10 Healthy Late-Night Snacks

It’s late at night, and you can’t sleep because your stomach won’t stop growling. You need a late-night snack, but you can’t decide what to eat. Before you decide, ask yourself “Am I physically hungry?’’ or is it because you’re feeling anxious, lonely, bored, or depressed? 

Unfortunately, we tend to make the worst choices when we are tired or overly hungry. Many of these choices are mostly high in fat and sugar and low in nutrition.  In addition, skipping meals or eating too little during the main meals can cause more snacking, too.

If you are eating more than you need at night, that calorie surplus can lead to possible weight gain over time. That’s why late-night snacking has a potential link to obesity and other cardiometabolic diseases, but don’t worry! Late-night snacking isn’t always unhealthy if you choose the right food or food combinations. You can still satisfy late-night cravings while still keeping your weight loss goals on track. Instead of junk food, here are our 10 healthy late-night snack ideas. They are loaded with nutrients, and they can help you sleep better.

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, and it is a great healthy late-night snack. Just be sure to read food labels before you purchase it. Unfortunately, some flavored or fruit yogurts are high in added sugar. If you want to eat flavored yogurts, just add fruits or nuts to plain yogurt.

Yogurt

2. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are filled with vitamins and minerals, and it keeps you busy while you’re eating them one by one. Just make sure not to eat more than a handful.

Pumpkin Seeds

3. Vegetable sticks and cheese

Chop some vegetables, like carrots, celery, cucumber, and bell peppers, into sticks and dip them into cream cheese. You’ll love it! It is super healthy and filling!

Vegetable Sticks

4. Popcorn

Air-popped popcorn without salt and fat will keep you full all night because popcorn is one of the most filling foods that are high in fiber and volume.

Popcorn

5. Bowl of berries

When you are craving something sweet to eat at night, you can beat your sugar craving with a bowl of berries. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Bowl of berries - 10 Healthy Late-Night Snacks

6. Oatmeal

A warm bowl of oatmeal can be your go-to healthy late-night snack, just give it a try. Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber. Cook your steel-cut oats with milk or water, add a tablespoon of maple syrup and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.

Oatmeal

7. Fresh fruits and nuts

Fruit and nuts are a great option when you need a quick snack. Both fruit and nuts have a lot of nutritional benefits, including vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Try spreading peanut butter on banana slices, or dip your apple slices in almond butter.

Fresh Fruits

8. Hummus and crackers

Hummus is a classic snack that is filled with fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Pair it up with some crackers for a fun and healthy late-night snack.

Hummus - 10 Healthy Late-Night Snacks

9. Carrots and cucumbers

Carrots and cucumbers are very low in calories and are very nutritious. These crunchy healthy late-night snacks are filled with fiber, too.

Carrots and cucumbers - 10 Healthy Late-Night Snacks

10. Edamame

Edamame shouldn’t just be for sushi night. It’s packed with plant-based protein and fiber. In addition, it is super delicious and a great snack.

Edamame - 10 Healthy Late-Night Snacks

 

Related: 5 Healthy Snacks to Beat Afternoon Cravings at Work

 

5 Ways to Detoxify Your Body

Information and methods of detoxification have become more mainstream over the last decade. Different methods of detoxification have been used since ancient times. Although we have more information about the word detox in recent years, different ways of body detoxification have been applying since ancient times. In Eastern medicine, there were many body detoxifying methods, from lavemant to bloodletting to fasting. Today, practices continue with little change in format and content. 

Every organ in our body has a function. They work within a coordinated system. Malfunction in any one system can negatively affect the entire mechanism. For this reason, detoxifying your body is important for us. This is why detoxification can be such a benefit for us.

Yoga Exercise Stretching

It is important to detox at specific times to strengthen immunity, improve the digestive system, and give the liver and kidneys the opportunity to rest. Before talking about how to detoxify your body, it is helpful to talk about our body’s detox organ, the liver! All organs work in a coordinated system with each other.

The liver also works in permanent communication with the stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, and the rest of the digestive system. The liver has important functions in all the fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism processes. The foods you eat, the air you breathe, and having stress create toxins in your body. Your liver filters these toxins that accumulate in the body and clean the blood. The accumulation of large amounts of toxins in the liver causes chronic inflammation. This situation causes a cycle that negatively affects the detox effect of the liver. For this reason, it is very important to protect the liver.

5 Ways to Detoxify Your Body

You can use some nutrients to protect the liver and prevent toxin build-up.

Garlic

Garlic activates detox enzymes that eliminate toxins in the liver. For this reason, you can add garlic to your daily diet. If the taste of garlic irritates you, try black garlic.

Sulfur-containing vegetables

Vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are vegetables with high sulfur content. These vegetables contain a powerful antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that activates liver detoxification.

Beet

Beet is a powerful food that eliminates toxins by providing enzyme activity. Try adding beet into your daily diet. You can try using beets that you ferment with salt, garlic, and water in your salads.

Adding these great detoxifying nutrients to your diet can help support your liver. In this way, you can help your body’s natural detox. In addition, detoxifying your body during seasonal changes can strengthen your liver, kidneys, and digestive system. Let’s look at how you can clean your body naturally.

Continuous sugar consumption

Eating foods containing processed sugar will make your blood sugar unstable and block the accurate secretion of the leptin hormone. This situation creates sugar cravings. Detoxing can help to break this cycle and rebalance hormone secretions.

sugar consumption

Digestive problems

Problems and irregularities in the digestive system are one of the most important symptoms that can indicate the need for a detox. Constipation, diarrhea, or bloating are signs of digestion problems.

Periodic allergies

Allergies that occur at certain seasons indicate that your immune system is weak. You need to detoxify your body to strengthen your immune system.

Feeling tired

If you are feeling tired all the time, you may have chronic fatigue. This situation indicates that your brain and adrenal glands are not communicating properly. This is an important sign that you need to detoxify your body.

