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What’s sweet about sweet potatoes?

sweetpotatoes

Sweet potato: the tan skinned, orange-fleshed vegetable that is a vitamin powerhouse. It is nature’s treasure of beta-carotene, and consuming sweet potatoes more than meets our vitamin A needs. In addition to the aforementioned orange, some sweet potatoes are purple-fleshed. This variety is also rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

Aside from vitamin A, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C. They also contain fiber, which helps our digestive system.

Sweet potatoes are a sweet-tasting, starchy root vegetable. It is North Carolina’s state vegetable but originates from South America. Fun fact: the majority of sweet potatoes we consume come from China, where sweet potatoes are used for livestock feed. Continue Reading »

Apples: so much variety, so many benefits!

apples

Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith—these are just a small portion of the 7,500 varieties of apples grown around the world. Apples come in all shades of red, green and yellow. With so many different types out there, it may be challenging to decide which apples to buy, especially now that we are in the midst of apple season and plenty of fresh apples are available.

All types of apples are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with only slight variations in nutritional value. Below is a brief description of some of the most popular apples.

Red Delicious is probably the most recognized apple in this area. When you say ‘apple’ the Red Delicious is often what comes to mind. Red Delicious apples have the highest source of antioxidants and are great defenders against cellular damage.

Fuji apples are sweeter, crisper and have a longer shelf life compared to other varieties. In fact, when refrigerated properly, these apples can last up to a year without spoiling! In addition to their lengthy shelf life, these apples are high in potassium. Potassium is a mineral that acts as an electrolyte in the body and helps to regulate heart rhythm, blood pressure and muscle movements. Golden Delicious and Gala apples are also good sources of potassium.

Granny Smith apples are known for their crispness and tart flavor. While vitamin C is a nutrient found in most fruits and vegetables, Granny Smiths have particularly high levels. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, aids in wound healing and with repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.

Next time you are at the grocery store or farmer’s market, keep an eye out for the varieties of apples that are grown right here in Wisconsin! It is always a good idea to buy local products as they do not have to travel as far and are fresher in taste. Of the types listed above, Gala apples are most likely to be grown locally. Continue Reading »

Four ways to maintain a clean bill of health

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You have a clean bill of health, but how do you maintain it? That’s a question that weighs on the minds of many. With a few helpful tips, you can help prevent common ailments.

1. Focus on a well-balanced diet: When planning your meals, keep the five basic food groups in mind – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Choosemyplate.gov offers helpful information on portion sizes as well as healthy suggestions.

2. Get some exercise: Not only is exercise beneficial for warding off stress, it also helps keep your heart healthy and helps defend against high blood pressure, obesity and arthritis. Thirty minutes multiple times a week is best.

3. Allow yourself enough sleep: Sleep gives our bodies time to rejuvenate. The average recommendation for adults is about eight hours per night.

4. Establish a relationship with a primary care provider: By developing a relationship with a primary care provider, you and your loved ones will have someone to turn to with your medical questions and receive the personalized care you deserve.

For help finding a primary care provider who is right for you, call Affinity NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900 or go online to Find A Doctor: www.affinityhealth.org/doctor.

Staying Healthy During Flu Season

sneezingWhile the best way to stay healthy this flu season is to get vaccinated, there are some other things you can do to protect yourself.

Here are a few:

1.  Practice good hand hygiene. Encourage everyone in your family to practice regular handwashing, especially after using the bathroom, before and after handling or eating food and after coming in from the outdoors. Handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.

2.  Take cover. Get into the habit of sneezing into your inner elbow. If you have a tissue, cover your nose and mouth with it when you sneeze or cough.

3.  Don’t touch. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.

4.  Replace and wash items. Buy a new toothbrush after a cold or other illness. Wash your bedding at least once a week, especially pillow covers. Wash gloves, scarves and any other attire that covers your face or mouth. This is helpful in keeping germs away.

5.  Stay hydrated. Dry nasal passages make it easier for the flu virus to breed, so its important to drink plenty of fluids. Water is a natural moisturizer for the inside of your body. Aim for eight cups of water a day. Swap out fizzy carbonated drinks for herbal tea. Increase your fluid intake if you are on a high-fiber or high-protein diet. Continue Reading »

Lentil cake recipe

lentilsMy favorite vegetables are lentils and black beans. So when I came across this recipe for lentil cakes, I knew I had to share it!

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp of curry powder
  • 1 cup crimson lentils *
  • 1 cup beluga lentils*
  • 1 cup split peas
  • 1 cup sweet onions diced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala*
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, to sauté the cakes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper or to taste Continue Reading »

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