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Wild About Watermelon!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Summer is the season when that tasty fruit, the watermelon, once again makes an appearance around the dinner table and the picnic area. Besides being made up of nearly 90% water, watermelons are also a great source of significant vitamins and minerals.

So, what is watermelon made of? It is chock full of a considerable amount of vitamins A and C. It contains thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate and niacin in small amounts. It is a great source of potassium, and also contains magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and iron in trace amounts. It is also very low in calories, free of fats and cholesterol and is rich in carotenoids.

Because of these nutritional facts and their amazing taste, we should enjoy watermelons while they last!

Dieting for Stress Management: Choosing Stress-Fighting Foods

Written by Lisa Jillanza

STRESS. We all deal with it at some point in our lives. But having too much stress in your life can be very harmful to your health and can make you more vulnerable to everything from colds to high blood pressure and even heart disease.

Stress management is a valuable tool to learn when it comes to your overall wellness. While there are many ways to cope with stress, eating stress-fighting foods is one good way to start.

From boosting serotonin levels to lowering stress hormones, there are a number of foods that actually counteract the impact of stress on our lives.

The following foods should be part of your diet for stress management:

Complex Carbohydrates : All carbohydrates give a signal to the brain to produce that “feel good” chemical, serotonin. To keep a steady flow of serotonin, dieticians suggest complex carbs like whole grain cereals, breads and pastas and oatmeal.

Oranges : Because they are a wealth of vitamin C, studies show that oranges are great stress-busting foods, as well as a great immune system strengthener. Experts suggest taking 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C before a stressful event.

Spinach : It's the magnesium in spinach that helps to regulate cortisol levels that particularly get depleted when we are in stressful situations. Not enough magnesium can trigger headaches, adding to stressful situations. One cup of spinach is the recommended amount, as the magnesium goes a long way. Can't do spinach? Try cooked soy beans or salmon instead, for the same effects.

Fatty Fish : Omega-3 fatty acids are important to prevent surges in stress hormones, as well as protect against heart disease. Try fatty fish like salmon or tuna for your Omega-3's.

Black Tea : Good for lowering levels of cortisol following stressful events, many experts swear by the healing powers of black tea. Black tea helps you to recover quickly following stresses and helps you to remain calm.

Pistachios : Chosen for their ability to soften the pre- and post-effects of stress, experts suggest eating a handful of pistachios every day to help lower blood pressure so it won't spike when faced with stressful situations.

Avocados : Another great high blood pressure reducing food is avocados, due to their potassium content. Half of an avocado has more potassium than a medium-sized banana. Additionally, avocados, in guacamole form, are a great and nutritious treat when stress has you craving snack foods.

Almonds : Chock full of vitamins, like vitamin E and a range of B vitamins, almonds are a great treat to eat that help with resiliency when dealing with stress.

Raw Vegetables : In a purely mechanical way, crunching on raw vegetables can help to alleviate stress. By releasing your clenched jaw and possibly warding off headaches, chomping your carrots, celery and other veggies is beneficial on many levels

While these are but a few suggestions, they will all help to get you back on track towards a less stressful life.

 

Great Summertime Fruits: Get Them While They Last!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Summer is a great season to partake in the numerous delicious seasonal fruits. Not only do these summertime fruits taste great, but they also give you many nutritional benefits.

Some fruits to enjoy before the season ends include:

Berries: the phytochemicals in blueberries, strawberries and blackberries all boost immunity, and protect against heart diseases and circulatory problems.

Peaches and Plums: full of vitamin C and beta carotene, peaches and plums help to eliminate free radicals from the body.

Pineapples: being packed with the most vitamins and minerals, pineapples are also a great digestive aid.

Papayas and Mangoes: both are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene and fiber.

Here's Looking at You: Eating for Eye Health

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Maintaining one's eye health is very important. Although we don't often think about it, having effective eyesight is a vital aspect of a full and thriving existence. Just imagine not being able to see the flowers blooming this spring if you didn't have healthy eyes! Therefore it's important to eat the foods necessary for good eye health.

Here are ten foods from Healthdiaries.com that will help maintain eye health and that may protect against cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye problems.

Avocados Avocados are one the most nutrient-dense foods that exist, so it's no wonder they're great for your eyes. They contain more lutein than any other fruit. Lutein is important in the prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts. They are also a great source of other important eye nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.

Carrots Carrots have long been recognized as an eye food due to their high levels of vitamin A.

Broccoli Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C, calcium, lutein, zeaxanthin, and sulforaphane.

Eggs Eggs are an excellent source of eye nutrients like vitamin A, zinc, lutein, lecithin, B12, vitamin D, and cysteine.

Spinach Another great source of vitamin A, spinach also contains other important eye nutrients including lutein and zeaxathin.

Kale Like spinach, kale is a good source of vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxathin.

Tomatoes Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and lycopene, two important eye nutrients.

Sunflower Seeds Sunflower seeds contain selenium, a nutrient that may prevent cataracts and promote overall eye health.

Garlic Garlic contains selenium and other eye nutrients such as vitamin C and quercetin.

Salmon Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining overall eye health. It also contains folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin A.

Easter Basket Calorie Counter

Written by Lisa Jillanza

It's prime season for an Easter sugar attack. From marshmallow peeps to chocolate bunnies, most of us will probably be putting on a few pounds this weekend in celebration of one of our favorite spring holidays. So how much damage to your diet will your overflowing Easter basket of goodies actually cause? Here is some interesting calorie content information from Walking.About.com as well as what it will take to walk these calories off:

4 Peeps Marshmallow Bunnies: 130 calories

1 Peeps Hollow Milk Chocolate Egg: 420 calories

5 Mars Mini Chocolate Eggs: 179 calories

1 Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny: 890 calories

1 Cadbury Crème Egg: 150 calories

12 Cadbury Chocolate Eggs: 190 calories

1 Dove Solid Chocolate Easter Bunny: 230 calories

1 Nestle's Crunch Solid Chocolate Easter Bunny: 692 calories

1 Snickers Cream Sports Egg: 140 calories

1 Reese's Peanut Butter Egg: 180 calories

1 Reese's Reester Bunny: 798 calories

1 Brachs Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Egg: 43 calories

5 Brachs Malted Easter Eggs: 180 calories

35 Jelly Belly Assorted Jelly Beans: 140 calories

1 Cadbury Caramel Egg: 190 calories

5 Peeps Marshmallow Chicks: 136 calories

1 Large Solid Chocolate Bunny (7 oz.): 1050 calories

8 Robin Eggs: 180 calories

1 Milky Way Bunny: 160 calories

12 Cadbury Mini Eggs: 190 calories

5 Mini Kit Kats: 210 calories

1 Hollow Chocolate Bunny: 270 calories

1 Tootsie Pop: 60 calories

2 Tootsie Roll Snack Bars: 100 calories

2 Small Boxes of Dots: 140 calories

Feeling a little guilty after learning how many calories are in your favorite Easter treats? Don't worry! Just use this handy guide to determine how much walking you need to do to work those calories off!

Jelly Beans: 1.4 miles

Peeps: 1.6 miles

Robin Eggs: 1.7 miles

Small Chocolate Bunny: 1.4 miles

Medium Hollow Bunny: 2.6 miles

Large Chocolate Bunny: 10.5 miles (!!!!!!)

Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Bunny: .6 miles

Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Egg: 1 mile

Editor's Note: Mileage is based upon eating only one serving of each of the following candies. Should you eat more than one serving (according to package) or a combination of any of the following then your mileage will need to be adjusted.