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Green foods to add to your diet

1 May

 

 

10 healthiest green foods to add to your diet now

These super nutritious vegetables and powerhouse ingredients are packed with health

benefits and flavour

Photo credit: Getty Images
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In celebration of Earth Day this past weekend, I’m going to challenge you to experiment with some new green foods. If you’re not already eating at least a few of these items on a regular basis, this is your chance to “green” your diet and try some of the best foods nature has to offer.

Here are my 10 favourite ways to eat more greens.

1. Cruciferous greens (kale, collards, Swiss chard)
These “super” veggies are at the top of list because they have no other job than to improve you health. They are loaded with fibre, calcium, magnesium and chlorophyll. The simplest way to enjoy these leafy veggies is to steam them, sauté them or add them raw into juices, smoothies and soups. Try a new leafy vegetable each week and then rotate them on a regular basis.

2. Fresh green herbs (dill, parsley, basil)
Fresh herbs in the spring and summer will lift up your meals and give them a boost, not only in flavour but nutritionally as well. I always try to put parsley into my green juices, salads or chopped on whole grains. Fresh herbs like dill are a wonderful accent to dips and soups. And use basil to make pesto – nothing beats the taste of it homemade!

3. Living greens (mung beans, broccoli and sunflower sprouts)
Sprouts are nutritional powerhouses loaded with enzymes, protein and fibre. They’re a living food, so will add a unique burst of freshness to your meal. Toss them in to salads, sandwiches or even alongside cooked grains, stir-fries and soups.

4. Spicy greens (arugula and mustards)
The spicy greens have a peppery and nutty flavour. They contain a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. They’re also a rich source of calcium. They will certainly add a zesty kick to your meal and help with digestion. Try adding them into your next salad or side dish.

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Diet food, drink could set young kids up for later obesity: study

8 Aug

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | 10:55 AM ET

The Canadian Press

 Parents who feed young children low-calorie foods and beverages in a bid to keep them at a healthy weight may inadvertently contribute to overeating and even childhood obesity, researchers from the University of Alberta suggest. In studies of laboratory rats, researchers found that young rodents could be trained to connect the taste of food with their caloric value. When food flavours were associated with low-caloric energy — as with diet foods and drinks — the rodents would chow down on far more food at regular meals than their bodies required. Consuming diet foods and drinks may inadvertently contribute to overeating, according to a study from the University of Alberta.(Canadian Press) “They ate more when they had a cue that indicated ‘I haven’t had any calories,’ even though they had just taken in a good number of calories,” David Pierce, a professor of sociology and lead author of the study told CBC News. Calorie-wise foods that taste the same as their full-calorie counterparts may undermine the body’s natural ability to regulate food intake and weight, said Pierce. He theorizes that the body “gets a sensory cue that it hasn’t had any calories,” even though it is actually receiving an ample amount. He speculated that a similar mechanism could lead young children who consume diet foods and drinks to also end up overeating and gaining excess weight over time. “I think the data showed that if you subvert the usual relationship between taste and calorie content, it leads to disruption of the normal physiological and behavioural energy balance in juveniles, resulting in an overeating effect,” Pierce said Tuesday from Edmonton. Continue Article “Based on what we’ve learned, it is better for children to eat healthy, well-balanced diets with sufficient calories for their daily activities, rather than low-calorie snacks or meals,” he said. For one of the studies in their research paper, published Wednesday in the journal Obesity, four-week-old lab rats were conditioned over 16 days to associate certain sweet or salty flavours with low-calorie food. Following that conditioning, the rodents were fed a high-calorie rice cake snack dipped in a flavour they’d come to associate with low-energy foods. And even though the rice cake should have helped satiate their need for energy-producing calories, the animals still overate when it came to the regular meal that followed. In a second study, eight-week-old “adolescent” rats had low-cal foods added to their diet, but those animals did not display the same tendency to overeat. The researchers believe the older rats didn’t eat excessively because they had learned as youngsters to rely on a variety of taste-related cues to correctly assess the energy value of their food. “It may be that the adolescent rat is probably relying on other sensory and gustatory cues in addition to the ones we were using to energy-regulate,” said Pierce. Fruits, vegetables good after school snacksDr. Katherine Morrison, a pediatric endocrinologist and childhood obesity expert at McMaster University, called the study intriguing. “I welcome a study such as this to help us to move further in our understanding of how do we become full and what is it that encourages us to eat,” Morrison said from Hamilton. ‘It is better for children to eat healthy, well-balanced diets with sufficient calories for their daily activities, rather than low-calorie snacks or meals.’— David Pierce, researcher”When it comes specifically to sweetened drinks, I think this study raises a question [about] just substituting diet pop for [regular] pop. It doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t do it. It raises the question: Is that a good approach?” Morrison said she encourages parents when their child comes home “famished” after school to have healthy foods on hand — such as vegetables, fruits or salad — “that will sort of take the edge off as you move into your evening meal. “You certainly don’t want to be going with something like chips or chocolate bars or even granola bars, which give a pretty high-calorie punch in short order.”

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