What Does ‘Raw’ Mean? When It Comes To Almonds, You Might Be Surprised : The Salt : NPR

When you’re talking about almonds, “raw” may not mean what you think.

All California almonds — which would be virtually all the almonds in the country — are either heat-pasteurized or treated with a fumigant. The processes, which have been required by law since 2007, are intended to prevent foodborne illness. But almond aficionados say the treatments taint the flavor and mislead consumers.

In a warehouse near Newman, Calif., run by the Cosmed Group, millions of almonds are heated in huge metal containers. The temperature inside the chambers gradually rises to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The goal is to ensure through steam pasteurization that the almonds don’t carry bacteria from the fields to consumers.

via What Does ‘Raw’ Mean? When It Comes To Almonds, You Might Be Surprised : The Salt : NPR.

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8 foods to help you sleep | Fox News

According to a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 63 percent of Americans say their sleep needs are not being met during the week. Whether your lack of shut-eye is due to a difficult job, a stressful environment or jet lag, not getting enough quality sleep can lead to serious health problems, including depression and heart disease. But before you reach for that prescription sleep aid, take a look at what you’re eating. Here are eight foods rich in sleep-inducing ingredients that can naturally help you get more z’s.

FISH

Fish is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that raises serotonin levels that are needed to make melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to control your sleep and wake cycles. In addition, most fish cod, salmon, halibut, tuna, trout, and snapper provide vitamin B6, which is also needed to make melatonin. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that participants who ate tryptophan-rich foods showed a reduction in sleepiness and sustained alertness early in the morning, most likely due to improved sleep overnight.

DAIRY

There may be something to that old adage that a glass of warm milk will help you sleep. Dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese are rich in melatonin-boosting calcium, and a number of studies are finding that being calcium-deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.

CHERRIES

Cherries, especially the tart varieties, are one of the few food sources of melatonin, the sleep hormone that regulates your internal clock. In one small study, participants drank eight ounces of tart cherry juice in the morning, and another eight ounces in the evening, for two weeks and reported better sleeping habits.

There’s surprising ones if you click through.. Hummus? via 8 foods to help you sleep | Fox News.

The 5 Best Foods to Eat After Taking Antibiotics || healwithfood.org

After taking antibiotics, it is important to restore the ‘good bacteria’ in your intestines. If you prefer to do that naturally through diet rather than resorting to supplements, you’ll be happy to learn that there are plenty of foods that can help restore your intestinal flora. The rest of this article provides a detailed list of some of the best foods to eat after taking antibiotics.

The 5 Best Foods to Eat After Taking Antibiotics

1. Yoghurt

Yoghurt, or yogurt, is probably the most famous probiotic food, and it certainly is one the best foods to eat after taking antibiotics. Milk is transformed into yogurt through a fermentation process that uses live probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. In addition, other lactobacilli as well as bifidobacteria are also sometimes added during or after the culturing process.

Not all yogurts contain probiotic bacteria.

Normally, the probiotic cultures used to make yogurt remain live and active in the final product. However, pasteurization and some other processes designed to prolong yogurt’s shelf life may kill off the health promoting probiotic bacteria. In the US, the National Yogurt Association (NYA) has developed a Live & Active Cultures seal to help consumers identify yogurts that contain significant amounts of live and active probiotic bacteria. The seal is voluntary and available to all manufacturers of refrigerated and frozen yogurt whose products contain at least 100 million (108) cultures per gram at the time of manufacture.

If you live in the US and are planning to eat yogurt to restore your intestinal flora after taking antibiotics, it is best to choose products with the Live & Active Cultures seal. Without the seal, there is no unbiased validation of the amount of live cultures present in the yogurt.

2. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented in its own juice by various lactic acid bacteria. According to a study published in the December 2007 issue of Applies and Environmental Microbiology, raw sauerkraut can contain more than 13 different species of probiotic bacteria. Each batch of sauerkraut you eat may contain different proportions of different strains of gut-friendly bacteria, which in turn can help you diversify your intestinal flora.

