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Essentia Health Smarts | Blueberries are packed with nutrition

July even brings blueberry festivals in the Northland. Iron River, Wisconsin, celebrates blueberries on July 22-23 while Ely, Minnesota, celebrates July 28-30.

Blueberries are often featured in desserts and sweets such as blueberry muffins and blueberry pie. The added sugar may negate their health benefits.

This summer, stretch your taste buds and try blueberries in other ways. A simple, easy desserts is a Red White and Blue parfait. Try a chicken salad that adds these superstars to a main dish. Whip up some blueberry lime salsa for a great snack with chips or pair it with grilled chicken or grilled salmon.

Red, White and Blue Parfait

1/3 cup fresh blueberries
3 large fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon granola

Wash blueberries and strawberries; remove all stems. Cut strawberries into smaller pieces. Layer half the strawberries in a small glass, top with 3 tablespoons blueberries then 1½ tablespoons vanilla yogurt. Repeat layers. Top with granola.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Calories: 90
Total fat: 1 gram
Saturated fat: 0 grams
Trans fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 5 milligrams
Sodium: 10 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 18 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 2 grams

Blueberry Chicken Salad

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh chicken breast (about 1 pound), cooked and cubed
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup fresh red pepper, chopped
¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
5-ounce container of lemon Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Leaf lettuce

Wash blueberries and set aside 1/4cup to be used for garnish. In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, red pepper, onions and remaining blueberries. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, mayonnaise, olive oil and thyme. Add dressing mixture to chicken mixture. Gently toss to coat. Add in parsley. May be served on a lettuce leaf and topped with blueberries.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Serving size: 1¼ cup
Calories: 275
Total fat: 8 grams
Saturated fat: 1 gram
Trans fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 1 milligram
Sodium: 65 milligrams
Potassium: 270 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 20 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 39 grams

Blueberry Lime Salsa

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
5 medium strawberries, stems removed
¼ cup red onion, diced
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ avocado, chopped

Combine blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, juice and cilantro in a food processor or blender. Pulse to the consistency that you like. Scrape salsa into a bowl and fold in chopped avocado. Serve with whole-grain tortilla chips or grilled chicken or fish.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Calories: 20
Total fat: 1 gram
Saturated fat: 0 grams
Trans fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 15 milligrams
Potassium: 60 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 3 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Protein: 0 grams

Bonnie Brost of Essentia HealthBonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health

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Essentia Health Smarts | Pump up your potassium!

By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

Potassium is an essential mineral for our bodies, but many of us are not getting enough in the foods we eat.

Potassium is important for our bodies to digest food efficiently and help avoid constipation. It helps build strong muscles and makes them properly relax and contract. Potassium keeps our hearts beating correctly and our blood pressure in a good range. It also helps lower our risk for kidney stones and bone loss.

The Institute of Medicine at the National Academies of Science recommends adults get at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. We should consume two to three times more potassium than sodium for our bodies to function well. But many of us have this ratio upside down. The average American gets only 2,500 milligrams of potassium daily while consuming 3,450 milligrams or more of sodium.

If we are healthy, it is almost impossible to consume too much potassium because our kidneys control how the mineral is eliminated. If we eat a lot of potassium, more is eliminated. When kidneys are damaged, or when certain medications are taken, potassium balance can be affected.

Too little potassium, or hypokalemia, can cause weak muscles, abnormal heart rhythms and higher blood pressure. Too much potassium, or hyperkalemia, may cause dangerous heart rhythms and needs to be addressed by your health care provider. It’s important to know that you can be deficient in potassium even if the level is normal in your blood. That’s because we need potassium throughout our body, not just in our blood.

Fortunately, potassium is found in a wide range of foods. Here are some good sources:

foods with potassium

  • Vegetables: broccoli, peas, dried beans, tomatoes, potatoes (especially their skins), sweet potatoes and winter squash
  • Fruits: citrus fruits, cantaloupe, bananas, kiwi, prunes and dried fruits.
  • Milk, and yogurt
  • Nuts
  • Meats: Red meats, chicken
  • Fish: salmon, cod, flounder and sardines
  • Soy products, including veggie burgers

 

If your potassium level is too high in your blood, choose lower potassium foods. It is impossible to eat a potassium-free diet. Just eliminating a few of the higher potassium foods will usually help.

