The Diet Struggle – Can Superfoods help you lose weight?

It is a necessity to have a proper diet to always stay healthy, as it is said you are what you eat. The type of diet we use and the kind of food we consume impacts on our bodies. The kind of food you consume plays a significant role in the amount of energy your body burns since dietary –induced thermogenesis accounts for almost ten percent of the energy in our foods. The diet struggle is real for those who intend to lose some weight. Well, worry no more, because superfoods are here to help you get your desired weight. Superfoods are the current in-thing in natural health, and for an excellent reason. They are nutrient dense foods which are the nature’s answers to the present distortions in the modern western diets. According to Adams, M, Superfoods are the nutritional heart and powerhouses which load the human body with minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that fires up the rate of metabolism, pilling up the protein building nutrients which trades fat for muscle gain.

Although there is no definitive description of superfoods, we can refer to them as those foods that are rich in nutrients and have significant benefits to our body system including slowing down the aging process, boost our physical ability and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Superfoods are the foods that have been elevated and are recommended to individuals on a diet. But with recent elevation of some foods, the question has been can they be approved as part of the weight loss diet? We can examine evidence illustrating the importance of some super foods when weight loss is concerned. Examples of superfoods we’ll discuss in detail regarding their advantage in a weight loss diet are the Spirulina and Chlorella.

chlorella

  • Spirulina

According to Spirulina World Website, Spirulina is one of the earliest life forms of the planet earth, single-celled, microscopic blue, green algae. It is regarded as a superfood because of its massive array of nutrients, essential fatty acids, Chlorophyll, Proteins, Vitamins B, C, and E. Spirulina is usually consumed in the form of a tablets, capsules or powdered way, and can be used as a significant part of the weight loss program. However, Spirulina should be taken by the manufacturer’s instructions, and you should consult your physician before including the superfood as part of your weight loss struggle.

If harvested in the right way from pond or water bodies that are not contaminated, it makes up one of the best sources of nutrients available. Some of the reasons why it has been classified as a superfood and an essential aspect for a healthy, weight loss diet include;

  • High Nutrient Content

Based  on Capelli, B and Cysewski, G. research study in 2011,Spirulina is  a nutrient-dense type of food since it is rich in proteins (with a utilization rate of about 55 percent), thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, iron, minerals and dietary fibers which makes it an excellent weight loss supplement. These vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers and enzymes help in metabolism, digestions, removal of toxins, and also prevents absorption of fat.

  • Appetite Suppressant

Whenever you feel hungry your body mechanism is creating this effect so as to fill its needs for nutrients. Thus when you continually feed your body with poor quality foods, your brains triggers appetite in an effort to satisfy what it wants. Based on studies from Spirulina World Website, Spirulina increases the concentrations of the nutrients in the body, thus reducing cravings and hunger in the process. It also suppresses appetite due to its composition of amino acid, Phenylalanine which help stimulate the secretions of cholecystokinin, the scientifically proven appetite suppressant.

  • High in Protein

When it comes to losing weight, a high protein and low carb diet is necessary. Regular intake of Spirulina is ideal for muscle buildings and low carbohydrate diet because of the high content of protein. It contains up to seventy percent of the protein, as well as all the essentials amino acids. According to Moorhead, K., Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2011), the rate of digestive absorption of the protein contained in Spirulina is four times much more than that of a typical beef. An easily digestible protein in combination with a suitable exercise plan helps build the lean body mass, thus helping the body burn more calories through the day.

  • Low in Calories

As compared to beef, Spirulina contains only 3.9 calories in each protein gram, supplying a total of 65 calories for each equivalent protein gram. A 500mg spirulina tablet contains two calories. Because of its chemical compositions, Spirulina enhances the energy performance index since they act by unlocking sugars from the body cells since it provides you with right proportions of daily nutritional needs, without any significant caloric deficiencies.

  • Essential Fatty Acids

According to Boone, L. (2013),   Spirulina is a rich source of the Omega-3 fatty acids and Gamma Linolenic acid, GLA. The GLA regulates the blood sugar levels thus controlling the level of insulin in the human body, eventually minimizing the binging of carbohydrate, helping you lose weight efficiently.

  • Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Spirulina has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which nullifies the harmful oxygen radical, hence preventing the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Eventually, it avoids inflammations and the state of stress, which are regarded as the world’s leading factors of weight gains. Another main reason of the importance of Spirulina in weight loss is its ability to increase fat burning during an exercise session. The high oxidant content makes it beneficial in decreasing exercise-induced oxidation that results in muscle fatigue.