Bad Smell

Bad smell from the mouth and heavy smell from sweat are an important indicators of accumulating toxins in your body. It means, detox is crucial for you.

Depression

You may have depression and anxiety in different time of the year.  It triggers an inflammatory-autoimmune response to your brain and nerve tissue, which is causing damage. Detoxifying your body will reduce inflammation, so it could reduce your depression and anxiety level.

sleep disorder

Sleep disorder

If your sleep is irregular, it means your hormones will not work regularly. Sleep irregularity stops removing toxins from your body. For this reason, you should both organize your sleeping hours and detoxify your body.

If you have one or more of the symptoms I mentioned above, and the season is changing you can detoxify your body. However, the first point about detox is that it is not mean consuming only vegetable juices for a certain period. It means creating a nutrition program free of refined sugar, caffeine, and foods that will not be good for you. Besides, it means stopping eating more than you need. 5 ways to detoxifying your body:

1. Eat Whole Foods:

Eating whole foods is very important. At this point, whole foods mean naturally packaged foods, without additives and refined sugar-containing foods. In the field, chemical pesticides should not be used. Methodology during packaging at the factory, using additives and pesticides leads to the accumulation of toxins in the body. Removing them from your life is an important step for detoxifying your body.

Whole grains

2. Remove Allergen Foods

Some of the foods may not be good for you. You may be allergic or have an intolerance to these foods, but you may not know it. Food allergies have specific clues; it creates itching, shortness of breath, and swelling in the trachea. However, understanding food intolerance is more difficult. In general, symptoms are differentiation in bowel movements, gas, and congestion. If your bowel movements are irregular and you feel more gas and bloating problems than normal times, it may mean that you have an intolerance to certain foods.

You can rehabilitate your intestinal flora by removing all allergic foods from your daily diet for a period. Allergen foods are milk and dairy products, soy products, gluten, shellfish, and peanuts. Do not consume these allergen foods for a certain time. After a while add them one by one to your daily diet. It will be easier to discover what food you have an intolerance.  

3. Add Specific Foods:

In addition to foods that will improve your liver function which is mentioned above, you can include probiotic and antioxidant foods in your daily diet. These foods are, vegetables, berries, green tea, sauerkraut. These foods have positive effects on your intestinal flora.

detoxifying your body by drinking a cup of green tea

4. Eat More Vegetables:

Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber. At the same time, they are digested without pressuring the body because of their lightness. While detoxifying your body, eating vegetables help your digestive system to work properly, strengthen your intestinal flora, and clarify your liver and kidneys.

Animal foods contain saturated fat. They are high in calories and do not contain fiber. For this reason, extreme consumption of animal food (especially red meat and dairy products) weakens your liver and kidneys. We indicated that clarifying the kidneys and liver very crucial during detoxifying your body. For this reason, it is extremely helpful to stay away from animal foods during detox. Fish is the only animal food you can consume as a source of protein. Fish’s omega-3 content is anti-inflammatory and reducing inflammation is important for the health of the liver.

5. Be Active:

The movement has a crucial role in maintaining hormonal balance and removing toxins. If you want to detoxify your body naturally, you can change your habits. Active life creates a healthy body.

Detoxifying your body is an important step to live a more healthy life. Making minor changes in your nutrition detoxifies your body naturally. For this reason, take a step and start detoxifying your body by drinking a cup of green tea!

 

8 Proven Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocados have become an indispensable addition to our diets in the last few years. But many people still wonder whether it’s fruit or fat. It has an extremely high-fat content but isn’t sweet like many fruits. 

Avocado is a fruit that has a dark green outer shell, a light green interior, and a large seed in the middle. It has a rich, creamy flavor that ranges from slightly sweet to mildly earthy, depending on the type. They originated in Mexico before being cultivated in Central and South America. Avocados are now grown in tropical and Mediterranean climates around the world and are recognized for their nutritional value. So what are the benefits of avocados?

8 Proven Health Benefits of Avocados

Lots of Vitamins and Minerals

Avocados are loaded with nutrients. They contain at least 20 different vitamins and minerals as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Just 100 grams of avocado meets a significant amount of the daily recommended intake of the following nutrients:

  •       Vitamin K: 26%
  •       Folic Acid: 20%
  •       Vitamin C: 17%
  •       Vitamin B5: 14%
  •       Potassium: 14%
  •       Vitamin B6: 13%
  •       Vitamin E: 10%

Avocados also contain magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).

High in Potassium

Potassium is crucial for our bodies Unfortunately, many people do not get enough of it from their daily diets. That’s where avocados can help.. A 100-gram serving meets 14 percent of your daily potassium requirement. Getting enough of this vital nutrient lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. Being high in potassium is an important benefit of avocados. 

Contain Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Avocados have a high-fat content, but that’s no reason to avoid them. The fats they contain are oleic fatty acids, which are also found in olive oil. Oleic fatty acids are monounsaturated and are beneficial for health. They reduce inflammation and help protect against some cancers.

Another benefit of avocados is that they are rich in fiber

High in Fiber

Another benefit of avocados is that they are rich in fiber. Fiber can assist with weight loss, regulate blood sugar, support bowel movements, and increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Each 100-gram serving contains seven grams of fiber, which constitutes 27 percent of the recommended daily fiber consumption.  

Reduce Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in the world. Avocados can be beneficial when it comes to this issue. They help to lower the level of bad cholesterol in the blood while increasing good cholesterol. Studies show that they can reduce triglycerides by up to 20 percent and LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 22 percent while raising the HDL (good) cholesterol level by up to 11 percent.

Increase Nutrient Absorption

Eating nutritious food isn’t enough to get the nutrients into the body. Nutrients need help so they can be absorbed. Some foods are absorbed by dissolving in the water while others are oil soluble. The high-fat content found in avocados can facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K and allow the body to use them efficiently.

Protect Eye Health

Protect Eye Health

In addition to aiding in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, avocados simplify the absorption of antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and carotenoids, which are carried by these vitamins.

