Hi! Did you know that March is "National Nutrition Month?!" Of course I would like to see every month be about good nutrition, but I am happy to see this being recognized as a focus for the month, so I wanted to support that!
If you like to snack (and who doesn't), I thought I might go over a few healthy snack choices and give a few tips in the process.
Popcorn is a great choice for snacking, but not necessarily in the microwave! Did you know that there can be a poisonous packaging issue in microwave popcorn?? Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) lines the bags of those popcorn bags, and the heat in the microwave leaches this straight onto your movie munchies. Studies at UCLA have linked this compound to infertility. And besides that, do you want to ingest something that you can't even pronounce?!!
Why not make popcorn the old fashioned way? Get a pot with a lid, a little coconut oil or olive oil and pop away. Popcorn is not the culprit when it comes to fat or empty calories, but smothering it in melted butter or toppings and lots of salt, well, that's another story!
Popcorn definitely has some health benefits! It's a good source of fiber and new studies have confirmed that the hull of popcorn is rich in polyphenols, a type of natural chemicals in plants that may have disease fighting properties. Kantha Shelka, a food chemist and spokeswoman for the Institute of Food Technologists, says that "popcorn has an antioxidant called ferulic acid which exhibits a wide range of therapeutic effects against cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative diseases (Alzheimer's) largely because of its strong antioxidant and anti-inlammatory activity." Talk about a healthy snack!
Kale is another terrific snack choice! Have you ever tried baked kale chips??? You can buy the kale whole and then tear it into pieces, or try Trader Joe's organic kale already cut into bite size pieces. Just pour into a bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and toss until coated. Spread pieces on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. To me, these are better than any chips out there!
Kale is a super food and very nutritious snack!! It's one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium. Research has also shown that kale contains 45 different flavanoids (plant based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties) with a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Kale's health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration of the antioxident vitamins A, C, and K.
Eating a diet rich in vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, for some people, too much vitamin K can be a problem. (Anyone taking anticoagulants such as warfarin should check with their doctor, because high levels of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs).
These are just two healthy snack ideas, many more to come!
Until then, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
"Let Food Be Thy Medicine, and Medicine Be Thy Food"