  • Besides that, scientific studies done by Khans, Bhadouria, and Bisen, in 2005, show that spirulina has lipid-lowering properties. Thus, it helps to lower the bad cholesterol, the LDL, and the blood levels of triglycerides, increasing the Good cholesterol, HDL in the bloodstreams. Hence, consumption of Spirulina boosts the fat mobilizations that is a crucial component for weight loss efforts.

Though it might not have an appealing taste, Spirulina can be consumed as a capsule or by mixing it with water . The only limitation of Spirulina is that it is costly when compared to the other types of superfoods used for a weight loss diet. Spirulina and Chlorella share some similarities, but they also have differences.

  • Chlorella

Chlorella is a single-celled microscopic, blue-green algae, often revered as an essential superfood. It is closely related to Spirulina. However, they share slight differences. Unlike the Spirulina, Chlorella can be categorized as either Chlorella Vulgaris or Chlorella pyrenoidosa. The hard outer shell may make it seem not edible but what is important is what is on the inside. Chlorella is primarily composed of a nucleus and a vast array of bioavailable chlorophyll, an excellent substance which counteracts the toxins available in the foods, Besides that, it has B, C and E vitamins, peptides, amino acids, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA ), proteins and polysaccharides. Chlorella has so many health benefits to the human body, and it’s a weight loss superfood due to the following;

  • In both, Lambert’s and Schoenhals’s researchers, Chlorella has a high content of the gamma linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid often deficient because if the common dietary imbalance. GLA is responsible for the restoration of the hormone health in the endocrine system and acts by normalizing the insulin activity so that the blood sugar levels cab stabilize and reduce the cravings.
  • Chlorella acts as an immune System booster. This has been proven by its ability to aid in digestive problems and increase the presence of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal duct. Regular use of Chlorella also increases early inflammatory response and cell activity.
  • Besides that, its iodine contents make it an essential superfood for treating the thyroid imbalances, often a complication of the weight issue. According to Schoenhals, K. (2004), just like Spirulina, Chlorella contains the amino acid, phenylalanine, a naturally occurring appetite suppressant, thus triggering the sensations of fullness.
  • Scientific research conducted by Greg Arnold proves that Chlorella promotes the weight loss by controlling the expressions of genes to produce reductions in the body fat percentage, the total circulating cholesterol as well the levels of the fasting glucose. The Chlorella revs up the enzyme actions in the fat cells to produce energies and eventually to increase the rates of metabolisms,
  • A recent study was done by Na, J. G et al. in 2011, and highlights that Chlorella could be used as a natural medicine for the treatment of the obesity-related complication, all inclusive of the blood glucose, body weights, lipid profiles and insulin signals. The study demonstrated that the Chlorella’s diet-induced resistance of insulin is attributed to its improvement in the signaling of the insulin pathways. It also reduces the blood levels of Cholesterol, triglycerides and the free fatty acids. Besides that, Chlorella protects the pancreatic beta cells which stores and releases the insulin, which helps to control the blood sugar levels in the human body.

Chlorella is mainly can be consumed as a capsule, powder mixed with water or directly after extraction from the hard shell. Though it is viewed as a relative to the Spirulina, some notable differences include: the Spirulina is much larger than the Chlorella. The Spirulina is a blue-green type of algae while the Chlorella is a green type of algae, Chlorella has got a more substantial amount of nucleic acids compared to Spirulina, the Spirulina is easily consumable after harvest, unlike Chlorella which has a hard outer cell. Lastly, Spirulina has got a higher mineral content compared to Chlorella.

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Conclusion

For any individual on a diet, superfoods are the foods to consider for your diet, and the Chlorella and Spirulina are the types of superfoods not to leave out. Chlorella and Spirulina need not be taken alone but can be used as supplements to the already available foods. What makes superfoods essential for diet is because they have a dense concentration of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and also because of the healthy properties provided. The ability of most superfoods to lower the body cholesterol levels and increase body metabolism make them essential to be included in a weight loss diet.

Recent trends have illustrated how people have adapted superfoods to their diet. Although it may seem tedious adding superfoods to an already set diet plan, the outcome may be well worth it. Superfoods are satisfying hunger-curbing foods and one advantage compared to other food types is that you can eat more but still lose weight. Chlorella and Spirulina are super foods that we need to tap into for even more and better results. Your diet begins with you and as such consider superfoods for you to have a healthy diet.

Sources

Adams, M. (2005). Superfoods for optimum health: chlorella and spirulina. All information contained in the book is copyright, 2006(2007), 2008.

Boone, L. (2013). Powerful Plant-based Superfoods: The Best Way to Eat for Maximum Health, Energy, and Weight Loss. Fair Winds Press (MA).

Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2010). Potential health benefits of spirulina microalgae. Nutrafoods, 9(2), 19-26.

Greg Arnold, D. C. Chlorella: The Superfoods Powerhouse.

Henrikson, R. (2000). Spirulina: Health discoveries from the source of life.

Khan, Z., Bhadouria, P., & Bisens, P. S. (2005). Nutritional and therapeutic potential of Spirulina. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology, 6(5), 373-379.

Lambert, V. Chlorella: The Superfood that Helps Fight Disease. The Telegraph, www. Telegraph. Co. UK/health/wellbeing/6028408/Chlorella-the-superfood-that.

Moorhead, K., Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2011). Spirulina: Nature’s Superfood. Cyanotech Corporation.

Na, J. G., Lee, H. S., Oh, Y. K., Park, J. Y., Ko, C. H., Lee, S. H., … & Jeon, S. G. (2011). Rapid estimation of triacylglycerol content of Chlorella sp. by thermogravimetric analysis. Biotechnology Letters, 33(5), 957-960.

Schoenhals, K. (2004). Green power: superfoods that pack a punch; chlorella growth factor; green Superfoods. Better Nutrition.


DIY Beauty: Using Superfoods For Gorgeous Skin

Superfoods For Gorgeous Skin


Although the properties of superfoods are well-known, most uses depend on consuming them, and not in cosmetic preparations. In this article, we’ll focus on how to incorporate superfoods in both your diet and DIY cosmetic preparations that will benefit your skin. There’s no need to rely on commercial products for skin care. In fact, such products might be detrimental to your skin. Read on to learn more.

Superfoods That Benefit the Skin


blueberries Blueberries are a great source of powerful antioxidants that help to protect the skin to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Here’s an unlikely superfood: oysters, a rich source of zinc which expedites cell turnover in the skin. This process assists in the repair and renewal of skin cells. Another excellent superfood to add to your diet is kiwi fruit. This superfood contains plenty of antioxidants and vitamin C. These elements are highly beneficial to the skin, providing firmness and also fighting wrinkles. Grapefruit is another superfruit to consider because it is high in vitamin C, which boosts collagen production in the skin. It’s thought that fresh, red grapefruit is the best choice rather than the white or pink type.

More Superfoods that are Good for the Skin


salmon Wild salmon has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to protect the skin from potentially damaging UV rays (2). Spinach is another superfood that is high in antioxidants. It also is a good source of iron, potassium, calcium, omega-3s and vitamins B, C and A. Even in small amounts, walnuts are highly beneficial to the skin. They contain omega-3s and vitamin E that fortify cell walls and help to retain moisture. Be sure to enjoy some yogurt, which is a good source of calcium. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an anti-ageing antioxidant. Sweet potatoes are another superfood that’s loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotine.

Additional Superfoods for Healthy, Glowing Skin


Quinoa Quinoa is a grain packed with protein. It also has a high level of riboflavin, a component that helps the elasticity of the skin and boosts the production of connective tissue. In turn, this can help keep the skin toned. Chia seeds also can be great for the skin because they’re loaded with vitamins like A, B, E and D. They also contain minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, molybdenum, potassium, silicon, thiamine, sodium, sulfur, and zinc. Finally, kale can help detox the skin, purify pores and protect against environmental damage.

Superfoods Cosmetic Preparations for Healthy, Glowing Skin


Before you pay an outrageous price for over-the-counter cosmetics that are loaded with chemicals and additives, why not consider making your own pure superfood-based creams and lotions? Read on for some easy recipes.

Green Tea Mask


  • 2-3 tablespoons of fresh aloe vera gel (check the Internet for sources)
  • ¼ cup of green tea steeped ten minutes
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay or ground oatmeal
  • 4-6 drops of essential oils (rosemary, thyme, lavender, and lemon)

Mix all the above-mentioned ingredients in a blender until you get a smooth mixture. A cotton ball or clean fingers will both do when applying it to the face. Finally rinse this off with warm water after leaving it on for 20-30 minutes

Is your skin stressed by environmental pollutants? Try this soothing mask.