However, not all sauerkraut is equal when it comes to restoring good bacteria after taking antibiotics. In many cases, commercial canned and jarred sauerkraut have been heat-treated and pasteurized, destroying the beneficial bacteria. Fortunately, some health food stores are bringing back this extraordinary health-promoting food. But before you buy a batch of sauerkraut with the intention of eating it as part of your post-antibiotic diet, make sure that it is labeled ‘raw’ or ‘unpasteurized’. Or, consider making gut-friendly sauerkraut at home — it is a simple and inexpensive way to get to enjoy one of the best foods you can eat after taking antibiotics

The 5 Best Foods to Eat After Taking Antibiotics

3. Garlic

Garlic contains prebiotics which help probiotic bacteria grow.

Garlic, another good food to eat after a course of antibiotics, is a great source of prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that help probiotic bacteria grow and flourish in the digestive system. You can think of prebiotics as “food” for probiotics.

Recommendations as to the ideal amount of prebiotics in the diet vary substantially, but in most cases, the recommendations range from 4 to 8 grams (0.14—0.28 oz) for supporting general digestive health, to 15 grams (0.53 oz) or more for those with digestive disorders. A serving of three large garlic cloves provides about 2 grams of prebiotics.

Tip: To make a super healthy Greek-style dip that contains both probiotic bacteria and prebiotic carbohydrates that feed these ‘friendly’ bacteria, mix probiotic yogurt with minced raw garlic. Add finely chopped cucumber if you like.

4. Jerusalem Artichokes

Unlike garlic, Jerusalem artichokes – also known as sunchokes – are not a particularly famous food. Nevertheless, these earthy tubers are packed full of nutritional benefits. In addition to providing plenty of B vitamins and immune-boosting vitamin C, Jerusalem artichokes are loaded with inulin, a prebiotic fiber that has been shown to stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria.

Jerusalem artichokes can be eaten raw or cooked, and they make a great gut health promoting addition to soups and salads alike.

5. Almonds

In an in vitro study funded by the Almond Board of California, a group of scientists found that finely ground almonds significantly increased the levels of certain beneficial gut bacteria. The almond preparation was found to lose its prebiotic effect its fat content was removed, suggesting that the probiotic bacteria only use the lipids in almonds for growth.

Almonds provide prebiotics and fight off new infections.

But there’s also another reason why almonds make it to this list of the best foods to eat after antibiotics: A 2010 study found that almonds can help fight off viral infections such as the common cold and flu. After taking antibiotics, you are more prone to new infections as a result of a weakened immune system.

The researchers responsible for this almond study found that naturally occurring chemicals found in almond skins improved the ability of the white blood cells to detect viruses and to boost the body’s ability to prevent viruses from replicating. Even after the almonds had been digested in the gu

via The 5 Best Foods to Eat After Taking Antibiotics.

The Top 10 Best Cooking Oils …

We were talking about cooking oils and which ones are best before. I was just eyeing up some almond oil I bought and thought – hey … Can I cook with this? Some googling later and I found this. I think it’s a great list because instead of just saying “____ has a low smoking point”, it actually tells you the temperature that happens so you can work with it.

If you like to be a chef every once and a while, you may be confused about what cooking oils to use. (Especially, if you are on a diet). With so many skeptics and critics analyzing this oil and that, one of our leading dietitians, Christy, and one of our chefs, Chef Krishna, are telling you which oils to use while you cook and which ones to avoid completely.

10. Grapeseed Oil

Christy: “This oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and is low in saturated fat, making it very heart healthy.”

Chef K: “Grapeseed oil is very versatile, and can be used to add a very mild, nutty flavor to almost any dish. It’s great for salads, and can make for a nice drizzle over toasted bread.”

9. Sunflower Oil

Christy: “Sunflower oil is also heart healthy, and contains polyunsaturated fats and is low in saturated fats. It’s definitely a good ‘all purpose’ oil.”

Chef K: “Sunflower oil has a high smoke point of about 460 degrees F. This oil is great for high-heat cooking like sautéing. It’s actually great for sautéing vegetables.”

8. Safflower Oil

Christy: “Also low in saturated fat, using safflower oil to cook with can help lower your cholesterol. A lower cholesterol also means a reduced risk of cardiovascular and heart diseases.”

Chef K: “Safflower oil also has a high smoke point of about 450 degrees F. This makes it good for high-heat cooking, like sautéing or frying. It has such a distinct flavor and it’s great for cooking foods like chicken and pasta.”

7. Avocado Oil

Christy: “Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fats, and vitamin E. It’s a great oil to use if you are on a diet, or if you are diabetic. In certain studies, monounsaturated fats have been shown to help control insulin levels and blood sugar.”

Chef K: “Avocado oil also has a high smoke point of about 510 degrees F. This makes it a good oil for high heat cooking, like sautéing and frying. It’s great in salads, and can be used to add a little extra flavor to chicken, beef, pork or fish.”

6. Peanut Oil

Christy: “Peanut oil also contains monounsaturated fats, and is low in saturated fat, making it a heart healthy option.”

Chef K: “Peanut oil has a medium smoke point of about 350 degrees F. This is a good oil for light sautéing and frying. It’s great to use in Thai and Asian recipes, and is a great addition to sauces and salad dressings.”

5. Almond Oil

Christy: “Almond oil also contains monounsaturated fats, which makes it good for your cholesterol. It’s also an ideal cooking choice if you are diabetic.”

Chef K: “Almond oil has a high smoke point of about 495 degrees F, and is good for high heat cooking, like sautéing. It’s great flavor also works well as a healthier substitute in dessert recipes, like whipped cream.”

4. Olive Oil

Christy: “Olive oil is healthy because it contains monounsaturated fats, which makes it very heart healthy—it’s a great oil to use if you are diabetic, or if you have high cholesterol.”

Chef K: “Olive oil has a medium smoke point of about 350 degrees F. It’s a great, flavorful oil for foods like pesto sauce and salad dressings. It’s also great for sautéing vegetables, and is a great choice for cooking chicken.”

3. Flaxseed Oil

Christy: “Flaxseed oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and has a good source of omega-3’s. Omega 3 fatty acids help improve brain function and promote heart health.”

Chef K: “Flaxseed oil has a low smoke point of about 225 degrees F, so it should not be used for cooking over heat. Instead, it’s great for mixing into meals after heating, or it can be added to salad dressings or used in certain smoothies.”

2. Walnut Oil

Christy: “Walnut oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. This is a very heart-healthy oil, and is a great cooking oil to use if you are diabetic.”

Chef K: “Walnut oil has a very high smoke point of about 400 degrees F, which makes it a great oil to use for baking. It’s also great for sautéing at low-medium heat. It can also make your salad pop, simply by drizzling it over the top.”

1. Canola Oil

Christy: “As far as healthy nutrition goes, canola oil is probably the best. It has monounsaturated fats, which makes it heart healthy, and is appropriate for someone with diabetes,or who is on a diet.”

Chef K: “Canola oil has a medium-high smoke point of about 425 degrees F. It is great for sautéing, baking, and stir-fry. Of all the oils, it can be used to create the most variety of recipes.”

via The Top 10 Best Cooking Oils | BistroMD.

NPR.org » If Almonds Bring You Joy, Enjoy More For Fewer Calories

If Almonds Bring You Joy, Enjoy More For Fewer Calories

by Allison Aubrey

Scientists are starting to discover that the standard way of measuring calories, established more than 100 years ago, may not be terribly accurate when it comes to higher fat, high-fiber foods like nuts. But when it comes to almonds, the count may be off by a whole lot.

Food scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a new study that finds almonds have about 20 percent fewer calories than previously documented.

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