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Welcome to our March newsletter, filled with fascinating ways to get your food working harder for your health. Read on to learn:
They might taste a little bitter or peppery but munching on dark green, leafy vegetables daily will give you a good dose of nature’s medicine. Plus, they really can taste delicious if you give them a chance.
3 ways dark green, leafy veges are so good
- Protect the eyes from macular degeneration
- Help prevent memory loss
- Lower blood pressure
Dark green, leafy veges are rich in the carotenoid ‘lutein’ and dietary nitrate. Extensive research suggests lutein may be important for eye health and mental health. Dietary nitrate, on the other hand, has important vascular effects. These include reducing blood pressure, avoiding blood clots and preventing the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
How do they work?
Lutein concentrates in the macular and contributes to pigment density. It absorbs UV (blue) light that damages the eyes and acts as an antioxidant. Interestingly, the concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin (another carotenoid) are 500-fold higher in the macula than in other body tissues. Similarly, lutein is preferentially taken up by the brain. The exact neuroprotective mechanism for lutein is unknown but lutein is known to decrease oxidative stress and activate anti-inflammatory pathways. This is important, since the brain is particularly vulnerable to free radical damage.
In one study of healthy older people, their macular pigment density was found to be significantly related to their performance in cognitive functioning, such as accuracy and processing speed. This would make sense since macular pigment density is a marker of longer-term lutein status as compared to blood levels.
Until the recent discovery of the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway, dietary nitrate and nitrite were thought to lack any useful physiological activity in the circulation. Indeed, there were longstanding concerns about their potential toxicity – even from vegetables. But exogenous nitrite (from nitrate in vegetables) is now recognised to provide an important alternative source of nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator, in the body.
Did you know? Wild greens contain about 70% more lutein and beta carotene than commercial varieties.
How much do you need?
While the exact requirements for lutein have not yet been determined, AREDS-2, a multi-centre study, supplied 10 mg of lutein daily as a supplement. And another study on cognitive function in older women prescribed 12 mg per day (the amount found in about half a cup of boiled kale or spinach). See below for our top 10 sources of lutein. For blood pressure lowering, research suggests 8 mmol (units) of nitrate daily is required to lower systolic BP by 10 mm Hg, which may reduce the risk of heart disease by about 25% and stroke by 35%. How do you get 8 units of dietary nitrate daily? You could eat a very large salad of spinach! Note: other vegetables, except for beetroot, contain significantly lower levels of nitrate.
Nitrate Content of Vegetables
|Type of vegetable
||Units (mmol) of nitrate per 80 g
Br J ClinPharmacol 2012;75: 677-696.
Most people eat about 1 unit of nitrate per day, while vegetarians consume around 4 units of dietary nitrate. Traditional plant-based diets, such as Mediterranean and Japanese (associated with a low incidence of cardiovascular disease and longevity), also provide high levels of dietary nitrate.
Who might benefit from eating more dark leafy greens?
The entire population would do well to eat dark leafy greens every day of the week. These veges are vital for people with pre-diabetes, diabetes, vision and cognitive impairment, and risk factors for heart disease.
Just remember the DARKER the BETTER! These types contain significantly more lutein than other green vegetables. For example, kale contains 11 times more lutein than broccoli per serve! The good news is you can eat these veges fresh or cooked (lutein is stable with boiling) or drink them in smoothies.
“A recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.” - Madame Benoit
Do you want to avoid taking medication to treat your cholesterol or blood sugar? Would you like to prevent a rise in your dose and additional life-long prescriptions? Maybe your doctor could lower your dosage if your levels showed signs of improvement.
You can make this happen! But you will need to make some delicious meal swaps. We can show you how easy this is.
Join us for this popular Cookshop to see how you can use food ingredients as medicine to drop your blood sugar and cholesterol naturally – without any nasty side effects! You will experience only good results, such as body fat loss, improved regularity and more energy.
Taste delicious dishes throughout the evening from entrée through to dessert!
Take home recipes and nutrition handouts.
When: Tuesday 5th April 2016, 6.30 pm - 8:30 pm
If you have diabetes, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, a family history of heart attack or stroke, or you are simply trying to lose weight, this cookshop is for you!
Learn more about our cookshops
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place. Bring your partner for a date night!
With so many breads on the market you can be excused for feeling a little overwhelmed. Not all carbs are bad and there are plenty of healthy options to give your body a wholegrain boost and guard against illness. Read Sue Radd’s article to find out more!
This tangy and spicy dish is eaten as a simple meal in the Middle East. It uses amaranth, a leafy vegetable, but you could also substitute spinach or silverbeet. You will get a good dose of lutein in this side dish! (To find out more about lutein read this month’s feature article above)
Eating slower may be an important step in keeping your calorie intake down. Sue Radd explains why in this short video.
What is it?
Weet-Bix is one of Australia’s top selling breakfast cereals. Every true Aussie has tried them at least once! Now, Sanitarium provides a gluten-free version of this family favourite. Gluten-free Weet-Bix is made from an ancient grain called sorghum. Sorghum is naturally gluten-free so it’s perfect for those who have coeliac disease or an irritable bowel.
Where do you get it?
You will be able to find gluten-free Weet-Bix in regular supermarkets, including Coles and Woolworths but be sure to look in the gluten-free section. This specialty cereal will not be on the same shelves as the original Weet-Bix. It is now available in two varieties, regular gluten-free or gluten-free with added sunflower seeds and puffed rice.
How do you eat it?
Gluten-free Weet-Bix can be eaten as you would the standard cereal. It is a perfect breakfast cereal made hot or cold. You can also try blending one biscuit up in smoothies for extra fibre. Getting enough fibre on a gluten-free diet is no easy feat!
Per 30g serve (2 biscuits)*
||474 kJ (113 Cal)
*Nutritionals based on regular gluten free Weet-Bix
Why we like them?
This cereal provides the usual impressive nutritional benefits of normal Weet-Bix, such as added vitamins and minerals and use of wholegrains. It provides a handy and familiar option for those on a gluten-free diet, especially kids! It’s low in sugar and fat, and although the fibre content is not high (which is to be expected being gluten-free), it’s not bad for a gluten-free cereal.
4 out of 5 stars