Mask for Dry Skin


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • ½ small cucumber peeled
  • 1 tablespoon of goji berries soaked 1-2 hours in ¼ cup water

Preparation:

Put the ingredients in a blender or any food processor and blend them until smooth. Apply the mixture with fingers or cotton pads. After 20-30 minutes, gently rinse the mask off with warm water .

Here’s a great way to detox your skin.

Honey Beeswax Lip Balm


  • 1 tablespoon beeswax, grated or chopped
  • 3 tablespoons organic cacao butter, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons raw organic honey
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic cold-pressed hemp oil

Melt the beeswax, cacao butter and coconut oil on low heat in a double boiler while stirring frequently. Add the honey next along with the hemp oil and the other ingredients. Once the honey is mostly dissolved, turn off the heat and stir well until it reaches a smooth consistency. Transfer to clean containers immediately before the mixture cools. Let the lip balm set for about an hour before using. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight and use within six months.

Oatmeal Honey Mask


  • ¼ cup of oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • ¼ – ½ cup of warm rooibos tea (check the Internet for sources)
  • 4-6 drops of essential oils (rose, frankincense, lavender, or geranium)

For this mask, you will first have to grind oatmeal in a coffee or spice grinder until you get a coarse-flour like mixture. Then, just stir in the honey very slowly, adding the tea to get the consistency of a smooth paste. After adding the essential oils just mix everything well. When applying this mixture to the face you can either use a cotton ball or your clean fingers. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes until dry and then rinse the mask off with lukewarm water (7).

If your skin seems hopelessly dry and flaky, this make can help restore its natural moisture balance.

Clay Face Mask


  •  2 tablespoons zeolite clay (check the Internet for sources)
  • A few pinches of cinnamon
  • A few drops of tea tree oil

Directions: 

Mix ingredients in a small jar and add water a few drops at a time until you reach a thick consistency that holds together. If you accidentally add too much water, put in an additional tablespoon of clay until mixture thickens. Spread generously on your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth, and wait for the clay to dry (it will turn a lighter color and begin to flake off). Rinse with warm water, and then moisturize with coconut, argan or jojoba oil.

In addition to these easy cosmetics, there are a few ingredients you should have on hand, such as coconut oil. Although mainly used in the kitchen, coconut oil is a potent moisturizer. This is so because coconut oil has the same acidity level as our skin. Another ingredient to have on hand is versatile green tea, which is packed with antioxidants that attack free radicals to help prevent premature aging. Green tea also can help with skin disorders such as  acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Finally, essential oils should be part of anyone’s natural beauty regimen. These are natural extracts from herbs, plants and flowers that add a wonderful addition to any cosmetic formulation because they can purify the skin. Good oil choices include tea tree, lemon, orange and peppermint.


Focus on Fruit: A Few Delicious Superfoods

A Few Delicious Superfoods


When one thinks about superfoods, it’s typical that vegetables come to mind. Although vegetables do make up a large proportion of the superfoods category, there’s no reason not to include a reasonable amount of delicious fruit in your diet. From a delicious slice of apple pie to a brimming bowl of mixed fruit, it’s a good idea to eat some fruit every day.

Grapefruit: A Versatile Superfruit


grapes-frozen-fruit-summer-organic-115007-largeGrapefruit is a citrus fruit that grows widely around the world. It’s botanical name is citrus paradisi. Grapefruit actually is a hybrid of sweet orange with pomelo. Pomelo is a natural (non-hybrid) citrus fruit, with the appearance of a big grapefruit, that’s native to South and Southeast Asia.

Grapefruit flesh is acidic and naturally segmented; the color varies from white to pink to red, with the redder types generally being sweeter.

Here’s a unique and tasty recipe for grapefruit.

Broiled Grapefruit

  • 2 large pink or ruby-red grapefruits
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 8 cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce, about 2 to 3 hearts
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup sliced radishes, about 8 radishes

With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith from grapefruits and discard. Working over a bowl, cut the grapefruit segments from the surrounding membranes, letting them, along with the juice, drop into the bowl. After the segments have been removed, squeeze the remaining membrane to extract more juice. Reserve the segments and the juice separately.

Preheat broiler. Line a broiler pan or baking sheet with foil.

Toss the chicken, dry mustard, garlic powder, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, pepper and salt in a large bowl until the chicken is well coated. Place on the prepared pan in a single layer.

Broil the chicken until cooked through, turning once.

Meanwhile, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar and hot sauce into the reserved grapefruit juice until smooth. Add the cooked chicken and romaine; toss to combine. Serve the salad topped with radishes and the reserved grapefruit segments

Blueberries: A Delicious Superfruit


pexels-photo-62330-large In the US, blueberry consumption ranks second only to the strawberry. Popularity aside, blueberries rank high in antioxidant when compared to other fruits, vegetables, spices and seasoning. Blueberries are native to North America and have been used by native Americans for hundreds of years. They’re also widely used in other cultures from the Mediterranean to Asia. Here’s an unexpectedly novel blueberry recipe.

Blueberry Lemonade

Blueberry syrup:

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Lemonade:

  • 6 cups sugar
  • 24 lemons, juiced

For the blueberry syrup: Put the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat and simmer until thick, 20 to 25 minutes.

Strain the blueberries through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing to get all the liquid out, then place the liquid in the fridge and chill until cold (or place the pan in a bowl of ice to chill down fast).

For the lemonade: Mix the sugar with 6 cups of tap water and stir until the sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.

Pour the lemon juice into a large container. Pour in three-quarters of the simple syrup and 8 cups of water. Add the blueberry syrup, stir it around and then give it a taste. Add more simple syrup if it needs sweetness, or more water if it needs dilution. Top up with lots of ice before serving

Pineapple: Exotic and Available


more-wood-curtains-wood-pineapple-73037Pineapple is a delicious tropical fruit that you can find just about anywhere. It has a distinct appearance thanks to spike-like foliage that sits on top of the fruit as a sort of crown.

The fruit is sweet and golden in color. They are the only known source of bromelain, an enzyme that has antioxidant properties. Pineapples should be refrigerated for up to 4 days. If the fruit has been cut, place it into an airtight covered container.

Here’s a great recipe for pineapple.

Grilled Pineapple

  • 1 medium pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1⁄2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut

Prepare pineapple by coring, and then removing the top and the skin. Cut pineapple crosswise into six 3/4-inch-thick slices, remove the core. Stir together melted butter, brown sugar and curry powder. Grill pineapple slices on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 6 to 8 minutes or till heated through, turning once and brushing once or twice with butter mixture. Combine yogurt and coconut. To serve, cut pineapple slices in half. Serve warm with yogurt

Bananas: Humble Yet Versatile


food-restaurant-fruits-orangeBananas are a popular fruit that’s easy to store and consume, thanks to it’s thick, protective skin. It’s even thought that bananas may have been the first fruit in the world. Bananas are grown in over 100 countries. The banana has been cultivated and used since ancient times, even pre-dating the cultivation of rice. While the banana thrives in Africa, its origins are said to be East Asia and Oceania. Americans eat more bananas than oranges and apples combined.

Why not try some yummy bananas Foster? A great recipe follows.

Bananas Foster

  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar. Stir together and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the cream and stir it around to combine. Peel the bananas and slice them on the bias inside the peel. Drop the slices into the pan. Next, add the chopped nuts and stir them into the sauce. Then gently stir in the rum. Let it start to bubble, and then carefully use a long lighter to ignite it. (Be sure to have a lid handy in case you need to extinguish the flame.) Let the fire burn and go out, about 30 seconds or so), and then stir in the cinnamon at the end. You may also cook the mixture without flambeing it. Spoon it over a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream and enjoy immediately

Both bananas and plantains are low in fat and a good source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid. The pulp and peel of the ripe banana have anti-microbial properties against certain types of bacteria and some say that the inside of the peel is also good for treating mild cases of sunburn. The sugars in ripe bananas provide a quick source of energy.

Regardless of what superfruit you choose, try to consume it daily. That’s the best way to reap the all the benefits of these delicious, yet widely available fruits.


Seasonal Superfoods

The earth’s seasons cause profound changes in our weather. Doesn’t it make sense, then, to adjust our diet to conform to these changes? For example, the cooler or colder weather of winter generally leads us to eat heartier, more substantial meals. So, too, should we seasonally adjust the superfoods we consume. This will maximise the benefits of these already healthful foods. Read on to learn more and to find some delicious recipes.

Seasonal Superfoods for Spring

spring season

Spring is the season when we shake off the cobwebs of winter and look forward to warmer weather. The length of days increases. When it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s fall in the Southern Hemisphere. Various cultures celebrate spring the festivals at which special foods are enjoyed. In addition, spring encompasses the ideal of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth (1). Superfoods for spring offer a great variety of choices, so you won’t get bored with the same old thing. Vegetables for spring include asparagus and artichokes, and also lettuce, spring onions, broccoli, radishes and strawberries (2).

Arugula is another delicious spring superfood to consume as the days grow warmer and longer, along with scallions (3). Finally, be sure to expand your dietary choices to include as many of the above listed foods. They will help you feel your best! Cucumbers are another great seasonal superfood to include in refreshing salads. Try the following recipe for a delicious spring salad.

More Spring Superfoods

cucumbers

  • 4 hothouse cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced in half rounds
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh dill
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Mix the cucumbers, red onions, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt in a bowl. Pour them into a colander and suspend it over a bowl. Wrap the bowl and colander with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to drain for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the bowl.

Pour the yogurt into a sieve lined with a paper towel and suspend it over another bowl. Wrap the bowl and sieve in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the second bowl.

When the cucumbers are ready, roll them up in paper towels or a kitchen towel and press the towel lightly to remove most of the liquid. Place the cucumbers and yogurt in a large bowl with the sour cream, vinegar, dill, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper. Toss well and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and serve chilled (4).

Seasonal Superfoods for Summer

During the summer season, it’s great to engage in warm-weather activities like football, boating and touring. Summer boasts the longest days of the year, but day length begins to shorten as the season progresses. Since the days are long and warm (5), it’s a good idea to change up your superfood consumption to include a range of superfoods like blackberries, Romaine lettuce, chives, sweet peppers, watercress and tomatoes (6).
Your choice of superfoods for the summer season should mirror the incredible variety of nature’s bounty at this time of year.

More Summer Superfoods

Fresh-Vegetables

Why not include a range of fresh vegetables in your list of summer superfoods? Select garlic, and fresh herbs, which can be used to flavor the dishes you prepare. Other good choices are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and bok choy (7). Treat yourself to a juicy slice of watermelon, another key superfood (8). Fat-free milk and yogurt are dairy products that are perfect superfoods for those warm summer days (9). Finally, sweet, tender and juicy pomegranates make a light, refreshing dessert or snack in the summer (10). Here’s a great recipe idea.

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney

  • 1-1/2 cups cubed peeled ripe mango (about 1 medium)
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 teaspoons diced jalapeño pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. Cool completely. Store chutney in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days. (11)

Seasonal Superfoods for Autumn

Autumn is the season that moderates the heat of summer. There’s a crispness in the air that’s full of promise.as we transition into the cold of winter. Days begin to grow shorter and deciduous trees shed their leaves (12). Seasonal superfoods include carrots, grapes, apples, sage and green beans (13). Parsnips and pears also are good choices for autumn meals (14).

More Autumn Superfoods

Along with the bracing weather of autumn comes a plethora of cool-weather superfood choices like beet greens, Brussels sprouts, chard, leeks and rutabaga (15). These delicious foods lend plenty of flavor and nutrition to our autumn meals. Here’s a great recipe to try.

Warm Whole-Grain Salad With Fennel, Arugula, Prosciutto, and Pecorino

salad

  • 1-1/2 cups rye berries, wheat berries, spelt grains, or farro grains
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed and cut into quarters
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small bunch arugula, cut into thick ribbons (about 3 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons pitted chopped olives
  • 1-1/2 ounces prosciutto, excess fat removed, sliced into thin ribbons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1-1/2 ounces pecorino or parmesan cheese, shaved into thin slices with a vegetable peeler (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4 teaspoons juice and 1/2 teaspoon zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain or dijon mustard

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Place grain in a medium saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and season heavily with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until grain is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and drain grain. Cover the strainer with a lid to keep grain warm. While grain cooks, roast the fennel. Toss fennel quarters with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a small rimmed baking sheet and roast, turning once, until fennel is tender and golden-brown, about 30 minutes. Remove fennel from oven and let cool slightly before removing core from each quarter and slicing into thin slices. Transfer grain to a mixing bowl and add chopped fennel, sliced arugula, olives and half of the prosciutto and cheese. In a small bowl, combine remaining olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and mustard and whisk until smooth. Pour dressing over grain mixture and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a serving platter and scatter with remaining prosciutto and cheese. Serve immediately (16).