These antioxidant components are beneficial for eye health.

Help to Lose Weight

If you’re having trouble losing weight, adding avocados in your diet may help. Studies show that people who include avocados in their daily diet stay satiated 23 percent longer than those who don’t. Although we tend to avoid consuming fats while trying to lose weight, they actually may help due to their long digestion time. This helps you feel fuller for longer. The fiber in avocados may also aid in weight loss as it regulates digestion.

Avocado is a fruit that is both delicious and beneficial for health. So how can you add avocado to your daily diet?

8 Proven Health Benefits of Avocados

You can add slices or use it in a dressing for your salads. The vitamins and minerals will add nutrients and the fat will extend your satiety time. Here is a simple dressing recipe to help you get started.

  •       ½ avocado
  •       1 teaspoon olive oil
  •       1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •       1/4 clove of garlic
  •       pinch of dill

Mix all ingredients in a bowl or blend in a food processor until smooth. Drizzle over salad and enjoy!

Avocados also make great snacks. Slice an avocado, then top with a little salt and pepper to help tide you over. Mash it into a paste, spread on toast, and add an egg on top for a quick and yummy breakfast. Avocados can even be made into a great cocoa pudding by adding in some cocoa, honey, walnuts, and a little herbal milk – a delicious and nutritious dessert.  

No single food is a “magic bullet”, but avocados come pretty close. Adding them to a balanced diet will help you take advantage of their many benefits of avocados.

 

Related: Vegetarianism: Why Are Plant Based Diets on the Rise?

 

National Country Cooking Month

If you love traditional home cooking, let’s celebrate National Country Cooking Month this June! It’s all about creating simple, healthy home-cooked meals and is the perfect month to try something new.

For National Country Cooking Month, why not try cooking something from scratch every day? For instance, you can grow your own vegetables and fruits in your garden and use them in a meal. It’s a great experience and much tastier and healthier. Or you can try to use new techniques, like making bread by hand instead of using a machine in this Country Cooking Month!

Recipes to Try for National Country Cooking Month 

1. Green Gazpacho

Try this dazzling take on the classic chilled Spanish soup with green vegetables, herbs, and yogurt.

Green Gazpacho - National Country Cooking Month

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 ounces of baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large cucumber, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ green chili, deseeded
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • ½ small bunch basil
  • ½ small bunch mint
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 spring onions
  • 7 ounces of yogurt
  • 2 tbsp of sherry vinegar
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Handful of pea shoots
  • Edible flowers and ice cubes

Method:

  • Put all the ingredients, except the oil, pea shoots, and ice cubes, into a food processor with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz, adding enough water to get a soupy consistency. Taste, and add a little more vinegar and seasoning if necessary.
  • Chill for up to 24 hrs or for at least 2 hrs.
  • To serve, divide between shallow soup bowls, float a few ice cubes in each bowl and add a scattering of pea shoots and a drizzle of oil before serving.

2. Beef Stew

This stew is an easy and super healthy way to add some protein to your diet…

Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 10.5 ounces of beef, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can of chopped tomato
  • Handful of rosemary and olives

Method:

  • In a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes until they soften and turn golden. Add the beef strips, pepper, tomatoes, and rosemary, then bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the meat is cooked through, adding some boiling water if needed. Stir in the olives, and serve with mash or polenta.

3. Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh is a super fresh herb and bulgur salad, with parsley being the number one ingredient. It’s refreshing, light and packed with healthy ingredients. It is also a great recipe to try for National Country Cooking Month.

Tabbouleh Salad - National Country Cooking Month

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1 cup diced cucumber (1 small-to-medium)
  • A large diced tomato (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 3 medium bunches curly parsley
  • ⅔ ounce (⅓ cup) chopped fresh mint (optional but recommended—you can chop it in the food processor with the parsley)
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced

Method:

  • Cook or soak the bulgur until tender according to package directions. Drain off any excess water, and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, combine the diced cucumber and tomato in a medium bowl with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Stir, and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to mix the salad.
  • To prepare the parsley, cut off the thick stems. Then finely chop the parsley and remaining stems—you can do this by hand, but it’s much easier in a food processor. Process 1 bunch at a time (it should yield about 1 cup chopped), transferring the chopped parsley to a large serving bowl before proceeding with the next.
  • Add the cooled bulgur, mint (if using), and green onion to the parsley. Strain off and discard the cucumber and tomato juice that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. (This ensures that your tabbouleh isn’t too watery.) Add the strained cucumber and tomato to the mixture.
  • In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour it into the salad and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust if necessary—add another tablespoon of lemon juice for zing or salt for more overall flavor.
  • If you have the time, let the salad rest for 15 minutes before serving to let the flavors mingle. Otherwise, you can serve it immediately or chill it for later. Tabbouleh will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator if covered.

4. Ratatouille

This recipe for Mediterranean-style ratatouille is perfect for a super healthy dinner.

Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 2 red onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 eggplants
  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 red or yellow peppers
  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil  (about 15g)
  • Olive oil
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 14 ounces of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ a lemon

Method:

  • Prep your ingredients before you start. Peel and cut the onions into wedges, then peel and finely slice the garlic. Trim the eggplant and zucchini. Deseed the peppers and chop into 1-inch chunks. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Pick the basil leaves and set aside, then finely slice the stalks.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole pan or saucepan over medium heat, and add the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. (You may need to do this in batches.) Fry for around five minutes, or until golden and softened, but not cooked through. Spoon the cooked veggies into a large bowl.
  • To the pan, add the onion, garlic, basil stalks, and thyme leaves, using another drizzle of oil if needed. Fry for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened and golden.
  • Return the cooked vegetables to the pan and stir in the fresh and tinned tomatoes, the balsamic vinegar and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  • Mix well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until reduced, sticky and sweet.
  • Stir in torn basil leaves and finely grated lemon zest. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve with a hunk of bread or steamed rice.

