The Benefit of Green Peas

peafacts

I never minded cleaning my plate when I was a kid.  I actually liked eating my vegetables, but I never had any idea how much good they were doing!  I am especially amazed by the number of things that green peas can do for your health.

One of the most important things that peas provide us Vitamin K.  It plays a vital role in your body because it:

  • helps the blood clot – preventing excessive bleeding;
  • helps anchor calcium inside the bones which helps prevent osteoporosis; and
  • helps to restore strength to bones following steroid use.

Peas contain such high quality protein that commercial protein powders have begun using it as an alternative to soy or whey based protein.

  • Coumestrol, a phytonutrient in Peas, has been shown to reduce the risk of stomach cancers
  • The Pantothenic Acid in peas supports the energy producing cells in the body and play an important role in adrenal function
  • A cup of peas is just 81 calories, has no cholesterol, they are good source of soluble as well as insoluble fiber
  • A cup of peas provides 16% of RDA of folates. Folates are one of the B-complex vitamins required for DNA synthesis inside the cell
  • Fresh green peas are very high in Vitamin C.  A cup has 67% of the daily requirement.
  • Peas contain phytosterols, which helps lower cholesterol levels
  • A cup of peas is also high in antioxidants like carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin as peas1well as vitamin-A (25.5% of RDA). Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy membranes, skin and eye-sight, and protects against lung and oral cavity cancers
  • Peas are also good in many other essential B-complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. Furthermore, they are rich source of many minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese

Looks like I am going to mix a cup of green peas in with my quinoa for lunch tomorrow!  Yum!

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Benefits of Red Fruits & Vegetables

redvegetablesUnless you’ve been completely cut off from technology and forms of communication with the outside world for the past few decades, you have likely read an article or heard nutritional experts discussing the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

According to the experts at www.choosemyplate.gov, the benefits include keeping your digestive system “moving” and healthy, lowering the risk for some chronic health conditions and lessening the chance of morbid obesity:

  • Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
  • Since none have cholesterol, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
  • Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.
  • Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.  Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
  • Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
  • Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
  • Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
  • Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.
  • Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
  • Red fruits and vegetables containing Lycopene (Red Peppers, Tomatoes, Guavas, Mangoes, Papayas, Watermelon, Strawberries, Red Grapes, Grapefruit, Asparagus, and Purple Cabbage) are said to ward off the damaging rays of the sun that cause sunburn, while their antioxidant properties also contribute to the removal of free radicals that can lead to cancer and heart disease.

My grandma got on the healthy living bandwagon in the mid 70’s embracing Jack LaLanne, making her own yogurt & drying her own fruit, the Cambridge Diet and trying to share her healthy living with my raw ground beef, all things canned-meat eating grandpa.  I bet you can guess where that got her….nowhere.  Hmmm.

While she was beating a dead horse in her own home, I can say that she did instill in me a love of fruits, vegetables and being pretty healthy.  I’m not lying though, I never passed up one of grandpa’s delicacies either: chipped beef, SPAM, and even Vienna sausages.  I never claimed to be perfect.  😉

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What’s Up With Matcha?

teaceremonyMatcha tea is nothing new.  By the 9th Century, the custom of drinking tea, first for medicinal, and then for pleasurable reasons, was practiced throughout China. Buddhist influenced Chinese author Lu Yu wrote The Classic of Tea, a treatise on tea focusing on the Zen-Chan school of cultivation and preparation.  Zen Buddhist Monks drank Matcha tea to remain calm and alert during long hours of meditation.  His ideas would have a strong influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony as it is still practiced today.

The Japanese tea ceremony involves “sabi” and “wabi” principles.

  • Wabi represents the inner, or spiritual, experiences of human lives: quiet or sober refinement, or subdued taste “characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and asymmetry” and “emphasizes simple, unadorned objects and architectural space, and celebrates the mellow beauty that time and care impart to materials.”
  • Sabi represents the outer, or material side of life. Originally, it meant “worn,” “weathered,” or “decayed.” Particularly among the nobility, understanding emptiness was considered the most effective means to spiritual awakening, while embracing imperfection was honored as a healthy reminder to cherish our unpolished selves, here and now, just as we are – the first step to “satori” or enlightenment.

