cause some slight belching and bloating. Therefore, carbonated water is probably not best for those with a sensitive stomach, digestive system, or have irritable bowel syndrome. On the bright side, for those who don’t fall under those categories, studies show that carbonated water doesn’t cause an upset stomach (3)!

Take away message? Carbonated water is a safe beverage to consume! It is especially a perfect alternative if you are trying to cut soda out of your diet. Make sure to double check the nutrition label for added sugars and sodium when you are picking up flavored carbonated water. Drinking plain water is still the better choice. If it’s the boring taste you’re worried about, try infusing your water with natural flavors by adding fresh fruit, lemons or limes, or mint leaves!

  1. http://time.com/3689687/seltzer-water-carbonated-water/

  2. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-healthy-is-carbonated-water/

  3. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/sparkling-water-healthy-regular-water-article-1.1460179

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