5. Raw Date and Hazelnut Brownies

These brownies are gooey, chocolatey, and oh so delicious. Perfect for when you need a sweet treat.

Raw Date and Hazelnut Brownies

Ingredients:

For the brownies

  • 3 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 7.7 ounces blanched hazelnuts
  • 5-6 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons date syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the frosting

  • 16 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2.1 ounces cacao powder
  • 7 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup  almond milk

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, fan setting.
  • Roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden. Remove from the  oven and leave to cool.
  • Once cooled, blend the roasted hazelnuts in a food processor until they form a crumbly mixture.
  • Add the dates and blend again before adding the cacao powder and date  syrup.
  • Place the mixture into a baking tray (we use 8 in x 11 in) and refrigerate.
  • While the brownies are in the fridge, place all of the frosting ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Spoon a smooth layer of the frosting over the top of the brownies.
  • Place back in the fridge for 3-4 hours to allow the brownies to set.

 

Let’s Celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month this June!

Fruits and vegetables provide a variety of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In addition, they have many health benefits like lowering the risk of developing certain chronic diseases.

The United Fresh Start Foundation is focused on one mission, which is to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Every child should grow up with access to fresh fruits and vegetables to have a strong and healthy future.

Nearly one in three kids in America is overweight or obese. That’s why fresh fruits and vegetables should be available to children everywhere they live, learn, and play.

National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

The Foundation builds on United Fresh Produce Association’s leadership in nutrition policy and supports schools, communities, and innovative partnerships that benefit children’s ability to learn about, and confidently select, fresh produce when reaching for their next snack or meal.

Health Benefits of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Evidence shows that eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day has significant health benefits.

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can:

  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Prevent some types of cancer.
  • Lower the risk of eye and digestive problems.
  • Have a positive effect upon blood sugar.
  • Promote weight loss when consumed from green leafy vegetables and fruits like apples and pears.
  • Provide various vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation.

Variety of types and colors of fruits and vegetables

Try to eat a variety of types and colors of fruits and vegetables in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs.

Related: Why Are Plant-Based Diets on the Rise?

How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Storing fruits and vegetables is easy! You can freeze, refrigerate, or even keep them on the countertop, depending on the fruit or vegetable.

In a cool, dry place: Keep bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, lemons, eggplants, and mushrooms in a cool, dry area, not in the fridge.

In the fridge: Most fruits and veggies can be stored in the refrigerator. Store berries in the fridge and wash gently before eating or using. Plastic bags with tiny vents help keep produce fresh longer by releasing moisture. They are great for grapes, blueberries, cherries, or strawberries. Fresh heads of lettuce should be washed well with water. Then dry the leaves and store them in a clean plastic bag with a few paper towels.

In the freezer: Many fruits and vegetables can be stored in the freezer. Just make sure to wash and peel if needed. Then store in a clean plastic bag

At room temperature: Garlic, onions, whole melons, tomatoes, and whole pineapple should be kept at room temperature in a well-ventilated area. Mangoes, plums, peaches, and pears can be ripened at room temperature in a brown paper bag and should then be refrigerated for longer storage.

How to Cook Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

How to Cook Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

There are many ways to cook your vegetables and fruits that will help them retain their benefits. Here are some cooking tips to help you get started.

  • Bake: Sweet potato fries by cutting up into slices and season with olive oil, pepper, and salt.
  • Boil: Apples with lemon juice and cinnamon. Mashup and serve warm or chilled.
  • Steam: Broccoli and cauliflower with lemon and olive oil sauce.
  • Stir-fry: Red pepper, mushroom, and yellow squash with olive oil and herbs. Add some low-sodium soy sauce for an extra kick of flavor.
  • Sauté: Spinach with garlic and olive oil.
  • Roast: Brussels sprouts, beets and turnips drizzled lightly with olive oil.
  • Grill: Some eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms to use in a wrap.
  • Stew: Pears. Peel and stew gently in cinnamon, sugar, and water until tender.

Related: 12 Tips for a Sustainable and Healthy Diet

Simple Ways to Increase Your Daily Vegetable Intake

Although we know that vegetables are an important food group, we may have no idea how to easily increase our daily vegetable intake. According to the CDC, 91% of the American population’s vegetable consumption is inadequate. Let’s look at some ways that we can increase our daily consumption.

1. The Importance of Vegetables in Our Diet

 We all realize that vegetables are a beneficial food group for our health. Vegetable intake is directly related to the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality. A study in Europe stated that fruit and vegetable intake is significantly related to weight change.

Although public health officials have tried for years to persuade the public to increase their vegetable consumption, most efforts have failed. Now, in the age of blogs and social media, there is a unique opportunity to influence society for the better.

Related: Vegetarianism: Why Are Plant-Based Diets on the Rise?

2. The Role of Vegetables in Our Meals

The daily recommended amount of vegetables depends on age, gender, and physical activity. In general, adults should eat two to three cups of vegetables a day, with the amount decreasing with age.

Simple Ways to Increase Your Daily Vegetable Intake

The MyPlate method, which has been suggested by the American nutrition authorities since 2011, can help you achieve the recommended daily intake of vegetables. The goal of the MyPlate method is to put vegetables on at least a quarter of your plate.

Let’s take a look at how to increase our daily vegetable intake at meals:

Breakfast

Breakfast is the perfect meal to increase your daily consumption of vegetables! You can add many raw vegetables to your omelet like onion, spinach, green pepper, mushroom, zucchini, or broccoli. Maybe you prefer a fast and simple breakfast instead. In that case, a quick smoothie is a great choice for you. Prepare delicious smoothies with vegetables and fruits such as spinach, cabbage, carrots, bananas, or blueberries.

Lunch

If you bring your lunch from home, your choices can range from vegetable soups or large-sized salads to vegetable spaghetti. If you usually eat lunch outside, try to order from a vegetarian menu. Get your sandwich with vegetables or choose a veggie pizza. Ask for a salad instead of fries. These are small but effective tips.

Dinner

Take the time each week to plan your weekly menu. Then use the menu to make a shopping list of which vegetables you need. Finding a market with a good selection of vegetables will also help you make a habit of adding veggies to your diet. Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables on sale and then freeze them at home. This will help ensure that half of your plate is filled with vegetables. And always be sure to start dinner with vegetables. This rule will help you lose weight.

Snacks

Vegetable chips are great snacks with the right dips and can help you feel full until dinner. Vegetables are low in calories so you can eat a lot of them without guilt. Why not give veggies a try the next time you need a snack?

3. Cooking Techniques

You’ve bought vegetables and are looking for some tasty recipes. This is a  great start! But do you know how cooking techniques can affect the nutritional content of vegetables? After all, the reason you are increasing your daily intake of vegetables is to consume their beneficial nutrients. So what are the best techniques to use? Microwaving and steaming top the list of the best ways to cook vegetables.

Microwaving is a time-friendly method, and the short cooking time preserves the content of the vegetable. Some studies reveal that microwaving can preserve the antioxidant capacity of vegetables that are high in antioxidants, such as garlic and artichokes. With techniques such as boiling, 70-80% of vitamins, especially vitamin C, may be lost. That drops to 20% with microwaving. Pretty good!

Steaming is the best technique to preserve the nutritional values of a vegetable. When you cook vegetables such as broccoli and spinach with the steaming technique, only 9-15% of vitamin C is lost.

If the steamed vegetables are too soft, you can solve this problem by flavoring them with spices and olive oil. Steam cooking is one of the best cooking methods to protect nutrients, including water-soluble vitamins.

In general, use as little water as possible when cooking vegetables. After boiling a vegetable, use the remaining water to make soup. Consuming the vegetable within two days of cooking prevents the loss of vitamin C. Try to cook vegetables when they are at their freshest.

Extra

Vegetables don’t always have to look like vegetables for us to add them to our meals. These delicious veggie burgers can help you increase your vegetable intake in an unexpected way. Let’s start cooking! 

Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Veggie Burgers

Serves 5

  1. 1 15-oz can black beans(400 g), drained and rinsed
  2. ½ cup jarred roasted red pepper(90 g), finely chopped
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  5. ½ teaspoon cumin
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  7. ¼ cup cornmeal(40 g)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
  2. In a large bowl, microwave black beans for 1 minute, or until softened.
  3. Add roasted red peppers, garlic, cayenne, cumin, and salt. Mash until black beans are finely mashed.
  4. Add cornmeal and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Using a ½ cup (120 ml) measuring cup, portion 5 patties from the mixture. Place onto a lightly greased parchment paper-lined sheet pan.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm and browned, flipping over halfway through.
  7. Serve burgers with your favorite fixings.
  8. Enjoy!

 

June Is Dairy Month: Facts About Dairy Foods    

Milk, yogurt, and cheese are considered as dairy products. They are all rich in vitamins, minerals, and especially calcium. Dairies are strongly advised for adults, growing children, and elderly people for bone strength and overall health. The daily consumption amount differs according to age and health condition. This June let’s find out more about dairy foods and learn why we should have them in our daily diets.

What Are Dairy Foods

Dairy food is categorized as the foods obtained from milk and the main dairy products are milk, yogurt, cream, butter, and cheese. Generally, cow’s milk is used to produce dairy foods but sheep and goat’s milk can also be used. Here are dairy products rated beginning from healthiest:

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is the most beneficial and healthy dairy food due to its probiotic effect and easiness of digest. The good bacteria culture that is used to ferment the yogurt is beneficial for gut health. That’s why yogurt is highly recommended to regulate bowel movement. Yogurt is easily digested compared to other dairy products because the lactose in it is already broken down during the fermentation process. So it is a safe dairy food even for lactose intolerant individuals. Also, a study showed that people consuming yogurt regularly have a healthier daily diet, lower blood pressure, and blood sugar.

June Is Dairy Month: Facts About Dairy Foods    

2. Cheese

Cheese is fermented or cultured generally, which removes the lactose. That’s why it is the second-best dairy option to consume. Some resources argue that cheese is good for dental health because it increases saliva production and protects teeth from cavities. It should be noted that cheese often has saturated fats in it and can increase cholesterol.

3. Cream

The cream is obtained by skimming the fatty part that rises to the top of milk. The fat amount of creams differs according to the milk it is produced and the lactose amount is low when consumed in small doses. The lactose percentage is lower compared to milk but high-fat content can increase cholesterol.

June Is Dairy Month: Facts About Dairy Foods    

4. Butter

Butter is produced by churning cream or milk in order to separate fat and liquid parts. It is consumed by 80% of fat and since it is separated from the liquid part, the lactose amount is low.

5. Milk

It is the main component of dairy products and can be obtained from cow, goat, or sheep. It has protein, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc. You can prefer low-fat or nonfat milk options so that you can increase your milk consumption without elevating your fat intake. It’s the most lactose rich dairy food and can cause digestive problems for lactose intolerant individuals.

The Importance of Dairy Foods for Our Health

  • Dairy foods are rich in minerals such as calcium, zinc, and iodine
  • High protein source
  • Has vitamin A, D, B12, and B2
  • Essential for bone strength
  • Reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease

June Is Dairy Month: Facts About Dairy Foods

Daily Consumption

The United States Department of Agriculture advises adults to consume 3 servings of dairy foods per day. This amount increases to 4 servings for women aged over 50 and men aged over 70. The advised amount for children is 2-2.5 and 3.5 servings for teenagers per day.