Between 2013 and 2014 there was a 253% increase in sales of drinks containing Matcha, but I can’t help but wonder why?  It’s not like people were all of the sudden sitting down to celebrate the traditional Japanese ceremony every time that they drank it, it was (and continues to be) sold diluted, mixed with flavors and preservatives and pre-bottled for drinking on the run.

So why all of the Matcha Hype?

groundmatchaMatcha is a tea rich in catechin polyphenols (the most important of which is EGCG – epigallo-catechin gallate) compounds with high antioxidant activity, that also contains trace minerals and vitamins (A, B-complex, C, E, and K).

Matcha tea has a significant amount of dietary fiber and practically no calories. With its abundance of these vitamins and compounds, it is also said to:

  • Protect against many kinds of cancer;
  • Can slow or halt growth of cancer cells;
  • Protect against cardiovascular disease;
  • Slow the aging process;
  • Boost metabolism;
  • Reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol;
  • Stabilize blood sugar levels;
  • Help reduce high blood pressure; and
  • Boost resistance to many toxins.

This still doesn’t explain to me how something commercially bottled, and (let’s be honest here) containing a much lesser quality and quantity of the desired Matcha tea powder is flying off the shelves…

Body Builders, heath and fitness gurus and those who practice meditation rituals all swear that Matcha is essential to reaching their peak potential because:

  • Japanese tea leaves (those used to produce Matcha powder) grow in the shade to increase chlorophyll content. These chlorophyll-rich leaves are then handpicked, steamed, dried and ground into a fine green powder;
  • Chlorophyll is purported to detoxify the body of toxins, heavy metals, poisons, dioxins and hormone disrupters;
  • Matcha contains three times the caffeine as coffee but without the jittery buzz, instead inducing  an “alert calm” due to it’s naturally derived l-theanine, which relaxes without drowsiness;
  • One cup of Matcha green tea has as many antioxidants as 10 cups of regular tea
  • A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea;
  • Matcha green tea possesses antioxidant levels 6.2 times that of goji berries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, 17 times that of wild blueberries and 60.5 times that of spinach;
  • Matcha, when combined with meditation, contributes to the health and weight loss benefits – reduces cortisol (a stress hormone that drive appetite and increases belly fat), lowers inflammation (tied to premature aging and disease), curbs impulsive eating, lowers blood pressure, and boosts self-esteem;
  • Matcha green tea contains up to 5 times more L-theanine than conventional green tea and increases Alpha wave activity in the brain.  Stress is known to induce the brain’s Beta wave activity, leading to a more agitated state. Alpha wave activity can relieve stress, promote relaxation and even lower blood pressure;
  • Consuming green tea increases thermogenesis (the body’s rate of burning calories) from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure;
  • Exercising immediately after drinking Matcha green tea resulted in 25% more fat burning during exercise

Bodybuilding.com shakes their pom-poms for Matcha in their own unique way: “If you’re not drinking Matcha green tea yet, you’re behind the times! Get with the program and try this metabolism-enhancing, stress-reducing, immune-boosting, cholesterol-lowering, teenage-mutant-ninja cancer fighter!”

Health Magazine warns that the taste of Matcha is strong, sometimes described as grassy or spinach-like. This explains why it is often watered down and/or sweetened, and even added to foods to improve it’s taste.  To avoid the grassy taste do not add Matcha green tea powder to boiling water.  Boil the water and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding the tea.

So, I’m convinced enough by the purported benefits to give this a try.  One area in particular that appeals to me is that I have difficulty sleeping at night and it could be due to my consumption of green tea, but not the Matcha variety.

Quality is important if you want the reported results, and quality doesn’t come cheap.  High quality, fresh, pure Matcha is expensive. A low price tag can be a red flag for a poor quality product, and, as with anything that is touted as the newest trend, it can be overdone, so ingest it in moderation.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood