Men and Women Nutritional Needs are Planets Apart

Remember the bestseller Men are from Mars and Women from Venus?
Doctors agree that not only are we from different planets, but our nutritional needs are different as well.

This is a two-part post; The first list 5 disease-fighting foods for men and the following post list Super Foods for Super Women.

Man Foods
1. Tomato Sauce. Men who eat a lot of tomatoes, including foods with tomato sauce may be giving themselves a hedge against prostate cancer. So say researchers at Harvard, who studied the eating habits of more than 47,000 male health professionals. They found that men who ate tomato sauce two to four times per week had a 35 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer than men who ate none. Research also shows that prostate cancer often responds favorably to positive lifestyle changes, especially changes in diet. What’s in the tomato? A carotenoid called lycopene, which tomatoes contain in abundance, is responsible for this positive effect. But scientists were puzzled: tomato juice didn't seem to have a protective effect. Other research showed why. For best absorption, lycopene should be cooked with some kind of fat. So pizza may be just what the doctor ordered!

2. Broccoli. While virtually all vegetables deserve a place on the superfoods list, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are helpful in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. It's loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and a phytochemical called sulphoraphane, which has strong anticancer (prostate and colon) properties.
A recent Harvard study found that participants who had five servings a week of cruciferious vegetables were half as likely as others to develop bladder cancer, a cancer that affects two to three times as many men as women. This super-nutritious green vegetable may also help lower levels of homocycteine, an amino acid associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Don't worry, if broccoli is not high on your list of favorite vegetables, then go for other cruciferous choices like cabbage, bok choy, shredded broccoli slaw, cabbage, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts. And did you ever wonder where the term "cruciferous" originates? "It is not because they are crunchy vegetables, but when the buds from this group of vegetables sprouts, their leaves form a cross like a crucifix," explains Denver dietitian Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD.

3. Watermelon. Until the age of 55, more men suffer from high blood pressure than do women. Research suggests that foods rich in potassium can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. The evidence is so convincing that the Food and Drug Administration recently allowed food labels to bear a health claim about the connection between potassium-rich foods and blood pressure. "There isn't a dietary requirement for potassium," says Kathleen Cappellano, nutrition-information manager at Tufts University in Boston. "But a good goal is about 2000 milligrams or more a day." Watermelon, a rich source of this mineral, has more potassium -- 664 mg -- in one large slice than the amount found in a banana or a cup of orange juice. Watermelon season will be here soon, so cut yourself another slice and enjoy the taste of summer.

4. Oats. Most men get enough carbs in their diets, but they tend to be the wrong kind, experts say. "A diet rich in whole grains provides fiber, vitamins, minerals – all the co-factors for heart health, building muscles, and keeping waistlines small.  A small change in the diet can have huge benefits…try whole grain pasta or quinoa, a trendy, grain-tasting grass that's rich in lutein for prostate health.

Oatmeal and barley are rich in soluble fiber, full of B vitamins that can help lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol, and are also good for the prostate. Most experts recommends getting 10-25 grams of soluble fiber a day from oatmeal or other sources of soluble fiber like apples, pears, and beans. When buying grain products, look for those whose labels say they have at least 3-5 g fiber per serving. Remember to avoid digestive problems, increase your fiber intake gradually, and don't forget to drink plenty of water

5. Oysters. Myth has it that oysters are the food of love. And science has proven that Oyster is a known aphrodisiac because it is rich in amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. Another reason is that high zinc content of oyster aids in the production of testosterone. Well, it's true that just a few oysters each day will deliver a full day’s supply of the antioxidant mineral zinc. Zinc is involved in hundreds of body processes, from

producing DNA to repairing cells. Research shows that adequate zinc may protect against cellular damage that leads to prostate cancer. Shellfish, in general, is an excellent source of zinc, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, potassium, and selenium.

But, the creamy flesh of oysters’ stands apart for its ability to elevate testosterone levels and protect against prostate cancer. They aren't a food most people will eat regularly, but getting five into your diet twice a week will make your weekends more fun.

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Move over Ice Cream – Granita - A healthy, refreshing summer treat!