 

Potassium supplements are not recommended, unless prescribed by your health care provider. A supplement could affect your heart rhythm. Getting more potassium from food is the better option, unless you are on a medication that warrants a potassium supplement.

It is hard to accurately estimate our potassium intake since nutrition labels on foods don’t include the mineral. A good resource is the USDA food database, which you can find on the internet.

Here are some high potassium foods with an estimate of the amount of the mineral found in each:

 

Vegetables

Broccoli, cooked                       1 cup                                        460 milligrams

Brussel sprouts, cooked             1 cup                                        500 milligrams

Mushrooms, cooked                  ½ cup                                       280 milligrams

Potato, baked with skin              1 medium                                  925 milligrams

Rutabaga, parsnips                   1 cup                                        560 milligrams

Spinach, cooked                       ½ cup                                       420 milligrams

Sweet potato, baked                 1 medium                                  450 milligrams

Tomato, raw                              1 medium                                  290 milligrams

Tomato sauce or puree              ½ cup                                       400-550 milligrams

Winter squash                           1 cup                                        500 milligrams

 

Fruits

Avocado                                   ¼                                              245 milligrams

Banana                                     1 medium                                  425 milligrams

Cantaloupe                               1 cup                                        430 milligrams

Kiwi                                          1 medium                                  240 milligrams

Orange                                     1 medium                                  240 milligrams

Prune juice                                ½ cup                                       370 milligrams

Raisins                                     ¼ cup                                       270 milligrams

Strawberries, raw                       1 cup                                        250 milligrams

 

Meats and fish

Beef, cooked                            3 ounces                                   270 milligrams

Chicken, cooked                       3 ounces                                   220 milligrams

Fish: cod, salmon, perch            3 ounces                                   300-480 milligrams

Pork, cooked                            3 ounces                                   350 milligrams

 

Other foods

Lentils, cooked                         ½ cup                                       365 milligrams

Beans and peas, cooked           ½ cup                                       300-595 milligrams

Nuts, seeds                              1 ounce                                     200-300 milligrams

Milk                                          1 cup                                        350-380 milligrams

Soy milk                                   1 cup                                        300 milligrams

Yogurt, plain or fruited               6 ounces                                   260-435 milligrams

 

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health

#Essentia Health offers Free Community Seminar and Vein Screenings in Crosslake

FREE COMMUNITY SEMINAR AND VEIN SCREENING IN CROSSLAKE
Feel confident and pain free again

Essentia Health Vein clinic

Painful veins in your legs can be a symptom of serious health problems. Yet many people defer treatment, thinking that varicose veins are merely cosmetic, and they don’t want to appear vain. Others grow accustomed to the swelling and pain because their condition progresses slowly, creating a “new normal.”

Learn more about vein conditions and treatment options from general surgeon Dr. James Dehen and have an initial screening. The complimentary seminar is from 10:30a.m.-12:30p.m. on Thursday, June 29, following SilverSneakers class at the Crosslake Community Center, located at 14126 Daggett Pine Road in Crosslake. Lunch and beverages will be provided.

“Vein conditions are not solely a cosmetic problem,” according to Dr. Dehen, who sees patients at the Essentia Health clinics in Pine River and Brainerd. Swollen or discolored veins can be symptoms of other medical conditions that need to be treated to avoid serious complications, he explains.

“If your legs are swollen, fatigue easy, or have unsightly or painful leg veins, you should talk to your primary care physician or a surgeon experienced with treating veins.”

Venous diseases are caused by poorly functioning valves within veins. This inefficiency causes spider veins – red or blue web-like veins on the skin’s surface. Untreated, they can grow into varicose veins, which appear as bulges on the leg’s surface. The disease can progress to include swelling, pain, clotting, ulceration and skin inflammation.

Space is limited, so please register by calling 218.828.7583 or email jeri.hughes@essentiahealth.org.

Summer Grilling Tips: Healthy marinades add flavor to grilled foods

Guest post from Essentia Health

Healthy marinades add flavor to grilled foods

 

By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

Healthy marinades

Summer brings out the grills and healthy menu options as we grill lean meats, chicken, fish and vegetables. Marinating can add robust flavors.

Grilling red meats to the point of charring can increase the heterocyclic amines that have been connected to increasing the risk of cancer. But marinating meats first may help decrease this risk, according to the American Cancer Research Institute.

Marinades have three parts: an acidic liquid, oil and seasonings. The acid causes the tissue on the meat’s surface to break down, which allows more moisture to be absorbed and results in a juicier product. Leaving meats in a marinade too long may “chemically cook” them and cause the surface to turn mushy.  Common acids include vinegars, citrus juices, yogurt, buttermilk or wine. A variety of oils can be used. Spices and herbs add a wide variety of flavor.

A general rule is that you need about ½ cup of marinade for each pound of meat or two pounds of vegetables. About one-third of the marinade’s sodium and calories will be absorbed.

Many marinades are high in sodium, or salt. Many bottled marinades have 300 to 600 milligrams of sodium in each tablespoon. Even if only one-third is absorbed, that’s 100 to 200 milligrams of sodium.

Healthy Marinades

So, make your own marinades with fresh ingredients or choose those with less sodium. For example, Mrs. Dash marinades or World Harbors marinades have zero to no more than 120 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon.

Marinating time depends on the type, cut and size of the meat. Thinner cuts require less time. For example, steaks or chops need two to four hours while a whole roast needs four to six hours. Fish and vegetables require very little time, around 15-30 minutes. Meat that is still frozen will not absorb a marinade, so be sure to thaw first. If using a bottled marinade that is high in sodium, marinating for a shorter time helps avoid “mushy meat.”

Here are some healthy marinades to get your summer off to a great start:

Chipotle Lime Marinade

This marinade is great with lean pork, chicken, fish or vegetables. Makes about ¾ cup.

 

1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce plus 1 teaspoon of the adobe sauce

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ cup orange juice

3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

⅛ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a gallon zip-lock bag or glass container. Use ½ cup per pound of meat or two pounds of vegetables.

 

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 12

Servings size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 14

Total fat: 1 gram

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Sodium: 35 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 1 gram

Protein: 0 grams

 

Big Bold Marinade

This marinade is wonderful on all kinds of meat and fish as well as firm tofu. I adapted this recipe from eatingwell.com. It makes 1 cup.

2 tablespoons canola oil

¼ cup onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

¼ cup orange juice

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground allspice

¾ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 dashes of hot sauce

Heat oil in small saucepan. Add onion and garlic; cook about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add up two pounds of protein of your choice.

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 16

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 30

Total fat: 2 grams

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Sodium: 90 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 3 grams

Protein: 0 grams

 

Lemon and Garlic Marinade

This is a great marinade for vegetables, fish and lean beef. Makes ¼ cup.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salt-Free Seasoning All-Purpose Blend

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Add meat or vegetables.

 

Nutrition facts

Servings: 4

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 35

Total fat: 4 grams

Saturated fat: 2 grams

Sodium: 0 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 1 gram

Protein: 0 grams

 

Marinade safely

Follow these guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics while marinating to reduce the risk of food-borne illness:

  • Contain it. Marinate food in a container, preferably glass or food grade plastic. Don’t use metal or glazed pottery since the acid in the marinade can interact with it and may add lead. Food grade plastic re-sealable bags are convenient, but must be disposed of after use.
  • Let the refrigerator be your friend.  Make sure the container of marinating food is fully covered. Place it in the refrigerator (below 40 degrees F), not on the kitchen counter.  This will keep food out of the temperature danger zone (40 – 140 degrees) when harmful bacteria can multiple rapidly causing food-borne illness. If traveling, pack marinating meat with ice to maintain temperature.
  • Never reuse marinade. Cross-contamination can lead to food poisoning. This can occur when a marinade is used with raw meat, poultry or fish and then reused “as is” on cooked food. Used marinade needs to boiled to destroy harmful bacteria before using as a sauce, or plan ahead and set aside some fresh marinade to be used as a sauce.

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health

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