1 serving is equal to:

-1 cup of milk -250 ml

-3/4 cup of yogurt-200 grams

-2 slices of hard cheese -40 grams

-1/2 cup of cottage cheese -120 grams

If you think you don’t consume enough dairy, you can try these methods to increase your dairy food intake:

  • You can add cheese to your salad, wrap, sandwich, pasta or omelet
  • Prefer milk or yogurt-based smoothies
  • As a snack or dessert eat yogurt with fruits
  • Use milker making oatmeal instead of water

What Happens When You Lack Dairy Foods in Your Diet

  • You may lack essential vitamins and that will make you sick easier
  • Bone and muscle degradation in the future due to protein deficiency
  • Calcium deficiency leading to bone and muscle degradation, dental problems and osteoporosis in the future
  • Zinc deficiency may cause a reduction in energy, nerve function, and immunity
  • Phosphorus reduction in the body that will affect bone and dental health

If you prefer a dairy-free diet because of some health constraints, you should take these vitamins and minerals from other sources to meet your daily requirement.

What is Lactose and Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is the disaccharide made of glucose and galactose and its the sugar found in milk. The human body has lactase enzyme to break lactose down to its monosaccharide components in order to digest the milk products. Lactose intolerant people lack or have a small amount of lactase enzyme and that’s why they have a hard time digesting lactose. This intolerance can have a variety of symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, or diarrhea.

If you see these symptoms, you can try a dairy-free diet for a period of time and observe the changes in your body. However, keep in mind that you should take the nutrients you need especially calcium. Soy, rice, oat, almonds, tofu, kale, and broccoli are some non-dairy calcium sources.

A Different Dairy Product You Can Try: Kefir

Kefir is one of the healthiest dairy foods you can add to your daily diet. It is produced by adding kefir grains to animal milk and fermented afterward. It has good bacteria that are beneficial for gut health and helps break down lactose. Its a natural probiotic and furthermore a study showed that kefir can reduce lactose intolerance symptoms by 54-71% because it is fermented. You can drink plain kefir, but if you don’t like the taste you can turn it into a smoothie by blending it with banana or strawberry.

 

Related: What Triggers Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

 

Celebrating the National Mediterranean Diet Month

National Mediterranean Diet Month is important so the public can learn the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Moreover, National Mediterranean Diet Month is an event that was launched in 2009 by Oldways Mediterranean Foods Alliance to promote the Mediterranean diet. Additionally, it is remarkable to note that UNESCO accepted the Mediterranean diet as the cultural heritage of humanity in 2013.

The first study that questioned the effect of diet on health was published in 1986. However, in this study which called the Seven Countries Study, eleven thousand people were followed since 1960. It was first explained in this study that dietary healthy fat consumption reduced the risk of heart disease, leading to many scientific studies on the Mediterranean diet were conducted.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

1. What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet that includes food products grown in the Mediterranean region. Moreover, there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet. According to most authorities, the components of the Mediterranean diet are extra virgin olive oil, green leafy vegetables, fruits, cereals, oilseeds, fish, and red wine.

Above all, the food pyramid representing the Mediterranean diet has been updated several times. Let’s look at the components of the Mediterranean diet through the last food pyramid:

 

Recommended Daily Nutrition Groups and Portions in the Mediterranean Diet

Non-Starchy Vegetables

 The recommended daily intake is 4-8 servings. One serving is ½ cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup raw vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, carrot, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, onion, zucchini, turnip, pepper, salad greens and mushrooms.

Fruits

The recommended daily intake is 2-4 servings. One serving of fruit is fresh fruit (an apple, orange, banana, etc), or ½ cup of juice or ¼ cup of dried fruit. Fresh fruits should be preferred because they contain fiber.

Legumes and Nuts

The recommended total daily intake is 2-4 servings. One serving of legumes is ½ cups mexico, black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, soybeans, peas, lentils, or ¼ cup of baked beans. One serving of nuts is 2 tablespoons of sunflower or sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 7-8 walnuts, 20 peanuts, or 12-15 almonds. Additionally, it is recommended to take 1-2 servings of oilseeds and legumes every day. In addition, legumes contain high fiber, protein, and minerals. Also, nuts contain high levels of unsaturated fats and can raise HDL cholesterol without raising LDL cholesterol.

Low-Fat Dairy Products

The recommended total daily intake is 1-3 servings. One serving of low-fat dairy products is 1 cup of skim milk or yogurt or 1 oz thin slices of cheese.

Fish and Seafood

The recommended intake is 2-3 servings per week. One serving is about 3 oz. Cook fish by baking, sautéing, broiling, roasting, grilling, or poaching. Choose fatty fishes like salmon, herring, sardines, or mackerel often. Moreover, the fat in fish is high in omega-3 fats, so it has healthy effects on triglycerides and blood cells.

Poultry

We can say optional consumption for this group. The recommended intake is 2-3 servings per week. One serving is about 3 oz. Bake, sauté, stir fry, roast, or grill the poultry you eat and eat it without the skin.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

Whole Grains and Starchy Vegetables

The recommended intake is 4-5 servings a day. One serving is 1 oz for each group:

  • 1 slice of whole-wheat bread
  • ½ cup of potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • 1 small whole-grain roll
  • 6-inch whole wheat pita
  • 6 whole-grain crackers
  • ½ cup cooked whole-grain cereal (oatmeal, quinoa)
  • ½ cup cooked whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, or barley

Olive Oil

The recommended amount is 4-6 servings per day. One serving of olive oil is 1 tablespoon.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

Eggs

The recommended amount is 4 times a week for egg yolk. And, there is no limitation for egg whites.

Sweets

Eat dessert rarely. Eat fruit instead of dessert.

Red Meat

Lean red meats (beef, pork, lamb, and beef) can be eaten 4 times a month.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

2. Health Effects of the Mediterranean Diet

Numerous studies on the Mediterranean diet have shown how beneficial it is to health. In addition, the diet has many benefits to health, as it contains healthy fats, high fiber content, and antioxidant content. Moreover, it contains healthy fats, high fiber content, and antioxidant content.

Mediterranean Diet and Heart Diseases

Heart disease (cardiovascular disease) is a high-risk condition and can cause stroke and high blood pressure. According to data in 2010, 35% of the American population was affected by this disease.

Monounsaturated fatty acids found in extra virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have a protective effect on heart vessels. In addition, a study of about 26,000 women found that those who follow the Mediterranean diet for 12 years have a 25% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Related: National Women’s Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

Mediterranean Diet and Diabetes

The Mediterranean diet is high fiber due to fruits such as vegetables, and legumes. Moreover, adequate fiber intake helps the blood sugar to rise gradually is a factor that reduces the risk of diabetes.

Above all, in a comprehensive study, it was revealed that the Mediterranean diet reduced the probability of developing type 2 diabetes by 72%.

Mediterranean Diet and Cancer

The Mediterranean diet contains high amounts of antioxidants due to fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, cancer is the result of cell damage, and antioxidants prevent it. Moreover, preventing this damage is especially important in terms of protection against breast cancer and colon cancer.

A study that observed the effect of diet on factors like aging and the development of diseases. For example, cancer found that women who follow a Mediterranean-type diet have a 46% higher chance of healthy aging.

hummus recipe

3. A Mediterranean Recipe: Hummus

Ingredients for 2 servings

  •   15 oz (one can) chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  •   ¼ teaspoon salt
  •   1 clove garlic
  •   ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  •   ½ cup basil pesto (110 g)
  •   1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •   2 tablespoons water

Preparation

Add chickpeas, garlic, basil pesto, lemon juice, and seasonings to the bowl of a 2-quart food processor. Blend until smooth. While blending, slowly add in the olive oil and water until hummus is creamy and smooth. 

Optional Ingredients

Garnish with additional red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. 

 

Enjoy!

 

May Is Celiac Disease Awareness Month

May has been declared Celiac Disease Awareness Month by health authorities in the United States. Attention is drawn to this important disease under the leadership of certain institutions, especially in May. Many organizations and scientists provide information about celiac disease to make people aware of this condition. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 is a year for us all to understand and think about the importance of our health. In these uncertain times when we think about our health, we should also become aware of celiac disease. 

What is Celiac Disease?

The small intestine is an important organ that ensures the absorption of nutrients in our body. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease where the small intestine is damaged by gluten intake (a type of protein commonly found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley). Nutrients cannot be absorbed properly, as the absorption portions of the small intestine are damaged by gluten uptake.

Celiac disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases in the world, with an overall prevalence of 0.5-1% of the population. The rate is the same in the USA, but in some countries such as Finland and Mexico, it can vary between 2-5%.

Celiac disease is of hereditary origin and the possibility of developing it increases if there is someone in the family with an autoimmune disease. If someone in the family has celiac disease, the probability of emergence in their first-degree relatives is 10-15%. Celiac disease is more common in women than in men. The condition has also seen a rise in risk for development in the last 10 years of almost 5 times.

The course of celiac disease is variable and there are many tests to diagnose the disease. The reliability of blood tests (IgA IgG, etc.) for the examination of some immune proteins in the body is still controversial. Apart from a blood test, intestinal/duodenum biopsy and genetic tests are other options. A physician experienced in celiac disease should draw a suitable road map for treatment.

There are 3 Types of Celiac Disease

The World Gastroenterology Organization states that there are 3 types of celiac disease. Many patients without symptoms have ‘silent celiac disease’. Silent celiac disease does not cause any small bowel damage. In patients with “minor celiac disease”, there are symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, and abdominal pain triggered by gluten intake. They also don’t have intestinal damage. Patients with ‘major celiac disease’ have more severe muscle spasms, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

In the US, 21% of total celiac patients show no symptoms. 21 million people in America are sensitive to gluten and do not know it. Celiac Awareness Month is an important month for these people to notice themselves and improve their health and quality of life. Celiac Awareness Month is an important month to acknowledge and recognize the disease and encourage those who live with the disease to improve their health and quality of life.

If you think you have gluten sensitivity, or if someone in your family has autoimmune conditions, you may have the opportunity to clarify the situation with a small test at home.

Treatment Process

Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease, meaning that it requires lifelong attention. The most important and valid treatment method is to follow the gluten-free diet for a lifetime. A gluten-free diet prevents damage to intestinal surfaces and helps to improve the quality of life.

Diets of celiac patients are deficient in important nutrients such as fiber, iron, B vitamins, vitamin D, and zinc. A deficiency of B vitamins can trigger psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. Because of this, celiac patients should take gluten-free dietary supplements.

celiac disease awareness month

40% of celiac patients are not satisfied with their diets. Some of the alternative ways to heal celiac disease involve studies of regulating intestinal permeability with a gluten vaccine or bacterial mixture.

Living with Celiac Disease-Meeting Gluten

Over 10,000 years ago, our ancestors, who started to live a sedentary life, met agriculture, introducing gluten to the human diet with cereals. Gluten is one of the few digestion-resistant proteins, and it is not surprising that this nutrient, which is considered to be new to us, causes disease and intolerance in humans.

What are the sources of gluten?

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Pasta
  • Semolina
  • Noodles
  • Sauces (wheat flour to make it thicken)
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Everything that contains wheat
  • All package products containing gluten above 20 ppm

Gluten Cross-Contact

Cross-contact occurs when gluten-free foods or items come in contact with gluten. Generally, sharing utensils or a cooking/storage area can cause cross-contact. For food to be safe for someone with celiac disease, it should not come in contact with gluten-containing foods.

Where cross-contact can occur:

  • Toasters used for normal bread
  • Strainers, cutting boards, or flour sieves
  • Improperly washed containers shared containers
  • Wheat flour can stay in the air in an oven (or home) for hours and contaminate preparation surfaces and utensils or open gluten-free products

Oats and wheat can form cross-contact in the fields where they are grown side by side. It is necessary to only select oats specifically labeled as gluten-free. 

There are also studies on the effects of psychological health and budgets of people who are not celiac patients or don’t have gluten sensitivity and those who are following a gluten-free diet.

Studies in the US show that the cost of a balanced gluten-free diet is about 240% than a balanced normal diet. Prices vary significantly in different parts of the US.

Celiac Disease Awareness Activities

Celiac conferences were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, it is possible to see how much the Celiac Disease Foundation’s awareness-raising activities are. Nevertheless, one can see how many activities the Celiac Disease Foundation has when it comes to raising awareness. Team Celiac Disease Foundation has a volunteer team called Gluten-Free. They are also the community’s fundraising team. In Celiac Camps, volunteer physicians teach celiac children that they are not alone and about their diet. Summits are organized by scientific authorities for the FDA to properly label gluten-free foods.

The Celiac Disease Foundation has published a list of all gluten-free products and recipes on its site. It is possible to find all kinds of information that will make life easier with celiac disease, including gluten-free companies and gluten-free meal samples.

 

 Related: Gluten-Free Diet Is Good For Weight Loss?

 

Importance of Getting Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is one of the most essential vitamins for our bodies. Getting enough vitamin D has many health benefits but it is best known for assisting in calcium absorption and contributing to bone health. What is vitamin D level and why is it so important to our bodies?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is contained in some foods and is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. Getting enough vitamin D is important for strong bones. It is a vital nutrient for the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for making bones. Adequate absorption of calcium protects older people from osteoporosis. In addition, getting vitamin D is essential for the movement of muscles, for carrying signals from the nerves to the whole body, and for the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses. Research shows that vitamin D has beneficial effects on ovarian, prostate, breast, and colon cancer. It has also been shown by studies that vitamin D has positive effects on the intestinal microbiome.

Importance of Getting Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency can have negative effects on intestinal microbiota as well as causing diseases such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and rickets. All nutrients are essential, and they have major functions for our bodies. But vitamin D is vital because it helps maintain the bones that keep our bodies upright and standing. That’s why getting adequate amounts of vitamin D is crucial for us. But how much vitamin D do we need to take in per day?

The body’s need for vitamin D varies according to age. The amount required increases as we get older. When the level of vitamin D in the body drops too low, the bones become thin and brittle and may become deformed. It should be taken daily at different amounts according to age group.

Vitamin D should be taken daily at different amounts according to age group

Life Stage                                                        Recommended Amount

Birth to 12 months                                                                                10 mcg (400 IU)

Children 1-18 years                                                                               15 mcg (600 IU)

Adults 19-70 years                                                                                15 mcg (600 IU)

Elders 71 years +                                                                                   20 mcg (800 IU)


In nutrition, the main two forms of vitamin D are D3 and D2. Vitamin D3 is more crucial because it increases blood vitamin D levels more than vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is found in animal products such as fatty fish and seafood and is also produced by our skin in direct sunlight and Vitamin D2 is found in vegetables.

First, let’s list the animal products that contain vitamin D.

Oily fish: Salmon, tuna, and mackerel contain high amounts of vitamin D. The health benefits from consuming these fish is much higher when the fish are raised in their natural environments. Try to ensure that they were not produced on a farm. Since these fish are already high in fats, oil is not needed when they are cooked in an oven.

Salmon, tuna and mackerel contain high amounts of vitamin D

Salmon, tuna and mackerel contain high amounts of vitamin D

Small amounts of vitamin D are also found in liver, egg yolks, and some cheeses. These foods can be included in our diet to help us reach the daily recommended intake for vitamin D.

Vitamin D2 can be found in mushrooms, and the level of vitamin D can be increased by keeping the mushrooms indirect sunlight. Unfortunately, other vegetables and fruits are not good sources of vitamin D..

Today, vitamin D is added to many popular foods, especially in the United States.  There are many options, ranging from orange juice to milk, from cheese to yogurt, and many portions of cereal are fortified with vitamin D as well. The goal is to prevent vitamin D deficiency by consuming these foods, but unfortunately, that is not the case. We also need sunlight for our bodies to use and produce vitamin D.

Is It Possible to Get Vitamin D from The Sun?

Food is not our only source of vitamin D. Our bodies can make it when exposed to the sun. UVB rays in the sunlight act on cholesterol in the skin to make vitamin D. Depending on the month, time of day, and our skin tone, spending time in the sun can provide us with some or all of our daily recommended intake of the vitamin. 

Importance of Getting Enough Vitamin D

Unfortunately, due to our lifestyles, increases in cases of vitamin D deficiency are on the rise. Much of our time is spent indoors, whether at work or in shopping malls or homes. This habit decreases our time in the sun and reduces our rate of vitamin D production. Even if we eat foods that contain vitamin D or take supplements, our bodies may not be able to utilize vitamin D properly. 

These studies indicate something important to us. Spending time outside in the sun increases the vitamin D in our bodies. For this reason, we should try to get direct sunlight at least a few days per week.

How Do We Know That We Have Vitamin D Deficiency?

If we have a vitamin D deficiency, symptoms will occur. Some of the symptoms that may present include:

How Do We Know That We Have Vitamin D Deficiency?

Weakness:

If it is difficult for you to get out of bed, even if you have slept enough or if you feel tired during the day, you may be experiencing vitamin D deficiency.

Depression:

Feeling unhappy for no reason, a disinterest in socializing, not wanting to talk to people, or even make eye contact with them, may indicate a need for more vitamin D. 

More brittle bones

The most important nutrient to help our bodies absorb calcium is vitamin D. If there is a vitamin D deficiency, calcium absorption will be lessened, and this will result in more fragile bones.

Weight Gain

Weight gain

You are eating well but can’t seem to lose weight. This is an important symptom of vitamin D deficiency. A simple blood test can determine your vitamin D level. If it’s low, you should consume foods that are high in vitamin D. If necessary, consult a medical doctor who can guide you in taking vitamin D supplements. 

It is important to have your blood vitamin D level checked if you have been experiencing one or more of these conditions for a while. You should definitely share the results of the analysis with your doctor, and if necessary, begin taking supplements. While taking supplements, you can also spend more time outside on sunny days and increase your fish consumption to give your vitamin D level a boost.

 

Related: 4 Steps For a Healthier Diet