Easy to make summer treat!
Refreshing in flavor and easy to make, Granita (pronounced grah-NEE-tah) is a popular summer treat.  These ices are a mixture of water, sugar and a flavoring.  They are grainy in texture and are frozen in a pan in the freezer.

The goal when making granita is to create coarse granular crystals or flakes of ice; you are not trying to create a smooth mixture such as a sorbet, which is made in an ice cream maker.   The large ice  crystals are developed as you stir the mixture several times during freezing.  The granita is a perfect solution when you want to play with exotic flavors but don't have the money or freezer space for an ice cream maker - and much healthier!

Making granita is easy and most recipes begin by simmering sugar and water in a saucepan to make a syrup.  Once the syrup has cooled slightly the fun begins as you add the other ingredients; from delicious ripe strawberries to more exotic fruit like star fruit. Then just transfer the mixture to a container and place in the freezer.  When you see ice crystals beginning to form around the edges of the container, stir the mixture with a fork. Most granitas call  for regular stirring at 30-minute intervals. Once you've made a basic granita, experiment with new flavors using the same basic recipe.
Served in a wine or martini glass, the elegant mound of frozen crystals can be dressed up with liquor, fresh mint, fruit, or whipped cream – or enjoyed alone for a healthy treat.  Moisten rims of 6 martini or wine glasses with water; dip rims into some sugar, and then add the granita.

Fresh Strawberry Granita
1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional

Traditional Aceto Balsamico (aged Balsamic Vinegar), optional
Mint leaves, for garnish
Wash, hull, and slice the strawberries. Place sliced strawberries in a large bowl. Toss the strawberries with the sugar; let stand for at least one hour at room temperature, or up to four hours. The strawberries will be very juicy.

Puree the strawberries and their juices with the water in a blender. Taste and add fresh lemon juice, if desired. At this point, if you want, strain out any seeds.

Pour mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze approximately 45 minutes or until icy at edge of pan.

Every 30 minutes, using a fork, stir the granita, scraping it off the bottom and sides of the pan.  Break up the frozen parts near the edges into smaller chunks and rake them toward the center.  Continue to freeze and break up ice crystals until completely frozen, about 3 hours.  If at any time the granita freezes too hard, simply leave it out at room temperature for a few minutes until it softens enough to be stirred again with a fork.

To serve, scoop flaked granita into tall goblets or parfait glasses. If the granita is too solid you can allow it to sit in the refrigerator for half an hour until you can scrape it with a fork. Garnish with mint leaves, and serve immediately with iced tea spoons.  When served, the granita should look like a fluffy pile of dry red crystals.

For an extra-special taste sensation, drizzle the tops (for use a dropper) of each serving of Strawberry Granita with aged balsamic vinegar. So good!

Makes 6 servings.

What's Red, Juicy and a Gift from Nature?

What's Red, Juicy and a Gift from Nature?
There’s nothing that says "Hello Summer" quite like eating a juicy vine-ripened strawberry that has been ripened to perfection in the early summer sunshine.  Have you noticed the beautiful juicy strawberries available at your local farmers market and in the grocery stores?  Strawberries serve more than just fulfilling the sweet tooth. That small berry packs a big nutritional pop!  It is packed with loads of health benefits, making a nutritious fruit for mind and body.

Selecting and Purchasing Strawberries:
Naturally the best strawberries are the ones you grow yourself or pick from your local strawberry fields.
In the stores, always choose locally grown strawberries during the harvesting season (they are sweeter and juicier than those that are bred for shipment). Remember, your local strawberry season only lasts 3 to 4 weeks.

When purchasing berries from the grocery store, shop with your nose. Always pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries. They should be firm, bright, and fresh looking with no mold or bruises.  The caps (stems) should be bright green, fresh looking and fully attached. Berries should be dry and clean; usually medium to small berries have better eating quality than large ones 

Strawberries do not ripen after they have been harvested, so choose strawberries that have been picked fully ripened. Select berries that are in dry; unstained containers (stained containers may indicate over soft berries that are not freshly picked). Mold on berries spreads quickly - Never leave a moldy berry next to a good one.

Strawberry Equivalents:
Fresh Strawberries:
  • 1 basket = 1 pint strawberries = 3 1/4 cups whole berries = 2 1/4 cups sliced berries = 1 2/3 cups pureed berries. Basket of strawberries refers to the market package. 1 tray or flat of strawberries = 12 baskets.
  • 1 cup whole strawberries = approximately 4 ounces.
  • 1 quart whole strawberries weighs 1¼ to 1½ pounds and yields 4 to 5 servings.
  • 1½ quarts strawberries are needed for one 9-inch pie.
  • 12 pounds or 8 quarts of fresh strawberries = approximately 13 pints of frozen berries.

Nutritional Value of Strawberry
1 cup  of strawberries provides (approximately) the following nutrients:
Protein - 1 gm
Carbohydrates - 10.5 gm
Fat - 0.6 gm (No Saturated Fat)
Fiber - 1.6 gm
Vitamin A - 3 RE
Vitamin C - 84.5 mg
Thiamin - 0.1 mg
Riboflavin - 0.1 mg
Niacin - 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6 - 0.1 mg
Vitamin B12 - 0.1 mcg.
Folic Acid - 26.4 mcg
Sodium - 2 mg
Calcium - 21 mg
Iron - 0.6 mg
Potassium - 247 mg
Zinc - 0.2 mg
Magnesium - 16 mg
Calories - 45 

Did you know?
  • Rubbing a cut strawberry on teeth and gums helps remove tartar, apart from strengthening and healing the gums.
  • Since strawberries are rich in fiber, they help the body in absorbing nutrients.
  • Strawberries are good for diabetics, as they help stabilize the level of blood glucose.
  • Strawberries are said to help in regulating blood pressure and thus, diminishing the risk of heart disease.
  • Strawberries have been associated with inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the liver.
  • Strawberries have been known to help the body in getting rid of harmful toxins.
  • The high antioxidant levels in strawberries can help the body neutralize the destructive effects of free radicals.
  • The potassium in strawberries helps regulate the electrolytes in the body, in turn lowering the risk of stroke


Happy Mother's Day

 While I consider everyday to be Mother's Day - it is always an honor to take a moment to reflect and appreciate all that my Mother has done for me.  And to give a special smile and prayer for all Moms. 

Mom, there are not enough words to thank you for all that you've done.  I love you!

Enjoy the day and know that nothing can separate you from the love of God

A prayer for Mothers
Most Gracious Heavenly Father,
We thank You for our mothers to whom You have entrusted the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb.

You have given to woman the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman may come to understand the full meaning of that blessing, which gives her an unlimited capacity for selfless love for every child she may be privileged to bear, and for all Your children.

Watch over every mother who is with child, strengthen her faith in Your fatherly care and love for her and for her unborn baby. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. Grant her joy in the birth of her child.

To mothers You have given the great privilege and responsibility of being a child's first teacher and spiritual guide. Grant that all mothers may worthily foster the faith of their children, following the example of Mary, Elizabeth, and other holy women who follow Christ. Help mothers to grow daily in knowledge and understanding of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and grant them the wisdom to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them.

Look on all "spiritual mothers", those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless selflessly care for the children of others -- of every age and state in life. Grant that they may know the joy of fulfilling this motherly calling of women, whether in teaching, nursing, religious life, or in other work which recognizes and fosters the true dignity of every human being created in Your image and likeness.

We beseech You to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died, are ill or estranged from their families, or who are in trouble or danger of any kind. Help grieving mothers to rely on Your tender mercy and fatherly love for all your children.

We ask your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire and strengthen them. May they ever follow the example of Mary, mother of Our Lord, and imitate her fidelity, her humility, and her self-giving love. May all mothers receive Your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence in the life to come.

We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.


Does Your Life Need Spring Cleaning?

There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean. For many people, however, the pleasure comes only after the work is finished.

Spring is a natural time for renewal. The weather warms, days lengthen and windows open. As clean air and light pour in, you may feel inspired to let that freshness into everything—your physical space, your mind, your body. And it turns out that doing so is intricately tied to your overall health and well-being. Studies show that the rituals of cleaning and getting rid of what's no longer serving you—such as worn-out possessions, old habits, emotional ties, or unhealthy thoughts—can actually improve your physical and mental health. Your spring cleaning may never become effortless, but you can make the project more manageable -- and even enjoyable

For some just the thought of starting is overwhelming – with so many areas to clean the best place to start is with a plan.