Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Food for Thought, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Celebrate the Glorious Pumpkin!

Pumpkins. They make delicious pies. This time of year we love to use them to decorate porches and as spooky lanterns for Halloween they can't be beat!

But remember their starring role is in the kitchen. A rich array of nutrients, in the pumpkins'  pulp and seeds, deliver a number of health benefits, including protection against colds and flu.

The bright orange color is proof that pumpkins are loaded with beta carotene, an antioxidant that protects against some cancers, heart disease, premature aging, and infections. Pumpkins also serve up vitamins E and C. Together with the beta carotene, these nutrients also help to keep our skin and eyes in good shape.

We all should try eating more orange-colored foods — such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes — during winter months to power up our immune systems and beat the odds against colds, flu and pneumonia. 

Pumpkins like most other vegetables are full of potassium (which helps to keep blood pressure in check), other minerals, and fiber. Pumpkin seeds contain an oil that may be beneficial for the prostate, plus cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.

The seeds, which make a healthy snack or add crunchiness to salads, soups and other dishes, also have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sleep better with tart cherry juice...

Tart Montmorency cherries have been reported to contain high levels of phytochemicals that produce a wide array of benefits. Now those benefits extend to boosting melatonin, a molecule critical in regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans.
A group of people were given tart cherry juice in the morning and again before bedtime. There were significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency total with cherry juice supplementation.
The results suggest that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.
Other benefits have been seen for tart cherries including reduction in symptoms of gout, reduction in circulating inflammatory markers, pain relief after long distance running, reduced oxidative stress, improved recovery following exercise induced muscle damage, and improved sleep quality in late life insomnia. It appears that the phenolic compounds in the cherries act as free radical scavengers that reduce oxidative stress. The anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries appear to rival those of noon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Cherries are high in protective phytonutrients called anthocyanins.